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Eighteen weeks post-surgery

count
Eighteen! Eighteen weeks! Ah-ha-ha!

Well, technically, eighteen weeks as of tomorrow, but today was the day of my followup visit with the surgeon who repaired my quadriceps tendon.

All gloating from Count von Count aside, things are going well. The doctor was very happy with how the knee looks, how the incision has healed, and how I'm progressing overall.

I'm still not able to use my left knee to actually drive myself up a full step, but I'm up to five inches of step-up exercise (finding a practical use for obsolete programming manuals in the process). And I've survived the occasional icy patches that Nature has thrown at me without damage.

Next followup visit will be in eight more weeks - which will make a full half-year since my surgery. How time flies when we're having fun - or some facsimile thereof.

Originally posted at http://edschweppe.dreamwidth.org/180891.html - comment wherever you please.

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Aaaaand back to wait-a-minute weather

me at star
This morning's walk to work? Low 60's, maybe 10mph winds. Sat out on Rowes Wharf at lunchtime, watching a tanker come into port. (MV Seavictory, homeported in Valetta, Malta, for those keeping score at home.)

Tomorrow's forecast? Winter storm warnings, with anywhere from seven to eleven inches of snow out in my neck of the woods expected by ten PM, and wind gusts up to 25mph.

Welcome to New England.

Originally posted at http://edschweppe.dreamwidth.org/180592.html - comment wherever you please.

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Fifteen weeks post-surgery

me at star
On the one hand, it's kind of hard to believe it's been that long since my knee surgery.

On the other hand, I'm pretty happy with my recovery so far. I'm walking well enough to routinely take the commuter rail into Boston, which saves me money, aggravation, and wear-and-tear on the car. And my physical therapist now has me doing step-up exercises. Small steps, mind you - I just graduated to the two-inch step - but definite improvement. (As a bonus, I finally have a new use for some of the obsolete computer programming language manuals I have lying around!)

Hopefully, by the time I find myself needing to navigate snowy / icy streets, I'll have two good knees to do the navigating with.

Originally posted at http://edschweppe.dreamwidth.org/180436.html - comment wherever you please.

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submarine insignia, dolphins
The Berlin Wall, that is. Well, figuratively the Wall came down on November 9, 1989, when the East German government announced that East German citizens would be allowed to freely travel to West Germany. Crowds of East Berliners started streaming through the checkpoints. Crowds of West Berliners climbed on the Wall in celebration, and folks started physically chipping away at the concrete barriers. All broadcast live on television channels around the globe.

I'd gotten out of the US Navy a few months earlier. At the time, I had no idea that the Cold War was so close to ending, let alone that the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact would dissolve without a shot being fired. I watched the party on the Wall on television, and marveled.

That day demonstrated that we humans can get things right, every so often, without blowing ourselves to hell in the process. It’s a day I often remind myself of, when some fresh damnfoolishness shows up on the news, or in my social media streams.

Originally posted at http://edschweppe.dreamwidth.org/180119.html - comment wherever you please.

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I voted. Have you?

vote at your own risk
It's Election Day in the US. If you're an American citizen and haven't already voted, today is the day. I can pretty much guarantee that there's someone or something idiotic to vote against on your local ballot, even if you can't find anything to vote for.

(If you're not an American citizen, please excuse this temporary interruption in my regularly scheduled burfling.) Originally posted at http://edschweppe.dreamwidth.org/179544.html - comment wherever you please.
me at star
As reported in the Boston Globe (among others):

French advertising group Publicis Groupe said Monday it would buy Boston-based marketing, communications, and consulting firm Sapient Corp. in a deal valued at $3.7 billion.

Publicis said that once completed, the all-cash takeover will boost its digital and interactive services business to half of the group’s total, and lead to higher revenue growth. Sapient will be renamed Publicis.Sapient, and it will be led by Alan Herrick, the current chief executive of the Boston company.


https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2014/11/03/publicis-buy-sapient-for-billion/h6uiBStFYlF5mg5sjsQcpM/story.html

I worked at Sapient from 1995 through 1998, back when it was primarily an IT consultancy. Obviously, it's changed over the years - but I'm still a bit surprised that an ad agency would buy them.

(I no longer own any stock in the company. A bit of a pity, since the announced purchace price is around a 44% premium to Sapient's Friday close.)

Originally posted at http://edschweppe.dreamwidth.org/179394.html - comment wherever you please.

Twelve weeks post-surgery

me at star
And I still don't have a clever usericon. I do have continued progress towards a healed left knee, though, which is more important.

I'm doing well enough to not feel the need for a walking stick - on level, carpeted floors, at least. I'm not quite willing to risk the vast marbled halls of the Current Paying Gig's lobby (which are remarkably slippery even when dry) without having the stick at hand, let alone the Adventures in Frost Heaves which are downtown Boston sidewalks. OTOH, I can actually traverse said sidewalks - slowly, mind you - and walk between the MBTA stop of my choice and the Current Paying Gig. Shifting to the commuter rail instead of driving all the way downtown won't necessarily save time, but will save money and will usually save aggravation.

And next week, PT will start to include "gradual stairs" and "gentle incline". I'm certainly looking forward to being once again able to traverse such obstacles unaided.

Originally posted at http://edschweppe.dreamwidth.org/179150.html - comment wherever you please.

Ten weeks post-surgery

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Saw my surgeon today for the ten-week followup; he's happy with the incision and with my progress to date. Then PT tonight included the stationary bike for the first time. Only a couple of minutes, verrrry slooooow, and no resistance - but first time on the bike, none-the-less.

Originally posted at http://edschweppe.dreamwidth.org/178449.html - comment wherever you please.

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Eight weeks post-surgery

me at star
It's been eight weeks, now, since my knee surgery, and progress continues to progress. Today, my knee was flexible enough to let me actually tie shoelaces! Up to now, I've been wearing slip-on shoes. It's very nice to have that particular option back.

I'm also hobbling along well enough to handle walking from the North Station train platforms to the bus stop (for the rush-hour-only bus that stops two blocks from my Current Paying Gig) or the taxicab stand (in case I find myself at the station outside of rush hour). This means I can actually take the train into work rather than having to drive all the way downtown - some of the time, at least. Physical therapy days will probably still involve driving in, however, as I don't want to risk being late (a real danger with the T's commuter rail).

The real big thing about being eight weeks post-surgery, though, won't happen until my next session of physical therapy, as that's when "muscle strengthening exercise" will start.

Originally posted at http://edschweppe.dreamwidth.org/178248.html - comment wherever you please.

Six weeks post surgery

me at star
It's now six weeks since my knee surgery, and I had a followup visit with my surgeon today. He's happy with the incision, and very happy with my range of motion to date.

Which means ... I no longer need the leg brace! I'm actually allowed to walk around without my knee locked! I don't have to stump from point A to point B! Yay! [1]

Of course, it's still going to be quite a while before I'm back to full strength and agility. For that matter, it'll be a while before I feel comfortable walking without my trekking pole as a balancing aid.

And, alas, I'll no longer have the leg brace to act as an automatic conversation starter. Oh, shucks.

[1] Insert Kermit-flailing arms image here. [2]
[2] Without any corresponding jumping up and down, alas. The knee's not in that good shape yet.

Originally posted at http://edschweppe.dreamwidth.org/178017.html - comment wherever you please.

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Four weeks post-surgery

me at star
And things are going reasonably well.

Not perfectly well, mind. The knee brace is being occasionally recalcitrant, sliding down my leg further than desired and thus not providing the support it's supposed to. And, of course, having to wear the thing at all is an irritant. It's particularly irritating to have to wear it to work, since the Current Paying Gig doesn't permit men to wear shorts and the brace does not fit under dress slacks. (OTOH, the knee brace is an effective conversation starter.)

Having to drive into downtown Boston on a daily basis is irritating, as well; rush hour traffic has not gotten any more fun since the last time I had a downtown gig. The long-term solution will be to take the commuter rail; however, that has to wait until (a) I can walk several blocks in reasonable comfort and (b) I don't have to keep working physical therapy appointments into my schedule. The short-term good news is that the outfit running the parking garage seems to have figured out that, yes, there are now people driving in who use the handicapped-accessible spaces; unlike the week before, I didn't once have to bug the attendants to unchain the accessible spots.

However, my range-of-motion is continuing to improve, as is the strength of my left quadriceps muscle (which basically had nothing at all to do for the whole month of July). Hopefully I'm still on track to get rid of the brace after my next followup (in a couple of weeks).

Originally posted at http://edschweppe.dreamwidth.org/177844.html - comment wherever you please.

First PT!

me at star
Today was the first of I'm sure many physical therapy sessions. (No boats, alas, to go with the PT.) The session was mostly administrivia, but I did get a couple of exercises for homework.

Meanwhile, for the second time this week, I've pulled into the garage at the new Current Paying Gig and found the handicapped spaces chained off. Grumble. Apparently the garage folks aren't used to anyone actually using them. I may have to drop a note to the facilities folks and see if they can lean on the building management to lean on the parking vendor to, y'know, maybe leave the handicapped-accessible parking accessible ...

Originally posted at http://edschweppe.dreamwidth.org/177471.html - comment wherever you please.

Knee status

me at star
Is actually pretty good. I had my first post-surgical doctor's appointment today (thirteen days post surgery), and the surgeon is quite pleased with the healing to date. He says I can now start flexing my knee up to 90 degrees (instead of the 30 degrees I was limited to for the first two weeks). Of course, my knee is saying "whoa, not so fast there, bub!" since it hasn't been flexed that far since the surgery, but I've got new settings on the mighty leg brace.

Also a prescription for PT. Goodness knows I want my full range of motion back, but I don't want massive ouchies along the way. I suspect I may not get the one without the other, though. (Will call the PT place in the morning and see what they have to say.)

With some luck, I'll be rid of the leg brace in another month or so. I'm definitely looking forward to that!

Originally posted at http://edschweppe.dreamwidth.org/177354.html - comment wherever you please.

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Medical milestone

me at star
It's been a week (and a bit) since my knee surgery. A milestone, rather than a millstone.

The good news:
No complications from the surgery that I can detect. The post-anesthesia fog cleared up in about a day (as expected).
No excess bruising or swelling.
No sign of infection, leaking sutures, etc.
Not much pain anymore; I don't need the high-power narcotic pain medications anymore, and can usually get through the day without needing even OTC pain medications.

The bad news:
My mobility sucks and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. I need to have my knee brace locked at full extension (leg completely straight) whenever I walk anywhere. Even with the brace, I'm very leery of trying to walk any significant distance. My new Current Paying Gig is in downtown Boston, at least a quarter-mile from the nearest transit stop; this means that I actually have to drive into Boston at rush hour and pay downtown parking rates to get to work.
Climbing up stairs is a very slow process; climbing down stairs is worse. Climbing down stairs with any sort of cargo? Very difficult; I have come to quite the appreciation of the concept of the dumbwaiter. (And I'm really not looking forward to any building evacuation drills that might occur in the next few months.)
Getting into and out of the driver's seat is literally a pain in the ass. My knee does not like bending, even as far as the brace will let me bend it; to get in the door, I have to slide myself into the car sideways and sit on the center console before I can get my left leg far enough into the car to fit under the wheel. Hopefully that'll ease over time, but right now, I'm not only using handicapped spaces, I'm using handicapped spaces with the extra striping by the driver's side door.
Physical therapy has yet to begin, but I can already tell that my left quad is a lot weaker than it used to be (having effectively done nothing for the last month). This will be my first time ever having to do PT, and I'm not looking forward to it. (I'm looking forward to it being done, but that's not the same thing.)

Bonus before and after picsCollapse )

Six months is going to seem like a long time to recover.

Originally posted at http://edschweppe.dreamwidth.org/176420.html - comment wherever you please.

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Achievements unlocked!

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We have unlocked the First Post-Surgical Shower achievement!
Along with the First Post-Surgical Dressing Change achievement!

Alas, we also unlocked the Discover Differences Between the Post-Surgical Instructions and the Actual Treatment achievement, which was not so fun. The instructions said that the incision would be closed with Steri-Strips. "Remove the large dressing, but leave the small white steri-strips in place. The steri-strips will be blood-tinged - this is normal. Apply band-aids over the steri-strips after it is dry." So, imagine my surprise when I removed the large dressing and found a completely streri-strip-less incision! Apparently the good Doctor used surgical glue, rather than steri-strips, for wound closure. (Happily, the surgical glue was not blood-tinged.)

This qualifies as progress. Thus say I.

Originally posted at http://edschweppe.dreamwidth.org/176054.html - comment wherever you please.

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And now commences the boring part

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Home.
With very large brace for company.
As well as large collection of painkillers. Fortunately, I haven't needed any of the really powerful stuff today, which hopefully qualifies as good news.

So now comes the boring part.

Sigh.

Originally posted at http://edschweppe.dreamwidth.org/175639.html - comment wherever you please.

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Surgery surged

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And apparently successfully. Have big new knee brace and very ouchie knee under it. Also lots of mighty painkillers.

More nap now. Thanks to those who were Thinking Good Thoughts in my general direction.

Originally posted at http://edschweppe.dreamwidth.org/175423.html - comment wherever you please.

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Musings on disability

me at star
About a month ago, I slipped and fell, landing with my left leg folded underneath me. At the time, I thought I'd probably sprained my knee; however, when it still hurt a week and a half later, I went to see my primary care physician, who immediately referred me to an orthopedic surgeon. Turns out I had ruptured my left quadriceps tendon. Ow.

I'm going in for a surgical repair tomorrow morning. (The original 10:30 AM start time has been pushed back to 12:30, for reasons not as yet explained to me.) The doc says the odds are extremely good that I'll recover full strength and range-of-motion, although that recovery will likely take six months or so.

Right now, though, I can't extend my left leg below the knee. I can't push off on that left leg, unless I've locked the knee or have the knee locked in a brace of some kind. I can go up and down stairs - slowly, and deliberately - as long as I do all the lifting / lowering of my weight on my right leg. If I have to walk any distance without a handrail in reach, I need to use a walking stick to keep my balance. And, after the surgery, I'll be on crutches for some not-yet-known period of time.

That last bit qualifies me for a Massachusetts handicap placard (since I can't walk more than two hundred feet without an assistive device). It's a definitely mixed feeling, having one of those. I certainly don't like needing one of them, but I'm grateful that they're available and that I'll be able to legitimately use HP parking while I'm hobbling along on crutches.

I'm even more grateful, though, that this is going to be a temporary deal. I find myself with a new understanding of what some of my less-than-perfectly-mobile friends have to put up with on a daily basis. Which, frankly, sucks; the Americans with Disabilities Act notwithstanding. Don't get me wrong; the fact that new construction has to be ADA-compliant means that most of the places I need to go can be accessed without having to climb stairs or step over high thresholds (which are the things I have had the most trouble with so far). OTOH, not every place has power-opening doors (which will be more of an issue on crutches, I suspect), and many of the accessible ramps are out of the way in annoying manners.

Originally posted at http://edschweppe.dreamwidth.org/175293.html - comment wherever you please.

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Happy Canada Day!

me at star
Allow me once again to wish a very Happy Canada Day [1] to my friends and neighbors north of the border. Allow me further to appreciate how said friends and neighbors continue to demonstrate exquisite good taste by celebrating their national holiday upon this my own personal natal day.

[1] Pour saluer la fête du Canada en français, appuyez sur 2.

Originally posted at http://edschweppe.dreamwidth.org/174205.html - comment wherever you please.

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New Shadow Unit!

shadow unit
So new, in fact, that the main page hasn't caught up yet! Not that that stops our Powers That Be ...

The Kung Fu Master is [IN]

Originally posted at http://edschweppe.dreamwidth.org/173955.html - comment wherever you please.