Our first post-op days were rough and I say “our” because my Cowboy nurse was involved every step of the way. He’s been an absolute trooper! The pain was incredible–and as an operating room nurse I know exactly why I had such pain because I know exactly what they did to me in the OR. Physical therapy on Monday was just almost unbearable but it was the turning point–there was no sympathy coming from that therapist and she made my leg move, then made me move it. After the first physical therapy and another set of the same exercises at home Monday night the need for pain meds lessened. I could move about more easily, lifting my leg into the bed, etc.

A friend in Arizona had her knee replaced in early September. She called to commiserate with me about how horrible therapy was and said, “my therapist had me doing lunges the other day.”  Oh! MY!! I said to my friend, “stop talking, stop talking!!” With as much pain as I was having at that point just getting in and out of bed I didn’t want to hear about lunges!!!

A couple funny stories and one not so funny from my day of surgery–

When any nurse knows she is caring for another nurse or doctor she wants to be on her toes. My orthopedic surgeon had put out the word that I was a retired operating room nurse. I have never been a hard stick for blood or IVs–it took those poor nurses FOUR tries to start my IV. That was the not so funny story–I was getting a bit agitated–and so were the nurses who couldn’t believe it took 4 times to start my IV.

Then the orthopedic surgeon comes in and asks me, “did you ever do any orthopedic surgery Janna?” I said, “not if I could help it!” He was kind of taken aback and I then said, “you guys have too many tinker toys–plates, screws, saws, hammers–too much stuff. Give a heart surgeon a pair of forceps, scissors and clamps and he’s happy.” The entire room burst out laughing.

On to the anesthesiologist who explains to me that they prefer to do these procedures under spinal anesthesia which means to me that you are partially awake. I freaked!! I reminded this dude that I was a retired operating room nurse and I did NOT want to hear or feel the pressure from any of those saws and hammers!! He told me the spinal and subsequent nerve block would help with my postoperative pain–it didn’t very much. He also told me he would give me happy medicine so I wouldn’t remember a thing and he was true to his word. I remember being rolled into the OR, seeing all the paraphernalia and being asked to sit on the side of the OR table for the spinal and that’s it. I remember nothing else until I was in recovery.

I had great care on the ortho floor of Billings Clinic. Our granddaughter Kristen works on this floor and was there when I woke up. She of course couldn’t be my nurse but it was good to have her present. Her Mom Shannen also dropped by that evening. The first few hours until the day nurse went off duty at 7pm were a touch rough–I think she was having trouble keeping up with her work load. My night nurse was amazing as was my Saturday morning nurse.

At home the days have blended. I spend time in the recliner looking out over our little creek to the beautiful golds of the lingering fall colors. I torture myself three times a day with the exercises that are going to get me out of this chair and on the road south. Friends have been awesome–Geoff, Nancy and Shirley brought soup, casserole, brownies, and these awesome seasoned oyster crackers. Sarge and Sarah drove over from Chico with chicken noodle soup and dessert. Max brought us a delicious quiche and an awesome lemon ricotta cake with homemade lemon curd. We are being well fed!

The second therapy session wasn’t as brutal. I even rode the recumbent bike for five minutes to warm up my knee. It’s amazing how much you can do so quickly post operatively with a knee replacement. The therapist was pleased with my progress as was I!

Fall is leaving us–insert sad face–and winter is coming–insert really sad face. I sure hope we can depart for warmer country before it gets too nasty around here! It started raining Friday evening and it’s still raining Saturday morning. This weather will take away our fall colors I’m sure.

View from my chair.

I’ve read two books this week, knitted one hat and gotten a good start on a baby blanket. The two books were really good, Everything You Want Me To Be, by Mindy Meija and Silver Girl, by Elin Hilderbrand. Lots of time on my hands! I’ve been helping the Cowboy with some of the cooking–I do the prep work, he does the rest as I can’t stand for very long. Emmi has been missing our play sessions but once I ditched the walker and took up the cane we can now play ball. She has a ball with a strap attached and I can hook that strap with the cane, giving it a toss. Emmi was a happy girl!

As I’ve written before Emmi loves to bark at things that move, the lawnmower, the vacuum, my walker and now the cane! This is a really short clip of her attacking the cane, turn up your sound so you can hear her puppy bark.

My sweet niece, my only niece (except the greats) recently spent 10 days in Ireland with her husband celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary, (how could it be that long!!) On Friday I received a squishy mail package–yarn from Ireland!! Isn’t it beautiful!

Today brought snow flurries without any accumulation, wind and way chilly temps. Winter arrived.

Life is still good!

34 thoughts on “Recuperating

  1. Happy to hear your surgery is in the past and that you are hopefully over the roughest painful time. Keep working hard. It will be well worth it. Take care.. 🤗🤗


  2. That’s all great news Janna. So happy the worst is over. Hope the snow accumulation holds off and you can head south soon. I chuckled out loud at your response to the surgeon…gay


  3. Best wishes for a very speedy recovery. We had really severe wind today. I like to watch your weather, it gives me an idea of what we will get a couple days later. The picture of the fall leaves is very pretty. A nice contrast of the green pines and the yellow leaves.


  4. Bummer you had the initial pain and I’m glad you turned the corner quickly. It really is amazing how fast they have you up and going after the surgery. Bill’s were both done at the same time and he was off the walker in two weeks and back to work a month earlier than planned! Your chair view is lovely, hope it doesn’t include heavy snow before you can get out of there. Emmi is priceless :-)))


    1. It is totally amazing how fast they have you up and going after a knee replacement! The surgeon told me, “move and move some more, you can’t hurt this thing unless you fall.” I ditched the walker and am now using a cane, sometimes in the house I ditch the cane.


  5. So glad you’re getting better daily. Paul’s dad had 2 knee replacements done and I remember the post op rehab was no joy! That said he walked 800km on that knee just 5 months later, so you can do this!



    1. Thanks for the encouragement Nina–we have such fond memories of that dinner at our house with Paul’s Dad and wife and you three. I can’t wait to read about the new “paws” in your lives! I can’t wait to get out and walk/hike without pain again!


  6. Good to hear therapy season two was a “little” easier. It amazes me how quickly you are moving back to normal. Says a lot for your surgery. I can only imagine how hard it must be to be a patient having an operation when you know exactly what it going on. You certainly have a lovely view from your chair. Hope the fall leaves last a few more days. A mild fall would certainly be helpful for you. Hang in there! Hugs!


    1. And yesterday’s therapy session while “hard” was another game changer. This morning I was able to don my own socks for the first time! Some of the leaves are hanging on even after the wind that brought that snow.


  7. This sounds like an absolute nightmare, Janna. So sorry it has been so hard, and so glad that maybe it is easing up a bit. I will never do this, never, because I know it would kill me with no pain meds. The stories about the OR were fun to read, though. I do hope that you two get south before the snow gets really deep. I saw friends in Capitol Reef today at 19 degrees and a LOT of snow. Ugh.


    1. It’s easing up a lot Sue and if I painted the experience as a nightmare I’m sorry. The first few days were exceedingly hard but after my therapy yesterday I feel I’ve turned another corner. We too hope the weather holds for our departure.


  8. Oh, Janna, I’m so glad to hear that you’re recovering so quickly from your knee surgery. What an ordeal, though. It was so interesting to read about your experience from your viewpoint as a retired operating room nurse. I laughed at your comment to the surgeon about his ‘tinker toys.’ It makes me kinda queasy to think about the fact that they use hammers and other tools…but wow, what a miracle it is that you have a new knee!

    Eric’s knee just started bothering him a few weeks ago and we’ll go find out what’s going on as soon as we get home at the end of the month. 😳 Keep up your good work! I know you’re highly motivated. So wonderful that you have Michael and such good friends helping you. And Emmi, LOL.


    1. Emmi is a big help!–she makes me smile and laugh. Yesterday’s therapy while hard was another game changer. I rode to Big Timber and therapy sitting in the car seat normally wearing a seat belt. Before I had been unable to do that and rode sitting across the back seat with no seat belt which freaks me out. So, little steps toward heading south and a fully functioning new knee. Here’s hoping Eric’s knee is nothing serious!


  9. Hi Janna I’ve been reading about your surgery and recovery with great interest. After 20 months of waiting I’m supposed to get my right knee replaced in November, although I don’t have a date yet. I’m most worried about the car ride home-getting in and out without bending the knee (all bucket seats) and then getting into the house with steps. How soon was it before you could actually bend your knee? You make it sound much easier than my surgeon said. He told me that the first 6 weeks would be hell!! I hope I progress as well as you have. Wish me luck!


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