Leeper Hip Fracture Status
Evelyn Leeper Hip Fracture Status
by Mark Leeper
Maintained by Mark Leeper
updated: May 26, 2013
Last updated: May 26, 2013
it appears this incident is
going to be an on-going crisis, am going to use this log as a mechanism
to inform concerned people about Evelyn's status.
Since it appears this incident is going to be an on-going crisis, am going to use this log as a mechanism to inform concerned people about Evelyn's status.
Currently Evelyn is home as of 04/14/13 and making good progress in recovery
I will write this in the form of a log because I get the most information written this way. Readers can skim for what they consider important.
I am writing you from the emergency room of Bayshore Hospital. Evelyn fell off the bottom step of the attic steps in our garage, hit her head, and it looks like she broke her hip. Right now I am waiting for her to return from the x-rays.
I do not yet know how long she will be in the hospital. I don't know how long recovery will be. I don't know much of anything at this point. At 2:45 she was descending the ladder to the attic, carrying a box of audio cassettes. She got to the bottom step with one foot and the floor with the other. The box started to spill the cassettes and she went to grab them, lost her balance and fell on the garage floor, landing on her back and hitting hear head. Luckily I was in the den and could hear her calling for me. I went to the garage and saw her lying on her back, her right foot turned outward. To her it felt like her right leg was resting on something between her foot and the floor but there was nothing but her shoe.
She could talk unimpaired, so I asked her if she needed an ambulance. She could not move her leg, so I said we needed to call for help. I called 911 and they dispatched a policeman and an ambulance. The policeman said that with her leg turned to the side it was probably a broken hip.
They took her to Bayshore Hospital. I canceled teaching and headed out to the hospital. At the hospital I did not learn much. Her leg hurt badly when she moved it and somewhat less if the leg held still.
At 4:45 I am waiting for her to come back from x-rays. OK, she is back. Now somebody has to interpret the pictures. Her doctor is Dr. Yu. (P.S. He was only her doctor for admission.)
OK, I have seen the x-rays and Evelyn has a clean break at the top of the hip. Just below where the hip widens to a knob there is a fracture straight across like it had been done with a knife. Evelyn will have surgery tomorrow morning. I have a 10:30 appointment with the pulmonologist and that is just two buildings away from the hospital. I will probably see him and then come directly to the hospital. I probably will get the news then about how the operation went.
Evelyn says her leg aches like it has been in one position too long. But moving it hurts a lot more. After she gets the injection she says she feels very strange. It is as if she is going to pass out, but it does not happen. It feels like the whole room is "scrolling." She is not sure she can describe it.
The orderly is going to slightly increase the pain medication. Evelyn will in room 331B. It should be easy to remember. Sherlock Holmes was at 221B and if you substitute 3s for 2s, you get the room.
About 7:05 they come in to give Evelyn a CAT scan. An orderly wheels her and I am told to follow along. Whenever anybody bumped their head in an accident they do a CAT scan. They wheeled her to a section of the hospital where they warn of a strong magnetic field and it says authorized people only. It is with some relief that the orderly tells me to wait outside in some chairs. I was worried for the electronics I carry around. I am more than happy to wait in the hallway. But the hallway must be safe. I see a room with terminals on the other side of the ribbon labeled "Danger." The magnetism must not be so bad there.
Evelyn is wheeled out of the CAT scan area by an orderly. The haircut is male, the voice seems male, but the shape is female. Neither of us wants to guess the gender. It does not matter. What matters is how good she is. The staff seems pretty good. Evelyn was put in 331A. I am not sure why the switch. Evelyn's phone is 732-739-5782.
Another switch is that have decided to do the operation tonight, not tomorrow morning. I am not sure why the switch.
Evelyn was bedded down and about 7:50 and a Dr. Lopez came in to explain what he is going to do. They will put a metal rod in her leg and have about five four-inch incisions to fasten it into place. Evelyn can start walking a little tomorrow with the aid of a walker and with physical therapy. I told Evelyn to call me as soon as she feels that she can. Dr. Lopez says that they probably will let me stay through the night to see her when she comes out of the operation. He estimates that he will operate on Evelyn around 10 PM. If the case before her takes too long it will be at 11 PM. That scares me a little. Tired men make mistakes.
These days a hospital at night sounds like there is always someone in the hallway playing pong. Two different carts come in at the same time. One it to measure obscure parameters like something called Pulsox. Another wants to collect information that has been collected earlier about where does she live and does she have a living will. We have been asked several times to recount how the accident happened.
There is a dry-erase board on the wall that seems calculated to make the stay feel like a hotel visit. It lists the room number and phone number. But it also has a number to call for "guest relations," "for your DINING PLEASURE please dial..." and "CONCIERGE CARE: Leave the rest to us. Please call..."
There is an ever-present chart of faces in varying degrees of pain, each with a number. You are supposed to rate your pain being like which round-faced cartoon. Mr. 0 is a happy smiling man without a care in the world. There is a broad smile on his face and two high-arched eyebrows. Mr. 2 has a smile not quite so broad. Mr. 10, the most pained man of all, has a big frown, tears running down his face, and eyebrows that look like the two sides of an open drawbridge. Above the pictures is the message "pain control is our top priority." Actually now that I look there is also a laminated sheet on the wall with the same six faces. They are called the Wong-Baker faces pain rating scale. Apparently it is a standard pain rating scale. There is also a sheet listing "Patient Rights for Pain Management." Seven rights are listed like "The right to participate actively in decisions about how to manage your pain." I cannot tell how Evelyn is managing her pain. She is listening to her iPod with her eyes closed or possibly sleeping. It is now about 9:30. I hope she is sleeping so she is not feeling pain.
The doctor tried to make it sound like the operation he is going to perform is one that is fairly routine. Of course he is probably right, but I cannot help being frightened.
They bring a woman in for the other side of the room, 331B. She has a broken shoulder. She also fell victim to a nasty fall. She tells the doctor she tripped on a bowl of cold cereal. I'm sorry that is all I heard. I think that is all she told the doctor and I am trying not to eavesdrop. How does somebody trip on a bowl of cold cereal? One of her family says he went to the Chinese restaurant Crown Palace and ordered Cold Noodle and Sesame Sauce. They were too disgusted to eat it saying it was a peanut butter sauce that they said looked like something a dog had left. Hey, Cold Noodle and Sesame Sauce is great. It just has a LOT of fat. Ah well, not everybody can appreciate the same things.
The staff all seems very friendly. I think over the past few years we have seen the rise of "friendly" in businesses. Both the employee and the customer seem to like the experience. Companies like NetFlix and L. L. Bean find really friendly staff gives them a competitive advantage. I think this is probably a well-run hospital.
It is now 11:30 PM. Evelyn has not been called. I try to sleep a little in a chair, but it does not work. Evelyn is getting more sleep than I am.
The nurse came in and said perhaps Evelyn's operation will be postponed until tomorrow. We had lunch about 2 and neither of us has eaten since. Evelyn is not supposed to and I have no way to. But she just came in a few minutes ago and said they still have not decided to postpone and the doctor is still in the operating room.
The call came about 11:40 PM. Evelyn suggested I go home, but I want to wait with her and be here when she resumes consciousness.
I started to go down in the elevator with Evelyn and Evelyn mentioned to the nurse I had not eaten since 2PM. The nurse found me a turkey sandwich in a room apparently stocked for such occasions. They also invited me into the preparation/recovery room to wait with Evelyn. Evelyn was shortly in a light sleep.
Well, it is past midnight. Evelyn is still waiting to be brought into surgery. I can write a long log because so much time is spent just waiting.
Around 12:35 Dr. Lopez came over. We asked some questions about the monitors.
Things move very slowly but at 1 AM she is ready to go in for the operation. Well, that has been true for a while now. Now they are ready for her. They figure she will come out of surgery after a couple of hours, at about 3 AM.
Actually it was more like 4:10. In the mean time I waited in the surgical waiting room, worked on a film review, worked on a letter, and listened to iPod music. Come 4:10 AM or so one of the nurses came for me. (Actually I am not sure they have nurses. I can't remember all the titles they have these days. I call them orderlies or nurses and probably neither term is correct.)
Evelyn had a reddish tone to her face and she talked a little slowly. Both got more normal as I talked to her. She is just very tired. I guess sleeping under anesthesia when she had an operation is not all that restful. She is clearly not her old self yet, but neither am I. I have now been up for about 24 hours with no more than a second or two of sleep.
I drove home and got to bed at 5:30. I slept until 8. I was awake for just a couple minutes when Evelyn called. She sounds more herself.
I spent most of the day at here bedside. Much of it she was asleep. There was more that happened, but I did not find out until later.
03/22/13 Not Ready for Prime Time
It took me a while to get in to Evelyn. I had skipped exercise the day before because of my really weird hours the day before. I slept till 6:30 AM, which is well past my usual awaking time. I finally arrived at the hospital about 10:30. There is not a lot provided for someone like Evelyn to do. They figure that the TV in the room is entertainment. Evelyn and I are movie watchers but not general TV watchers. There is not much on that would interest her. PBS might have something after 8 PM, but by then she is probably asleep. After an operation like she had the body needs a lot of sleep. I have never seen that explained. Part of it might be that she lost a lot of blood and it takes a while for her to rehydrate and for the bone to make new blood.
This leaves Evelyn very tired and she keeps falling off to sleep. I was listening to a podcast that reviewed opening films. One was FROM UP ON POPPY HILL, which we had both seen and I had reviewed. I asked Evelyn if she wanted to hear the review and she said that she did. I gave her the iPod and she started listening and almost immediately fell asleep. After a few minutes I went to take my iPod back and she said she was still listening to the review. However, after a second she realized they were talking about a totally different film.
I find a very common trait among people is that they deny falling asleep while watching or listening to something. I do it as much as anyone, but we will be watching a movie and I will see Evelyn nod off and I will say gently "wake up." Evelyn will wake up and deny she has been asleep. Or Evelyn might catch me sleeping. Her wake-up call is not so gentle. But I will claim I was awake. And it is a bald-faced lie.
Incidentally I think an iPod is one of the greatest sleep aids ever discovered. When I go to sleep at the end of the day it puts me out in under five minutes.
And speaking of going out quickly in the afternoon the physical therapist came around to try to see if she could get Evelyn to stand up with a walker for support. Evelyn was picked up and stood there for a second or so, but it was too painful. They picked her up and put her in a chair. She sat there for a moment or two and her head rolled back and her eyes rolled up into her head. I would say she did what I would call a "rag doll." She went unconscious and totally limp.
They grabbed her and laid her on the bed. Evelyn opened her eyes and said she did not remember moving back to the bed. There was a good reason for that: she was totally unconscious. The two people doing this called for a "rapid response." This involved taking a room that was pretty full with three people standing around and within about a minute packing it with about eight more people and five rolling machines. This included a heart defibrillation with two paddles. But in 90 seconds after being back on the bed her voice sounded normal.
Outside I don't think I was showing much of a reaction. Inside was a different matter. I don't think it comes as much of a surprise to the reader that when you see a loved one go limp like a rag doll, it is a very scary sight.
Later that afternoon our friend Jo Paltin came up for a visit. That was good because for one thing she is a much better conversationalist than I am.
About 5 PM I headed home. I stopped on the way at Shanghai Bun and had a large bowl of Spicy Beef Noodle Soup.
In the evening Evelyn called and I talked to her for a while. On the phone she sounds like her normal self.
One of the decisions I made that evening was that it was worth a little extra effort to put this log on line. I can put on updates and people can check them out themselves. I will take a camera to put Evelyn's happy, smiling face on the page.
Saturday, 03/23/13 Progress
I will not be able to see Evelyn until the afternoon. I have my tutoring at the library. This was a quiet morning because the students are on Spring Break. I had three show up. What dedication! But it was mostly a quiet morning. She did send mail saying, "I think I am a lot better. I sat on the edge of the bed to have them take by blood pressure in that posture and it didn't hurt nearly as much, and I was not dizzy, (I did not stand up, though.)" In other mail she said, "The surgeon (Dr. Lopez) changed the dressing. This one is less bulky, which should make sleeping more comfortable. There are three incisions, with about 15 or 20 staples total, They will be removed in a couple of weeks.)" [Actually, it was closer to 30 staples.]
I got some written on this log around the few questions I got. The father of one of the regulars came in with questions on whether his son should take two honors courses in math or one, one regular math course, and a an elective like Microsoft office. Interesting coincidence. I was just telling him about half-life of radioactivity. I told him the knowledge he got of Microsoft Office has a half-life also. In five years half of what he had would be useless. Another five years and half of what was left would be gone. Though I kept protesting that I was in no position to know detail or give opinions, they were convinced I had given very good advice. I did say that if he takes a lot of math, I will be around to help him through.
After leaving the library I returned home to call Evelyn and to pick up things she wanted. I called her and she thinks things are proceeding well. She had some physical training without passing out. We still do not know when she will be able to go home soon. She may have to go to a rehabilitation facility.
We did get details about just what was done in the operation. Essentially there is a large titanium rod attached to a shorter rod on a hinge. This rod is bonded to the bone above and below the hinge. It then is a lot like a brace, but it is inside the leg rather than outside.
Another piece of the puzzle seems to be explained. Evelyn's passing out and going rag doll on us may have been caused by Percocet. She took that half an hour before the physical therapy and it may have made her dizzy and lose consciousness.
We have been discussing whether Evelyn will be going home or to a rehab facility as I suggested, but it depends on the rate of repair. Apparently Evelyn feels a good deal better today than she did yesterday.
In the afternoon we had guests (other than me, of course). We had Mahendra Pratap, Jo Paltin, and Dale Skran. It was nice to have people to talk to.
Jo suggested that Evelyn should get her own orthopedist to watch her progress. But it turns out what is usual is that the orthopedist who performed the operation intends to continue to be the orthopedist even after Evelyn is discharged. It is true he seems to be the person who would know Evelyn's leg best.
Evelyn's guests left at 4:30. I stayed until 6 PM.
Sunday, 03/24/13 The Guest of Honor Speaks Up
Evelyn asked me to bring a few items that she would need for her hair. Mostly s brush, a comb, and some dry shampoo. The latter I had to pick up from the drug store. I came in a little after noon. Evelyn was rather pleased with her performance on the morning physical therapy session. With a walker she got halfway to the bathroom-about four feet. What she can do seems to increase exponentially day by day. Progress was slow at first but on each effort she gets more improvement. But she did much better today from yesterday and her rag doll episode was now two days ago. I will have her relate her own progress. Though when she starts to write it still wears her out and she falls asleep. Well, she probably needs her sleep to recover.
who knows best, can also contribute to this log. The
is from her.
I've been busy the past few days ( :-) ) so I have left the writing to
Mark. I will try to add a few notes on things he may have
Since breaking my hip four days ago I have had a ridiculous number of tests and medications, often at ridiculous hours. For example, they come around at 4:15AM to draw blood, and at 5:30AM with the first pill of the day. In addition, the IV bag sometimes runs out at night, so the buzzer on that wakes me up. They also take my blood pressure frequently, as well as a daily EKG and an electrocardiogram (an ultrasound of the heart), and a CAT scan shortly after the fall.
Mark described my passing out during physical therapy on Friday (almost definitely exacerbated by the Percocet), but Saturday was much better, and today even more so. Each therapist seems to have their own routine to follow. The first (Friday) wanted me to sit up at the edge of the bed, stand up, take a few steps, and sit in a chair. Mark wrote about how well that went. :-) The second (Saturday) had me sit up, stand up, take a few side-steps, and then sit down again. That seemed to go better, but was not very substantial. The third (today, Saturday) had me do some foot flexes and leg swings before even sitting up. Then I sat up and did some more leg swings. Only then did I finally stand up (with a walker). Then I started taking short steps, which required thinking about each one in a way one is not used to doing. First I have to slide the walker forward, putting my weight mostly on my left (good) leg and my arms. Then I have to move my right (bad) leg forward, again putting my weight mostly on my left leg and my arms, and also just using the ball of my right foot, rather than putting any weight on the heel. Then comes the tricky part: I need to put my weight mostly on my arms (without achieving a "death grip" on the walker :-) ) and the ball of my right foot, and move my left leg forward smoothly. Hopping is not recommended!
The bottom line is that it like learning to walk again, or perhaps a better example is (re-)learning the piano. At first, you have to think about where each finger goes, an how long to hold own each each, and which foot pedal to use. Then eventually it becomes second nature and you don't think about ti. (Or so I assume--I don't play the piano.) Similarly here, the sequence will become second nature and also the bad leg will get stronger and need less babying. The theory is that eventually I will not need a walker or presumably even a cane. Right now I would be happy to be able to walk some distance with a walker without getting tired or weak.
As for pain killers, I probably has some right after the surgery, but other than the Percocet, all I have had was two Tylenol today after the various therapies and tests that involved moving around. While most movement does not hurt, rotating the right leg can send a sharp pain shooting up my thigh, and general sudden movements can also cause pain. They are constantly asking me what my pain level is on a scale of 1 to 10. My answer tends to be 1 or 2 gusting to 8, much like a wind forecast.
At my request Mark picked up some dry shampoo at the store, and sprayed my hair for me so I could actually wash it, since trying to wash it in bed with water is not a great idea. So I guess I have a personal hair stylist as well.
We are busy trying to make revised Passover plans. Mine, alas, seem to be to eat whatever foods on the hospital menu seem the least hametz (non-Passover). Given that tomorrow night's choices are macaroni and cheese or chicken cordon bleu, this is a losing fight. I did ask Mark to being in matzoh and will try to use that to replace the more obvious leavened breads. Mark will be going to some friends' house for the first Seder, and then eating either stuff I pre-made (like Passover turkey chili), or easy-to-make things like omelettes and tuna stroganoff. He is also to browse the frozen Passover foods at the grocery. We usually eschew those in favor of home-cooked stuff, but this year is an exception.
We are still not sure what the plan is for the next few days. While originally there was talk of my going home Sunday (today) I am clearly not mobile enough for that. (I am not sure what their criteria are, but I would assume that the ability to walk to the bathroom, possibly with assistance, would be a minimum.) Another possibility now being mentioned is spending some time at Riverview Acute Rehabilitation Center in Red Bank and then going home. I am assuming that would be just a few days, since I think everyone's goal is to get people home as soon as possible, and given that we have a ranch house and Mark is there basically all the time, I should be going home soon either way.
Mark again: One issue we are discussing is what we are doing about Passover. This is usually a project every year that goes right up to the wire. It is better this year and worse. We did not complete our preparations, but was also cancelled the big first night meal that we usually have at our house and have the Skrans come. I expect I can get all I need just foraging on what stuff we have already brought or prepared. It definitely is going to be a different experience than usual.
Monday, 03/25/13 Choosing a Rehab Center
For breakfast I had vegetarian beans, more of a British breakfast. It also is sort of my last chance of non-KFP food before Passover. I arrived at the hospital about 8:10.
The staff keep giving Evelyn tests. They had tried to take her blood. They wanted three vials, but could only take two and half of another. Evelyn has had trouble giving blood before. This is not a big concern.
The good news is that she is probably ready to go to the rehab center, probably at Riverview Medical Center. It is a question of when does a bed clear up there and if the insurance company will approve it. It is a good thing because she will be more independent faster and ready to come home. The drive time to Riverview is a lot more than it is to Bayshore. It is at least twice as far, and perhaps more. But I will not have to go as often.
I hear from our friend Charles Harris that this log is going beyond just the few family members and friends I originally expected. I guess I had such narrow expectations because I did not expect others would be interested. Apparently it is useful to some in the medical profession to see this experience from the patient's (or more accurately the patient's husband's) point of view. I think Charles passed word on from someone he knows in the medical profession that most people see a hip repair as fairly routine and here they are seeing how it affects our lives.
And apparently some people may be finding the discussion with a Google search. Whoever you are, whether I know you or not, WELCOME. We would be thrilled to get a wider readership. If you like you can tell us of your presence by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want you can suggest aspects you want to know more about. We are not really knowledgeable about medicine, but we can answer non-technical questions about Evelyn's experience.
Evelyn was saying that she wears cuffs on her thighs that pump the blood and make up for the fact she is doing a lot of laying in bed. But she says it feels like a weasel has crawled into bed with her.
Evelyn is spending some time out of bed for the first time. The IV was taken out and she got out of the bed to sit on the commode. And from there she was helped into a chair. Some time soon she will be going down stairs for physical therapy.
It is tough to get a lot written because there seem to be frequent interruptions at the hospital. I guess that is better than neglecting Evelyn.
It is 10:40 and Evelyn is finally going down to physical therapy. She is eased into a wheelchair and has an oxygen tube put under her nose. And she is wheeled and de-elevated down two floors to the rehabilitation center. This is still a lot of sitting around so she will be ready to exert herself and then rest after. She was eased into a walker and she slowly walked a distance on the floor. She walked a distance and then she sat down in a wheel chair and was taken back to her sitting place. I paced the distance she went as 11.5 paces.
11.5 paces * 2.5 feet/pace = ~29 feet
She was wheeled back to the wall leaving the walker behind. A few minutes later someone else who was using the space moved the walker out of the way. So Evelyn has reached a milestone: She can now walk well enough to get in somebody else's way.
A while later she walked 40 feet. Well, that is progress.
And Evelyn has been out of the room, which had happened only once before since she was first brought there. They took her for an echocardiogram (which is basically an ultrasound of the heart). But most of the time she is in the same room.
issue now seems to be coming down
to an appeal to the insurance company. She will be sent to
an acute rehabilitation facility (Riverview) or to a sub-acute
rehabilitation facility. The former will get her home sooner
giving her more exercise time with more rigorous physical training.
The question is they generally ask is whether she is being
readied to go home and hence should go to acute or if she is being
readied to go to a nursing home and hence can go to
Everyone here would prefer acute but the insurance company, and that
only because it is more expensive. It comes down to a matter
money and whether Aetna thinks she is covered for the more expensive
Back at the room she is trying to achieve a very magical sort of state to be released home that I have dubbed "commode-ready". Even better is an ethereal state called "toidy-ready."
OK, it is later in the day and Aetna has spoken. Evelyn must have the sub-acute rehab. She just has to push herself a little harder. I am disappointed, but I know this must have cost Aetna a huge amount already. Later tonight about 6 PM they will move Evelyn to the new facility. I will get detail about name of facility, address, Evelyn's phone number, etc. I will visit her some time like 10 AM tomorrow.
I returned to the house to update this log, to clean, to prepare food for Passover. I got a call from Evelyn saying that she would be moved that night to the sub-acute facility on the same street as the hospital. That is a disappointment. I prepared to go over to our friends, the Skrans, to have the first night of Passover and the Seder with them. Toward the end of the evening I got a call from Evelyn at the Skrans. When Evelyn was first admitted to the hospital she was put into a hospital gown and I was given her clothes to take home. Now she was in the rehab facility she was still in just the hospital gown and she desperately needed real clothes. Apparently wearing hospital gowns and nothing else is some kind of social faux pas at the rehab center. This year everyone is wearing street clothes that afford more privacy and Evelyn would stick out like a sore thumb if she were to sport about wearing just that old gown. She started giving me a laundry list (literally) of what clothing she needed. I told her to hold on, keep warm, and I would go home. Then I could pick up the clothing she wanted as she directed me over the phone. A telephone connection has much greater bandwidth than a hastily written scrap of paper.
At home, over a period of 20 minutes, I filled a clothes basket with the latest non-gown fashions and prepared to take it in the morning.
Complicating matters was the fact that we had a plumbing problem just that evening that I will just call "toidy-not-ready." It had picked a bad time to go bad, but it had to be fixed the next day. It was too late to fool with. I did update the log and took a look at on-line ads of the rehab center. It looks like the medical center of a nursing home. The photos of the place in the homepage showed a patient who was 20 years Evelyn's senior.
I did not sleep well and I woke up about an hour early. I suspect Evelyn did not sleep so well either.
Coming from the hospital to the rehab facility was the first sub-optimal aspect of this (other than actually breaking the hip). It was cold and raining outside and the ambulance team did not cover me sufficiently with blankets--my shoulders were covered only by the cotton hospital gown. In addition, at the far end, I was "unloaded" not under an awning, but in front of the entrance, and ended up being rained on for ten or twenty seconds.
The other bad aspect of the transfer was that no one gave me any idea of what to have with me. For example, in a rehab facility, you need clothing, but all I had was the hospital gown. Luckily I could call Mark Monday evening with a list of what to bring early Tuesday morning. Some stuff was easy: pull-on pants, t-shirts, underwear. Some were more complicated: I needed shoes, but which ones? They had to have non-slip soles, but also (presumably) be easy to put on and take off, which somewhat rules out my walking shoes, which are a bit, snug. I ended up asking for a pair of loafers, a pair of canvas tennis shoes, and the walking shoes. Luckily the loafers passed muster, because those are obviously the easiest to put on and take off, at least until I can bend over far enough to tie laces.
Another problem was socks. The trail socks I love so much are so thick that they make the shoes harder to put on and take off. For now, I am using thinner dress socks--actually Mark's since I don't really have any good ones.
One of the things they gave me was a TB test. Apparently this is part of their protocol for everyone admitted.
Actually she slept better than at the hospital. People do not come around so often in the night to check how she is doing. The hospital had had inflating thigh cuffs massage Evelyn's legs to keep the blood flowing in the legs while Evelyn remained in the bed. I think she said she had missed them.
I came to the Rehab about 8:30. The front sitting area makes it look a little like a nice motel. It is decorated and has places to sit. Upstairs the place is a little drab. It looks sufficient, but is somehow downbeat. It took a while to get a chair into the room for me to sit on. Then it appeared to be corroded. So some of the furniture appears to be old and not of the highest quality. However the people I talked to were very nice. I don't remember exactly what function each did. I talked to a woman named Meena. She is from Bombay. Evelyn and I discussed Indian restaurants, food, culture, Bollywood, what were our experiences in India. We enjoyed bringing up memories. I also met Evelyn's physical therapist Joe. His last name was something Hispanic, but he is Filipino.
I was with Evelyn when she went down to physical training. She did not do as much walking as yesterday and did not go as far, but she also was doing leg and arm strengthening exercises. And some of the time she just sat and got her breath back. I think the session was about 45 minutes. The physical therapist gave Evelyn some exercises to do in the room. He gave her a long wide ribbon of something elastic. She could stretch it for strength exercise.
When Evelyn got back from training she said that her bed had not been made and they were a little slow to make up the room. Some time around noonish Evelyn went to lunch. I went with her but did not eat. You could choose a mean that was not so much kosher for Passover as a food tribute to what they thought that Passover was. They had Matzo Ball soup and honeycake for dessert among the choices. The honeycake looked like yellowcake with honey and walnuts for a topping. Their heart was in the right place, but it did not look at all like honeycake.
About 1 PM I left and went to Costco to get a few things we needed and got home about 2:15. I let Evelyn talk me on the phone to find some papers she wanted brought to her room.
The latter part of the day was spent cleaning up the house. I did a little food preparation. I worked on this log. I answered email. After I had dinner I went back to spend some time with Evelyn. I think she was not expecting this, but I wanted to surprise her. She just likes being together. We may be doing different things but we like to have each other in the rooms with us. We listened to film music.
After that I went home and multiprocessed a film with everything else I was doing.
Wednesday, 03/27/13 This May Be a Long Siege
I got to the facility about 8:30 AM. Evelyn is making progress. A woman named Maggie took Evelyn into the bathroom to see if Evelyn could dress herself. Evelyn could do most by herself. She could not lift her right leg enough to put a sock and shoe on. That was the only thing she could not do.
About 10:30 Evelyn was taken for physical therapy. I followed along like I had done the day before, but as I entered Maggie was there and she said that visitors were not allowed in the physical therapy room, so I returned to Evelyn's room and worked on this log.
Evelyn had been awakened about 2 AM by someone playing their television very loud that early in the morning. Just about whatever the neighbors are doing, residents are sort of involved in the action also because you cannot block out the noise. Right now the room right across the hall someone plays almost non-stop religious music. It is a straight-line walk to go from the back of Evelyn's room to the back of the zealot's room. You sort of share a column of air and all the sound in it. So while Evelyn was in physical training I was hearing about how wonderful the Lord is. I was alone in the room so I figured I could just close the heavy wooden door. That worked. Until Evelyn's roommate came back and was disoriented to find her door closed. I was told by some functionary that they try to leave the doors open. Well, maybe Evelyn and I will have our Souls saved in this process.
Apparently things went reasonably well in training with Evelyn walking about 40 feet. That was the best that she did in the hospital two days earlier. Still we would like to see more progress than that.
Evelyn says that even with the sound she is getting better sleep here than in the hospital where her care was uncomfortably intensive. She would be wakened several times a night to have the give her pills or for some other reason.
A social working came to the room to talk to Evelyn about her stay and the possibility of going home. She gave us the first real estimate anybody would about when Evelyn might possibly be going home. Until now the question was always answered with sophistries like "Everybody is different," "Circumstances change." The social worker thought Evelyn might be staying another month or so. This is, of course, bad news.
About 1 PM I headed back home.
Evelyn has a 2 PM appointment to get her hair shampooed in the facility. For this they charge a nominal fee. But I had assumed that the facility did what was necessary to provide for the people using the facility. That seems like it would include basic cleaning including shampoo. If someone refused to pay an additional beauty parlor bill would they just let the patient's hair deteriorate? [Well, no--the shampooing would have gotten done, though not as "luxuriously" as in the salon. And everything else the salon does--styling, haircuts, etc.--is not included. -ecl]
I called Evelyn and she was not in the room. I figured she was at dinner. I called her a half hour later and she was back. Mildred--that's Evelyn's roommate--had suggested that they go to dinner together. Mildred is probably 20 years older than Evelyn. Well, it got Evelyn out of the bed and exercising. Evelyn is going to need a lot of exercise to strengthen her bones. I worked around the house for most of the evening, but I had a chance to have some cheese for dinner and to watch a movie.
today, then more walking--forty feet a couple of times, then thirty
feet. (Everything seems to be in groups of three.)
woke early. I had
gotten about six hours of sleep. I have to get used to being
my own. This is a somber day. My father died nine
today, on the common calendar.
One metric I have forgotten to mention is the swelling of Evelyn's right leg. Evelyn's right leg is 18 inches in circumference and her left (normal) leg is 16 inches. The swelling takes a while to come down, but it is correlated to the amount of pain she feels in the leg. A week later the leg is still swollen.
is a lot to do in the house
doing Evelyn's and my tasks also. We have had a wash that has
been waiting to go in. Usually Evelyn would do it and it has
a while since I have. Last time I followed instructions from
Evelyn and I think I still have those instructions on my
The palmtop helps a lot so I can remember instructions from years ago
when Evelyn was going to Massachusetts to help her ailing
I will probably switch to visiting Evelyn in the afternoon. For one thing Evelyn has physical training in the morning. If I cannot go with her to that it is pointless for me to be there that hour. Evelyn is supposed to be exercising in the afternoon and I can watch and get her to do the exercises then.
Evelyn asked for me to bring in a lot more in to her. Underwear. Books. An orange peeler. This will all have to fit into something to take her home so I am taking a strong wastebasket liner. When she is ready to go home I can carry a lot of things in one bag.
My mother wrote me an e-mail saying that she was going to call me to get Evelyn's status. However she check this log first and got a lot more information than I could have given her over the phone. I think I will just keep my HTML composer up all day and add to it when I get the chance. But this way I am not having to keep telling people what happened and how Evelyn is doing.
I went to the library to teach yesterday and all the librarians know about Evelyn's problem and were asking me how she was doing. The parents of two students who come to the sessions also wanted to know if there was anything they could do to help.
The breakage is a common accident in women a few years older than Evelyn. The figure I see is about three years older. I have a regular routine of exercise on an exercycle, and I have been trying for years to get Evelyn to use it or to do some other exercising. Evelyn says that she gets enough exercise just taking care of the house, but I wonder if she is doing the right sort of exercise to strengthen her bones. I think I will set a reminder in my palmtop to some time around June start pressuring her to exercise more. I hope she will be in a condition to exercise more.
Today I am exploring the mysteries of the washing machine and drier. Evelyn got therapy earlier to day and seems to have walked a lot farther. I was kind of hoping she could walk to Freehold, NJ, but she was not that ambitious.
This morning in physical therapy (with Joe, the therapist of two days ago) Evelyn walked what I later estimated was 180 feet. Right now the goal I am setting for her is to walk into Red Bank. It can even be the nearest point of Red Bank.
I visited Evelyn at a little after noon and stayed about 105 minutes. Then I returned home and continued with the laundry and went to the grocery. Evelyn thinks that I should get more interesting food than I have on hand. Actually I am losing weight and am rather happy with that. I can be creative with the food we have. I have a recipe for pie crust that is kosher for Passover, and I make chocolate cream pie that really gets me through the week.
I will go back and visit at 6:30 this evening.
Yet another set of exercises today, including swinging my leg out to the right (while lying on a mat). There was some confusion. The occupational therapist showed up about 8:45 AM. Occupational therapy is learning to dress yourself, etc. Well, by the time she arrived I was all dressed except for the socks, and even then it as only the right sock that was a problem. She showed me how to use a "sock aid", and then suggested we go around with me in the wheelchair (learning how to maneuver, I assume). We met someone from physical therapy and in talking they asked if I wanted to go own then rather than waiting. The occupational therapist thought that was a good idea, so down we went. What neither of them (or I) knew was that their was a batch of pills I was supposed to take at 9 AM, but at 9 AM I was nowhere to be found near my room. Eventually they found me and I went and took all my pills and returned to physical therapy, where I walked about 180 feet with the walker. (This was a one-time walk, with no repetitions.)
Mail from Evelyn this morning:
I put both socks on today without using the sock aid--progress! Basically I can now dress myself completely, except that I still need someone there when I am standing, and I'm a little nervous about pulling things over the staples.
They removed the bandages from over the staples, so they are exposed to air (well, under my pants). One trick I've learned is that I need to remove any non-skid socks before trying to pull the pants on. :-)
They're here to take me to physical therapy, so I'll sign off.
At the suggestion of a reader I am going to take the pictures from our Italy and Southern Africa trips and give them to Evelyn to whittle down and make into a slideshow. That will give her something to do and will not require a lot of moving around. This was the suggestion of Art Stadlin, someone who when I started this log I never would have guessed would be reading it. Well, I am flattered at the number of people who want to read it.
The job of editing down
pictures from out
trips is something that never gets done. When we get back
home after a trip there is always a lot to get caught up on.
We have overflowing email mailboxes and podcasts and all sorts of web
sites to catch up on. So we say we will put off the picture
editing for just a week or two. It NEVER gets done.
This is something that Evelyn can do, even with the TV in the room
on. Evelyn's roommate Mildred is a pretty heavy television
watcher and it makes it a little hard to read with the TV
going. Choosing pictures is one thing Evelyn can do even with
the TV on.
I mentioned last Tuesday that I had gone to Costco. What I really went for was to buy a printer for the Mac at home. I got a Canon MX892, but since I got it, it has been sitting on the floor staring at me accusingly. "How hard can I be to set up? Lots of not very technical people set me up." Those are the sort of taunts it throws at me. I wish it could have been a little more civil. Saturday afternoon I did about three-quarters of the setting up and it was really not too bad. The last quarter I wanted to ask Evelyn about and did have a technical problem. It was mostly that what they were calling a USB cable they did not provide and I did not know it was USB only at one end. They did not provided it, but it turned out the printer I was replacing used the same sort of cable, so I had one to use. I finished setting up the printer. I was able to bring Evelyn a picture of herself, the one in the last Friday log entry, printed on the printer. For the most part the instructions were--to quote the film THE CAINE MUTINY--designed by geniuses to be performed by idiots. And with the one misunderstanding out of the way.
Sooooo any way... I went to visit Evelyn arriving at about 1:30 and found our friends the Skrans were already there visiting. It is nice to see them. We set up an outing next Friday. Our favorite used book store, the Cranbury Bookworm, has moved to a new location and Dale and will go see the new digs next Friday. The Skrans have been really good friends through this whole thing.
Also visiting later in the afternoon and giving up a piece of their Easter to see Evelyn (thank you very much) were Don and Cheryl Blosser. I was finding it very hard to carry on a conversation with them because of all the distractions around us. At one point it came up that we had not arranged our monthly Dim Sum trip the Sunday before Evelyn fell. I knew we were doing something else, but I could not bring it to mind and it had happened just two weeks earlier. After they left I remembered that had been Dale's Birthday and he invited his friends to a very nice birthday dinner. I just fixated on how absentminded I sounded through their whole visit and that only makes things worse. Sorry Cheryl. Sorry Don. I plead extenuating circumstances.
Evelyn did not have physical therapy that morning because this was Easter and many of the staff were home. While we were talking the therapy-master came along and said that Evelyn could have a session in the afternoon. He had apparently given up his Easter to make sure everybody got therapy even if it was at a shifted time. I am not allowed in the therapy room so I waited about an hour for Evelyn to return to her room. Some of the time I spent talking to Mildred. She is someone with very little in common with me, but it is a good exercise of my all too poor conversation skills.
I left about five PM. I watched Sidney Lumet's BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU'RE DEAD for my evening's entertainment. Lumet is usually pretty good and this was no exception.
(I have removed the x-ray picture I was using to represent what was done during Evelyn's operation. It showed the rod, but it was the wrong bone. It was an x-ray I got off of Google Images.)
Monday, 04/01/13 April Fools Day
A few notes about life in a rehab facility/nursing home:
Televisions are always on, usually loud, so you get to hear what everyone is watching. This goes on all day and into the late evening. I am not sure if there is an official "quiet time", but if there is it starts too late.
Items get lost easily. When a meal tray arrives it occupies most of the table, so there is a tendency to put things down on it, and when they take the trays away they do not always check for excess items. Similarly, when they strip the bed, they sort of bundle all the linens up together with seeing if there is anything sitting on them.
And our room heater is *really* noisy!
As far as physical therapy goes, I do not have the same therapist each day. Whether this is the reason, I get a different set of exercises each day. I do leg extensions every day, but knee lifts, thigh exercises, and various arm exercises seem to vary. The one constant is walking, although some therapists seem to encourage more walking than others. With some, if I do not say anything, we walk to the end of the hallway and back. With others, when I get to the end, they will say that is enough and have me sit back down on the wheelchair. (The first set usually do not even bring the wheelchair with us.) Maybe it is just a question of the latter set learning what I can do. Certainly each one has to learn separately that I can bring myself down to physical therapy and return to my room on my own. Most people are wheeled down and returned to their rooms by a staff member. Then again, most people here are about twenty or thirty years older than I am. (The only person here I figure is close to my age is a man with a partial leg amputation.)
Each day I make progress. Yesterday I switched to canvas tennis shoes (from loafers) and was able to tie both of them on my own. (If I had had a hip *replacement* this would not be the case, as artificial hips have less range of motion.) The fact that the therapist was surprised that I was able to do this indicates that they do not necessarily look at the details for everyone, so I have taken to telling each new therapist I see which hip is the problem and that I have had a rod inserted, not an artificial hip.
I can now get in and out of bed on my own, though I am not really allowed to. Ditto for using the bathroom, and in this if I wait a few minutes after ringing and no one shows up, I just go on my own. The most difficult part is maneuvering the wheelchair with foot rests into the bathroom. Without the foot rests it is much easier, but I still need the footrests.
The only problem with seizing the initiative on getting out of bed is that the wheelchair is parked a distance from the bed, and there is no good/safe way to get to it. Since they do not want to be helping people out of bed, etc., during breakfast delivery, this means I have to have them get me out of bed before 7 AM, or wait until 8AM.
Well, Evelyn is making progress. I wish it were a little faster, but I guess that is why there is an "acute rehab" as opposed to this which I guess you would call "obtuse rehab."
Evelyn's physical rehab was a lot of getting into and getting out of chairs. She can pretty will now go to the bathroom herself, but I think the facility prefers she have someone to watch her. This was a nice day, at least in the afternoon so I wheeled her outside in a wheelchair so she could sit in the 60-ish weather. The problem is that there is only one small area to do that and it attracts people taking leaving the building for smoking breaks. We stuck it out because it was only one or two smokers at a time, but we did inhale some tobacco. I then took Evelyn to the dayroom where we talked, I wrote a little, and I called to the bird. Polly was not really happy with crackers. I think the bird is a conure. [P.S. No, it is a Peach-faced Lovebird.]
Thursday there will be a
meeting that Evelyn will have with the staff. I think that is
just to review her progress and make plans. Then a week from
Friday I will have to take Evelyn to Little Silver (that is a town) to
meet with Dr. Lopez. I spend a couple hours in Evelyn's room
talking and watching a little TV that Mildred had on. It was
little as possible. I went home at 5 PM when Evelyn was going
Well, not a lot new to add here. Evelyn is practicing getting into and out of chairs. I don't think she has mentioned that. At home I made myself a fruit smoothie for dinner. Things will be a little easier when Passover ends Tuesday at sundown. I made a fruit smoothie and watched the film THE YARDS. Not much of a feel-good film. If Evelyn is not going to be released to come home until April 27 we are really not even a third the way into this process. It has been 12 days so far and we have 26 days to go.
Tuesday, 04/02/13 Evelyn Enters and Leaves a Car Twice
The morning was spent in housework and calling Evelyn to find out what she wanted me to bring for her. I had planned to be at Evelyn's room at 1 PM. Evelyn told me that the therapist wanted Evelyn to try getting into the car and out on her own, and she wanted me to be there. So I left a little early to get there early.
Understand that about every time I had come to rehab there was parking out front. So far only once have all the spaces been filled and I had to part in the side lot, which is a little further away. Today they must have had some sort of a sale on therapy. All muscle exercised had to go to the bare walls. At least that was how it looked form the parking lot. Not a single space. Around in the side lot there was not a single parking space. Around the back of the building it was the same story. This is great. I had to park maybe a seven-minute walk from the building. Were we going to have to wheel Evelyn to the car?
Well finally we got together with the therapist and she said just to bring the car out in front of the building. I had to walk but at least Evelyn did not. I parked in front of the building where the therapist suggested. Immediately I was in the way of someone trying to back out. I finally positioned the car where it would be in nobody's way.
At this point Evelyn's left leg is perfectly good. But it has been perfectly good. Her right leg will bear about half of her weight. She was wheeled by wheelchair to the car. Getting in the car took about two minutes. She is still very stiff and weak in her right leg. But if she is going to be getting in the car on the right side, at least it is good that it is her right leg that is having the problem. She was successful from both a walker and from a wheelchair. But at least I will be able to drive her to the orthopedist in Little Silver. She has an appointment ten days hence.
After that we sat in the sunny entrance to the building and talked for an hour or so. Then I took Evelyn back to her room. There is not much to do and sitting with Evelyn we get a lot of television that Mildred likes to watch. It was a longish afternoon for me and I left at five when Evelyn was going to go for dinner.
On the way home I picked up a whole tuna sub and had it cut in quarters. That will take care of four meals for me, particularly the one tonight at sundown when Passover is over and I can eat bread again.
In the house I did housework and updated this log.
Karen Parker has identified the bird breed as a Peach-faced Love Bird. That is as I had guessed a member of the parrot family. This one is either friendly or angry and mean depending on how I interpret the bird's little pecks at my finger. His name is "Murphy," by the way.
I really am very pleased that an account that was intended to for mostly just people who knew Evelyn well and wanted to know her status it being read by a wider circle of people who seem to be interested. Welcome Karen and anyone else who is following Evelyn's recovery.
Evelyn wanted me to get some financial information for her off the net and some I have been trying for days and keep getting locked out. It turns out Evelyn had given me a wrong log-name. That is one problem out of the way.
More progress from Evelyn. She took a shower on her own this morning without help. That is a big step forward. She is also learning the ropes of operating a wheelchair. I never gave much thought that there was a lot to learn. But there are tricks like you face forward going uphill and face backward going downhill. In other words you face uphill if are going uphill or downhill. That is because facing downhill you might possibly fall forward and out of the wheelchair. Then you could be in trouble. If gravity is going to push you forward or back, you want to be pushed into the back of the wheelchair.
Kate Pott has suggested that the bird is actually a conure. As she says, "I have been trying to identify the bird and was undecided between a Peach-faced lovebird and a Red-masked Conure. The Conure would have blue pin feathers along the rear flanks which I couldn't see. Still, I was hoping it wasn't a lovebird as they mate for life and have a very intense bonding. The fact that you only have one is heartbreaking." My picture does show some blue feathers to the right, and Evelyn mounted a tiny expedition to check out the bird. Indeed it seems to have the blue pinfeathers and is likely a Conure.
Evelyn is busy with therapy this morning and I am teaching this afternoon, so I won't see Evelyn until about 6 PM.
I went to Costco and got printer cartridges for our new printer. I also got Evelyn some chocolate cupcakes to make her stay more pleasant. I taught at the library from 3:30 to 5:15. Then I stopped at the house for the mail and then went to the Healthcare Center.
I found Evelyn at dinner and she had a surprise for me. She is now off the wheelchair and uses a walker. I won't say she is fast. She still moves very slowly, but she is toidy-ready and just needs some help to take a shower. She may be coming home sooner than expected. She may need a chair with arms in the den. We have a new office chair by the Mac, but it also is on wheels and she may hold out for something more steady.
Murphy likes one guy who comes to the day room and it isn't me. The guy Murphy like shaves his head and maybe the attraction is that he looks almost like he has a bird head.
I stayed with Evelyn until about 8. Tomorrow I have a meeting with the social worker to help make the adjustment to going home. I am sure she will miss a nifty place like the Healthcare Center.
Not that it is a big issue but I have received new information on conures and lovebirds, from both Kate Pott and from Karen Parker. It seems that Murphy is too small to be a conure, which are in the range of 13 inches long. A lovebird is more like 7 inches and that is about right for Murphy. Independently Kate did more research and thinks that the blue rump feathers would seem to indicate that he is indeed a lovebird. And Kate thinks that living by himself he must indeed be a very sad and lonely lovebird since they form very strong relationships.
Well today Evelyn and I have a 2 PM meeting with Karen, the social worker, who will answer questions about Evelyn's return to the outside world. Right now I do not have a lot of questions other than perhaps when will it be legal and sensible for Evelyn to drive. Evelyn really values her independence and being in control. She really prefers to be the driver. But beyond that most questions I can think of we have a pretty good idea of the answer and for those we don't there is Google. One of my catch-phrases is "Ask your friend Google." The human race is becoming a hive-like mind in which people can call upon the experience of others quickly and easily. That is no small change for the human race if you think of the implications.
Well, Evelyn is at a new milestone. They have given her blood thinner each day. This is because she cannot move around enough to keep her blood flowing properly. This is administered by a shot. Evelyn, like most of us, is not keen on getting shots. Apparently the doctor has decided she is active enough and has given permission for her to refuse the shot and today she did. That will make her somewhat more comfortable.
At this meeting with the social worker I hope to find out what is a reasonable release criteria. At what point will Evelyn be well enough to go home? I don't expect her to be fully functional for a while, but she can do most of what she would have to do. She can dress herself; she can walk to the car with a walker; she can get in the car. And I think she is ready to reach around and shoot at pursuers as I go barreling down the driveway. I think right now she has enough skills back that I could spring her. But just because she could go home today it does not mean that she should. We would probably very soon find that there are other activities she is not read for and she would still need more physical therapy. I am hoping to get a new release date somewhat nearer than the previous estimate of 4/27.
The following is from email Evelyn is sending a friend:
I am more cheerful--each day things improve and I reach new milestones. Currently I am getting around on my own (i.e., don't need an attendant) with a walker, so I am fairly independent. (Being able to go to the bathroom without having to call an aide is wonderful!) And because I'm walking, I don't need those Lovenox shots each morning that they give to people who are not ambulatory.
This afternoon we see what the current plan is at a "family meeting", but honestly, if they kicked me out today, I think we could manage okay. I'm not ready to start walking around the aisles at Costco or even necessarily getting the mail (which involves kind of leaning out the front door), but I think I'm doing okay.
The occupational therapist (translation: arms rather than legs) gave me a two-pound baton to use for some exercises. I told her it felt like a toothpick and that I tended to shift 40-pound boxes of books around at home, so maybe we should start with something a little heftier.
That is a better summary than I could give.
Ahh, but Evelyn sent out a better summary since. Sorry for the redundancy. I got this only late in the day. Evelyn says:
Physical therapy is leg
stretching, lifting, swinging out, etc. Needless to say, the
with the right leg are harder! I take two Tylenol before the
session, but apparently that does not count as pain medication when
they ask if I am taking any pain medication. (They mean
or stronger, I guess.) The only pain I have are sore muscles,
which is to be expected.
After therapy is usually my computer time (as you can see). Then lunch at noon (in the room), and usually Mark arrives during that. In the afternoon we go to the day room, or down to the lobby (which has big glass windows). If the weather ever warms up we can sit outside. He usually leaves at dinner-time (5PM), which I take in the dining room (along with more pills). In the evening I sit in the day room a while, and usually get into bed between 8PM and 9PM, though I stay up reading later.
We are meeting this afternoon with the social worker and therapists and will see what my current status is. I suspect I will be able to take at least short trips out (to the movies or even home for a couple of hours at a time). The staples come out Saturday; I see my orthopedist again April 12. I am still officially only "partial-weight-bearing" on my right leg, and the orthopedist is the only one who can change that, but he is actually on vacation now. This probably means the insurance company won't disallow my staying longer, but if they did, I think we could manage. Each day I feel the leg getting better and while using the walker means I can't carry a lot of stuff around, I am sure I could manage at home reasonably well. (One possibility is outpatient, or even in-home therapy a few more times after I leave the rehab facility.)
So things are definitely looking up. No prognosis on driving yet, which is probably the last major milestone. I will get there, but clearly I cannot do that until I have enough strength in my right leg to slam on the brakes if necessary, so I'm not going to push for that sooner than reasonable.
At an earlier point in this log
I had previously put in a picture of an x-ray of a bone that had an
implant like Evelyn's. Don Blosser thought I was showing the
wrong bone, so I removed the picture. After some search I
have found what I am more sure is the correct bone. This
an implant is called an "open
Actually I don't like to think about it
much. The whole thing looks too much like carpentry for my
Evelyn has been keeping close track of expenses to as to be able to show people who are curious what has been charged. This is her spreadsheet.
Today Evelyn had an appointment with her orthopedist. And she did see him. I think. Anyway, I saw him. He was down the hall from us and I think he recognized us and waved. We talked to the same nurse practitioner as the last time we came to see the orthopedist.
Evelyn was told she can now
pretty much do
exercises and they are definitely recommended. The one thing
she should avoid was squatting. That will take a good deal
longer. She can exercise to help her squat. She
should put her back on the wall and lower to a half-squat until the
muscles in her thighs tighten up, then lift herself again.
That is not really a squat, but it will help those muscles.
Other exercises are pretty much what she would to normally.
I want her to try exercycling again.
I would like to get her walking
around the block with me. Other than that
exercise as she usually would. Actually I am more faithful
about exercising, and that because I can do it in front of the
television and watch good movies while I exercise. Evelyn is
a little less anxious and I may need to prompt her a little.
She has lumps where the three incisions were and those she should knead to break up the scar tissue. Well, that is about it. We stopped at a Korean restaurant on the way home.
A few more comments from Evelyn:
Another thing I cannot do is put my keys in my right-hand pants pocket, where I have always kept them. This is because they end up rubbing my leg right where the scar tissue is from one of the incisions. I am assuming that eventually this will stop being a problem. Massaging the scar tissue is supposed to help it go away, or at least diminish.
I did manage to do some work in a lower cabinet, but this involved sitting on the floor (and getting up again), which is a somewhat complex operation if you do not squat at any point in the process. For getting one or two items out, I suspect kneeling will be easier, though I would probably want to throw a towel or other cushion on the floor first. For what it's worth, the nurse practitioner at the orthopedist's office said that squatting is a bad idea in any case, so I should not be trying to get back to being able to do so. I think that means "duck-walking" around the attic is right out.
Speaking of the attic, all this meant that climbing up and down to the attic carrying things was not in the forseeable future. Since I had a lot of books up there I was selling on-line, we had to come up with a way to bring them down. Our solution was that I went up with a bunch of canvas shopping bags hanging on my shoulder so both hands were free and put the books in them (not too much in each one). Then I came down empty-handed and Mark went up and handed down each bag to me, and the empty bin at the end. Then he came down empty-handed. (Then the only problem was where to put them!) Most of the rest of the stuff up there is not stuff we access--old issues of magazines and fanzines, old yearbooks, Mark's graduation gown, old suitcases that we no longer use, and all the usual stuff that people accumulate.
Leg pains (including knee pains and hip pains) come and go. I suspect the knee pains may be if I sit on a low couch, or drive some distance, with my leg bent for long periods of time. There is less pain from twisting around, though, so it seems things are improving. I can actually sleep on my side, somewhat curled up (which had been my favorite position for sleeping before all this).
As for the cost, it turns out that the orthopedist's cost includes follow-up visits for three months, hence the blank entries in the spreadsheet. I had two visits, and was told I did not need any more (sort of like the visit from the physical therapist). I still have not seen a specific bill from the anesthesiologist, so there may be bills that dribble in.
More from Evelyn:
Yet more bills (all with zero for us to pay, since we have met the annual deductible): The ambulance from home to the hospital was $723 (with no insurance discount). The anesthesiologist was $2890 and the anesthesia was $340 (again, neither had an insurance discount). I am not sure why these bills have no negiotiated rates unless it is because they are out-of-network, so there has been no negotiation. At this point, the list price for everything is just under $100,000, with the negotiated costs being about $43,000. My share is a little over $3000.