Bloomin' Desert...

Bloomin’ Desert…

It’s springtime in the outback.  Temperatures are warming up, and plants are turning green and/or blooming.  Highs are in the 70’s and low 80’s.  We’ve been living in Alice Springs for just over a hear now.

 

It’s been almost three weeks now since Lisa’s knee surgery.  She is doing fine and is on schedule with her recovery, but has not done much rehab so far because of the extent of the surgery.  It involved both arthroscopic and open incision.

 

For those who like details, below is the gist of an email that Lisa wrote a week ago, describing her knee surgery:

 

“I am doing well, especially considering the repairs Dr. Herald had to make. Many of you kept up with Steve’s running commentary on Facebook covering the trip to Sydney for surgery. In case you missed it – or don’t mind a recap – here is the condensed version.

Back Yard

Back Yard

 

“Normally I avoid the phrase ‘new and improved’ because the general usage in advertising is talking about an existing product that has been improved but is not new. However, in this case it seems appropriate.

 

“Tuesday, 28 Aug – The surgery, expected to take about two hours, took over three hours. Afterwards the surgeon called Steve on our mobile phone to say that it went fine but that I had torn just about every ligament in my knee to one degree or another. He repaired the ACL and a couple of others (more on that shortly) and the rest appeared to be healing on their own and should be okay, now that the knee is stabilized. Spent the night at St. Luke’s hospital, expecting to be discharged the next morning.

 

“Wednesday, 29 Aug – We talked face to face with the surgeon about 9:00 am. Surprise… The damage inside my knee was more than he had suspected. (I, however, was convinced there was more going on, just didn’t know what.) He had thought it would be an arthroscopic ACL reconstruction with possible MCL and/or meniscus repair. He was definitely right about the ACL; it was ruptured and he did do the reconstruction using an allograft (donated ligament). He also had to do significant meniscus repair. The PCL was sprained but not torn. (Tough to do, since the PCL is stronger than the ACL – but I managed!) The MCL and LCL were both torn, but he didn’t do much to them because they seemed to be healing reasonably well on their own. The big surprise was the posterolateral corner (PLC) of the knee, a complex area that you can read about it on wikipedia. There was significant damage there which he could not repair arthroscopically, so he had to do a 3-4 inch incision and go into the knee to do major repair there, using the remainder of the allograft. (The nice part is that they never had to rob Peter to pay Peter, meaning that they did not remove material from my hamstring for the repair.) Thus the term ‘new and improved’ – my knee is improved and also has a new part, thanks to an unknown donor. The outcome is still expected to be complete recovery but this will slow down the initial rehab a bit. We saw a physical therapist at the hospital later and decided I should spend another night in the hospital so that they could help me with pain management and mobility. Emily the physio (PT) didn’t want to send me out into the cold cruel world on crutches too soon! Fine with me.

 

Lisa Recuperating

Lisa Recuperating

“Thursday, 30 Aug – I had a good night, slept well, and was eventually discharged from the hospital after a session with Emily and getting the large bandage off the knee. The drugs have kept the pain at bay. (I watched the opening ceremonies of the London 2012 Paralympics while waiting and am in awe of the courage of the athletes in a way I’ve never experienced before. Those men and women are my heroes!)

 

“[Just a note about the hospital – I had a private room on a fairly quiet corner of the fourth floor. The view out the window was dominated by a magnificent tree, very peaceful and pleasant to look at and the home to all sorts of birds. I loved listening to the Australian magpies, and had a number of visits from Rainbow Lorikeets on a corner of the roof about 20 feet from the window. They are stunningly beautiful birds, about the size of a small pigeon, with blue heads, orange beaks, green backs and brilliant orange breasts. What a gift from Abba Father, the Creator!]

 

“Sunday, 2 Sep – After spending much of my time at the apartment lying on the couch with a very attentive nurse (thank you, Steve!), we headed to the airport. A wonderful young lady, a friend of mine who works for Qantas in Alice Springs, upgraded us to business class for our flight from Sydney back to Alice Springs. Frances, bless your generous soul. 🙂

Example of Rainbow Lorikeets

Example of Rainbow Lorikeets

 

“Sunday, 9 Sep – I’ve been focusing on resting, reducing the inflammation, and getting the muscles to start working. We have once again been blessed with meals from church friends. Tuesday (11 Sep) the stitches come out, and Friday morning I have an appointment with Lauren, my local physical therapist. Dr. Herald wants me weaned off the crutches in the next week or so; around the house is going well but I haven’t gotten out much yet. I’ll see him here in Alice on 22 September for a follow-up appointment, and will know more about his thoughts on how long I’ll be in the brace, etc. Seems like he said about six weeks, but hey, I was on drugs… Driving won’t happen for a couple of months at least.

 

“Many have shared their own experience with knee rehab, so I’ve been forewarned that the process can be long, discouraging, and painful but is possible. Continued prayers are appreciated as I start down that road. ‘Follow through’ has never been one of my strengths, so I see this as God’s plan for developing character and reliance on Him in ways I’ve never known. He is good, all the time.

 

“Love you all and hope to hear from you…”

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