Knee Replacement –New Info.

There seems to be more Total knee replacements these days, or maybe it is just our age.   I have noticed recently a trend that is happening regarding the CPM machine.  This is Very disturbing to me as I had two knee replacements –the first surgery in 2004 and the 2nd in 2006.  Both are still doing well with me having full flexion.  BUT—on the RT knee replacement the Dr. ordered the CPM machine to be used the 3 days, post-surgery –in the hospital.  However, it seemed the staff was too busy, the PT came at a time that was too far out from my last pain meds, etc. The surgeon was not happy and she sent me home with a CPM ordered and a home PT visiting every other day.  With the CPM used about 6 hrs. per day and 2 during the night, I was able to get to 65 degrees by day 8.  It took me 2 wks. to get to 90 degrees. LEFT Knee Replacement–I was on CPM coming out of surgery and was at 90 degrees upon release from the hospital.

Why are they NOT using CPM machines?  That is a good question.

Reasons given:  Some Surgeons say–*the patient and Physical therapist can do the work without it.  That is certainly possible–BUT it is much easier to increase the rate of a machine moving your leg, than it is to have someone physically moving your leg on an irregular basis.  * Patients just leave them at the end of their bed and don’t use them.  * Some insurances have stopped paying for them.

RESULTS:  Knee Replacement patients are now returning to surgery several months or more to have manipulation surgery and scar removal.

Talk with your Surgeon prior to your knee replacement about getting a CPM machine right after your surgery and to have one at home within a day of release for 14-21 days and USE it!  You will be grateful that you ahd this helpful device to get you back on the move.

If you are planning a knee replacement in the near future you might want to know what to get for the post surgery recovery.

PLEASE COMMENT ON YOUR EXPERIENCES!

 

STOP Night-time LEG CRAMPS

If you have suffered unbearable leg and foot cramps during the night, you will appreciate this very simple, inexpensive solution that has helped many.  It is something that we ALL have in our home–A BAR of SOAP!

UPDATE:  Have used small soap bars for 4 months and still works.  SOAP must be shaved or REPLACED about every 2-3 wks or as soon as it stops working!  10/13

My Experience:

I have had severe leg cramps, starting with RLS (restless leg syndrome)which then develop into in painful cramps in legs and feet for a several years. I have tried the usual remedies like magnesium, magnesium gel, potassium, quinine (tonic) water and  several prescription drugs, with no lasting  effect on the leg and foot cramps.  On a recent trip to Spokane, WA ,a client of  my daughter’s Pilates class told me to place a bar of soap–unwrapped–between  the mattress pad and the sheet between my knees and feet. I thought it was a bit
odd, but thought “hey it costs nothing and I am not putting medication into my body” and have tried everything else suggested. So I tried it! I have used the method for a month and my cramps have completely  subsided. It is really quite unbelievable. I am not one that gets placebo  effects on anything, so know it is a WINNER–at least for many! Wish that more people knew about  this, it might save many from taking medications that do NOT work.

There are many Testimonials out there regarding the great results using this method. Learn More about leg Cramps and Soap!  Some recommend not using Dial or Dove Soap.  There are many theories as to why this works but no Scientific evidence why, but the number of people that have had great results, is indisputable.

Hoping this information helps you if you are suffering from night-time Leg Cramps.  If you find relief, PLEASE share your experience by making a comment on this website.

HAVE a PEACEFUL NIGHT!

 

 

 

WHAT IS SCOLIOSIS?

This was first published in 2011, but I felt it was worth republishing for those who may be suffering from scoliosis.  In addition to the other helpful blogs that I have done on scoliosis, I am planning to include our daughter’s 1980 scoliosis experience.

This series starts with the Diagnosis of Scoliosis, then to my personal story from 1958.  There will be many links to click on regarding “scoliosis” information, videos and resources.  

We would greatly appreciate your input and personal experience and hope that you find this and the links and video helpful in learning more about scoliosis.

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PART 1

This is the first of a Series of Blogs on Scoliosis.

“What is Scoliosis?”  Scoliosis is a medical condition in which the spine is curved to one side. The thoracic (chest) or lumbar ( lower back) regions are the most commonly affected.  Viewed on an X-Ray it may be a curvature which appears as an “S” curve or a “C” curve.  Scoliosis is typically classified as congenital (abnormality at birth) or idiopathic (unknown cause).  Scoliosis can be diagnosed by a physical exam of the spine, hips and legs along with X-Rays of the spine. It is very often diagnosed at about age 10-15 and the progressive type seems to be more prevalent in females.  There are also Neuromuscular and Degenerative types.  There is more information on these different types of scoliosis on  WebMed.

Scoliosis is often discovered through school screenings at 5th or 6th grade or through a routine Pediatric Appointment, which then  will often require X-Rays of the spine. One indicator is one shoulder lower than another with opposite hip slightly raised.   If the curvature is minor it may just need to be watched and may not requre any agressive treatment.

Sometimes excercise, Pilates or other Therapies will help keep the curvature from increasing and may help with actually treating the curvature and/or pain involved.

Another great reference is MayoClinic

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You may wish to read my personal story of having severe scoliosis at age 13 and what was then called “a complete spinal fusion” in 1958 and the protocol used at that time.  Methods have dramatically changed.

HEART ATTACKS

HEART ATTACKS

Many people ignore the symptoms of a pending heart attack,  thinking it is indigestion or heartburn, random pain or costochondritis-rib pains. Women tend to ignore these symptoms  (American Heart Assoc.) as they are usually in the middle of childcare, working, cooking or don’t want to be embarrassed by an ambulance coming to their home.  Many times the symptoms will be repeated and may last for longer periods.

Not only should you be aware of the Heart Attack signs or Symptoms, but you should know what to do if you see someone having a heart attack.  The following video can be of help if you happen to see someone who may be having a Heart Attack.  The following video is important to watch.

 Here is a GREAT VIDEO on what to do in case you think someone may be having a Heart Attack.

The Following are the most common Heart Attack Symptoms

  • Pressure or squeezing pain in your chest
  • Pain can extend to shoulder, neck or arm adn sometimes teeth and jaw
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Increasing episodes of chest pain
  • Heartburn

Forget the embarrassment or worry regarding going to the ER and maybe have nothing wrong.  In this case it is best to be SAFE rather then SORRY in this case.  CALL 911

 

 

BEST ICE PACK

THE BEST ICE PACK for post surgery or any ice pack needs.

Have you ever wondered why they say “use a bag of frozen peas” for an ice pack?  Depending on where it is placed it will probably fall off within minutes & then do you cook the peas?  I remember when my children were young and being sent home from the Drs. office with bags you fill with ice and finding that my child did not like the feeling of the ice cubes or the ice bag would not stay in place.

After my first knee replacement my P.T., who came to our home, gave me the BEST ICE pack recipe that was not only easy to make, but could be refrozen, stayed on the body part you placed it on and it was flexible for all sizes of people and body parts. I have shared it with anyone who has surgery or needs to ice any part of the body.  I have made this ICE PACK for friends and family through the years and the recipe has been given out more times that I can count.  So here goes:

BEST home-made Ice Pack. 

Take kitchen towel and place in 1 gallon Ziploc Bag.  Mix ½ Isopropyl Alcohol with 1/2  water—about ¾ cup ea.  After mixing,  Pour into Ziploc Bag , saturating the towel and mvoing the liquid around until the towel is completely wet.  if it is not all wet mix a bit more –half and half of Alcohol and water.  Zip bag, taking pusing out the air and place with Zipped end into another gallon Ziploc.  Freeze about 3 hrs., at least.  Ice pack is flexible and can be wrapped in another kitchen towel and placed over surgery or affected area.  The cold will last about 20-30 minutes and then can be refrozen—also great for children when they have injuries.  We keep 2 in our freezer at all times.  I also made one for a friend that had head surgery by using a quart bag and a wash cloth & less liquid mixture.  She could lay down and palce it where needed on her head.

The other nice thing is this cost practically nothing and are usual items around the home and it is reusable.

*This is also in another area on this website. 

10 Mental Health Tips


 10 MENTAL HEALTH TIPS 

  1. Make time for Family and Friends –Relationships need to be nurtured.  If taken for granted they will not be there to share life’s joys and sorrows.
  2.  Build Confidence-  Identify your strengths, abilities and weaknesses.  Accept them, build on them and do what is best to do with what you have.
  3.  Accept Compliments – Many of us have difficulty accepting compliments and kindness from others, or just saying “Thank You”. We need to remember the positive strokes when times are tough.
  4.  Give and Accept Support– Friends and family relationships thrive when they are “put to the test”.
  5.  Identify and Deal with Moods– We all need to find a safe and constructive ways to express our feelings of anger sadness, happiness, fear and joy.
  6.  Manage Stress– We all have stress in our lives but learning how to deal with them when they threaten to overwhelm us will maintain our mental health.
  7.  Create a Meaningful Budget– financial problems cause stress. Over spending on our “wants” rather than our “needs” is very often the problem.
  8.  Volunteer– Being involved in community gives a sense of purpose and satisfaction and creates a feeling of well-being. Find something that you enjoy doing and be a volunteer in that area.
  9. Find Strength in Numbers– sharing problems with others who have had smilar experiences may help you find a solution and will make you feel less isolated.
  10. Learn to be at Peace with Yourself– Get to know who you are, what makes you really happy, and learn to balance what you can and cannot change about yourself.

 

Problems and Suggestions for Scoliosis and Spinal Fusion

  Part 6—Problems and Solutions-Living with a Scoliosis or a Spinal Fusion  (a continuing series) Video at bottom of page

  Problems will be in GreenSolutions in Blue   

 

 Back Pain is probably the biggest issue for both those with scoliosis or a fused spine?

  • Water Therapy, Swimming, Exercise, Massage Therapy, Pilates, seeing a Chiropractor , Physical Therapy, Relaxation techniques & Ibuprophen can be of help.  Each person must try to find what works best for her/him when in pain.  
  •   HYDROTHERAPY –water therapy can be the absolute best as it provides weightlessness and relaxes tense muscles.  There are many Recreation Centers, Community or School pools that offer different types of water therapy. (I prefer swimming laps and then relaxing in a therapy pool. )
  • Keeping at a reasonable weight for your body type is important as extra weight stresses the back and legs, which may cause additional pain.  That is why excercise and eating a good diet are so important.
  • Getting enough sleep, but not staying in one position for long periods.

You cannot bend or stretch much because of a fusion or pain.

  • Purchase a “reacher or grabber”.    There are also businesses that carry special medical equipment or small items that can benefit you.
  • I find that using a Heating Pad at night helps with back pain, although purchase one that has an auto-shut off.
  • Hot Tubs–We have a personal theraputic hot tub that I use daily, usually in the morning to help with back stiffness after rising.

You may be limited on how much weight you can carry.

  • Try using smaller purses and back-packs. Be cognizant of the amount of weight that you lift or carry.

Feeling “Different” or restricted.  Teenagers or young adults may feel “different” from their peers.

    •  First of all, explain to others what your health issue is about–people are very accepting if they know that you are not overly sensitive?
    • Join groups and activites that you enjoy.
    • Find physical activities or sports that you can participate in and that may help your physical condition. (You should discuss with your Doctor regarding which activities are best for your condition)
      Please see the following video about a young lady who has pursued her interest in Gymnastics while undergoing treatment  for scoliosis.

   

  

  • ATTITUDE—keep a positive attitude and have supportive, positive friends.
    For me –swimming is foremost–it not only helps relieve back pain, it lifts my spritits and gives me the needed excercise.
    Massage Therapy as 2nd, which I have done for an hr. every 2 weeks for about the past 15 years. It can be expensive, but can really ease some of the pain.  It loosens the muscles and scar tissue around the fusion and relaxes the tenseness caused from the lack of movement in the fused area.  In the case of scoliosis, deep tissue massage helps the muscles relax  in the back.  I prefer really deep tissue massage and can move with much more ease after a session.

Part 7–Our Daughter’s Scolioisis story starting at age 5.
(She became a professional Ballet Dancer)

 

Growing up with a Spinal Fusion

Part 5: Growing up with a Spinal Fusion


During my teen years, I pretty much did what other teens do, although I was unable to participate  in Gym Classes.  I could ride a bike but with a very rigid posture.  Although I was very small boned and had large breasts, which made me quite self-conscious with my very erect posture, I was a happy teen.  I became quite outgoing and always befriended the underdog.  I dated quite a few nice guys and attended most dances and activities and never really felt uncomfortable about others knowing of my spinal fusion.

I had been told because of the extent of the fused spine that having children might cause a problem.  This did worry me some as I loved kids and was a camp counselor at age 15 ½ at the YWCA for 2 yrs. And then spent 2 summers with girls who had been placed in a special school.  We had camp at a Lake in MI even though the girls were from Toledo, OH.  I enjoyed this camp and loved living and working with the girls, primarilily in crafts and swimming, along with day-to-day activities and a few outings.  My back always gave me some pain, but staying active helped. Swimming was my favorite sport and still is.   More on my past.

I met my husband, John, in college and we got married after our sophomore year.  I took some time off of college to work full time at a State Home for the Physically and Mentally Challenged  individuals doing Arts and Crafts and Occupational Therapy.  I loved the job and the residents.  Mentally challenged individuals are now rarely institutionalized and are mainstreamed into society  if possible.

I did not get pregnant for over 3 years and we thought it might be becasue of my spinal fusion.  We applied for adoption and then I found out that we were pregnant.  Just 2 weeks after our 4th Anniversary we had a baby girl, then a boy and another girl about 2 years apart. I was considered a “high risk” preganancy and advised to gain only about 15 lbs. with each pregnancy.  I only weighed 122 lbs. when I delivered our first girl.  I did not seem to have much difficulty carrying the babies, but labor was all in my back and they could not do an epidural as there was no spacing between my vertabrae.  We were very happy that we had been able to have 3 children.  It was suggested that we stop with the 3 as each baby was larger.  Read more on spinal fusions.

Part 5 — Growing up with a Spinal Fusion

Part 6–Problems and Solutions living with a Spinal Fusion

Part 7:  Our Daughter’s Scoliosis Story

Part 8:  What Angelie is doing now

Part 8–RESOURCES for SCOLIOSIS

Spinal Fusion Home Recovery

Part 4    Scoliosis Surgery Home Recovery

An ambulance type vehicle took me home in Dec. 1958.  I was placed in a hospital bed that was donated by The Shriners.  I was also given prism glasses donated by The Optimist Club.  I was flat on my back and could be turned once a day onto a wedge pillow which left my face about 4 inches from the sheets. Although striped sheets were not my favorite, being so close for an hr., the change of position was welcome. 

Finally I was fitted for a body cast that was heavy plaster.  It was from my chin to the base of my torso, front and back.  A large hole was left mid stomach for air.  I would remain in this cast for 10 months without getting up.  A visiting nurse would stop by periodically to check for bed sores.  A Junior High girl friends’ Dad made me a desk type structure that fit over my cast.  While wearing the prism glasses I was able to see the shelf of the modified desk and was able to read, write and paint.  One of my Mom’s cousin had brochures from each State sent to me to look at and I loved Colorado the best.  We now live in Colorado. 

In the photo, my prism glasses can be seen on my forehead.  I was hooked up to my 8th grade classroom by a telephonic speaker so that I could hear my classes, winter semester, while being confined to bed.  From the Kalamazoo Gazette: “Thanks to Easter Seal funds and generous neighbors, Martha Kay’s long absence from her Oakwood Junior High School classes have ended even though she remains flat on her back”.   The article was written in early 1959 by Easter Seals, during their fund raising. 

I passed the time with schoolwork, friend’s and family visits, painting, reading and praying.   It was hard when Spring came and I could hear my younger brother, sister and friends, playing outside.  I did get to see a Robin build a nest, lay eggs and the hatching of the baby birds right outside my window in a forsythia bush.

When I had my final check up, again transported by ambulance to Blodgett Hospital, where the cast was removed.  I had ¼ “ of dried skin underneath the cast and I fainted from the odd feeling of having the cast removed.  I had worn it for 7 months and had not been in an upright position. I then needed to learn to walk again, which although sounds easy, was a bit challenging at first.   I spent that summer in a removable type body brace, which I wore for 6 months into my 9thgrade year school year.

Part 5 — Living with a complete Spinal Fusion done in 1958

Part 6–Problems and Solutions living with a Spinal Fusion

Part 7:  My Daughter Angelie’s Scoliosis Story

Part 8:  What Angelie is doing now

Part 8–RESOURCES for SCOLIOSIS

 

 

 

MY SCOLIOSIS SURGERY

Part 3—My Scoliosis Surgeries

On Sept 24, 1958, I was wheeled in for my first surgery for Scoliosis. This surgery was to straighten from the last Thoracic vertebra (T-12) to the last Lumbar vertebra (L-5).   See Spinal Column  This was the longest and most painful of the two surgeries.

Cadaver bone chips were attached a section of my partially straightened spine section and would hopefully grow into my own bones, which meant many bedridden months.  At that time the Harrington Rod was not yet used in most spinal fusions.

The surgery took about 5 hours.  I vaguely remember starting to come awake during the procedure.  I was then given Ether, (an older anesthetic), which they had not planned on using.  I was put in Critical Care, (ICU) although really not sure what it was called back then.  I guess I kept asking to take the terrible smell away, which was the Ether smell.   I think my parents applied some kind of perfumed cream to my arm to help cover the smell of the ether.  (To this day, I do not like perfume).  I was in critical condition for about 8 days and my parents were told that I might not pull through.  One of my worst memories is that a new Dr. came into my room and sat on my bed to speak with me.  It moved my back enough so that I was in so much pain that I lost consciousness.  My parents said that every time that Dr. would pass by the room, I would scream.  I was told that he felt terrible and had not realized that he should not sit on my bed.

I believe that I was in the hospital for 10-14 days and then moved back to Mary Free Bed to await the next surgery on my thoracic/lumbar area. I was back in the Milwaukee Brace.  During my hospital stay, I had several roommates, unfortunately all in critical condition suffering from broken necks, brain tumor surgery and one having a spinal fusion. My folks kept telling me that following surgery each had been transferred to a different room, but several months later told me the truth, which was they did not survive their surgeries. 

My next surgery of the thoracic spine was scheduled for Oct. 28th.  I was most reluctant to have another surgery, but knew it had to be done.  The second operation was from Thoracic 12 up to and including Thoracic 5, again with bone grafts.  I recovered more rapidly from this surgery back in Mary Free Bed and was transported home in Dec. shortly after I turned 14. 

Surgeries today are done much differently.  For a personal story from the new way to treat scoliosis read Michelle’s story.

Always laugh when you can.  It is cheap medicine.

Part 4—10 months  at home in bed