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Archive for the ‘torn meniscus’ Category

I have not been able to do much gardening this year. Sometime last spring, I tore the meniscus in my left knee. The pain kept me from trying to kneel or squat to dig in the garden, but I did manage to get in some weeding. By August, the garden was under control and I didn’t need to do much, except plan. And I had plans: divide the irises, move some of the peonies, move the day lilies, plant some bulbs, move around some bulbs: a litany of Autumn-type garden work that needs two elements: plenty of rain prior to working so the ground is soft and a nice sunny day to do the work in.

We’ve had plenty of both, but first I had to get past knee surgery. I still cannot kneel on my knees and squatting is still out of the question, so I am not even thinking about dealing with the end-of-the-season weeds. I’ll have to catch them in the spring, when I do the first of the season weeding.

Meanwhile, we adopted this dog: Murphy, the now-50#, five month old dominant ball of constant energy. Murphy has pulled up a considerable amount of the weed guard that took me five years to get into place. He digs holes in the yard. He “helped” me move a lavender plant during a mid-September rush on energy, but now the lavender lives a precarious life on the edge of the hole Murphy keeps dug out. He’s buried Winston several times. Winston

I bought some bulbs back in September (checkered lily, a variety of anenomes, spring crocuses). I saved the seeds from the wildflowers in my front borders (which I am abandoning because the rhododendrons make it impossible to keep anything alive and healthy in the bare spaces beneath them). Finally, I had the desired weather and decided I felt like I could at least plant the bulbs. So yesterday, I went out and planted them. I tried not to think about the mess of weed guard and holes in the yard. I had a narrow window of time when Murphy was gone to do this in, so I decided not to try to divide irises or move the lilies.

Today I am glad I didn’t. Murphy has been gone all day with his Boss: no short hike for them today, they went up into the mountains for the entire day. I decided today was the day to get that end-of-season work done. There’s a cold rain front moving in this afternoon and I may not get another chance.

My first job was to cut back all the fading stalks from the peonies, asters, and daisies. While I worked at that, I noticed a new hole in the first garden bed. Right where I planted a bulb yesterday. By the time I had all the dead-heading done, I had discovered five new holes: all where I carefully planted, tamped down, and sealed bulbs yesterday. I recovered two displaced bulbs, but I do not know what happened to the other three (I hope they aren’t poisonous to dogs). I was nearly in tears.

I am not going to even attempt to dig into the irises, lilies or peonies. I can’t begin to replace the ripped up weed guard. I can’t bend down onto my knee to weed. My garden is just going to have to go to winter unfinished. I’m rather upset about it. It took me five years to clean the weeds out of the established beds, put down the weed guard, and cover that with mulch. I did most of the work by myself while Don worked in the vegetable garden (which is fenced in). All I want is a nice flower garden with a year-long array of color.

We haven’t planted the arum bulbs, but I can’t see attempting to do it unless Don can think of a way to keep Murphy from sniffing them out and digging them back up. We spent a lot of money buying those bulbs. Fortunately, I did not spend a lot of money on the anenomes that Murphy ate (the two bulbs I found are the checkered lilies). I guess the best I can do this autumn is to make certain things are trimmed back and to hang onto my plans for my flower beds. Maybe by spring, Murphy will have settled down a bit. I really doubt it, however. I think by springtime I will be dealing with a 70# year old idiot dog. There may be a bigger dog run in his future, away from my flower beds.

I can hope.

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I have been avoiding writing. Not all writing: I have been working on that endless project, The Novel. I’ve been avoiding real communication, like a blog or a journal (which is not communication, it is private – at least until I am dead and cremated). I have no excuse.

So here I am sitting on my bed, leg elevated and blanketed in ice. What did I do? I have no idea. I have a vague memory of pain, but if I felt it when it first happened, or if I just noticed it sometime after the first tear… How would I know? I ignored it, thought it would goaway, and slowly realized I did something BAD to my knee. I put off finding out what BAD I did until the end of the summer when I finally faced the fact that it was not going to get any better. So I went to see a sports injury doctor (orthopedic doctor) even though I have not played a sport since 1982 when I played womens’ softball and they stuck me out in right field (and prayed no one would hit a ball to me). (It was a fine strategy: the other players brought our team to the championship and even let me celebrate with them, pretending I actually played, which I didn’t.)

The ortho doc sent me in for an MRI. I would not recommend an MRI for anyone who is a tad bit claustrophobic (like me), but fortunately they were only looking at a knee and I did not have to go inside the VERY NOISY machine. Oddly, they offered to let me listen to music while I was holding absolutely still for 20 minutes, but I turned down the headphones. I’m glad I did. As an HSP, I would have found listening to music and trying to filter out all the LOUD grinding and thumping noises of the MRI intolerable and would have come out of the machine a nervous wreck. Instead, I listened to the LOUD noises and felt the sensations in my leg as electro-magnetic impulses probed it and photographed it. The end result was a diagnosis I suspected and feared: torn meniscus in the left knee.

The meniscus is what we used to call the cartilage, specifically the cartilage between the leg bones, behind the knee cap. It does not repair itself. A torn one means surgery, nothing less.

I have had a heck of a time facing surgery. A year ago, I lost a very dear friend when she went in for a minor surgery and had a massive heart attack under general anesthesia. Her memory wreaked havoc with my emotions and sub-conscious. It did not help that every questionnaire I have had to fill out between the diagnosis and the actual surgery asked if  I have any family history that includes death under anesthesia. No, no family… And I was feeling … Old.

I decided not to blog about it until after the surgery because denial works for me. Now surgery is over by just a few hours and I feel pretty good. The local won’t wear off for several hours and I should have enough vicodin in my system that I won’t notice when it wears off. My husband is being a wonderful nurse and catering to my every need, even without me asking. My throat hurts from the breathing tube, but that’s pretty minor. The worst was – and always is, for me – waking up from the general anesthesia.

You get these horrid shivers. They won’t stop. It’s like having the chills, but you’re not cold, your body is just involuntarily shuddering off the drug they put you under with. When I woke up from the hysterectomy a few years back, I’d forgotten about the shivers and was unprepared for them. I was justified in forgetting: the only other surgery I’d had was a D&C in the early 1980’s, a memory I prefer to push to the back of my mind. And the surgery before that was in 1964 when they used ether and I woke up wanting to vomit. I did vomit. A lot. But I also got orange sherbet ice cream and my mom babied me.

My mom isn’t around to baby me and I have never felt nauseous coming out of anesthesia since (although they do warn you that you could experience nausea). No, I just get those uncontrollable shivers and I hate them. This time, I was prepared mentally, but I still hate them. And I thought to complain, so a nice shot of demerol helped. Ah, drugs.

So, the meniscus tear has been scraped and it wasn’t as bad as the doctor thought (mostly just a cyst that formed in there) and my husband of 28 years is pampering me and I wonder why I waited so long to fix this. Hopefully, I will keep enough vicodin in my system to keep wondering why I put it off.

And maybe I will blog more than once during my week off for recovery.

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