Thursday, December 29, 2005

To knee or not to knee?

Well the dust has finally settled somewhat on the whole knee thing so it's time to report (okay, you saw through me, I've just been slack about writing about it). Paul had his surgery last Tuesday night (despite being scheduled for 4pm, he finally made it into surgery around 7pm). All went as well as these things do, I gather. That is to say, his anterior cruciate ligament was completely torn apart, but it's a fairly routine (if painful) procedure to replace that. For the queasy among us, I won't mention it involves taking a third of the patella tendon complete with bone plugs, drilling holes through femur and tibia, threading the donor tendon through the holes and securing it with screws. That part was simple. The complicating factor is the stress fracture of the femur... This is not common (one in 25o, the surgeon said) and there is not a whole lot that can be done about it at this stage. Paul has to stay on crutches for four weeks (in a standard ACL op, often they don't get any crutches at all) and avoid any weight-bearing or pivoting. After that, he will have an MRI to check on the healing of the stress fracture (which is not technically on the bone, but in the hardened cartilage right on the end of the bone - think the shiny white end of a chicken leg). If it doesn't heal properly by itself, he will probably have to have a bone graft. I'm guessing that's not a fun operation.
By all accounts, Sportsmed and Dr Keene were great (as you would expect with an url like as were the nurses. I don't think he was so fond of the passive movement machine which continually forced his knee up to 90 degrees almost immediately after the operation, for three hours. Ouch. One cool thing is that the doctor took photos as he did the operation and Paul got a neat little write-up of what happened. That's this pretty photo right here.

Recovery has been slow and arduous. He has a bunch of exercises to do several times every day. He is just now able to get the leg to 90 degrees himself, but still can't straighten it fully. The pain was and is constant and strong, helped now somewhat by the illegal possession of very strong painkillers courtesy of Stan 'in the hospital they call these morphine' F. The leg swelled up big time, and along both sides of the foot it looks like a giant bruise where I assume the blood has pooled. Swelling has gone down now, and there is more movement with a little less pain, so things are slowly improving. Next week is the physio appointment, where they will be expecting him to be able to do the straighten and 90 degrees thing, then the week after is the follow-up with the surgeon. From there, they will book the MRI to see how the stress fracture is doing.
So no prospect of returning to work any time soon, although he did drive today for the first time.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Growing up, throwing up and sewing up

Tonight Sophie, at six months and three days, had her first solid food. That, combined with her improved crawling and just a hint of tooth under the gum, means she is well and truly growing up. A baby's first solid food is always a big thing for me, partly I suppose because it signals they are already halfway through their first year, but mostly because, up til now, other than that one little sperm contribution way back when, every cell that has grown and developed in that little body has been nourished from my body. That's fifteen months or so of total dependence, and the formation and growth of a beautiful human being solely from me, without even trying! And now, with that spoonful or four of pumpkin tonight, everything changes. Okay, so technically she was probably also nourished from the pieces of paper she ate last night, and the little bits of green fluff she pulled off the carpet the other day, and whatever she sucked out from under Ryan's fingernails, but you get the point. Not only does she now get nourishment from other sources, but oh, the mess! I just know with my crowd, the novelty of feeding the baby will not wear off for a long time. Feeding a baby is messy enough when it's me feeding her, but when it's the two year old...! Tonight's pumpkin was well recieved, two spoonfuls given by each sibling and all caught on videotape (plus the Mars Bar that Paul decreed should be her second solid food). Now just to wait for that first solid-food pooey nappy tomorrow.

And onto the throwing up - Bethany's turn tonight. She started feeling sick in the early evening, which is definitely better than 11pm. Lots of stoic sitting around with a bowl held up to her mouth. The actual vomit came after sitting at the toilet bowl for a while. She decided she really had to wee, so she stood up and turned around to sit on the toilet, just in time to spew all over her dedicated mother, sitting next to her keeping her company. Oh yay. But, like the others, once the vomiting was out of the way, she felt better and is now sleeping soundly. Some weird bug this one - a couple of days incubation period, seemingly very weak transmission (otherwise you'd think everyone would get it at once) and actually a very mild illness. At least it's not Listeria.

And the sewing up? Well, technically that happens tomorrow when Paul gets his knee done, almost two weeks to the hour from when he injured it. But I liked the title. :)

Picture: A few of Hannah's favourite things (Picasa is my new toy)

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Here are a few of Bethany's favourite things

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Ick ick sick

A couple of nights ago, Hannah woke up crying, which quickly turned into that chesty cough thing that made me run and grab a towel. She spewed up all in the towel and on her quilt. Yay. She was quite happy though once she'd got it out of her (must have been my spaghetti bolognaise). I brought her into my bed (first judiciously covering every available surface with beach towels) and gave her a little drink of water. Ten minutes later, vomit everywhere again. Hooray for beach towels! I wised up after that and got her a bowl. She slept fine all night long, then had another drink of water at about 5am. More vomitting. This time I got the bowl under her, so there was very little mess. I think, though, that she thought having the bowl there was what was making her vomit. She kept trying to push it away so she could heave in peace all over my bed. At about 8am I gave her some toast and water and she kept that down no problems, which was good because I sent her to childcare anyway. Knowing the rules about vomitting, I kind of stretched the truth and said she only vomitted once at 11pm. I know it's a bad thing, but she really was just fine, and had held her breakfast down. Besides, I had to take Paul to Sportsmed to get his knee looked at. That was challenging enough with Bethany and Sophie, never mind adding Hannah to the mix!
And just when you thought too much vomitting was never enough... Two nights later, Ryan came in to my bedroom saying he felt sick. I was just about to dismiss him politely (Bethany had already snuck into my bed at some stage of the night, otherwise I would have invited him in to sleep) when he did that lovely gutteral cough/belch thing. I told him to run to the bathroom while I extricated myself from between Bethany and Sophie. When I made it to the bathroom, he was vomitting all over the floor. I told him to move across to the toilet, but he only made it a bit further along the floor before vomitting again. By the time he actually made it to the toilet, there was no vomit left. What a waste of great veal schnitzel (his favourite food too!). Now, I will note, that when vomit hits a hard tiled floor from a small height, it splatters. Everywhere. I should also add that, on account of being part of my house and subject to my own peculiar housekeeping, there is all sorts of stuff on the floor of my bathroom. On this occasion, for example, there were: Ryan's sneakers, Bethany's slippers, a bath mat, some toys, my pyjama bottoms. All of these were undeniably enhanced by the colours and aromas of regurgitated schnitzel. As were his feet, my feet, and the pyjamas we were wearing.
At least it motivated me to give my bathroom a very thorough clean the next day.