Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Hip, Hip, Hooray (and Goodbye)!

At home in Fort Worth...

I was standing in the shower a couple of years ago when I first noticed something was wrong with my hip.  I had just turned slightly when I felt an agonizing pain in my right hip socket.  This caused me to retreat quickly to the stance I had before I turned and, when I did, the pain went away.  There was no recurrence for a couple of weeks, so I promptly forgot about it, thinking it was just one of those age-related anomalies to be expected now and then as I get older. The next occurrence was also in the shower, but the pain did not immediately go away then.  As time went by, the episodes became more frequent and longer lasting.

A visit to Sandy’s orthopedic surgeon confirmed the diagnosis:  Arthritis.  Dr. Williams offered me  steroid injections to gain some temporary (a few weeks to a few months) relief, and I agreed to that.  But only twice.  The first time was without anesthesia, and I decided that was not something I wanted to do again.  The second time was with general anesthesia, but I thought that if I was going to be subjected to that much fuss and expense for relief of such short duration, I may as well go ahead and have the hip replaced and be done with it!  The only question was...when?

Sandy had not yet ended her physical therapy from her second knee replacement in August, but my condition was rapidly deteriorating--to the extent that I was limping significantly and having trouble sleeping at night.  Finally, we settled on January 14 for my hip surgery.

I must say, I am so thankful to be living in a time and in a country where such medical techniques are (for now) readily available.  It was not too long ago that an arthritic knee or hip meant immobility for arthritis sufferers--but no more.  My procedure was performed in a boutique hospital here in the DFW Metroplex that specializes solely in orthopedic surgery, and my care was first class by any measure.  I was astonished to be released on Wednesday following the Monday surgery.  Dr. Williams said that my new prosthesis' fit was especially successful and stable, even though the old joint was in pretty bad shape, as the surgery confirmed.

One day after surgery:  Grandson Mason does not seem sufficiently concerned about my condition!

I would not say that the recovery has not had its painful moments.  However, the painkillers are generally effective and their side effects are manageable. Fortunately, Sandy has been fully engaged as my nurse, and she is largely responsible for the speed of my recovery, to say nothing of fulfilling all of my whims, no matter how numerous or infantile.  She is truly wonderful in this role and the myriad of others she performs for me and our whole family.  I am truly a blessed man!

Did I leave out physical therapy?  There must be a reason that I tried to blank out of my mind the visits by Chuck, the physical therapist assigned to my case.  Chuck, a stocky, muscular guy of about 40, comes to the house and tortures me three times a week.  Obviously having been trained by Al Qaeda, Chuck appears to take great delight in forcing my bum leg to do things that God never intended even before I had any problems with it!  (I wonder if Chuck knows I have weapons in the house?)

Actually, the foregoing was a bit of exaggeration, as you might imagine.  I am convinced that the more effort you give toward physical therapy, the better your results will be.  So, I’m paying attention and doing what I’m told, but I still don’t particularly like it.

Since this post covers about two weeks of recuperation after the surgery, I am adding a couple of photos to show my progress.  In this one, my purpose is to garner sympathy from you, dear readers, over Sandy's forcing me to vacuum the house in my weakened condition just a week after surgery.  I'll leave it to you to decide whether this depicts a true representation of the facts or a cheap hoax.   (I know, it's hard to tell, given my innocent face.)

So abused!  Can you believe the suffering?  Oh, the humanity!
After a couple more days, Sandy allowed me to take her out to dinner, even though I hadn't vacuumed the house very well.  (That was so sweet of her; it was so hard to get in all those tight places with my walker...)

Mike's First Outing!

So, this finishes the medical issues Sandy and I have been working on for the last couple of years.  Compared to her four surgeries, my one procedure hardly measured up as anything significant.  But thankfully, it appears we are getting repaired back to normal with nothing serious remaining that we know of.  We are very grateful for the skill of our medical caregivers and all of the kind thoughts and prayers of loved ones, friends we have met and those out there whom we have yet to meet.  And we are very mindful that, even with all we have been through to get to this point, there are many others who are struggling with more serious health issues. To those fine folks go our heartfelt thoughts and prayers for healing.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Washing a Big MoHo Windshield-Help Has Arrived!

At home in Fort Worth...

Every now and then a cool thing comes along that makes RVing easier, and I just have to tell you about this one:  The Shurhold Flexible Water Blade (Squeegee).  In terms of favorite accessories, this comes in second place. (First place is, and will always be, my electric shoreline reel.)

Let’s face it; if you own a motor home, you are going to have to clean the windshield from time to time, and a squeegee (for me, at least) is an essential tool for this endeavor.  Now I can’t tell you how frustrating it has been for me to squeegee the big curved glass with my standard non-flexible squeegee; it is an exercise in futility. Cleaning the curved edges of the windshield with the straight blade was almost impossible.  Until now.

Bubba and I made a little video (with Sandy as the cinematographer and wannabe announcer) to show you this handy device, and you can see it here. With this squeegee and the simple method demonstrated, you can clean the entire windshield spotlessly without using a ladder or water hose.  In fact, in the video, Bubba and I are standing about 18 inches lower than ground level in front of Phannie, and we can still reach the top of the windshield without a ladder.  See what you think.  (A word of warning for slow internet connections:  The video was shot in HD on my new Canon SX-40 camera, so it is a really hefty file.)

By the way, you can get this squeegee at Amazon for about $25, but I would recommend that you also buy the telescoping handle made especially for it.  I don't think any other handle could be made to fit.