<   Seventies Journal: 2005   >


There is no annual summary for 2005. I will show the first entry of the year for 2006, which includes a partial recapitulation. There are other excerpts from the 2005 Journal on the Harbingers page of this site. – Paul

February 27, 2006

On October 10, 2005, I had my knee surgery. Since then I haven't written in my journal. Now I have recovered enough to be able to think and type, and also have a newly reconditioned computer. So we'll try again to see how it goes.

My last entry on September 14, 2005 was almost a month before my surgery, so I'll see if I can recall the happenings that far back, which will be rather sketchy at best. On my birthday, as usual, I opened Paul's two gifts on the breakfast table. He never forgets, and always wraps his presents in festive ways, this year a CD and a book, though I'm not sure which ones.

A memorable afternoon on my birthday was a soccer game that featured Johnnie playing with other school teams in Estabrook Park. That was my birthday gift in a way, and I didn't think it would be too exciting, but it was really quite interesting. I sat on the lawn with Cathie and a few other moms on a hot afternoon. The mothers were all excited and nervous for their sons to do well, and Cathie was one of the most anxious. Johnnie was about the smallest of his team, but he was an expert runner. His team lost the game from start to finish, as had happened all summer I guess, and Cathie was so disappointed she had to go off to the sidelines to have a private cry for awhile. It didn't seem to bother Johnnie. After the end of the game we went to their house and had ice cream and cake for my birthday. On the whole it was the most simple birthday I had in several years, but my knee was bothering me so much I didn't care.

Skipping over a few minor things, I had an appointment with Dr. Fait on September 29, which I thought would be the usual exam with no problems. However he decided that I needed a bone scan, I'm not sure why. Maybe it was because I had shrunk a little more and lost a little weight, or they had a new machine in their office. After the exam he talked to me about the results, telling my bones were getting very fragile, and that I had osteoporosis. After he explained that in detail he gave me a packet of literature and pills, and a prescription for Actonel to take once a week. When I left I was rather upset, thinking about this serious problem and its precautions along with the upcoming surgery. It really shook me for a couple days, but since I felt the same and hadn't had any broken bones since my childhood, I just put it on the back burner.

Paul's birthday was on October 3, but for the life of me I can't remember what I gave him except a package of peanuts for a sort of joke we had. He was 57 years old, and is the love of my life. Along about that time I came to the forgetful stages that were the result of the anesthetic for my knee surgery, which I am stitl getting over even now.

As the time for my surgery rolled around on October 10 I began getting things ready. For two months, in August and September, I had been careful about doing my exercises so that I could have muscles in good shape for helping me walk afterwards. Paul and I arranged details for his coming on October 13, and I sent him the keys to the house and car. I packed a full suitcase of clothes and supplies, to be all ready when Jeanne came to pick me up. A couple of days before the anesthesiologist called to discuss the medication for the surgery. I had told Dr. Smith I was apprehensive about that, because I had troubles with anesthetics at other times. The doctor on the phone briskly told me what they usually did, and even after my wariness said that it would be all right. But it certainly was not.

The next several days were almost a complete loss of my memory. I can’t remember getting to the hospital, any details of the surgery or details of the first days in the hospital. At some point I recall seeing Paul, and he tells me he was quite shocked at how bad off I seemed. He apparently went right to work trying to help me and the doctors, since I was so disoriented. Apparently I wanted to get out of that bed, and didn’t realize what had happened at all. People who saw me then tell how “out of it” I was, and the memory of those days is almost a total blank.

I had terrible repeated dreams about trying to get out of there, and wicked people who wouldn't help me. Even when I apparently was out of intensive care and into a hospital room the dreams continued, and I didn’t know night from day, or what was going on, and considered the nurses the worst demons of all. I can remember seeing Dr. Smith and his aide with Paul one day, and off and on recall Paul coming and going. Finally I began to understand what had happened, and looked forward to Paul's coming.

It must have been about a week before I was able to help myself a little, getting to the bathroom, walking down the hall with my walker, and having a conversation with Paul. Paul was my savior, faithfully coming twice a day, and communicating with the medical personnel. Being there was a continuing misery, from the medications that the nurses had to dole out to me, the times to go to bed and get up, and most of all the meals. Aside from the tasteless food I was just not hungry, so I hated meal times. Often I would just leave most of it; I remember that health drink the nurses used to insist on that was a battle between them and me. One officious nurse in particular was disliked by both Paul and me. At the last he and I were both so anxious to get out for good, and he sat there waiting with me to go home. Those days in the hospital were one of the most terrible of my life.

At home Paul did the cooking, and that first light salad meal was such a treat. For the next several days he did the cooking and the cleaning and errands, and several of my friends brought things for us to eat. It was a quiet time, and both of us were a little concerned that I could handle things all alone. He went back on Sunday, October 23. To my satisfaction I could do things for myself fairly well, and I imagine that Paul was happy to be back home too. For the next two weeks or so friends came back and forth with food, and Kate, the young woman who worked last summer in the yard came regularly to help me in the house and yard. As soon as I got out Qf the hospital I began a series of rehabilitation sessions in the facility at Columbia, with a very nice young girl named Crystal. Paul took me to the first ones, then when Paul went home I relied on several friends to get me there and back. At first the exercises were quite painful, but I persevered for about two months, and finally could walk without my walker or cane. In fact I never did get used to that cane, and relied more on my walker sometimes at home or outdoors … and still do.

I disliked asking people to take me to my therapy twice a week, because it was quite a long drive, including an hour's wait for my therapy A few people took me once or twice, and then I began with two people whom I could depend upon more steadily. Marv Glicklick, the retired pediatrician across the street, took me most of the time toward the end, and Julie, Barbara's friend took me quite often too. She had an expensive big car, and since she has a husband who worked at Columbia she also had free parking. She and I had many good talks, and once had lunch together at Heinemans. One of these days, for sure I'll get in touch with her again. I loved going to Columbia with Marv, a gentle literate man, punctual to the minute. I'd try to say Thank You, but he is of the firm belief that we should all help each other, so sort of brushed me off. These last few months he had some heart problems, for which he had two minor surgeries. I surely hope he stays well. He and his wife are such good gentle people.

I saw Dr. Smith on December 7, and he was of the opinion that my knees were coming along quite well. I agreed with him. He and I both thought probably that was because I was so faithful in doing my pre-operative exercises for 'two months before that. However, as I told him rather crossly, the pain in my back and groin have still been very painful much of the time. I regret that I was so crabby about it, but he seemed to sympathize quietly. He suggested that I see and arthritic doctor, and gave me a name of one. At the time I postponed it, though in February I finally made an appointment. More on that as I go on.

I’ll end this first three months, and focus on what has been the surgery’s first aftermath. Dr. Smith says it will probably take a year. It isn't finished yet, but most of the time things are pretty good. I'm looking forward to spring to add a boost.