Saturday, March 19, 2016

One Week Post Surgery

What a differene a week makes. It's been a week since I had the surgery and although I usually awake with some pain in my leg, I'm able to flex my leg to 120 degrees, the highest setting on the CPM machine. I was determined to hit the maximum limit on Thursday and Friday so that I could return it to the orthopedic rental company on Saturday.

This morning, I accompanied Mama to Home Depot so that we can make some laundry detergent and facial soap tomorrow as a DIY project. 

I spent 2.5 hours in the morning in the CPM machine and I'll do another 2 this evening.  I changed my meds today and opted NOT to take my Norco pain killer after lunch. I will now only take the aspiring 325 mg & Norco twice daily and the arnica tablets 3 times daily  to help with the swelling and bruises.

There's still a bit of brusining on my shins and back of knee and my original bandages are doing OK.

I was able to walk without crutches as well!

Paint Pump Removal

This morning following breakfast and 2 hours on the CPM machine, I removed the long pain pump catheter. It was about 5 inches long and it came out almost effortlessly. I felt it move through my leg but it wasn't too bloody. Luckily, I was able to remove the blood that was pooled in the bandages. I cleaned it up and the arthoscopic part had some dried blood but it was OK.

My Mama gave me a towel bath which felt nice and I was able to change into comfortable pants, after being freed from the catheter.  I also spent more time in the CPM machine in the evening and went up to 76 degrees. There is definite progress!

Yea! And, I'm able to eat better now. 

Day 4 Post Op

Day 4 is better than Day 3 or Day 2 because it's a day closer to recovery. I posted a photo of my leg in the CPM machine on FB and received a lot of comments, mostly prayers and good wishes. Where else can we receive such positive feedback so quickly from so many people from around the globe? 

Each day is an effort and I knew that it would be a challenge for me to heal. In between CPM therapy, I find myself napping, watching Amazon Prime videos and reading.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

ACL Surgery Recovery - 1st Three Days

Without the pain medication, I awoke early to call some nearby pharmacies and reached a 24-hour Walgreens not too far away that had the medication. Papa and I went there and we  waited a bit for the pharmicist to fill the order. She needed my ID, Saipan address and cell phone information so it was necessary for me to be there.

Thanks to Dr. Pham, the anesthesiologist, he gave me a pain block and pain pump so I felt quite good.  The CPM (Continuous Passive Motion) machine was delivered in the afternoon which bends and extends my right leg while I sit in front of the TV.  Unlike last time, my pain pump area bled a bit more so I only did a bit. My leg bled a bit from the pain pump area so I stopped for the day.  Saturday's meals consisted of Reliv shake with a scoop of Reliv Now, 1/2 banana, water, 2 ice cubes and a splash of soy milk plus yogurt with banana, sunflower seeds and almonds for breakfast.  Lunch and dinner served more flavorful miso soup, which is about all I could handle with the limited appetite.

I felt better on Sunday so I started the CPM machine for 2.5 hours in the morning with the 55 degree angle and managed to do some work. Medication gets me tired and appetite low. With the cooler weather, I need a blanked around my left leg to keep warm while sitting in the CPM.

Sunday's meals were similar but Mama made a new shrimp and vegetable Chinese type dish for dinner and I ate a good portion for dinner.  I sat in the CPM machine at 60 degrees for 2 hours in the evening and cleaned the pain pump entry area with more rubbing alcohol. 

Tomorrow, I'll be able to remove the pain pump, which is kind of a pain because it's a small bag with an IV connected through a needle in my lower right thigh.

Monday, March 14, 2016

ACL Surgery - Deja Vu

On Friday, I returned to the Good Samaritan Hospital in Downtown Los Angeles to undergo my second ACL surgery.  Since January 7th in Niseko, I've been wearing the BREG brace below, angled at 30 degrees to allow my MCL to heal naturally after a grade 2 tear.  My ACL displayed a complete tear after the fall that afternoon, after we had skiied in Annupuri and finished our lunch at PIC Burger.  

That afternoon, I was taken down the mountain by Ski Patrol on a sled to the Kutchan Hospital where I was seen by the orthopedist, given an XRay and MRI and released within 3 hours.  When I heard the two pops on the fall, I knew that it was seroius. That sinking feeling left me feeling disappointed.

My Niseko Physio Therapist, Wennie, was fantastic! She gave me exercises to perform and recommended the BREG brace to wear for at least 6 weeks.  I wore it for a little over 8 weeks and completed the exercises religiously to maintain leg strength.
We arrived early and registered at 5:30am and taken to the Short Stay area on the third floor. The nurses inserted an IV into my right arm, took my blood pressure and asked me multiple questions. The anesthesiologist, OR nurse, Dr. Samson and others came to my bedside to ask more questions and prep me on the surgery. I changed into my hospital gown and cap. Dr. Samson, who repaired my left ACL five years ago and left shoulder four years ago, marked my right knee with a pen to indicate the correct knee.
After being wheeled into the OR, I met one old OR nurse from my previous surgeries.  Dr. Pham said that he was going to relax me and I don't remember anything afterwards. I awoke at 10:08am in the OR recovery room and realized that the surgery had finished. I lost two hours of time due to anesthesia and didn't realize that it was done.  
Dr. Samson came by my bedside to inform me that the ACL was completely ruptured and he repaired with an allograft (cadaver patellar tendon). He also repaired a slight tear in the meniscus while the MCL had healed naturally. I was discharged around 1:30pm after a PT session. I walked around and learned how to climb and descend stairs. I got a little car sick on the ride home but made it throught the rainy 2.5 hour drive back.  We visited 4 pharmacies but they didn't carry Norco so we went home without the presciption. That everning, I drank Mama's miso soup and went to bed. My knee felt heavy with a pain pump bag connected by a IV line which is inserted into my leg.

Surgery day went well and I was happy to return home for rest.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

First Day of Skiiing/Boarding

We're back! It's been many consecutive years that we've returned to our favorite snow destination and it's Niseko. Why? There's great powder snow, amazing restaurants, soothing onsens and most of all, the fun people we get to spend time with on our winter holiday. It makes all the difference to enjoy the snowy outdoors with others who enjoy the same.

We've reconnected with Dick and Miguel Brostrom yesterday on the slopes, along with Andrew. Yesterday, it snowed the entire day making the slopes soft and pillowy. Very few icy patches so no falls!  We returned to Boyoso (aka A Frame) to dine at our favorite lunch spot where I had a kani-don (boiled king crab on rice). It was as delicious as expected.
More friends arrive today so there will be more stories and adventures ahead.
Happy 50th Niseko and Happy 2015!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015...Happy New Year!

January 1, 2015

In my lifetime, there have bee 46 New Year's celebrations and I'm grateful to experience today's. Oshogatsu is Japan's largest holiday and how fitting it is for us to travel to our most favorite destination... Niseko!

As the number of celebrations coincide directly with my age, I've come to truly appreciate the essence of life. In Niseko, life is simple, active and harmonious, which is not the norm in our daily lives. Each year, we get the opportunity to spend a couple weeks inhabiting the snow culture which consists of a series of comfortable rituals that energize the mind, body and spirit.

In the morning, we wake to eat a big, hot & hearty breakfast while checking the snow and wind conditions. Next, we head out the door bundled up in our thermals, down, boots, helmets, gloves, scarves and armed with either a snowboard or skis & poles. We ride up to the top of the mountain and descend down the various slopes until a late lunch where the group congregates to share tales of yard sales, aka crashes, and other adventures. Lunch in itelf, is atypical.  My stomach yearns for crab ramen, crab on rice or a tasty curry after the morning ski session.  The afternoon session lasts a couple more hours until the body's chill factor determines when it's ready to head back to the house and sit next to the fireplace with a cup of steaming hot tea.

Dinner is a culinary delight but prior to that, we satiate our aching muscles with a dip into a thermal onsen, one that is located outdoors so that our heads are sprinkled in snow flakes while our bodies remain precariously hot in the 40 C degree therapeutic bath. Horse mackerel, snow crab, sashimi, salmon, fresh vegetables and unique Japanese creations adorn our dinner plates until we walk out of the restaurant with our bellies full. When we return to the house, it's game, dice, board games before it's time for bed. The next day, it's a repeat. 

The best part of the day is not necessarily skiing, boarding or dining. It's the precious time we share with each other. For Russ and me, it's couple time and family time. Our wonderful group of friends who meet up in Niseko recognize the significance of simply enjoying each other's company by spending quality time on the slopes and in the house creating lasting memories.

Photos from this morning's flight...time to rest! Great to have our own rows.
A peak go Mt. Fuji in the distance.

Now at Narita Airport after eating some delicious ramen.