Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sore Muscles

Physical Therapy

I am rather surprised at how sore my muscles are the day after physical therapy. There is a decidedly burning ache in several spots that my painkillers do not seem to relieve.

I really hurt on Tuesday, but I carried on with most of my home exercises anyhow--what horseperson wouldn't?  Then by Wednesday, I felt much better, only to go to therapy at the center in the afternoon.

Today, Thursday, I am quite sore again, although it's not quite as bad. This is a hopeful sign that over the next week or so, things will get better.  I am using heat on the muscles and ice on my knees and that helps but I will admit to being pretty darn uncomfortable a good part of the time.

But, I also have to remember that I had bad knees for a long time. My right knee's damage was nearly fifty years old and over those years, my body and especially my leg muscles adapted to a skewed carriage and conformation.

Now, my legs are straight with correct support and the muscles have to re-learn how to work properly, stretching or contracting in entirely new ways when I both walk and move my legs.  It would have to be very much like what a horse goes through when it begins correct retraining after having moved in a stiff, inverted way for much of its life.  Suddenly asked to be round, to carry itself with unfamiliar, unfit muscles, I am sure it too would experience some of the discomfort I feel now.

The only advantage that the horse might have over me is that its muscles would not have been damaged by surgical incisions, so it might recover a little faster than I am at this point.

This experience will serve me well when I  start to ride again, both for me and my horses.

We are all going to have to retrain some muscles that just might decide to protest as we work through our new adventures.

Monday, September 26, 2011

"T" for Tucker

"T" For Trouble

The two "t" words are synonymous.

Sunday, my horsesitter turned Tucker out in the riding arena with the sand footing because we still had mud and we need to be careful with his shoes. All was well when I left for church.

Sitting through the service with my stiff knees was a little challenging, but it was fine. And since I knew the anthem we were singing I was able to join the choir. The group went out to lunch afterwards and I enjoyed a nice salad bar meal.

I came home--I still have to beg rides from friends since I am not yet driving myself--in the early afternoon and relaxed for a bit.

But something kept nagging at me. I just had a feeling Tucker was no longer in the arena. I gave in to my sixth sense and went out to the barn.  Sure enough, the arena was empty and Tucker was hanging out in the barn. What did I find in the arena?

Two possible avenues of escape:

In the first pic you can see the lower fence rail just hidden in the weeds behind the open gate.  In the other two pictures you can see the smashed fence rails.  They look to be sabotaged from the inside, so Tucker is the only available suspect.   There are a lot of vines a bushes in the way there, so I have to think he got out by the gate, but you never know.  He had no scrapes or scratches on him that I could see. *sigh*

So, with no rain in the forecast for a few days, he is on full turnout because the arena fence needs repair.

Today, in the early afternoon, I went out to put the fans on in the barn.

I was greeted by a naked Tucker!  No flysheet. What???? Where???? No sign of it and I am not quite yet up to hiking the paddocks and pasture on a quest.

Now, he is dressed in one of the orange flysheets. It doesn't fit really well, but it will do until I find the missing one.

Some children just seem to get in trouble at every turn.

      At least there is some grass to munch on.                                                          

Sunday, September 25, 2011

At Last

PT Begins

I had my first PT session yesterday and it made a huge difference. The biggest result was that my physical therapist did some deep massage on my leg muscle and got rid of the dreadful knots that were causing the muscle to tighten. It's not yet perfect but SO much better.

I won't bore you with the exercises I did, as they are fairly standard for knees and the same ones I did in the rehab center. I was pleased to find that I could manage some of them with my right leg that I could not do in the hospital, so there was definite progress, even before the massage.

Around the house, I am walking with neither cane nor crutches, but I do use the crutches when I go out.

This morning, my horse sitter put Tucker out on the arena for me--we have mud and he has his shoe issues. I went out a bit later to fly spray him and only used the one crutch on the way out and none at all for a little while when I was handling him. Needless to say, I was very careful, but it did feel good to get some real work done.

So far, the Boys seem to be careful with me, so that's good. I will have to be careful in turn as I cannot make any fast moves to get out of the way.

It's warm, damp, and just rather miserable outside, I must confess. Summer is lingering and it is not pleasant at all.  Here's hoping we get some cooler fall weather sooner than later.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Still Waiting

In Stasis

I am waiting for approval from my insurance to start my physical therapy.  Strange system, but that's how it works.

In the meantime, I am catching up on my sleep and doing some of the exercises I was sent home with. The only thing stopping me is the stiffness and pain in my right thigh muscles which is a bit over the top at times. It feels as if that muscle was strained or pulled and I just don't know how far to push before doing damage....if any.

My staples are out which is good as the surgical incisions feel better now. But that persistent stiffness is rather annoying. Hopefully, everything will be squared away before the end of the week.

My farrier has told me he will be here tomorrow to put Tucker's shoe on and do Toby's and Chance's feet as well. Of course, now there is rain in the forecast again, so we will have to be guarded about Tucker's turnout until things dry up again.  Poor boy. He is SO good about being locked in his stall.

The other day we put an Easyboot on him and put him out for a while but the boot slipped off as it still wasn't exactly the right fit for him. At least he got some turnout.

Not much more for now. Going to eat some of the onion soup I froze before I left for the surgery. Yummy.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Beauty in the Eyes of the Beholder

Two Portraits

Remember how I said everyone at the hospital kept saying what beautiful knees I had? Trust me, they weren't talking about my real legs, but the apparently awesome staple job on my surgeries.

So, to them, this was apparently beautiful:
I think we measured them at about 7 inches or so, pretty straight and each held together with some 50 or so staples.  Swelling is worse on the right than the left but neither one looks dreadful.  There are some bruises in various places and I did have some blisters from some of the surgical tape and bandages.  Those are healing nicely as are the incisions.

So, one concept of "beauty."

Somehow I prefer example #2, which is a beautiful  "we 'k'need' you" bouquet sent to me from Carole and Don at Ansur Saddlery.
Lovely, lovely flowers that have managed to stay fresh looking for nearly 10 days now.  And my catsitter best buddy Shelley put them out of kitty reach, so they have manged to survive getting chewed up.

Now that's what I call beautiful in both vision and sentiment.

Thanks to all of you who sent good wishes, good vibes and words of encouragement. I will catch up on responding on blogs I visit during the week but sitting too long at the computer makes my legs ache a bit, so I am doing a little at a time.

I did go out to the barn this afternoon to give each Boy some apples and some extra hay.  Tucker is still stuck inside with his missing shoe as we wait for Scott who got backed up and busy these last weeks. I suspect as the show season draws to a close a lot of his clients who compete are needing shoeing jobs ASAP, and my retired crew is just having to wait a little longer than normal.

We'll get there. They all looked fine and were very respectful of my crutches, so that was good.  Not scared, just careful around me. Hope that continues.

Actually, I can walk without the crutches but it's much safer to have them for added balance, especially outside. In the house, I have plenty of furniture, door frames and walls, to steady myself so sometimes I use only one and if I only have a few steps to take, might not use any at all.

Healing continues and each day it gets a little better. I am sure physical therapy will help, but it's not going to be easy.  I'm resting up to get ready and doing most of the exercises at home. But it's just not the same if you don't have a therapist to encourage you.

And, boy, would a nice massage feel good about now!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sleep At Last

Home Sweet Home

How lovely and quiet it is here compared to the hospital. I have caught up on some of my sleep, but there is much yet to go.

My pain is moderate and fairly well, though not 100% controlled by pain meds.  It's mostly a cramping kind of feeling that might feel better if I could stretch and bend my legs completely, but there is some swelling so that's not quite in the cards. I've been using ice on the swelling and heat on the very sore muscles in my thighs.

Nest time I change long pants now--I will take a picture of my sutures.  Each leg has about 50 staples holding the surgical site closed. Every expert who has seen them has commented, "What beautiful knees!"  Apparently, my surgeon's skills are quite impressive. I suspect the inside is as good as the outside.

I can feel a huge difference in the stability of the joints already although the soreness and swelling do impact how things feel.!

I hope to start my out patient physical therapy next week. In the meantime, I have to discipline myself to do my exercises at home but right now sleeping feels so much better. Hopefully after another nice nap, I will feel more energized.

Everything here at home seems fine although Tucker is stuck inside after losing his shoe. He also cut his ankle a bit, but my horsesitter is treating it. He should be just fine.

Off for my nap.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Coming Home


'Nough said.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Perchance I Am A Star

Apparently, I am progressing rapidly through all the rehab challenges and may well be going home before the end of the week. *hope, hope*

My physical therapist and I have pretty much decided on some elbow crutches as my best get around option. I have the other kind of crutches at home already so I will have a choice as for some circumstances, the regular crutches do give me more security.

Other than that, I have been able to handle most of the in home tasks well. The therapists are a bit challenged by my need to figure out how to take care of the horses, so that has been fun. We've spent some time discussing and brainstorming all kinds of ways to make my little horse set up friendly to my somewhat limited abilities.  

I've gotten some cool ideas and will just need a little bit of hired muscle to implement them.

I might be home sooner than anyone expected, but we shall see.  There is a meeting this afternoon during which the doctors and therapists will discuss my future.

Stay tuned.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Off to Rehab

Well, That Was Interesting

My insurance will pay for my stay in rehab, but would not pay for my transportation to rehab.
A pittance compared to the expenses of the surgery, but because I was "ambulatory" I did not qualify for transport. I guess they thought I was going to walk here!

I called my friend Richard and he agreed to drive me from Philadelphia to Edison, NJ, for my next adventure.  Nothing exciting today as they will not do rehab on me today, and I am waiting to talk to the doctor about my program.

Kitties are fine at home as are the Boys, so all is well.  I have both a horsesitter and a house/kitty sitter.  Good people all.

Pain varies, and today I have much more swelling in both knees, but the right more than the left.  Hopefully the rehab exercises will help all that.

Off to explore the web.
Lost all my bookmarks, so I may not be visiting all your blogs.  But I think I put links on my Follywoods side bar.

See you next time.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Doing OK

Surgery Went Well

I am a bit sore but already walking down the hall with a wlker and a physical therapist.  Pain is tolerable so I should manage OK.

 Just got the bandages off and I have a rather long line of staples down my leg across my knee joints.  Comes with the territory.
Using Hospital keyboard on the Tv and it's a bit strange.
Nurses are great here with super care and the food is pretty good.
All for now.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Not Much Really New

Just Getting Ready

I good friend spent the morning with me going to the feed store to stock up on feed while I am in the hospital.  He helped me unload when we got home which was really great as I am literally on my last legs.

I did, however, introduce him to the "antique" store behind the tack store. Antiques may be in there somewhere, but the "Used furniture" and used everything else part of the place is the focus.  I actually bought a really nice rolling suitcase there last week for $5.   And I've often gone in to get props for various plays at school.  I have two cabinets in my living room I got there too. One is a china type cabinet to display my horse statue collection and the other is a corner unit where my TV sits.  Prices? At most $100, as I recall.

If you want it, they probably have it somewhere in the store. It's a huge jumble of a yard sale that goes on 6 days a week.  This time, there was a wind up Victrola with a bunch of records there. The cabinet was really cool, the Victrola worked and the whole thing was going for $225.  I would think an antique collector would snatch that up. There was a woman there who was on the brink of buying it, so it may be gone already.

Horses are all set now as far as feed goes.  I still have to tidy up the barn and finish a few things in the house. And, I still have to pack, although most of my things are sorted and ready to go.

Off to do some caulking. More tomorrow.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Might As Well Wear Them Out

My Knees, That Is
I didn't exactly set out to do it, but I seem to be managing a fair job of using up what is left of my own knees before I replace them.  They have been super aching the last week and I have been very busy on my feet, not giving them much rest.

Today, I spent some time sorting my jewelry for a special sale at my church and continuing some of the major cleaning in the house. Then I checked the weather forecast and realized we might get some more rain--just what we don't need--on the weekend, so if I was going to mow the lawn, I'd better get at it.

But, of course, the lawn tractor battery was dead, so while it was charging, I took advantage of the coolish day and did some weed whacking with my electric string trimmer. I did a good part of the front bank but hope to finish Sunday when there isn't so much traffic speeding by.  I have to work along the shoulder of the road and these drivers simply don't bother to slow down if I am out there. It's scary.

Battery charged, weeds trimmed, I began mowing. It is a far from thorough job as there are some tree limbs down and I don't have the energy to clean them up at this point. Besides, my kind neighbor told me he'd do it while I was in the hospital.  Thus, I just kind of mowed around the bigger limbs and moaved a number of the smaller ones out of the way.

Lawn mowed, I realized after I put the little tractor away that I'd forgotten to pull the arena drag back into its spot after I moved it to mow.  Since I can't pull the drag by human power, I decided to start up the Kubota tractor to move it.

But once I got the Kubota out and about, I figured it was a waste to just put it back without doing something, so I decided to clean out under the east side run in shed in front of Toby's and Tucker's stalls. 

Three hefty front end loads later, with some pitchforking on my part to get all the stuff that kind of rolls out of the loader, and that job was done. 

Then I fed the Boys who had spent a good part of my work time "helping" by constantly getting in the way of the tractor.  I had to cart a bale of hay over for dinner, and I honestly wasn't sure I was going to make it.

Chores done, I decided to go to the pool.  I figured a short swim at the most and a nice ride around the Lazy River at the least would feel good. 

OK, I ended up doing ten laps and my leg exercises. 

But, I must admit the nice hot shower surely did feel good afterwards.

I am worn out and so are my knees.

But it was a good day with much accomplished.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Laptop Dying

Battery or What, But Not Really Worth It

My laptop keeps hibernating and giving me a "critical battery" message. Then it tells me to switch to AC power, even though it is already plugged in. I suspect the whole power system has gone haywire.

Repair, or not to repair?  $100 or so for a battery and a minimum of $30 just to diagnose the problem and who knows how much to fix it. H-m-m-m-m.

My Ansur commission check will just about cover the cost of a neat little Gateway Netbook---so I bought one. I may well end up taking that with me to my medical adventure instead of the tablet. The size is not a very much different and the netbook runs Windows, so it is easier to use. Works a treat with the WiFi too, so I am all set.

Bless the electric company guys for getting us back to full power, the cable guys for restoring all that soon after, and my wonderful hay man who came today with a trailer load to keep the Boys well fed while I am away. Things are about back to as close to normal as possible.

I am still cleaning house, after a lost day due to storm prep, but I will get just about everything done. I do need to do at least a partial lawn mowing and perhaps do some weed whacking before I go, but that's a Sunday job so I don't get run over on the road.

The barn and Boys are OK, but I do need to put out feeding directions and label things and I need to go to the feed store to stock up so there's plenty of feed on hand.

The Boys are, it seems, delighted to have their fans back on. It has not been excessively hot after the storm, but even with all my fly controls in place, there are some annoying flies about and the fans blow them away. All the rain has provided too much good fly breeding habitat.  I'm sure they are worse at other barns, so I won't complain too much.

I am using the water I stockpiled to fill the water tub by the barn`so it won't go to waste.  I am happy to find out that the two storage containers look to be able to fill the water trough twice. That's good to know. All in all, I probably had enough water to last the horses for at least a week. Yea!!

I took some of my thawed out frozen food over to a friend's house last night and three of us had a nice dinner.  I ended up cleaning out the entire freezer as a result, so now there is plenty of room for new food. I hated to throw some things away, but it wasn't worth taking a chance.  It seems most everything had thawed out during the storm, and even though it kept cool, it's not worth a risk of eating stuff that's refrozen.  Some of it was probably on the brink of expiration dates anyhow, so cleaning out was due.

I did make a nice pot of onion soup and have put a container of it in the freezer. I've never tried that before, but it's worth a try.

Off to get the cleaning done.