Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Red Tailed Hawk

As I was driving to last week I noticed a hawk sitting on a fence on the side of the road. This was pretty unusual. They normally sit up high on power lines or tree tops so they can watch for their prey.
I am not proficient at identifying birds. I posted a photo on Facebook on Arkansas Birders and requested help with the ID. A birder friend said it was a Red Tailed Hawk.
I did realize that the bird appeared to be injured. The wings seem to be help at an awkward angle. You can only see one talon. I sent a message to Arkansas Game and Fish Animal Rescue. I did not receive a response. I drove by the area again after work and the hawk was gone. I did not see it on the ground around the fence.
I hope maybe it recovered and flew back to it's nest or it's perch. I will be keeping a look out for the next few days.

Facts about Red Tailed Hawk:

Can spot a mouse from 100 feet.
Eats mostly small mammals, also birds and reptiles

Weighs: 36 lbs
Length:  19-25 in
Color: Brown 
Wingspan:46-58 in

It was pretty impressive to see the hawk up close!

ROM 122!

PT Bend to 122

I bent to 122 at my last  PT session! I was pretty excited. I had her do it again so that could have a reference point and take a photo of it. I was happy to reach that goal for my last PT session.
I have enjoyed PT. Not the actual work of PT, the work of PT hurts! But I enjoyed visiting, Rachael graduated from high school with Amanda. So I enjoy visiting with her. Sharon is about my age, so we visit about our kids, grandkids and gardening. I realized how much I would miss it and I realized that since I work with all men I do not get to visit with women. Oh well, all things must come to an end.

My Home Bend-Not 122

I am not getting to 120 at home evidently! My goniometer to measure it myself came in! I can do the exercises, ride my bike, but I cannot make myself push my bend to 122, or even 120. I think I am bending to 110. But I can drive the go kart. I can drive the RTV, I can bend enough to hit the gas and the brake.

I also read a blog that suggests that ROM will continue to improve over time with more gentle methods of therapy. The DR and PT both suggest you have to push and do it now, or you will never improve.

We shall see!

Saturday, May 18, 2013


My View From the Driver's Seat!
ROM is the abbreviation for Range of Motion! This has been in the forefront of my thoughts for 8 weeks! My surgery was March 19, today is May 18! The PT goal is to bend to 120! At PT I can bend from 115-118 without help. For some reason, the extra few percentage points of bend, my PT has to bend it and I am not happy with it.
Last night, I rode my bike for 60 minutes! I spent 30 minutes on ROM exercises. When I finished, my knee hurt so bad. I was sure that my scar tissue had returned! I took a pill, went to bed and had a pity party!
Saturday morning, I woke up with my leg feeling like it had a bag attached to it. The inflammation is so annoying. So I fixed breakfast, enjoyed our screened in back porch, watched my birds, before heading out to do morning PT.
I rode my bike for 15 minutes, did my ROM exercises for 15 minutes.
 I decided to try to get in the Go Kart! This was a big deal to me. I love to ride the grand kids in the Go Karts! Jackson, Tucker and Veronika can drive the Go Karts! One of the adults have to ride the younger kids.
We really enjoy these things! Ron made a trail in the woods for the kids to ride the various riding toys! We have several hunting vehicle's that we ride the kids on. Jackson rides a motorcycle. I really enjoy this time with the grand kids!
Before the knee replacement surgery, getting into and out of the Go Kart was difficult. But I could do it! I have been afraid that I would not be able to get into those things!
In PT, I have not been able to achieve the bend that traditional PT sets, 120! I do not really know how much I can bend I home. I am actually ordering a "Goniometer"! My PT measures the bend with this thing!

I have been trying to figure out a way to measure the bend at home. I had Ron watch PT! But he just looks and says, yes, that looks good. I think I am a little weird to want to know exactly what I am doing at home. I have gone to PT for 8 weeks! At 3 weeks, I was stuck at 90! Two weeks later I had the MUA and could bend to 120 pretty easily! But that didn't last long. Evidently, I form scar tissue really quick. The doctors assistance asked me that, so of course, now I assume I form scar tissue quickly. I just know that it hurts to bend again. After the MUA, my muscles hurt so bad, now it's back to the knee joint. I have to do the biking and the ROM exercises at least 5 days a week to keep my ROM.
I have been really concerned with walking and doing the activities I want to do. So the Go Kart is just a sign that maybe my life will be normal one day! So sitting in that muddy Go Kart was pretty exciting!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Updates: Weight Loss and My Knee

My Fitness Pal updates my weight loss on my blog, but I wanted to make a post so I would remember what happened when!
Thursday, May 16, 2013, my weight loss hit 45.1 lbs! I was so excited to wake up, weigh myself, and see that number! I don't speak that number, but wow! I was happy! My original goal was to lose 100 lbs in a year. Then my loss slowed, so I set a new goal of 52 lbs in a year. That was so much more realistic. I can eat sensible and still lose weight.
I started using GNC Lean Protein shakes in August to help me lose 10 lbs so that I could have the lap band surgery. I lost enough weight that I decided to not have the lap band.
I used the GNC shakes for a while. Then I was tired of that and tried to eat 1200 calories a day. I would usually eat 1500, but exercise and burn 400 calories. My loss slowed with that and the holidays hit!
After my knee replacement I started using Arbonne Essentials Protein Shakes. The Arbonne has more protein than the GNC. I don't know if that is why my loss has picked up. Or it could be having knee surgery. I take pain pills. Many people find that pain pills make them lose their appetite. I think I just haven't felt like eating snacks because it is too much trouble to get up and get a snack. Plus, I don't feel like shopping, so we do not have snacks in the house. For weeks after surgery, I went to bed at 8 pm and slept to 8 am. That doesn't leave a lot of time for overeating!
The biggest change I have made since August is to make our lunch at work. I used to pick up fast food almost everyday. Now, if we have fast food, it's Subway or a salad from one of the other places. No cheeseburgers and fries! I feel like I am adding years to my and Ron's life just by eating healthy, whether we lose weight or not.
An added plus! I can wear size 16 pants!!! I do not know when I last wore this size. This morning, my size 18 pants, still felt OK when I put them on. Later that day, I noticed that my pants were dragging in the ground and I believe that have become a health hazard. I could trip and fall on them.
Soooo, I obviously have to completely replace my wardrobe!
My bag of clothing to give away is growing!

My knee has days that almost feel normal. Today, I bent to 115 on my on, but that extra 5% hurt like heck. But afterward, it feels better. When I walked up the packing lot to the office today, my gait felt almost normal. It was the most normal walk that I have had since October 2011!
That is BIG! Later in the day, I still limped around the office. When I stand up, I have to get the muscles woke up, every time! Tonight, after a busy evening of going to the ball park and watering my plants, and putting some dinner in the oven, I hurt again.
But I keep thinking of how I felt an almost normal walk today!

The Little Rock Garden Tour is June 1. I LOVE this garden tour. You get to visit the gardens of private homes. I have seen some beautiful gardens and gotten some wonderful ideas that I have used in my garden. The Arkansas Flower and Garden Show in the early spring and the Garden Tour in the late spring are my favorite activities! I anticipate them all year! I was really sad because I didn't think I could go this year. But, I believe I can do it! I know I can do it!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Deep Breathing Relaxation

I made a discovery at PT today. For 7 weeks of PT I have tensed up when bending my knee. Really tense. I grab the handles of the shuttle, I basically fight the bend. Every muscle in my body is fighting against bending that knee. I grit my teeth. My face is contorted, I am sure I am making some crazy faces! Even though I want to let her help me bend, I end up fighting against it. I have even said, don't touch me! PT is hard work!
Today, I decided to try deep breathing! I have used my childbirth deep breathing when the dentist has to work on my teeth, fillings, root canal. It has helped in the past. In fact, the dentist will ask me, are you OK? I want to yell, "Yes, I am OK, quit messing up my relaxation!"
When the dermatologist had to remove a basal cell from my nose, I used the deep breathing.
I learned the technique when pregnant with Andrea. It is the Bradley Method of Husband Coached Childbirth. I will say, I learned to relax, Ron didn't really learn to coach me, but that is another blog post. You take deep breaths, relax starting with your feet and work your way up. Taking deep cleansing breath. I gave birth to Andrea and Amanda without medication!
Today, I gave it a try. I started taking deep breaths, concentrated on filling  my lungs, breath in, breath out, I bent to 117 without assistance, I let her push to 120! And I didn't yell!
Earlier in the week, I could get to maybe 110 and she had to push to 120, with me groaning in pain! Grabbing the handles, about to jump off the shuttle!
I have compared this process to giving birth several times. I actually feel that giving birth was easier!
The weekend, when I work on bending, I am going to practice my breathing.
Basically, when you tense, your muscles do not receive oxygen. If I can relax and let go, my muscles will relax, let me bend, get more oxygen and should be less sore after therapy.
I do not know why it took me this long to try this. At three weeks out from surgery, I hit a wall and could not progress. The doctor prescribed predisone for inflammation. The next day they prescribed Valium as a muscle relaxer. I still did not progress. By then I had scar tissue, which I believe was present before the knee replacement. Not only did I not progress, I regressed, I could only bend to 85!
I am excited to try this new technique. Especially if my muscles are less sore.
My muscles are so sore. And I am so tired about being sore! I have to take pain medicine for muscle soreness. I feel like my muscles are ripped apart!

Saturday, May 04, 2013

More Knee Stuff

Before Ex Ray
Notice the knee cap on the right knee? It's the one on the left in the picture, the white shadow that is not located in the center of my knee. You can't see the knee cap in the left knee because it is in the proper position.

New knee and knee cap in the correct position!
I have been going to physical therapy for 6 weeks! After 6 weeks I could still only bend my knee to 90! It is expected to bend to at least 120!
This is approximately 90!
This is maybe 120, the day after the MUA!
May 3, 2013, I had a MUA, manipulation under anesthesia! They gave me block in my right leg, then under anesthesia, they bent my knee to 135! I woke up from the anesthesia in a lot of pain! I could not understand how I could wake up from total knee replacement with no pain, but the MUA hurt. I think that the block did not take effect in time. I was aware when they were placing the immobilizer on my leg. The nurse gave me enough Demerol to numb the pain! And a hydrocodone to boost! They sent me home within an hour of waking up.
We ran by Sonic for my favorite diet cherry limeade! Ron had breakfast. We picked up my meds, then after a quick stop at home, he took me to therapy.
I RODE THE BIKE! I was so afraid of turning that pedal. About week 3, I turned the pedal and the pain was so intense! I thought I would pass out! My PT told me to do it again, I did and it was just as bad. I refused to do it again.
After the MUA, I knew it shouldn't hurt, but I was very afraid. I did it and it was sure, but didn't hurt like before. Then we went to the shuttle, I couldn't even hold my leg up, it just slid down the wall. So laying on the table, I could hold up my leg and let it drop to 130! 
Yea! The 130 felt less painful that the 90 had the day before.
After therapy, my leg felt OK, so we left PT without the leg immobilizer. I walked into the house, got in bed, everything ok.
I got up to potty, bent my knee to 90, when I went to stand up, my knee buckled and down I fell.
What a trauma! Ron had to help me up. Thank goodness he was home.
I didn't think I was hurt.
We went to back to bed. Four hours later, I had to potty again, I felt my knee buckle a little, but thought, I can walk to the potty! I fell again!
Double the trauma!
I decided to wear that immobilizer until I knew my leg was awake! That is why I think the block didn't take effect until about 2 hours after the MUA! Weird!
Saturday, May 4, I was able to ride the bide for 45 minutes! And I bent to whatever is in the picture above!
My PT, has thought that I was refusing to relax and bend my knee because of fear of the pain. I know now that my knee probably had scar tissue from the meniscus surgery in 2011. I have had a bulge of tissue above my knee and a pocket below my knee. I believe that is gone!
Amanda felt my knee and leg and could tell the the tissue was softer and more pliable than it had been in the past year and a half since my earlier problem.
Except for the falls, I am so thankful that I had this manipulation! My thigh muscle is so sore. I do not know if the sore thigh is from the fall or from the MUA! But I do know that the muscle soreness is not the same as the pain from the bend, when my knee didn't want to bend!