Sunday, May 30, 2010

Allograft, day seven

A week has passed since my surgery, and not much has changed. I have begun limited range-of-motion exercises, which is more work for Crista than it is for me. She removes my immobilizer and then tries to bend my knee into a 90 degree angle. It's not easy for her,as my leg weighs a lot, is large and bulky, and doesn't have much flexibility right now. My rehab is turning out to be as much of a workout for her as it is for me. All I do is hurt a lot.

I'm still taking oxycontin and percocet, and I have to admit I can see how people can get addicted to that stuff. However, my prescriptions have no refills, so I need to start slowing down the intake before I run out and have to quit cold turkey.

Even though I'm supposed to rest, I'm going stir crazy trapped in the house. I am a people person, and I need to interact with others again soon. I'm getting bored. My wife is wonderful company, but I'm sure she's getting sick of me by now. I feel guilty relying on her so much. I need to get up and about for both our sanities.

I really hate that tomorrow is Memorial Day, and for the just the second time in my adult life, I won't be grilling out. My favorite thing to do is cook and eat outdoors, but tomorrow, my grille will be silent and cold. Now that's just sad.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Allograft, day four

OK, so I skipped day three, but there wasn't much to report. I had my post-op doctor's visit, where I learned I needed five incisions, have approximately 12 staples in and around my knee, and had two holes drilled in my bones. Oh, and I learned I have to keep this immobilizer on for at least two more weeks, which means no showers! I am going to be ripe. Plus, have you ever tried sitting on the toilet in an immobilizer? That is not fun.

The doctor said my surgery went as well as he expected. There had been some additional tearing of my LCL, so they repaired that while they were in there. I should start PT after my next doctor's appointment on June 8.

If you want to see photos of my knee from the doctor's visit, check out my Facebook profile.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Allograft, day two

I spent most of the day in a drug-induced haze. The pain wasn't as bad as yesterday, except when I have to move. The nausea is gone, so that's good.

My follow-up appointment is tomorrow morning at 10. I'll let everyone know what he says as soon as I can.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Allograft, day one

I had my allograft (cadaver ACL replacement) today. I went into the surgery center at 6 a.m. By 7 a.m., I was anesthetized and have no memory of anything after that until I woke up in bed at home around 2:30 p.m. Crista and I both feel I was discharged and sent home way too early, given how incoherent I was at discharge.

Since waking up this afternoon, all I've felt is intense pain. If the oxycontin is working, I would hate to think how much I would hurt without it. I've been too nauseated to eat much, and have spent most of the day drifting in and out of consciousness. If I had known how much this was going to hurt, I might have not shown up for the surgery.

My knee is in an immobilizer, and I can't bend my left leg at all. My follow-up with the doctor is Wednesday morning.

Here's hoping tomorrow is better.

Knee surgery in T-minus six hours

It's just after midnight, and I find myself wide awake, knowing that in fewer than 6 hours, I'll be going under the knife for an allograft, which is the scientific name for cutting into the bone of my knee, removing my existing ACL and replacing it with the ACL from a cadaver.

I had knee surgery back in December, on the same knee, for what the MRI technician said was a torn MCL and LCL. It turns out that the technician did a crappy job reading the MRI. The LCL was torn, and repaired by my surgeon, but the MCL was actually fine. However, the ACL, it turns out, was shredded beyond repair, which necessitated this second surgery.

The recovery on the first surgery wasn't that bad. I was up and walking within a couple of days, and had full range of motion within a month. However, everything I've heard and read about this surgery indicates it's going to be a much, much more difficult road to recovery, and hence my apprehension and insomnia.

I'll post updates to this blog as pain and time permit. If you are interested in following my recovery, keep an eye on this blog.

Oh well, on the plus side, I should have time over the next couple of weeks to clear out nearly 90 hours of unwatched shows on the Tivo.

Monday, May 17, 2010

It's official, we're moving to Iowa

I have accepted a position as a journalism faculty member at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. I know this will come as a surprise to many of you; but some of you already knew about it. Crista and Duncan will be moving to Indianola on July 31. I will be following them on Aug. 20 after finishing up work here.

It's been fun being back in the South, but it's not been without its sorrow. As most of you know, we left northeast Missouri to move back here due to my parents being ill. I got to spend one year with my dad before he died; and my mom died one year after that. Then, last year, my dad's brother passed away. Crista lost a beloved great-aunt during that time, and we've had other family upheaval that's, quite frankly, made our four years in Tennessee a bit more sorrowful and much more stressful than we would have liked; but had we not been here, our lives would have been pretty much impossible. I'm very thankful God provided a job for me here that would support my family and allow us to deal with the needs that were put before us.

However, God has now provided another opportunity. It's not near what we consider home, but it's not all that far from where we called home for nearly 10 years, so it's not unfamiliar to us. I'll be teaching journalism and advising student media at a small, private, Christian liberal arts college. It has a strong program and a strong faculty. The entire college has just 1,500 students, so it will be a very intimate atmosphere; one in which I get to know the students well. I'm looking forward to that.

At the same time, I'm saddened at leaving some students behind with whom I've made strong connections, and I regret not being here to see the MTSU Student Media Center through to completion. However, if everything works out, I'll be leading the development of a similar center at Simpson, which excites me as well.

The move comes at a good time and crossroads for us. Duncan has just crossed over into Boy Scouts, so he's at a good point to shift into a new troop. He should earn his black belt in taekwondo on June 25, completing a three-year journey in that sport. That will provide him the opportunity to step back for a while before deciding whether or not to continue in the discipline, and the black belt will afford him multiple opportunities should he decide to pursue it. He's finishing the fifth grade, and though he would have stayed at the same school here, moving to Indianola means he'll be entering middle school with everyone else, so he'll be no different in that everyone will be new to the school in the sixth grade. We will, however, miss the outstanding gifted education he has received at The Discovery School. I'm pretty certain we'll have to work hard as parents to ensure he continues to be challenged. I've seen nothing to indicate Indianola's gifted program is anywhere near as advanced as what he's had here.

Also, Crista's father is retiring this year, so while we'll be living several hundred miles away, it's not as if his work schedule will dictate if, when or for how long they can visit. I know Dad likes to complain about driving anywhere that takes more than an hour, but as parents are alway fond of telling their children, adversity builds character. It's not as if he's going to have to hurry to get anywhere any longer!

We've made a lot of good friends in Tennessee these past four years, and we're going to hate saying goodbye to them. The goodbye to our church family is going to be especially hard, but also the friends we've made through taekwondo and Scouting will be difficult to leave as well. However, life is all about change, and we'll weather this change as we have all the other change in our lives.

Crista and Duncan will moving up the first of August, and I'll follow on Aug. 20, just in time for Duncan's 12th birthday.

And, of course, I'll continue blogging, Facebooking and tweeting, so I'll be in touch.

Monday, May 3, 2010

We are safe

We are safe here in Middle Tennessee. Most of the damage has been north of us in Nashville, but there are pockets of flooding around Murfreesboro. Duncan enjoyed a day out of school because of road closures. MTSU postponed finals but still required everyone to come to work.