Finally, the first time in 21 days that I have been able to take a shower without assistance. I have had to have my arm with the PICC line wrapped in saran wrap then followed with press n seal to keep that area dry while showering. My movement was restricted on that arm anyway from the insertion and attempts to place a PICC line in another area in that arm that is still swollen. But after being wrapped, I could not bend my arm to shampoo etc. Even cling wrap free and I could not fully bend or extend my arm. That line came out yesterday! I would have fallen apart if I had been told I had to keep it in even 1 more day. I have very small veins and was put through the wringer by ER and the hospital to draw labs and place IVs during my hospital stay from infection.
I have gone through 2 ordeals, the revision knee replacement following 1 year of pain and mobility issues from a botched replacement April 2018. The knee was doing great, but at about 7 days I started feeling sick, nausea and weak. I thought from the pain pills so by day 10 I had tossed those and was only taking Tylenol. But I kept getting sicker and weaker. I literally said the words to my husband… I feel like I am dying. I had no energy, I could barely raise my shoulders off the bed and go to the restroom. I could eat nothing. He thought the same as I had prior to that time, it was the pain pills and I just needed to eat, no need for Doctors. We had dinner plans with cousins that we rarely see Day 11. I made it through PT but was green at the gills and almost asked for a waste basket to be beside me. I literally was in bed from Monday after morning PT until Bob took me to the ER on Wednesday with exception of that meal Monday evening. I did not eat and it was difficult getting through the meal. Bob still did not believe I was ill until Tuesday night the fever and chills set in, shaking uncontrollably. Even then, no mention of Drs! Wednesday I managed to get that last unassisted shower and demanded he take me somewhere. I always have to do that with the kids too. Ignore him and just take them because he always will put up a fuss that they are OK. Being in the medical field I don’t understand why he resists this so much. Well, then I proceeded to fall asleep and he let me sleep for 3 hours before going to the ER. My temp and initial labs sent the ER staff into a tizzy. My temps kept climbing and my blood pressure kept falling. I have never been so sick in my life and I hope I never am again. I was diagnosed as having a kidney infection that entered my blood system, also known as sepsis. I understand a weakened system like mine following a year of hell after the 1st surgery and then a 2nd surgery is probably the reason I developed this. In reality, any type of infection can lead to sepsis and it doesn’t matter where on the body the infection takes hold. There are more than 200,000 US cases every year!
My knee was swelling in the hospital due to the fluids being pumped into me. As soon as I was over the worst symptoms, I started doing a couple of exercises in bed stretching my leg to bend as much as possible and then straighten flat. I would do a couple of those every waking hour day and night. I physically was only walking a few steps to the restroom and the food was horrible, I still could not eat. I had no strength and I am still not fully there. My labs cleared up quickly except for being anemic. I sleep all night and usually have a 2-3 hour nap everyday. I have only begun to be able to pull off about a continuous hour of exercise with my knee. But my doctors build me up so much! When I went to my 1st PT appointment, they expected me to be in bad shape but my ROM was over 120! I could not move it very fast, but the range of motion was there. They called me a rock star! I saw the orthopedic surgeon and PA that same day and they called me a miracle. They were so impressed with my recovery and what I had accomplished. My internist says I am strong, a survivor. He says I don’t know if I could survive what I went through and still going through. I have 3 more weeks of oral antibiotics but I am so thankful to get that IV out of my arm!
Again it is the little things in life. Today I had a shower when I wanted without having to involve anyone else. Physical Therapy worked a lot on gait today and I have now transitioned to a ski pole/hiking stick for balance! Inside my home, I don’t use anything but I walk a bit like Lurch from Adams Family TV show. My knee is very stiff and my extension still is not at zero. My knee is not fully straight but I am getting there. These past couple of days has seen much improvement in my stamina, pain level and speed. But there is one more big event for the day…. I DROVE! Woohoo! Then slept for 3 hours. But I am getting there! I’ll be 5 weeks tomorrow from my revision surgery and even with all these setbacks, I am months ahead of where I was with the 1st knee replacement.
Thank you so much to all my dear friends, quietly praying and holding my hand through all this. If anything is to be learned from this, maybe we need to see doctors sooner rather than later. Believe in yourself. I knew all this past year that something was wrong with my knee, I did not give up. I found a doctor that believed in me and I have confidence I will recover. My illness, I knew when my body stopped responding the way it normally does and knew something was wrong there too. Sometimes it takes a bit of convincing to get others to see that but don’t give up. If I had insisted sooner, maybe I would not have gotten as sick. My husband never left my side and was my biggest advocate with my medical team always looking out for my best interest. He has been home with me for weeks, administering my meds, doing all the cooking, cleaning and laundry. I certainly don’t know what I would have done without him.
My medical station at home.
I am not even thinking about quilting yet. Forget my leg, my right arm has endured too much trauma. But over the next month or so I am expecting to get back into the swing of things with longarm quilting and sewing.