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Aching joints create many problems

KATHRYN YARBRO
Guest columnist

(I wrote this column last year and couldn’t decide whether to use it or not.  Now many are asking why I use a cane. This is the reason.)

If you have had knee joint replacement surgery raise your right hand. If it was successful raise your left hand.
If it still hurts when you walk. Sit down.
I’ll bet there are more sitting than standing.
When joints wear out sometimes the replacement can relieve pain but leave problems behind.
Like many other people, I had a very painful knee. Injections relieved it for years and then that didn’t help anymore.
I entered the hospital for replacement surgery expecting to stay three days. Eleven days later I was still trying to wake up. So I was carted off to a nursing home for several weeks. Supposedly for rehab. I still couldn’t stay awake.
No rehab for me. I didn’t want to get up, exercise, eat, drink or talk to visitors.  All I wanted was to be left alone.
In my dream-like state I told family, friends and others to just to go home and leave me alone. One nephew still laughs about me telling him to go home and come back in a month.
I didn’t know this. All I remember was that I was very sleepy and didn’t want to leave my pillow.
But some days I was helped to a wheelchair and left to sit up. I guess it was part of my therapy.
Other days I was given a ball of  putty and told to find the pennies inside. If it was meant to wake me up, it failed. Like I cared if they had lost their pennies. All I wanted was to get back in bed and close my eyes.
One day on my sitting up time in the wheelchair I had a bad reaction. The EMTs were called and I wound up at the local hospital. After a several days, a few x-rays, some scans and other treatments, the doctors said that I should return to the nursing center, but I had a caring family who said no.
So after rearranging my home to include a hospital bed and everything needed for a sleepypatient, I was at home again.
It was wonderful. It had taken several weeks but I was gradually leaving that dream-like state and I knew I was home with my family.
During the time away, I had been treated  several times for pneumonia, cellulitis from my knee to my foot, blood clots, and of course my knee replacement wound among other ailments.
I’m not sure anyone knew what was wrong with me if they did they kept it quiet.  But when my niece, who had been in nursing for years, came tovisit, she heard all my ailments and promptly said C-diff.
C-diff, short for Clostridium difficile, is a bacterial infection, that lingers for months and refuses to leave some people. It also leaves you vulnerable for other illnesses.
But I was among the very fortunate ones.
Slowly I was waking up with the expert help of family and two young therapists who came every day and dragged me out of bed.
It was a slow but painful recovery.  From the bed to the wheelchair to the walker to the cane took lots of effort and several months.
But I am one of the lucky ones. With God’s love and lots of support from family and friends, I can now walk, talk and love to visit with friends and family. My cane is ready and waiting.
So Bud, you’re welcome anytime.

Kathryn Yarbro is former managing editor of the Lincoln Times-News.

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