Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Butterfly Emerges!

At home in Fort Worth... 

After a month’s confinement, Sandy has emerged from the small world that consisted mainly of her recliner, the TV and the endless hum of the pump that recirculated cold water in the little jacket that enveloped her right knee.  This cloistered existence was not new to us, as she also had her left knee replaced a couple of years ago.  She was not prepared, however, for the more difficult recovery this time. The surgeon said this knee was in much worse shape than the first one, and the pain after the operation was significantly more severe.  We were not surprised at the surgeon’s post-op report, as Sandy was suffering terribly in the last months before the operation.

Because the post-op pain needed to be treated aggressively, Sandy was provided with a high-dose regimen of oxycodone, of which she took full advantage for a couple of weeks.  As the pain level decreased, however, she decided to discontinue its use in favor of Tylenol 3.  This sudden change proved to be a very bad idea, as she had not been clued in to the fact that abruptly stopping the use of oxycodone can have very undesirable consequences.  I won’t go into the details here, but suffice it to say that this was a very harrowing experience for her, the likes of which I hadn’t seen in all  36 years of our marriage.  Information about these side effects is easily available on the web, but we customarily don’t second guess our doctors’ prescriptions, and we didn’t bother to check it out this time.  We may be a bit more inquisitive, however, after this nightmarish episode.   In fact, Sandy muttered something about tossing all the pain meds next time and biting on a bullet.  She seemed serious, but we’ll see.  I certainly hope there will be no next time as, thankfully, she has run out of knees.

After about ten days with a multiplicity of very disagreeable withdrawal symptoms, the dark clouds parted and, on Saturday, Sandy suddenly was her old self again.  Fortunately, she was able to count on the support and prayers of many friends and loved ones during this time.  Her good friend Cathy was especially helpful in that she had recently suffered a similar reaction from this kind of drug and was able to commiserate with Sandy.

We were able to commemorate Sandy’s first real outing on Saturday with a photo as she went (where else?) shopping!  

It was only a short trip to the grocery store, but it was a big deal for her to escape from the cocoon of her house like a newly-winged butterfly!  It was gratifying for me, as well, as I had been so aware of how much pain she endured prior to the surgery.  Mercifully, that pain is now gone.  She will be using a cane for a while until her physical therapy is finished and she has gained full use of the new implant.

We feel very blessed to live in a time and in a country where modern medicine can so miraculously prolong quality of life.  I can’t help but remember my grandmother, who suffered terribly with arthritic knees and was unable to walk for most of the time I knew her.  Knee replacement surgery was not available then, as the technique and prostheses had not been developed until the 1970s.  However, I’m very fearful that these kinds of operations may not always be available if a panel of bureaucrats is to decide what my quality of life is to be.  I suppose we’ll know for sure on November 6.


  1. Oh my I hope Sandy is doing better every day. Having my hubby just go through a knee surgery, they can use all the pampering they can get! LOL

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

  2. nice to see Sandy out and about once again!! day at time!!

  3. Just helped my mother go through a knee replacement, and I'm glad that Sandy is on the mend and feeling more and more herself.

  4. Glad Sandy is doing better and the pain has subsided. That story about oxycodone is pretty scary.

  5. Thanks so much for this cautionary tale. So glad she is doing better.

    It is simply not true that bureaucrats will decide your health care. That's a lie to cause you to fear not having corporate insurance decide what care you get. I know no one who doesn't like or take Medicare. Be careful what you believe.

    1. With all due respect, you need to look no further than Canada or Great Britain to see the contrast between private health care and socialized medicine. If that's okay with you, fine. It doesn't work for me.

    2. I totally agree with you Sandy! I am not in favor of socialized medicine either! Good luck with your healing knee! I had both knees replaced a week apart about 7 years ago! I was lucky though, not much pain after the first few days!

    3. So thankful ur not buying into the socialist way of living-the dems don't see what is happening right before their eyes. I don't usually get involved in politics but this election is the most important one ever. God bless America and people like you who will vote to keep her free!

  6. Yes oxycodone is bad stuff, I can tell you how bad it is and my Son could tell us about it too if he was still around... Glad your off it and getting better...

  7. Howdy Sandy & Mike,
    Now I know why Mike likes airplanes; he was raised in the piney woods where all you could do was hear them above the trees and wonder 'What was that?' As far as 'knee-work' goes, I had 1 done through he VA, and it works fine; at the time VA didn't do bi-lateral and told me 'when that one is no longer any good, it'll last 10-15 years, we'll do the other one!! Now I'm in a wheelchair and they say I don't need the other one!! Use you OWN DOC and pay for it yourself, if you can!!! Sandy, I took 1 oxycodone and woke up 3 days later!!! Why are you kids having ALL of these problems; BECAUSE YOU LIVE IN THE POISONPLEX!!! Please, use Phannie ALL you can; don't let her sit like mine has!!! We're praying for y'alls recovery and future healing too, also!!


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