Thursday, February 18, 2016

Sixty hours

Well, Mom's hip replacement surgery went fine. It's what we all expected, but major surgery is major surgery, so there's always a lot of worry. That's behind us now. Big thanks to all you kind readers who chipped in with thoughts and prayers. That means a lot.
With her birthday cake on February 6.

The two-hour drive to Loveland was quite a trial. Mom was having a lot of pain and had been ordered not to take anything by mouth, including medicine, after 11 p.m. the night before.

She been able to kind of keep most of the pain at bay by moving around a bit and not letting her hip stay in one position for too long. In the car that was impossible. Once we reached the hospital and she was stumping around on her walker she felt better, and some of the chairs in the waiting room are designed to ease this kind of pain, so it was a relief to arrive.
Reading Agatha Christie in the waiting room.

Unfortunately, when she went into pre-op she had to lay down on a gurney, and the worst thing for her pain was laying down on her back. They finally let her sit up, but it was tough for a while.
Lots of pain.

She went into surgery on time and was out an hour and 50 minutes later. The surgeon reported that all had gone well and as expected. Two hours later, after the spinal block had worn off, she was delivered to her room.
Little kids playing in the waiting room.

Surgical center
The "Big Board." Mom is 326.
She was still a bit woozy from the meds but was very pleased to have the old, awful chronic pain replaced by surgical incision pain.
Chronic pain replaced by surgical pain.

In an interesting contrast to her previous hip surgery, she'd been awake throughout this round. Well, for some values of awake. She remembered talking with the surgeon and anesthetist, conversations between members of the surgical team, and the sound of sawing and pounding (shudder!). She also said that the operating room featured a collection of antique mason jars arranged atop the cabinets, just like the collection she has in her kitchen at home!

She was up and to the bathroom on her own within an hour of being delivered to her room. It was painful for her and hard work but she's determined to be in charge of her recovery, which is a good sign.

I'd planned to stay with her for a few hours before heading home for the night but I soon realized that I was a bit of a distraction. She was in a rather paradoxical condition -- really pleased and relieved to have the surgery behind her and the chronic pain gone but also exhausted, having surgical pain, and a bit loopy from the pain meds and anesthesia. As long as I was in the room she wanted to visit but she needed rest more than anything, so I bowed out and headed for home.

The next morning she texted me and said not to come over. "There's no need for you to drive all that way just to hold my hand." She also mentioned that she'd be in and out of the room with physical therapy and occupational therapy, and was concerned that if I visited I might be "left alone." 

So I stayed home on Tuesday.

Wednesday morning was a bit of a madhouse. It started with a call from the truck driver who was delivering a load of hay. He'd planned to come on Thursday, but the weather forecast called for very high winds across the region, and so he wanted to deliver a day early. Which I understood and agreed to.

Then Mom called. They'd planned to release her in the afternoon, but her blood pressure was quite low and they wanted to see it come back up before they'd let her go. She was disappointed and didn't want to spend another night in the hospital.

Then the hay showed up. Then the tractor -- which is equipped with a loader and is required to offload hay from the truck -- sprang (sprung? springed? spronged?) a hydraulic leak.
Floor-dry soaking up hydraulic fluid

It wasn't a terrible leak; an o ring had failed in the control level plumbing in the cab. The system was bleeding but not exactly bleeding out. Hydraulic fluid on the floor of the cab is a pesky menace though, extremely slippery and tending to coat everything. It's mostly a messy nuisance, but slippery clutch and brake pedals make for risky operation.
She's a good tractor.

I persevered though, and had 75 tons of hay offloaded in about 90 minutes. It wasn't pretty, but it was good enough.
Seventy-five tons of hay back there.

Another call from Mom brought the good news that she would be discharged at 4 p.m. It was quarter to two, so there was just enough time to make the trip.

My brother Justin and I hopped in the MKC and dashed on over.

Mom was in great spirits when we arrived, already dressed and rarin' to go. We fumbled through the usual blizzard of discharge paperwork and were quickly on the road.
Leaving the horsepistol.

As evidence of the taxing nature of major surgery, Mom quickly fell asleep and slept soundly and hard until we pulled up at the ranch. "We're here already?"

We'd left the ranch at 6 a.m. Monday morning and were returning at 6 p.m. Wednesday evening. That's sixty hours if my plutifier is working right. Quite amazing when you think about it. 
Home and on the mend.

Monday, February 15, 2016


It's 0439 as I write this. In two hours I'll be driving my Mom to the hospital in Loveland, Colorado, for to have her hip replaced.
An example xray stolen from the interwebs. This one shows a narrowed joint space in the left hip and more normal joint space in the right.

She had the starboard one done in 2014, now it's time for the port one.
Here's Mom's right hip before surgery. No joint space and the femoral head is disintegrating.

Past time by far, actually. She's been in a hell of a lot of pain and for far too long.
Here's the one-year follow up. Nice new metal and plastic hip on the right, but the joint space is gone now in the left.

If her previous experience is a reliable guide, she'll get almost instant relief from the pain and vastly improved mobility. She recovered much more quickly than is the norm from the first surgery. She's likely to do the same this time.
And here's the one from last month. That joint is failing fast.

Major surgery is a big deal and fraught with risk. They do these things with a spinal these days which makes me feel better -- general anesthesia can be pretty taxing on the whole system. At 75 her reserve tank isn't quite as full as it once was, and there's less margin for slop. These things have become rather routine here in the 21st century, but there's still a lot of worry.
Hanging out sheets a couple of weeks ago, in a damme snow drift, with a destroyed hip joint.

Knife is scheduled to drop at 1030 local.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Buncha disndat

Seems like it's been forever since I posted anything. I guess 16 days isn't forever though. I've had a lot of stuff to post about, and I've taken more than enough pictures and videos, but just haven't found the time.

Really don't have the time this morning but I'm waiting for some laundry to dry and that's excuse enough.

We got hammered with a pretty significant winter storm on Groundhog Day. Nothing unseasonal, mind you, but quite enough snow, ice, wind and cold to keep me jumping. As I've noted before (ad nauseam), everything is harder in the winter. Keeping cattle checked and fed and stock tank ice chopped isn't that taxing and doesn't take all that much time, but navigating through blowing and drifting snow is particularly time consuming.

I got myself stuck several times over the last couple of weeks and had to do some digging out. Also had a battery go south. So, you know, stuff.

Here's how it all began...

And here's a bit of the middle...

Couple of other bits of stuff. Dang Achilles tendinitis flared up. Of course. In the middle of digging out, which was immediately followed by dead battery, which led to hiking out. Sheesh!

Boy, am I in full whine this morning!

The icing on the cake was another damme birthday.

However, my 16 year old niece Julia rescued me. Her birthday card said:

"So you're another year older. Look on the bright side... Okay, there is no bright side. There's a bright light, but you're gonna want to stay away from that."

Just the medicine I needed!

Then it commenced to warm up a couple of days ago.
Is that a sunshine?

A lot of the snow melted. Last night there was a freezing fog. It persisted into morning. Morning freezing fog is spectacular. Especially when you know it's going to burn off and warm up.
Pretty is just a word.
Sun fighting through.
God art.
So pretty I hate to use the gate opener.
Almost no ice left. This thing was frozen solid a few days ago.
Cowrillas in the mist.

Frankie (who is a girl) approves of the weather change.

She does not, however, approve of my commentary.
Yes, she's relaxing in the kitchen sink. Your point?!?

This kind of beauty just plasters a smile all over my face.

And to put a bit of icing on the cake (groan)...

One swallow does not a spring make, but how about five gooses?

Hope ya'll have a superb weekend.