Sunday, October 19, 2014

Your HOROSCOPE For The Week Of October 20th!






Aries (March 21-April 19)
Someone will plead with you and ask for something that you may feel uncomfortable giving. Listen to your heart and do not go against what your gut is telling you.

Taurus (April 20- May 20)
Do not be afraid to say no. No does not indicate negativity, it can actually create self-empowerment.  

Gemini (May 21- June 20)
Applaud a friend who is doing well. They may not act like it, but your approval means a lot to them.

Cancer (June 21- July 22)
It is time to focus on health. Big breakfast, medium lunch and small dinner is the best way to trim fat and get fit. If you are trying to gain weight then remember that provisions such as sweet potatoes, plantains, bananas, local calabash pumpkin, yucca (cassava or manioc), green papaya, christophene (chayote), breadfruit, avocado, malanga, okra, peas and countless other roots and tubers are high in energy and filling.

Leo (July 23- August 22)
Worried about what others will think? Not you Leo! That would be highly unlikely, however, if you are slightly concerned then do not worry because others are quite impressed by you right now.

Virgo (August 23 - September 22)
A gossiping friend is the first indication that you cannot trust them. Beware of their loose lips, the less they know about you the better it is, no matter how much they know you.  

Libra (September 23- October 22)
Frustration is not the best way to deal with children or animals. Yelling, hollering and screaming will just exasperate the situation. Patience is the key, breathe and count to 10 and collect your thoughts.  

Scorpio (October 23- November 21)
Good karma starts with you. It is not given out so easily as candy, but once you do gain your karma it will be sweet as sugar. Interested in building your karma? Do something nice everyday. Even just holding the door for someone is a way to increase your good karma.

Sagittarius (November 22- December 21)
You are on a good roll, and it is okay to take a little break before you go full force into the next season. If you are planning a vacation then go for it. Expect to have the time of your life.  

Capricorn (December 22- January 19)
It is paramount right now to pay more attention to your family and finances for the next few weeks.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18)
A family member or friend who tends to experience emotional ups and downs will cause you some concern, but your support will help them wiggle out of their low time.

Pisces (Feb 19- March 20)
Expect the unexpected and but expect the unexpected to be epic.




Saturday, October 18, 2014

Total Knee Replacement - Update






Yesterday was six weeks since I had my knee replacement surgery and it got me to thinking. Time is an interesting thing - isn't it? These past six weeks on one hand; have flown by - feeling like only a week. On the other hand, it has felt like six months!

If you have been following along in my recovery, you know that the first three weeks were hell, and although I am six weeks post-op, I feel like I am really three weeks in my recovery. And let me just say that I have really excelled in these past three weeks.

This past Thursday was my 5th session of physio. I am now officially off of the walker!! YAY!!! In fact, my therapist (Ryan) and I went for our regular walk down the hospital hallway, and we usually do this walk with a cane, but Thursday I did the walk with no equipment. Even though I don't use any equipment in my home, I just hold on to furniture and walls when needed, I just cannot tell you how freeing it was to walk down that hallway on my own! I feel so proud of myself! :-)

As you can see by the photo above, my knee is healing very well. The picture on the left was taken on September 19th following staple removal. The picture on the right was taken today - one month later. What a huge difference! The staple holes are starting to fade, and the holes in the incision are closing nicely.

Most importantly, I am feeling stronger each and every day. And my Bentley will be coming home in two weeks! I just cannot wait to see him again. I miss him beyond words. I can't wait to hold his face in my hands, kiss his nose, and see his big brown eyes!






Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Happy Zodiac Birthday HOROSCOPE For The Week Of October 15th - 21st!!







Is your birthday October 15th - 21st?  Be sure to visit EE on your special day to check out your HappyZodiacBirthday HOROSCOPE and remember to share this page with your friends and family who may also be celebrating a birthday this week!

Happy Birthday!!


October 15th -2014
Never worry about others taking your place. They cannot fill your shoes. Smile and enjoy your day.

October 16th -2014 
Someone who you love dearly wants to show you the world and offer it to you in the palm of their hands. Even though they are unable to that, it is the thought that counts and should be appreciated immensely.

October 17th -2014
Give three people compliments on your day and you will see karma responded tenfold.

October 18th -2014
Your aura is shinning a hue of red. Red denotes determination and drive to get things done. Use this energy to get ahead. Stay on track and the track you are on will lead you to happiness.
   
October 19th -2014
Thinking of a career change? If so it is on the rise. Thinking about starting a new relationship? Well that is on the rise as well.

October 20th -2014
Satisfy your every need. Expecting others to do it for you, especially just because it is birthday, will only set up disappointment. Do what needs to be done and others will haul in and do their share, then you will be overwhelmed with gratefulness.

October 21st -2014
You will need to express your concern with the matters of the heart. Do not yell or command. Simply speak your mind and know that this too shall pass. Over all your birthday will be satisfactory.

.



Sunday, October 12, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!!






Well, it is that time of year again. The time of year when we focus on that which we should be thankful for. Funny isn't it? We know that we should be thankful all year round. We should focus each day upon our blessings, our loved ones, our health, our life. But in the rat-race we call life, we often forget to stop - and zone in on the good things in our life. Perhaps we know in the back of our mind that there is a day specifically intended for gratitude. Just as our Birthday comes once a year, and we choose that day to celebrate ourselves - when in actuality, we should celebrate ourselves every single day. We use Thanksgiving Day as the day to celebrate our blessings. To acknowledge that we are blessed.

The very fact that I am alive is a reason for me to be thankful. The fact that my eyes were met with brilliant blue skies and sunshine this morning, is a reason to be thankful. And that is exactly why when I open my eyes, before I even get out of bed each morning - I give thanks. And when I go to bed each night, I give thanks once again. For the day, for the lessons, for the challenges, for the strength to meet those challenges.

But as much as I try to be thankful - show gratitude for my blessings on a daily basis. I am not perfect. I forget. I neglect. Alas, I am a work in progress. So, with tomorrow being Thanksgiving, I, too, want to focus in on the gifts in my life. And I want to STOP - and acknowledge the blessings in my life.

Clearly, this year has been an eventful one.. Aren't they all?  (lol)  For me, 2014 will be a year of rebirth. I quit smoking this year, in fact it has now been over 7 months since I switched to ecigs!! 5 weeks ago I also had my Total Knee Replacement surgery. Which I am still recovering from.  And with each passing day, I get stronger. With each step I take, I am closer to reclaiming my life. A life that was lost these past two years, due to my inability to walk. This journey in and of itself has been a gift. Forcing me to slow down and focus on the mini accomplishments, which, when collected, amount to huge accomplishments.

I am now off of the wheelchair fully. This week I should be off of the walker, fully transitioned to the cane.  My dog should be coming home at the end of this month. My daughter and I have gotten much closer over these past weeks. My sister and I have rebuilt a relationship, a friendship, a sistership, over these past two years.

I have felt the love of my friends. A spotlight has been cast down to illuminate the goodness of the people in my life. All of the messages, phone calls, prayers, support and encouragement has carried me through some of the toughest times of my life. I am delighted to say that the vast majority of people in my life have risen to meet the call. And I am thankful, grateful, for each and every one of them.

What I have learned - or relearned .... is that it is the hard times in life that shape us. It is interesting how we tend to focus on the good times, the happy occasions, which we refer to as blessings. But it isn't the sunshine that challenges us. It isn't the happy occasions that shape our character. It is the storms in life that ultimately define us. It is the darkness that allows us to truly see what is around us. To truly see who is around us. To discover what we are made of. And it is then that we get to decide if we like who we have become. And if that answer is "No", then we have a opportunity to change what we don't like. And it is the opportunity that is the blessing.

So, I want to give thanks for the opportunities. For the darkness. For the challenges. For the illumination of my soul. For all who surround me with love and light.

Tomorrow I will be preparing my annual turkey dinner, which in and of itself is a miracle - given that I am still in recovery from surgery! I will welcome my family into my home and share in this beautiful day, in the blessings, in the delicious food. In each other.

Whether you are celebrating today, or tomorrow.....

I want to wish you and your loved ones a very Happy Thanksgiving!!


Love and Light ..

-Laura


Your HOROSCOPE For The Week Of October 13th






Aries (March 21-April 19)
Why add stress to your psyche by worrying about money and emotional security? Just do you, plan for the best and even if the best of the best does not unfold at least something good will. If you focus on the worse that could happen then obviously you will attract something negative. It will not be the worst of your worries coming to fruition, but something negative will affect you, so think healthy freedom thoughts.

Taurus (April 20- May 20)
Do not take any threats lightly, but also do not fight back with threats and anger. Think before you respond and respond with tactfulness and class.  

Gemini (May 21- June 20)
All week you will see the brighter side of things. Even when something unfavourable unfolds you will see the silver lining around the circumstances.

Cancer (June 21- July 22)
From Monday to Sunday you will be contemplating your future and financial freedom. Do not ponder bills too much. Of course it is important to plan around your finances and pay debts, but do not allow the thoughts to carry your mind into fret mode. The key is to not spend money on pleasure if you need it for survival, and that is including credit cards.

Leo (July 23- August 22)
New people will be entering your life soon. Give it three to six weeks until the first person enters. The first person may just be a distant acquaintance, like a social network friend, however, once more people start flooding in, from all different areas, you will start to see how easy it is to connect to the folks that will bring happiness into your life.

Virgo (August 23 - September 22)
In regards to love and relationships you may feel like life is taking you a step back, but reality you are not. It is just time for rest and relaxation and contemplation. Take this time to do that. Ponder your partner and what they mean to you and show them your deepest appreciation. If you are currently single then look out Virgo because love is on the rise.  

Libra (September 23- October 22)
Get up and get at ‘em. Do not rest too much. Of course take some ‘me time’, but too much of it is not good. At least read a book and get your brain thinking. Sitting on the couch watching TV or talking to the same people everyday about the same thing will only keep your energy stagnant.    

Scorpio (October 23- November 21)
Comical movies and good times will tickle your funny bone and keep your energy in high spirits. Keep that in mind when things start to get in a little funk this week.

Sagittarius (November 22- December 21)
Every year you become a better person. Your birthday will be here sooner than later, and this year you will want to make a few more changes that you have wanted to do for the last while. Get a jumpstart now and focus on the things you want changed so that by the time your birthday comes you will be well on your way to making strides towards your goals.  

Capricorn (December 22- January 19)
Your confidence will amaze others and they may even tell you as much. However, it is important to watch your intrinsic authoritative nature, otherwise you will turn others off.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18)
Someone who you do not trust very much will contact you. They will have an agenda, and of course it is to benefit them only, nevertheless, try to deal with them with as much tolerance as possible.

Pisces (Feb 19- March 20)
Give yourself a break. Go out and enjoy life with people you care for and those who love you just as much.




Friday, October 10, 2014

Total Knee Replacement - The Surgery And The Recovery



It has been awhile since my last blog posting. Well, as some of you know, I have been in recovery from total knee replacement surgery.  And now I am going to update all of you on how things went.

As always, I am going to keep it real - very real.

The day of surgery began at 8AM.  My sister and I went to the hospital ahead of the surgery. I have to say that I was quite surprised by the beauty of the lounge where we were seated. This was my pre-surgical lounge, as well as where my sister waited during my surgery.

Below, are a couple of pictures I took while waiting to 'go in'.  Click on images for enlarged viewing.



 



At approximately 10:30AM, I was taken into the first prep-room, where I changed into the ever-popular johnny gown.  Was asked a thousand questions about my medical and surgical history and was given an I.V. prior to being wheeled into the stage two prep-room.

The second room was significantly more procedural feeling than the first. It was in this room where I was given the nerve blocker, which was placed into my femoral vein. I have to say that when the doctor stimulated the muscle in my thigh, and it began to pulsate - without my control - it was .... shall we say .... trippy!!

Following the nerve blocker, I was then given the spinal. This is essentially a glorified epidural. Those of you who have children are probably familiar with the epidural.  Well, this spinal was like the epidurals big brother.  Instantly I was paralyzed from the waste down. My legs felt like a thousand pounds each. It was such a surreal feeling. And kind of scary to be honest. I literally felt nothing below my waste.

At that point - approximately Noon - I was wheeled into surgery, where I was given Propofol - and was knocked out.

I came to, approximately 2 hours later. Now, when I say that I came to, I was technically conscious, however, I was slipping 'in and out'. I recall waking up in the operating room. I recall moments of the transport to post-op, I recall moments in post-op. But I was in post-op for about four hours before I really was able to stay conscious for any amount of time.

Long enough really to vito a boot that was placed on my non-surgical foot. It felt like it was made of Sherpa and had a steel soul. It was extremely uncomfortable and I begged the nurse to remove it. Thankfully, she did.  However, on my surgical leg, was a long, thick, pressure stocking that went from the top of my thigh down to my ankle. And it HURT!

This stocking could not be removed for 24 hours.

Sometime later that evening, I was transported up to my room. It was a semi-private room, but I was had it to myself for the majority of my stay. Another plus, was that it was the only room on the floor with its own air conditioning.  SCORE!!

The surgery was done on Friday, September 5th, and needless to say, the first 24 hours were hell. To say it was painful is a gross understatement. I had a wonderful nurse that night; Beth, who told me it would be better the next day once my stocking could be removed.

For pain control, I was on a Morphine pump. I was able to hit the pump every five minutes - as needed. And let me tell you .... it was needed.

On Saturday, the stocking was removed, and as promised, the the pressure was lessened by the removal of the compression garment. My family came to visit me on the Saturday, and my beautiful daughter brought me some beautiful flowers.





Let me stop here and say that although the surgery in and of itself, was a total success. The recovery has been a nightmare. Particularly the first three weeks.

If you recall in my pre-surgical posting, the plan was that I would be released from hospital on the Monday or Tuesday. Well, it did not go as planned. I could not even get out of bed until the Monday. Turns out that I had a reaction to the Morphine. I was sick and could hardly lift my head off of the pillow. It truly felt like the world's worst hangover.  Monday I was switched over to Hydromorphone, which is derivative of Morphine, but much stronger. The pain relief was wonderful and I did not feel the same side effects as with the Morphine.

I was able to get out of bed on the Monday and take my first couple of steps. I was able to hold my head up and keep my eyes open. I was in love with the Hydromorphone.

During one of my bandage changes, I asked the nurse to snap a picture of my knee.  Below is a picture I took with the bandaging, as well as the picture the nurse took of the unbandaged incision - complete with staples, bruising and surgical swelling. Which, I am told will not go down for months.






The first picture is taken while I was in the CPM Machine. (Continuous Passive Movement) Which was a part of my inpatient physio therapy. I was in this machine for a couple of hours each day. And to be honest. I was wonderful! My leg felt better after each session with the CPM. I really wish I had one at home. This machine got my range of motion to go from 40 degrees to 60 degrees in two days.

Below is another shot I took while in my CPM Machine.




From Monday to Thursday, I did the physio, which involved walking in the halls of the hospital, along with the CPM Machine as a part of my therapy. But because I was not yet ready - according to the doctors, a decision was made to have me transferred to a rehab hospital for an additional week. However, a bed was not available, which meant that I would have to stay at the hospital, just walking up and down the halls. I determined that I could do that at home and hand a consult with the surgeons and we all decided that I would go home on the Friday - September 12th.  So long as equipment was brought into my home ahead of my discharge.  Equipment included a raised toilet seat - which was substituted with a commode. A wheelchair, A walker and a cane. 

So, with all of the arrangements having been met, I was released on Friday, September 12th.  I was given ample supply of bandaging so that I could change the dressing daily. I was given prescriptions for more Hydromorphone to be taken every 3 hours as needed. 

And so, home I went. Easy Peasy - Right? Wrong!!! 

The wheelchair that was provided, was extremely low to the ground. In fact, my first words upon seeing it when my sister brought it to the hospital to pick me up were "That is sooo low! I will never get out of that!!!" 

In hindsight, I should have stayed in the hospital until an appropriate wheelchair was made available. But honestly, I wanted to go home!  Oh, did I mention that the wheelchair had no leg lift? It only had foot supports.  Well, the foot support was fine for my non-surgical leg, but the surgical one could not bend that far and therefore my foot could not reach the foot rest. 

My nurse took a pillow, tucking it under my surgical knee and it rested beneath my leg, as the back of my ankle rested against the foot rest. Sounds comfy right? Wrong!!!

Every curb we hit, every ramp we took, the bottom of my foot hit the ground and my knee was jarred. This happened about 7 times. Including being wheeled into - and out of - the wheelchair taxi. 

Within hours of getting home, my entire leg ballooned up - it truly looked like The Nutty Professor!!!

And so, essentially I could not move my leg for the entire weekend. My daughter went and picked me up bags of frozen peas, and I was icing my entire leg for the next several days.  It really wasn't until Tuesday before the swelling began to go down. 

To add insult to injury, and not to get too graphic, but in keeping with being brutally honest, I had explosive diarrhea. I was unable to eat anything without it shooting right through me. This lasted for two weeks. Until I discovered that although constipation is on the main list of side effects of the Hydromorphone, diarrhea is on the less common side effect list.  So, it really was not until the 22nd until I was able to start eating again. By then, of course, my stomach had shrunk to the size of a walnut, and since then I have basically been eating half a meal a day. The equivalent of a sandwich. And I'm stuffed!  

Prior to going into surgery, I had booked the staple removal for two-weeks post-op, which of course was the 19th of September.  I had been dreading this day. I just KNEW it was going to be awful. I was actually afraid of having the staples removed. And I was right to feel this way. 

My doctor had lost count, but he estimated that their were approximately 67 staples.  I will be honest in saying that 20 of them were nothing. They felt like having a hair pulled from my leg. Another 20 were painful, but still tolerable. The remaining 27 were pure agony!!! 

I was lying on the exam table, with my hands gripping either side. I was gripping so hard that I actually snapped off two nails!  My face was beat red, I was dripping in sweat, my tremors were in high gear. My entire body was shaking. My doctor was as wonderful as he could be under the circumstances, and we stopped after every ten or whenever I needed a break. He also mixed up the order as not to focus on a particularly sensitive area. But I'm not going to lie to you. It was AWFUL and I am never doing that again!!! 

Below is a picture of my leg, which was taken about two hours after coming home from staple removal. You can clearly see that my leg was not happy!! 





Once again, I was rendered immobile that weekend. I was beginning to notice a pattern forming. Surgery on a Friday - sick all weekend. Home on a Friday - in pain all weekend. Staple removal on a Friday - immobile all weekend.  The difference was that prior to staple removal, I was having a watered down pinkish discharge, which everyone said was completely normal.  Following staple removal, the discharge turned into a thick, slimy, yellow.  My leg was infected! Awesome!

I just could not understand how an infection could be possible. I was cleaning the incision religiously. I was so careful. How could this be!!??  Well, I found out how on Tuesday the 23rd when I went to the rehab hospital for the first time. 

Apparently and as if a reaction to the Morphine wasn't enough. And if a reaction to the Hydromorphone wasn't enough. If starving for two weeks wasn't enough. It seems I had an allergic, infectious reaction to .... wait for it .... THE STAPLES!!!  

Are you freaking kidding me!!??!!??

But it does explain the extreme pain I was in. It was the infection!! Which I learned is a different pain than the surgical pain. 

So, Now, I'm off of the pain killers, I have one week left of the blood thinners, (three weeks in total - following needles in my stomach while in the hospital) and now I'm on antibiotics. Fantastic!! 

As you can see, the first three and a half weeks of my recovery - were, well..... a nightmare.

The good news is that the infection cleared up. I am now off of all surgery-related drugs. I am able to eat once again. All over-active booty events have stopped. And I have started my outpatient physio therapy. And it is going wonderfully!

I just adore my PT and the PTA. They are magnificent!!! Along with the volunteers, the nurse, and all of the staff at Bridgepoint Health are so supportive, encouraging. Just Awesome!!

Today I had my 4th physio session, with 8 more to go. I attend twice a week - for six weeks. And I am now officially off of the wheelchair. I am in the process of transitioning from the walker to the cane, and should be fully off of the walker - and on to the cane by the end of next week!  My range of motion is now at a 100 degree bend. With a goal of 120 degrees or higher. 

Below is a picture of what my incision looks like today, and as you can see, I am healing quite well! 




Even though today will be five weeks since my surgery. Given that the first three + weeks have been hell, I really consider myself to only be two weeks in recovery. And when you consider everything I've gone through, and how well I am doing in my therapy, I am deeply encouraged! I've come a long way baby!!! 

I am not kidding myself, I know that I still have a long way to go. And It will not be for at least another three weeks that I will be able to bring my dog Bentley home again. I am hoping and praying that I will be strong enough at that point to be able to take him out three times a day. I am praying that my muscles will be strong enough, that I will be secure enough on the cane, and that my stamina will be strong enough to enable me to bring my baby home. I have not seen him in five weeks. And it is killing me!!! 

If you would be so kind, please keep me in your prayers, that my healing will continue. (With no additional setbacks!) That I will gain even more strength, security in the cane and in my new knee, and that I may have the stamina to bring my baby home at the end of October. Two months away from my boy is just far too long!! 

I will close this posting with some pictures I took of the physio gym at Bridgepoint. The hospital itself is only 18 months old, and the facility is really quite nice. I did forget to take a picture of the therapy pool, which I will try to remember to take next week. I should also say that these pictures were taken from my physio bed, so it is really deceptive. The gym is much larger than it appears. There are actually ten beds in the gym. Well, perhaps I will take a better picture next week along with the pool pics. But in the meantime...... here is where I will be recovering twice a week for the next four weeks. 









Before I leave, I want to thank all of my friends and family who have supported me in this journey. All of the visits, the notes, messages, emails, phone calls. Each word sent - each prayer whispered - a precious tribute locked away in my heart. It is with your good energy that I am able to fight through the hard times and finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

Love and Light....
-Laura