Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Here's an update on Kitty:

Earlier this week, she drove the car for the first time since the operation.  Yay for her!

She's been moving around better and doing more (in moderation -- she tires easily; recovery from a major trauma is draining on all levels -- physically, mentally, and emotionally).  Another yay for her!

She also realized this week that she could have bled out after the fall that broke her leg.  The thought of that possibilty scared her and she is determined to do whatever she can to remain safe and healthy.  Another yay, although I don't like to see her upset.

We took positive, albeit futile steps, to address some of the problems in our living situation.  WE Kitty was released from the hospital, we realized that our furniture was not compatible with Kitty's new condition.  The seats were too low and some of the furniture did not arms, making difficult for her to get up or down.  We took a chance and ordered a couple of armchairs from IKEA that looked like they would give her the support and the height she needed.  The IKEA armchairs turned out to be munchkin chairs much lower to the ground than our present furniture.  So as soon as it stops raining (and it's been raining for four days now), we have to somehow get the chairs into/on top of our car and travel the 75 miles or so to return the chairs.  Then Kitty saw an ad for a chair from K-Mart:  high-seated with solid arms and back, a combination armchair/rocker/recliner.  We picked that one up on Monday (yes, in the rain), levered a portion of it into the car trunk and, with the help of a number of bungi cords to hold it in place, drove it the twenty miles to our home.  We got it in the house, I unpacked the chair and assembled it (assembly consisted of merely sliding the chair back into a locking mechanism on the chair base) and dang if it was a really comfortable chair, the right size and height and everything.  Well, almost everything.  Kitty decided to see how comfortable the chair was as a recliner.  She pulled the lever and...nothing happened.  Oh, well.  Then, a full three or four minutes later, twang! the chair reclined on its own initiative (!) with a sudden and powerful spurt that luckily did not damage to Kitty's injured leg.  And when the chair reclined, the right side of the chair became -- for want of a better word -- dislocated. The side pulled away from the base of the chair, taking with it whatever locking mechanism that would have closed the recliner.  We got Kitty disentangled from the chair and pushed to dadnabbid thing into a corner.  Now, whenever it stops raining, we'll have to figure out how to secure the chair to our car so we can return that one, too.  In my mind, I keep paraphrasing that line from Jaws:  'We're going to need a bigger bungi cord."  This afternoon, the last of our attempts to get new furniture -- a loveseat -- is scheduled to be delivered.  Can't wait to see what happens with that.

Anyway, yesterday we made the trip to Annapolis (yes, in the rain) for Kitty's first visit to the Wound Center, where her surgeon had referred her.  Anne Arundel Medical Center is a magnificent complex, but, being a complex, it is complex.  The closest parking garage -- and they have four -- is some distance from the Wound Center.  Kitty is no longer in a wheelchair, but has been using a rollator (a type of wheeled walker with a built-in seat) and canes.  By the time we traversed the (it seemed like) 735 miles of twisty corridors to where the Wound Center was, Kitty was flat-out pooped.  Now that I know exactly where in the comples the Wound Center is, I'll be able to drop her off in front, the park the car and walk the (it seems like) 735 miles of twisty corridors by my lonesome.

So, we are at the Wound Center.  The thing about doctors -- all doctors, good, bad, or indifferent -- is that they are competitive and they have large egos.  This is reflected is how they each view their own specialties.   Kitty's surgical team, her rehab team, and the Wound Center team are all top-notch and we are grateful to have them; every single one of them is determined that Kitty has the best possible outcome.  But still, there is some intercollegiate grumbling...

     **mumble, mumble, mumble, I'm not totally pleased with the look of that wound, mumble,mumble, mumble, when will the surgeons learn, mumble, mumble, mumble, they should just do surgery and be done with it, mumble, mumble, mumble, then they should send their patients to us, mumble, mumble, mumble, wish I had seen you sooner, mumble, mumble, mumble**
     [Last Wednesday, the surgeon had taken a swab for testing to see how effectively Kitty's antibiotics were working.]
     **mumble, mumble, mumble, can't tell anything with a swab, mumble, mumble,mumble, really need a tissue sample to get the best result, mumble, mumble, mumble, gotta talk to the surgeons about that, mumble, mumble, mumble**

We also learned that a wound may look healed, but is it really?  Well, actually, Kitty's wound is healing up nicely, except for at the top of the incision just above the replaced knee.  Which means it was time to debride the wound and excise all the dead tissue.  So they numbedKitty's leg and got to work.  You know how on television shows like House they come up with this cool idea of pouring maggots over a patient to eat the dead tissue?  Well that would have been better to watch than this procedure.  Queasy me, I avoided my eyes as much as possible; queasy Kitty was lying flat and could not see what was happening.  Kitty now has an honest-to-God yucky-looking divot in her leg.  They rinsed and flushed  and cleaned the wound thoroughly.  Then they took some sort of hard, woven, honey-enfused thing and cut to fit the wound, placed it in the wound and packed it with gauze. (Honey, by the way, happens to be a great anti-bacterial; the stuff they put in her wound would soon soften.)  They taped the gauze, applied some compression stockings (the edema in her leg has been going down steadily over the past weeks, but is still present), and wrapped the whole thing up with an Ace bandage.  And that was it.

"That wasn't as bad as I thought," she told me.  "The leg actually feels much better now."  Those comments changed when we got home and whatever they used to numb her leg wore off.  Oh, yeah, those comments changed significantly.

We go back  to the Wound Clinic on Tuesday, and to see the surgeon on Wednesday.  In the meantime, we are sterilizing baby bottles (thank you, Kangaroo) to hold the various home-made solutions we have to brew up to keep the wound clean when we change the dressing daily.  Any additional antibiotics are on hold for the next week, as is much of her physical therapy.  And we do not to get an antiseptic cream that had been prescribed and that had fell into what can best be described as a "well of misunderstanding" between our pharmacy and our insurance, saving us $170 bucks and change.  Yay for us!

We did get a copy of the hospital costs for Kitty's two operations.  (These do not include ancillary charges that will be coming in from every billing center possible.)  Kitty's original knee replacement came in at just over $14,000; the second operation a week later came in at over $45.000.  A clear indication of how tricky and complicated the second operation was.  No we have to wait for all the bills.  And the insurance company.  Depending on the outcome, here is a chance I may be offering one of my kidneys for sale.

Conclusions:  1) Things are going well and we have high hopes of a great recovery.  2) Kitty is a brave woman and I am the luckiest guy on earth to be married to her.

Update:  The loveseat was finally delivered today (yes, in the rain) and, yes, the seat is too low for our purposes.  Another return for when it stops raining.  (By the way, the only dimensions given for any of these are height, depth, and width -- never the actual height of the seat; all we can do is go by a picture and guess if the seat will be high enough.  We are very lousy guessers.  I guess.)

1 comment:

  1. Jerry, glad to know Kitty is doing well. I love the humour in your posts; the kidney line made me laugh. While we flock to our indigenous A-Marts and D-Marts, we're waiting for Walmart to sink its teeth into our homegrown retail market.