Wednesday, April 04, 2018

The Saga Continues............

The saga continues.  The above photo was taken on a street in San Miguel of the jacaranda trees which were blooming profusely as I prepared to leave for the USA.  They are such grand, exquisite trees.

I arrived in Houston and dealt with all the things that come up when you arrive somewhere, like getting a rental car, getting my US cell phone turned on and one unexpected inconvenience, my computer would not link with any "open" wifi and I could not get the password initially for my friend Martha's internet site.  It took five days of patience and persistence to rectify that situation.  Thank goodness for a service called Geek Squad. And, the patience and persistence of a young man named Robin at Best Buy who spent two afternoons plus a phone call to get the computer and me connected to wifi.  Whew.

I did get out one evening with my old friend Bob to see Chris Smither, musician and song writer extraordinaire who happened to be in town last Friday night at the Mucky Duck.  It was a last minute thing that worked out for me to go.  So welcome and enjoyable.  I love live music!

My friend Martha, who I am staying with at present received this lovely bouquet of flowers from a granddaughter who lives in Maine.  The two of us have oohed and aahed over the fragrance and beauty since their unexpected arrival last Saturday afternoon.

By the way, I have no idea why these photos are floating all
over the place and not in their usual place. Whatever!

As I arrived at my brother and sister-in-law's house on Monday to head to the doctor appointment, finally, this is the view that greeted me of their front gardens!  It just made me smile with joy.  My sister-in-law, Annette, is an avid gardener.  It certainly shows when you see their home.

Off my brother and I went to meet with the orthopedic surgeon to find out the process prior to surgery that was scheduled for April 18th.  You are not going to believe what I am going to write.  There is NOT going to be any surgery..............Yes, both knees are "bone on bone" but the doctor wants to take  a "conservative" approach with other methods and surgery as a "last" resort.  Of course, you can imagine, after thinking about this, making arrangements and planning this for the last eight months, I was speechless.  Totally.  All of his comments and suggestions made sense, but I just "wanted to get on with it and get it over with".  No way.  Instead I received cortisone shots in both knees.  I have been pain free since yesterday morning.  The doctor wants to see how long this lasts and try this for a while............his reasoning is that it is major surgery.  Not all is successful and if I can return to my way of life comfortably without the surgery, I would be better off.  We'll see.

I truly have not been able to wrap my head around all of this.  I'm still in a quandary as to what to do.
Get a second and third opinion; take it as it is; or what.

I now have almost two months in the USA to do whatever............At this point, "one day at a time."

Plans had been made prior to my arrival to go to see the Texas wildflowers yesterday.  Rather then sit around and try to figure things out, I went.  Never even thought about my knees all day.  A LONG day, but so worth it.  Here are some of the scenes we saw as we drove to Chappell Hill for lunch, then went to see the wildflowers and ended up at a magnificent ranch in the Hill Country before heading back to Houston which was only a 45 minute drive, but truly another world away.

Enjoy the shots of the bluebonnets. Indian paintbrush, the farms and ranches and the pond at the ranch that we stopped at prior to returning.  Beautiful day.  Beautiful country.  (You can click on the photos to enlarge, if you wish)

                 The ranch and this magnificent oak tree.  We even saw some larger then this! 

Scene after scene of bluebonnets with sprinkles of Indian paintbrush along with a dab of buttercups.  Oh my, a panoply of color.
To be away from the city, in nature, was just what the doctor ordered, even though he did not know it!

                          Texas back roads always include farms and barns with great Texas skies.

This ranch had the largest herd of longhorns that I've ever seen.  Quite amazing and beautiful.

Back at the one hundred acre ranch of Mr. Smith, he told us the story of he and his wife buying this property in the 1960's, having an architect from Brenham designing the house, the pond, the tennis court and moving a couple of houses already on the property around.  It was fascinating to imagine.

As you can see, we are near the edge of the stocked fishing pond.  The back story is, there were seven of us in this van, on this little dike driving around this pond.  Of the seven occupants, one is wheel chair bound, one uses a walker and the other three of us use canes.  Mr. Smith wanted to drive around.  The ground was a bit soggy.  The driver was so terrified that we were going to bog down (me too).  But, we finally made it around it and drove up the incline back to the ranch house for drinks and appetizers.  Can you imagine, if it had gotten stuck, the seven of us either trying to walk through a field to the house or pushing the van or whatever?  It made me chuckle inside myself to think of it and be grateful that it did NOT happen.  Life is definitely an adventure!


Tancho said...

Sorry that you were let down, but I think the doctor is correct at this point, because many of my friends who elected to get back surgeries and other procedures, where everyone was pushing to get them done, came out either not getting the expected results or being off worse that before. Sadly there is a lot of motivation to perform procedures that just don't offer the results.
All the recuperation involved also is no easy task. I lost a whole year after my surgery and at our age it always take a lot longer. Hopefully, we'll keep our fingers crossed and see if the non surgical solution is acceptable to you. Good luck to you whichever way you go, we will wish good karma for you!

R. P. said...

Wow, you have been put through the wringer. "One day at a time" seems all we have. I know you will make the best of it. Being pain free sounds good. Saludos, Robert

Kris said...

I have been getting the shots (80 mg. per knee) every 3 months for 2 years. My left knee is being replaced next month, and the right one will be next year. The shots help, but I wear braces to bed to make sure I don't twist them in bed. My biggest problem is my ligament having been stretched and torn.
There is a big difference between back surgery and knee surgery. Of course it is still major surgery, it is mechanical work, like changing a suspension part on a car. Back surgery is much more delicate, and more of an unknown entity.
Best of luck.

Unknown said...

I’m always amazed when life is not what we painstakingly plan. Good for you being open to unexpected options and making the best of it. Good luck! DiAnne

Barbara Lane said...

This reminds me of a number of years ago when I was having great pain and told I had a torn rotator cuff and needed surgery. I didn't want to have it until I was ready to move to SMA as recovery would interfere with my packing, etc. So I had a few shots over time and to this day have been pain free - and I am so glad I didn't go through with the surgery when first told I needed it.

Sounds to me like this could be an unexpected gift from the Universe for you! I'm impressed the doctor isn't "surgery happy" (only too eager to perform it). Good for him, and good for you! I wish you the best possible outcome with the shots.

Babs said...

Thanks everyone for your encouraging words and comments. I have no talked to and heard from people who have been getting the shots for several years and are leading full lives and are still pain free. So, here we go, down another path!

Where that leads, who knows? I'll take it slow and steady.

I am happy that I don't have to have surgery at this time.


Deborah S. said...

Your story proves once again the truth of the adage, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” As another arthritis sufferer, you have my sympathies and more. I would get a second opinion as you are there now. Also, an evaluation by a good physical therapist could be helpful. I’ve had some relief from strengthening the muscles & ligaments which align my knees. And you’ll need PT after any surgery you have, so why not get to know a good therapist now? Thanks for the photos—they’re beautiful!

Peter Kouwenhoven said...

Beautiful pictures! I hope your stay in the states will be full of fun, and that the knee saga has a positive outcome...

Tom said...

Glad your pain free Cortisone lasted a month or so on my knee. I think you only get 2 or 3 shots per year

Anonymous said...

So it looks like the Bionic Barbara will have to wait a while yet. Yes, that is a bit of a let-down from all the dramatic lead-up. But I'll echo some of the other commenters here in that it's nice to see the doctor isn't surgery-happy. What if he's right and a couple shots a year do the trick? Wouldn't that be so much better? And you could easily get it done cheaply in Mexico.

Good luck with whatever happens. We are all rooting for you. And I guess you could just go back home early and enjoy the Jacarandas.


Kim G
Redding, CA
Where mom's shot in the knee a couple months ago seems to still be working.

alcuban said...

Barbara: If a surgeon cautions you about surgery: BELIEVE HIM!. Knee surgery is far too common and sometimes people come out worse than they went in. It's not the routine silver bullet people make it out to be. May I suggest (very discreetly and respectfully) that maybe losing a few pounds might alleviate the pressure on the knees? So try the cortisone, a diet and perhaps some physical therapy and you might save a lot of aggravation. Thank you. This is Dr. Al talking to you. Stay away from Dr. Schmidt, whatever you do.

Texas looks beautiful in the pictures, so green and flowery. Here we remain in the Dust Bowl. Yesterday it made noises as if it might rain, and it seemed to be raining on the other side of the mountains, but not here.

As far as your pictures, go back in to your post in the edit mode. Then click on the pictures, which will turn blue, and select the SIZE and LOCATION (Left, Center, Right). Then get out of that and the pictures should be where you put them. Sorry that won't fix the picture that is crooked LOL

To clear that weird text alignment you've got going at the beginning of the post, highlight all the text you want to realign, and then go to the top of the page, to the bar with all the little commands and pictures, and in the last group on the right, look for the text alignment option, with a little pull-down option and pick flush LEFT. I think you have it set on center text. Reset it to flush left.

When you're done, click UPDATE at the top to save all the adjustment.

Try that. Nothing personal, but the whimsical layout of your post makes it look as if you are either very artistic—or were half in the bag when you were writing it. LOL


Babs said...

Ironically, unbeknownst to me, a man sat at our dinner table at The Hallmark here in Houston, an elegant retirement home, who is/was an orthopedic surgeon. My friend Martha told him about my slight kerfuffel and he listened and said that is an appropriate conservative approach and the right path to go! I did not have to get dressed up, drive to a clinic, etc etc etc. And, so it goes. Ain't life grand? BTW, both men at our dinner table have had knees replaced, but after doing the cortisone shots for some years. These men are probably in their late 80's at least!!!

I have already got a name of someone in SMA who can help me get my balance back and help with my wobbly knees. I've also got the name of a gel to use on my knees, if there is pain. And, of course, there is PT in SMA.

I'm in email contact with the Dr. that I met with on Monday. He is monitoring all of it and if there is pain.

Thanks to all of you for your insights and experiences along with suggestions.

Al, I also appreciate the computer savvy info. I'm not about to try to change the post that is already posted, but if this happens again, if I can remember where, I'll refer to your great info.

The humidity in Houston has always played havoc with my joints, even in my wild and wooly very thin days. Today is a if I make it through this, the dryness in SMA will be very welcome!

Retired Teacher said...

I will echo what several others have said. If you can live a pain-free life with a couple shots a year, that is better than going through surgery and all the rehabilitation involved afterwards. Whichever route you take, the best of luck to you.

Babs said...

Bill, I have finally gotten over the "change of plans". I could not agree with you
more...........I've already contacted people re PT and getting my balance back so I am not so wobbly. I've also realized that I have two months to enjoy people, places and things that I don't usually have time to do when I'm up here. I'm looking at it as a
"reprieve"! Thanks for writing.