Wow, what progress Odel has made in just two weeks! For the past several days, he has been able to move relatively freely inside (barely using his cane), to dress himself (including socks), and to situate himself on the bed, chair or couch without my assistance. The biggest news? Today, he took his first trip down our steep front steps and enjoyed a few minutes of walking outdoors. Suddenly, I can begin to imagine life returning to normal. :)
Christine, Odel’s physical therapist, comes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. She is patient, knowledgeable, and fun; we look forward to her visits. At the end of each session, she measures Odel’s range of motion in degrees: how acutely he can bend his knee, and how well he can extend it. That gives Odel a goal, to keep him motivated as he runs though his daily rehab routine – actively exercising, elevating, icing, or using gravity to passively stretch his healing leg muscles.
Today’s report: he can bend his knee to 101 degrees (90 degrees are necessary to be able to rise easily from a chair; 110-120 is his ultimate goal) and is within 5 degrees of straightening his leg completely (necessary to walk without a limp). There is a 4-week post-surgery “window” to achieve this particular goal (full extension), so Odel works on it daily - and has just 5 degrees to go!
The life of the caregiver is busy, busy, busy – but that, too, has eased dramatically during the past week. Odel handles all of his various drugs without my help. His increased mobility means that I can be away from the motorhome for longer periods, and that I do less jumping up and down when home. He does most of his exercises without assistance now – I usually help during just one of his exercise routines.
With my newfound free time, I took Saturday off! After making sure Odel had plenty of easy-to-access food and all the drugs he needed, my sister Nancy and I headed east into the foothills of the Sierra to visit our parents for a bit. Mid-morning, we drove another 5 miles to Sydney’s and Frank’s house (sister and BIL), where we jumped into their new Prius and headed to Sutter Creek, an enjoyable Gold Rush town on Highway 49.
The weather was springtime perfect, and we enjoyed a long day of home touring (a fundraiser), lunch with wine tasting, and shopping along Main Street. Get this: we used ONE gallon of gas for the 48+ mile round trip! I didn’t have to do any planning OR driving, and came home loose and relaxed to find nothing at all amiss with Odel, who had enjoyed a day of watching sports on TV. It was a caregiver’s dream of a day – thanks, sisters, Frank, and Odel!
On Sunday, I buckled down to some of Odel’s usual jobs – dumping the black water, and washing the Jeep. I find I don’t mind the dumping much – though I wouldn’t say I LIKE the chore, it is something both parties should be able to handle (like driving). Washing the Jeep is another story. Odel and I have joked about how dirty the Jeep would have to be before I would wash it. Well, now we know… a thick layer of yellow pollen baked on by morning dew and warm sunshine, splattered with just a few raindrops from a light evening shower – and several blobs of bird poop on the windshield, the last straw.
So, as we head into Week 3, the patient is far more mobile, and beginning to reduce the dosage of pain pills he has been taking since the surgery. The caregiver has regained reasonable autonomy with several periods of downtime each day. Still no recreational walking allowed for Odel (that is a long way off), and I know he won’t be able to help with grocery shopping for quite some time (I miss that).
Now, gotta’ run… time to help with Odel’s afternoon exercise session, empty the trash, put together a batch of chicken enchiladas, check the laundry bin…
Oh, guess what? My official Weight Watchers weight loss: 4.6 pounds, and falling. I’ve missed a few meetings, but did manage to make it in do be weighed last week, and the trend is downward. Life is GOOD!