This past weekend Zach and I visited Rick Saturday and Sunday,Father's Day. Each day we spent 5 hours. It really boosts Rick's spirits to see us,especially Zach,since Zach has not been able to visit much because of school. Zach's last day was Friday,so now he can go whenever I visit.
Rick has lost weight because his appetite is very low,but we were told that would be the case for quite a while after surgery.Rick is glad he has lost some weight,and is also glad that he hasn't chewed tobacco since the day before surgery.That makes two weeks now without a dip,or even an urge to dip.Not only is it a nasty habit,but it costs anywhere from $3-$5 a can,depending on what brand he buys. That adds up. Now he is tobacco free,and plans to stay that way. His beard is getting longer,because he can't shave due to the coumadin (blood thinner) he is on. Three more weeks and he shouldn't have to take it anymore,and he will have that baby face that I know and love back.His beard is mostly white,and he looks older than he is in this photo.Anytime he grows his beard it makes him looker older,and as soon as he shaves it,he looks younger. I have always liked the clean shaven look better,anyway!!!
Rick has a total of 39 stitches. They are suppose to come out today. He is looking forward to it. The nurses say that they can hinder the knees when they bend,because the patient feels them pulling and is afraid that they will rip,so they tend to not bend them as much as they should. Rick is still working on getting them to a 90 degree angle by himself. He can do it with help,but the goal is doing it on his own so he can be more independent.The incisions are healing nicely,and he has had no problems whatsoever. Once the stitches are out,he can shower normally,he won't need anyone to cover up his legs.
Each day after Rick has therapy with PT (during the week) or after he has done exercises on his own and walked around,his legs are put in this passive motion machine.He was in it right after surgery,two at a time,and it was barely moving.Each day they make the angle that the knee is bent greater and greater. The knee bends,then straightens.The above angle is the most so far. Each leg is in the machine for an hour.While one is in the machine,the other has this blue cuff put on it,which has ice water flowing from a Igloo-type water container,down a hose,and into this blue cuff. It keeps the swelling from all the activity down. Rick says it actually hurts more once the ice water is taken off,because the muscles have contracted,then once they start warming up again they go back to normal size. He is still on pain medication,because they want to keep his pain level down as much as possible,at a constant level. After the surgery he was at a 9-10,now he is around a 5-6. Before surgery,he was a constant 5-7,sometimes 8 (on a scale of 1-10,10 being the worst).
Yesterday we brought Rick a gluten free cake,which he appreciated,and some cards. I had asked him if wanted anything special,but he said all he wanted was to see me and Zach. We went for a walk,and he felt up to going downstairs to the courtyard. Zach brought his wheelchair,in case he got too tired,but he didn't need it. He did really well! This was the first time that he has been outside since June 7.He really enjoyed it. It was a warm day,but we sat in the shade at a table and enjoyed looking at the flowers and the day.
He has been remembering to walk straight and tall.He has been walking hunched over for so long,that he has to remind himself to stand up straight. When he starts off,he is a bit slow,but then his muscles start warming up and stretching,and his strides get longer and longer. He has been climbing stairs at PT,and once he is standing,he can do some things standing without the walker. We had gone into the vending room and he got a cup of coffee,which he fixed standing without using the walker.He even bent down to get the cup on his own.
Zach has been getting very proficient at using a wheelchair. I tell him I hope he never has to use one! He sits in it whenever he visits.On the way back from the courtyard,Zach wheeled himself to Rick's room.Rick's room is all the way at the end of the hall,on the left.
Everyone at the VA has been wonderful. I know some people have not had good experiences at some VA hosptials,but the people in Manchester have been nothing but wonderful to Rick. They come in and ask if he needs a cold drink,or anything he might need or want. Everyone has been great,and we are confident that he is in good hands. I just wish he was ready to come home,because we miss him very much!!!
Today is housekeeping catch up day.Zach has organized his closet,and needs to organize his TV area next.I need to wash the floors,do laundry,iron,and clean the bathroom. My poor tub is screaming to be cleaned,it is my least favorite job on the planet!!!!
Have a nice day where ever you may be!!!