On the other side

28 years ago I was at Hinsdale hospital with Steve, and at  10:13, I  welcomed Patrick Dahl into the world. It was a day that changed everything for me.  Now I am back at Hinsdale Adventist, and I have to tell you- there is no parting gift like a baby. I am departing tomorrow with a brand new knee, a spiffy walker, and a 3 way commode/shower stool.  I think in my current state of disrepair, it is better that I have medical devices than a new baby.  The intervening years have gone by at warp speed, and I have had plenty of time to reflect upon it while in a prone position.  The fact that I have never had to spend a night in the hospital for anything but childbirth is indicative of the blessed life that I have had. pat+29.jpg 

Pat is at a surprise birthday gathering at Hooters- a place reviled by his beautiful wife Rachel, but selected by her because Pat loves their wings, and once upon a time in their relationship, she refused to patronize a place that objectified women.  That concession is indicative of the type of marriage they have- subject to bilateral revision and negotiation.  I am so glad to hand off his birthday to such a wise and generous wife. I am also glad that he isn't here at the hospital, watching over a slightly doped up Mom as she moves toward ambulation.    

The surgery was a rousing success.  The knee was a mess- polished to a marble like glow from the friction of bone on bone rubbing.  It was the knee of an 80 year old, says my surgeon.  I hope it is my only geriatric joint.  I am going to post a picture of it post-op- and -WARNING- it is graphic and ugly.  I have staples down the knee, and Dr. Collins made hash marks on it so he could line up the skin for the fasteners.  To me is represents the future, pain free and balanced on two legs.  There is a lot of rehab between that goal and now, but I am game.  My German side rescued me today- after a night of bad dreams and bedpan nightmares.  I have mastered steps, the walker, getting out of bed and the washroom today.  Soon I will be chasing Steve.

Speaking of Steve, he has been an amazing companion and cheerleader.  He arranged a family dinner Sunday to distract me, was calming and efficient as we checked in at 5:30 on Monday, got me a private room, and has handled all my embarrassing needs like an MD.  He has logged so much chair time that he is butt sprung.  I cannot say enough about how lucky I am to have him as my partner, for better or worse.  As he carried my 3-way commode/shower stool to his car with a look of profound embarrassment, I fell in love with him all over.  There are many people facing scarier surgeries than mine, all alone.  I am praying for them.  
In the mean time, I am off the pain pump, on to pain pills.  I got my knee to bend 100 degrees
and I am off the clear diet.  Salisbury steak and mashed potatoes tonight-woo hoo!  I am on coumadin, and my brain reflects my thin blood.  I am in awe of the people who make health their life's work.  It is such a hard job-I can hear pain in the hallways, and crabby complainers everywhere.  Yet on they go- healing and soothing.  
I will write more when my brain and I reconnect.  In the meantime, thank you to all who sent good wishes or thoughts. They helped me to be brave.  All is well.  
Happy Birthday, Patrick.  It has been a good 29 years.  


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  • Your brain is just fine...that is, as always, a wonderfully reflective piece of writing. I am happy that you are doing so well and that Steve has been such a blessing! I, too, pray for those without that support. And belated Happy Birthday to Patrick. I delivered my first child on April 28th, 3 years before. I just told her yesterday that before 1978, April 28th was just another date...now, it is always a day to celebrate one of the greatest joys and blessings in my life! Continue to heal and recover...you'll be better than ever very soon!


  • Janet,
    So happy that you are on your way!
    Your positive attitude and grateful heart will see you through!

  • Janet -
    You've been in my thoughts and prayers and I'm so glad that you're doing well. I've always thought that Steve was amazing and as we all age, he proves it! I remember Patrick's birth so well and will still cry if I hear the tape. Thank you so much for making us a part of your life and the life of your family. It's odd that a complete stranger can feel so strongly about a "personality" and his family, but I do and I know I'm not alone. Continue your path to wellness - everyone that I know who has had a kneww replacement is so happy that they did. Take care.

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