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Monday, February 08, 2016

Update From Jaq

"What ever doesn't kill me makes me stronger." ~ Nietzsche

This is the first time since surgery that I have had the energy to go online. My days are hemmed in by exersices every two hours and walking the length of the boat repeatedly. I grab snippets of sleep when I can. I spend a lot of time thinking about my sister Susan, who had both knees replaced at one go. She is my hero.

 Nights are hardest because there is simply no position that is comfortable for more than mere minutes. It is also the time, other than when doing exersices, that pain strikes. Each day brings improvements. I don't wet myself now trying to get my legs under me and move at a snail's pace to the toilet before my drug addled bladder gives way. I have learned to pace myself, and my left leg has taken on an independent life of its own--as though it is an individual with its own agenda. I catch myself asking, "What does the leg want now?" Ah yes it wants some of those deep bending exersices to loosen the stiffness; it wants to stretch out straight, etc. etc.

The Eskimoes have over 150 words to describe snow and ice. It has occurred to me that there are at least that many words for the different type and dagree of pain. There is the sharp-deep stabbing pain that takes my breath away. There is bone deep pain, solid as granite, that makes me grunt. There is the pain that comes with repetitive exersices that settles into my gut like a fist and makes me nauseous. There is the short, hot prickling pains as nerves remember themselves and fire up again. There is another pinching pain amongst the staples enclosing my incision. There is a weird flowing pain that moves around the ends of my femur and tibia, like some skulking thing looking for a place to settle.

Through it all Les is my shining star. He is patient and kind. Les can lay his large, rough man-hands, hot with life pulsing energy on my leg and the pain dissapears. His love for me is a HUGE blanket in which he has wrapped me snug and safe. The job of caretaker is exhausting, and while Les says I am easy to look after, it is all the other daily activities combined with caring for me that knacker him out: cooking, cleaning, laundry, bringing in coal, etc.  etc. I am not used to sitting still and doing nothing. It is maddening, and it feels odd to be on the other end of this stick.

Friday morning it was time to go for water. We also needed to buy more coal. Les took the boat up through both Cape Locks single handed, filled the water tank, put on a load of laundry, fixed lunch, then we cruised into the Saltisford Arm to get coal. After he loaded ten bags of coal on the roof with Ian's help (Ian manages the daily operations of the Saltisford Arm Trust) Les took us back down both Locks and moored up to walk in to a nearby chemists and get my pain med refills.

Back he came, livid with anger as they could not find the prescription, and all the chemists were at lunch. Away he went again at 2 pm and the problem was that while the bright young thing at the doctor's surgery assured me it would be easy to have the prescription sent to the chemist electronically, and the doctor I spoke to over the phone assured me of the same, my prescription was for morphine--a controlled substance which cannot be sent electronically. Bless the chemist's heart; she drove down to the doctor's surgery and picked up the prescription in person and called Les when it was filled. Les walked back in a third time and came back with drugs in hand. We had been going since 9 am and it was 330 now. Time to shove off and cruise down to the Tesco moorings, which took about forty minutes.

 I had drawn up a grocery list, such was the extent of my capability for the day. Les went off with the trolley and came back an hour later with food. Then he went back out and took a jerry can on the trolley over to the Tesco petrol station, filled it up, and schlumped it back to the boat to top up our diesel. Back inside, Les worked while I directed his efforts and we finally sat down to a mouthwatering dinner of ciabatta pizzas. Les adjusted the aerial and we sat together watching telly while the forecast driving wind and rain lashed outside NBV. Those who live aboard know one has to move when a weather window of opportunity allows in the winter. We spent two nights there and took the chance of a break in the storm fronts off the Atlantic to cruise to the winding hole near Aldis while washing a couple loads of clothes, and settle back on the hospital moorings again yesterday. Les had just got us moored up and the TV aerial in place, the coal bucket filled, and two bags of wood tucked near the stove to dry when the sun disappeared, and winds and rain returned with a vengeance.

Today Les is off down south, three trains, to a family funeral in Watford. I am on my own, snug and warm with all my needs thoughtfully addressed before my Best Beloved went out the door into the dirty weather at 8:10 this morning. He won't return until late tonight, but Les made a delicious pot of stew yesterday which will warm him up this evening. I am waiting for the physiotherapist to come and take me through me exersices.
Thank you everyone for your good wishes, loving kindness, help, prayers, positive thoughts and healing energy sent our way. It is all working!! P.S. Physiotherapist just left after telling me I am a star patient and my progress is brilliant! Woot!

27 comments:

Sue said...

Pleased to see things are improving Jaq. Les is such a brick! x

Carolyn. Carapace said...

Hi Jaq. Sounds like you are making amazing progress. Keep positive and the rewards of all the exercises will be paid back in a few weeks, when your more mobile and the sun is shining! Currently in Tewkesbury being battered by the wind. Thank god we had the compost loo installed, as no worries on Elsan emptying as we are also flooded.Just continually trying to stop Tuppence our toy poodle from being blown overboard. Thank goodness she can cross her legs for England, one look at the weather and she's straight back to lying in front of the fire! Your daily routine sounds exhausting for both you and Les. hope some one has popped their head around the door for a chat while Les is in Watford. Know it well as my brother lives there and we hail from Ruislip.Hope Les doen't encounter too many problems travelling with this awful weather. Take care
Carolyn

Marilyn McDonald said...

Hello there, Jaq, Good to know you are improving and keeping the pain under control somewhat. I am told by others that it does get better and then it's magic to have a new knee that works without pain, so hanging in there is all you can do apart from the exercises that get you to the other 'there' - the different one from where you are hanging in, if you get my drift ...
Mick is in for his knee replacement at the moment, so I will make sure he does NOT read this post, or he'll limp out as fast as his gammy leg can take him ;-)
Love and hugs to you both, and do your best to relax into being cared for instead of caring. M&Dxxoo

Carol said...

Hi Jaq and Les, Good to hear that you’re staying positive Jaq and that the physic is pleased with your progress. Hope that your pain control continues to improve over the next few days and that Les gets back from Watford safely to your nice warm boat and that stew he’s thoughtfully prepared for you both. Love and hugs to you both. xx

Adam said...

Good to know things are progressing well. If you're like any of the others I know who've had joints replaced, you'll soon be better than before -- and forget all the pain it took to get there!

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Oh Sue you know it! I am so blessed to have Les by my side. He even manages to make the grueling parts fun and funny. I too am relieved all went well in hospital Warwick Hospital gets am A plus rating from me.
Love to you and Vic--oh and congrats on the news about going large!!
Jaq xxx

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Carolyn,
The Airhead is a such a good thing! I would hate to think how stuffed we would be if we had to find an Elsan along this section of the cut.

Glad to know the wind hasn't taken you away! Stay warm, stay dry!
Jaq xxx

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Marilyn,
I am having no issues at all in relaxing into being cared for; it feels odd to be on the other end of the stick but Les is doing such a great job I am soaking it up.

The pain is what it is; it will eventually all be gone. It is post op pain BUT there is no more splintering,soul sapping deep bone grinding pain in my knee anymore. I feel like very soon I might be able to gambol like a spring lamb!

Please pass my best on to Mick. I have no hesitations about coming back to Warwick and getting the right knee done; perhaps next winter.
Love Jaq xxx

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Carol! Les did make it back but not until nearly 9 last night as the wind had taken RR lines down ahead of Watford and trains were passing single file at 20 MPH through certain sections of track, which means connecting trains were missed. NO matter, we slept in today and I had my stapled out this afternoon.

Stay warm, stay dry and love and hugs to you, George,and Molly. xxx

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Adam,
As you say; right now it is post op pain which will fade eventfully for good. All ready I can feel a difference in my knee. That never ending, soul sucking, bone grinding pain every time I stood on my leg and walked is gone!
Love and hugs to you and Adam. xxx

Anonymous said...

So glad to hear things are going on well for you and for Les. We think about you lots. Love. Sally xx

Anonymous said...

Glad you are doing well and Les too. We are thinking about you lots

Sally xx

Bryce Lee said...

You are now slowly returnng to your better than normal, which is good. And you are more vertical than horizontal (except when in exercise mode).
All good.

As to surgery for the other knee; you have a hospital location you trust; on that bassis, now you know where to go.

Maybe Les can have his reverse surgery done there????

Marilyn McDonald said...

Jaq, it's good to know that the pain is of a different quality than the pain you had prior to the operation - means you know that it is going to improve. Mick should be home by now (due Thursday) and I have just emailed to find out how he is doing (and Julia who will have to cope with the man in pain ...)
Don't take up the Argentine tango quite yet, but don't rule it out either ... Mxox

antinady said...

Good to see you moving more freely the other day and a more cheery you too!
We just about managed to force the rest of the cake down yesterday but do feel you are a little out if practice so Will let you know in advance when we plan to pop by next!!
Keep up the exercises and hop (sorry - hope) to see you soon
Xxx

Win Gibney said...

Hi Jak

You are doing well!! I did say that it was a hard road ...but my Jack ... Two knees in 5 months ..... Is just so great !!

Keep doing the exercises and it WILL GET BETTER!

Much love to you both

Win & Jack

NB. FIRECRACKER

Anonymous said...

Jaq and Les ... What the two of you manage to cope with astonishes me .. not because you get through it but because you fly through with great success and fantastic attitudes. Nothing knocks either of you down for long.

So glad you finally had a positive hospital experience.

It will get Much better ... speaking from experience.

Karen in Pullman

Kelly Newell said...

Hey Jaq! My mom went through this 2 years ago, and it was a bitch to say the least... But fresh green juice every day had her healing faster than our PT and Ortho had ever seen. If you can get it - her recipe was cucumber, kale, spinach, celery, apple. I like to add carrot, but she says no root veggies for this healing recipe. It's actually quite good!! And it works!

Hugs!
Kelly in Pullman

Anonymous said...

Dear Les and Jaq
So glad to see you are all recovering nicely. I am back at work now and looking after Dad but will be on the TRent and Mersey again the 19th of March for a week. House is sold! Lets hope we can catch up this year.
Much Love
Carol BV

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Sally, thanks. It is good medicine knowing we will be seeing you soon! Xxx

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Bryce, great minds run in the same direction! We are both thinking that Warwick is a good place for Les to have his stomach reversed. When???? Ah that is another question for a different day. Xxx

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Oh Marilyn thanks for today' s belly laugh! No tango for me. Time will make this better. Saw an osteopath here last Friday. She helped a lot. It is amazing how one is jerked around on the operating table. I had two left ribs out of alignment that were pinching nerves running to my fourth and fifth fingers on the left hand. I came out of surgery with both fingers numb and my left S-I joint feeling extremely tight, like it had been hammered in place. Osteopath really helped with both. Going back next We'd. Before my first physio class on Thurs. Give Mick my best. Xxx

Jaqueline Biggs said...

LOL! Tina and Andy, I am so pleased we have you both nearby to eat the evidence! We have killer brownies currently so do come by and try them. Xxx

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Wyn, thanks so much for checking in with me and for the encouragement. Some days are really tough. Pain meds only do so much and then one just has to buckle up and do the exercises no matter how much it hurts. So glad Jack is up and running on both pins again. It offers me hope! Xxx

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Oh Karen what I wouldn' t give for a good long visit with you! I miss you Pal!! I am blessed to have Les by my side and so many wonderful friends and family cheering me on. The pain soon passes and even though we are still tied to this area we are so happy aboard our Narrow floating home. The winds rock the boat and make the chimes sing, meanwhile we are sitting side by side in front of the fire, warm and content. There is a pot of homemade soup on the stove, I baked bread this morning and a pan of the best brownies last night. I have everything I need and so does Les. Xxx

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Kelly, thanks for the recipe. We do have an excellent juice extractor so I will see what I can whip up. Give your mom a big hug from the next time you see her. Xxx

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Carol, Woot! House sold. Boat buying next??? Xxx

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs