Sunday, April 28, 2024

Update on the 2022-2023 Temperature Quilt

Close up view of the border
Goal number one on my April list was to make progress on my 2022-2023 Temperature quilt. I sure thought that I not only would have finished appliquéing one border to the top; but, that I would well be on my way to appliquéing the second side on the top. I sure didn't realize how much I would be challenged with the knee joint replacement recovery!

Last night, I finished appliquéing one side in place. Next month, I'll work on getting the other side prepped and begin stitching it.

One border on 
Goal number four on my April list was to begin planning a modern mystery quilt along. I have begun the process. In June, I'm planning a get together on Zoom to share photos of the quilts/tops/blocks people made during the mystery this year. (We participated in Bonnie Hunter's Indigo Way mystery quilt.) At that wrap up meeting, I wanted to get feedback about sone of my thoughts for the next mystery. 

Because it is a mystery, I may write about it; but, I'll be keeping the design under wraps! I'm linking to Cynthia at Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

A Little Update on the Knee

The purple lines are registration marks
At PT on April 17, I graduated from the walker to walking on my own--there was no walking stick transition either! I felt the freedom leaving the walker behind! It's been a couple days, I feel a bit unbalanced. Yet, I'm enjoying short walks outside on uneven ground! I do find holding my husband's hand provides the right degree of stability as I walk. After a minute, I can walk on my own. . .until I tire!

April 18th. at the first post op appointment at the surgeon's office, staff removed the waterproof bandage. I finally could see the incision. I snapped a photo because the surgeon had placed tic marks as registration points so that when he sewed me back together tissues were in the neighborhood of where they were before surgery. I have three layers of dissolvable sutures. The steri strips (tape) will come off on their own. 

Evidence of riding the PT bike
I "get" to wear the support stockings for two more weeks. I'll be able to discontinue the aspirin regime at that time too as the highest threat of blood clots will have passed.

I had an X-Ray of my knee. It was cool to see how the metal parts look against my bone!All looked good. I have a
second post op appointment May 23rd. The surgeon will take range of motion (ROM) measurements. The physician's assistant was impressed that I could bend my knee about 110 degrees and that I was a couple degrees short of full extension two weeks after surgery. 

April 19, I rode the bike at PT to the surprise of the staff. At PT, staff worked on my quadriceps muscle. It is slow to engage and then when it engages it is extra slow to disengage. Sometimes, it stays engaged which makes it challenging to step forward! I'm told this is normal. I did hang out in the sewing room for a couple sessions. The session were too long as I had pain and swelling in the

Playing dolls
knee. For future studio forays I'll set the time and limit myself to 30 minutes and follow with 30 minutes on the ice machine.

April 20, my knee was so swollen from doing too much the previous day. I spent the day icing and elevating On the 21st, the swelling had receded enough that I went for a walk outside. My quadricep muscles contracted. I rested and massaged them.. I continued my walk. This sequence repeated itself a number of times until, I heard a pop, felt a twang and then instant pain under the quadriceps that radiated to the ligaments on the outside of my knee down my tibia muscle to my ankle. The pain was sharp and then began to throb. 

My husband Bob had to walk the 50 yards to the house and bring the walker because I was unable to put weight on that leg. I spent the remainder of the day icing and resting the leg. I did finish a couple sessions on the bike. Riding the bike didn't aggravate  the leg pain.

Later that evening, reinforcements arrived at the Portland airport. All the way from London they flew to check on me and my husband. My daughter's partner with his daughter. We are learning how to play a version of paper dolls which is a hoot!

April 22 at my PT appointment, the staff member worked to release the tension in the muscles. I lost five degrees on flexion and seven degrees on extension. I'm told setbacks happen. 

April 23, I had a massage. It was heaven. I was able to lay on my stomach just as I did before surgery. Since I haven't been sewing or spending much time on the lap top, my neck and back have fared well.

April 24 was another PT appointment. Turns out I likely tore my rectus femoris. My knee continues to heal well. It is moving well. While the tear is a set back, it isn't a major issue. I'll be spending some time to strengthen my quadricep muscles. The tear will heal on it's own. As soon as I can put more weight on my leg, I'll move to walking with a cane.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Yellow Selvage Squares

Fabric line
Selvage font
Goal number two on my April list was to glue the yellow selvages into squares. Each Friday is a Zoom Sit and Sew. I treat it like a mini sewing retreat. I get to visit with other quilters and make progress on a project. If I'm stuck, I can ask for suggestions. It begins at 10am and ends at 11pm. People come and go throughout the day. 

I had thought about making more of my Temperature blocks; but, I didn't know if I could piece the blocks accurately while visiting! I decided it was safer to work on the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color of the month which is yellow instead. 

Cultivate Kindness was printed on this selvage
Yellow is tough because some shades are so similar that it is hard to differentiate the change. This time as I pulled selvages, I remembered Diann's comment to share the printed selvage edge. (You can read Diann's posts at Little Penguin Quilts.)

Weeks' and Bill's selvage
With this group of selvages, I didn't have fun figures marking the colors used in the print, Some of the selvages have been hanging around my studio for a long time  so it is great to be putting them in a project!

One more Transparency selvage

I also had some newer selvages from the Transparency top I posted about earlier this month, I do like Bernartex fabrics!

One set of yellow ready to be stitched.
At the end of Friday, I had glued enough squares to make four blocks.  Today, I had planned to stitch them. I over did on Friday. I spent yesterday taking it easy and icing my knee the maximum allowed! While I feel better today, I will again be gentle with myself.

I'm linking to Cynthia at Oh Scrap Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework and to Angela at So Scrappy for The Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

I Wonder If. . .

Evidence that I'm caught up
. , ,I can cut pieces for my 2024 temperature quilt. Today, I'm going to give it a try. Yesterday, I researched and documented the high and low temperatures that I hadn't tracked. This was goal number five on my April list.

Regarding where I am with recovering from my knee joint surgery: My PT crew tell me that my recovery is coming along well. Although Monday, they clipped my walking time. I was walking outside around our house on uneven ground for 30 minutes. Many hours later, I would have referred and nerve pain. Yesterday, I did no outside walking and had no nerve pain. Sigh, it's clear that I'll be walking on flat surfaces a while longer!

I've continued riding the bike five times a day for fifteen minutes. The PT exercises continue to kick my behind; but, I'm getting better every day.

Sleep is still elusive. I manage about one to two hours and knee pain wakes me up. Extra Strength Tylenol, ice and movement continue to work for me to keep my pain level between two and four. Today will be the last days of taking Celebrex for inflammation. I will continue wearing support stockings and taking aspirin to ward off blood clots for at least another month.

Today is two weeks since my knee joint replacement surgery. I'm not in driving form yet although, I'm beginning to control my leg a bit better. Lifting it on my own is still a work in progress. I can help myself through most activities. My husband continues to be the best caregiver ever. I haven't called him to help me during my night time walk-a-bouts for at least three days. He, however, often hears me and gets up to offer support as well to switch out ice packs. Life is good.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

My Goal Today Is. . . .

My goal today is to put in a few stitches accomplish some hand stitching on the 2022-2023 Temperature quilt. I thought that ten days post surgery after a knee joint replacement, I'd be well into the first side. I haven't been able to sit in my chair because the foot rest is too low which makes my surgery leg uncomfortable after a few minutes. During the day, the couch is where I spend my time.

Mostly, I'm spending the day walking one 15-30 minute session, riding the ROM Tech bike five times for 15 minutes, doing PT exercises and icing my knee. I spend my down time with my leg elevated above my heart. I'm not sleeping well even though I am able to lay in bed. A typical night is one hour and a half or maybe two of sleep before  knee pain wakes me up and I need to walk. Sometimes a few minutes is sufficient; but often it is more like a ten minute walk. 

Reinforcements are headed my way
Some nights, I can't go back to sleep for a couple of hours. Last night was one of those occasions. Perhaps, tonight will be the start of better sleep. My fingers are crossed! 

My PT group tells me I'm doing really well. I do
see/feel improvement every day. I am listening to audio books. I'm working on sketching a design for an improv mystery quilt as well as a design for our Modern Quilt squad small group challenge.

I look forward to being able to stitch regularly soon! In the meantime, reinforcements are coming. My London granddaughter and her dad are coming to spend a few days to give my husband a break. Linking to Cynthia at Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Knee Joint Replacement Surgery--one week later

Bruising the day after surgery
WARNING: This is a non sewing, quilting post.

Almost ten years ago while on a walk with the dog, I tore the meniscus in one knee. About six weeks later, I tore the meniscus in the other knee doing the same activity. In 2013, I had arthroscopic surgery on one knee and a few months later, I had it on the other knee. At no time, was I ever able to recoup my range of motion or strength that I had before the tears. 

Over the years, I tried acupuncture, chiropractic treatments, physical therapy, cortisone shots, synvisc shots and massage to manage the pain and loss of functionality. Some treatments helped; but, nothing got me anywhere near where I was before the initial tears. 

Support stocking marks day three
Fast forward to Spring vacation 2023 when we took our granddaughter on a trip to London and it was obvious that I needed more intervention regarding my knees. The family trip to Greece summer 2023 confirmed that I had exhausted all coping strategies.

COVID caused a backlog of people needing orthopedic surgeries. COVID also caused a lot of medical staff to retire. In our area, anesthesiologists are in short supply. I waited six months for an appointment with an orthopedic clinic. I waited another six weeks for a reply to some of my pre surgery tests. 

Day three--
Wound under water proof bandage 
At that point, I researched and chose a different orthopedic clinic. Again, I had to wait about six months for the initial appointment which was scheduled early December. The day of my initial appointment, my knee had swollen so much that I was unable to bend it. The surgeon prescribed PT until I had surgery which wouldn't be until June. 

I started PT in January. While I didn't think it would help much, I was wrong! I was able to strengthen some muscles and improve my gait which did help combat the pain. I also called the surgery scheduler early March and asked to be placed on the waiting list if someone canceled. I figured, I'd be at least a month earlier than scheduled. 

Leg sleeve for the Nice ice machine
The scheduler returned my call the next day and let me know that there were no openings until June. Bummer, I thought. But, I told her that we were going to become fast buddies because I was going to call her every Monday until I had a surgery date. She laughed and said she appreciated what I was trying to do; but, June was going to be my month.

Imagine my surprise when she called me the following day to say that an extra day had opened on the schedule and would I like it. I called back and said whenever it was, I'd take it. It was for April first!!! I took a breath and said I liked her style of humor. She replied . . .What??? April first is April Fool's Day, I said no fooling??? She replied that she was dead serious although she did chuckle!!!

ROM Tech machine

It was a whirlwind to complete the tests needed for the surgery to take place. At every appointment, I asked to be able to go home the same day as surgery. Again the clinic staff let me know, it wasn't an option with this surgeon. Although the physician's assistant said if I had good results from the hospital pre-exam there might be a chance. I asked to use the ice machine which insurance does not cover and to use the ROM Tech machine which insurance does cover.

At the hospital pre exam that I was told to plan on being there for three hours, I was out in about 45 minutes. The nurse practitioner who examined me said I was a great candidate for home same day as surgery. . .I hadn't even asked!!! Other than being overweight and having arthritic knees and a neck fusion, my body was in better shape than I gave it credit!

Then it was on to the twice daily showers. To lessen the chance of infection, I got to shower morning and night with five minutes spent gently washing the surgical area. I used a special liquid soap the hospital supplied. I found that soap challenge to rinse off!! Late afternoon on the day before my scheduled surgery, I received a call that my surgery was canceled. 

Five days post surgery

My surgeon's flight had been canceled and he wasn't able to return in time. Turns out my surgeon was in Cancun, Mexico. They had confirmed their flight; gone to the airport and was told there that there flight was canceled. No worries. . .they could fly out on two days later!!! I'm sure he had a lot of calls to make for rescheduling and then he also had to figure out where to stay!

I had my surgery on Wednesday, April 3 instead of Monday, April 1. The reason that he was able to reschedule with relatively few days between is that it was Spring Vacation in Washington and many doctors were out of town.

We checked in for the surgery at 5:30am. This meant I was up at 2:40am to drink 16 ounces of apple juice that is recommended. I took yet another full body shower, dried with a fresh towel and put on freshly laundered clothing. I did pack a bag in case I wasn't able to go home on the same day. We left home at 4:30am. 

Ankle five days post surgery
At 6:00am, I met the pre surgery nurse who confirmed I was being admitted. I said I hoped that I could go home the same day. She said not likely; but, possible if I was able to get the okay from all the medical entities. When I said the nurse practitioner had said I was a candidate at my pre surgery appointment, she said we would try! 

I donned the warming gown. By 6:40, the IV nurse had inserted an IV line into my hand. The CNA placed a thigh high support stocking on my left leg. The right leg stocking was placed in my bed to go to the operating room. Support stockings are used to prevent blood clots. At 7:10, I made one final trip to the bathroom. The pre-surgery nurse kept me and my husband informed at every step of the process.

Leg and ankle eight days 
post surgery
At 7:15, the anesthesiologist had a conference with me. He recommended a spinal block as I would require less drugs and would have an easier time waking up. I went with his recommendation. At 7:25, the surgeon signed the knee joint to be replaced and asked if I had any other questions. At 7:30, I was on my way to the operating room.

I saw the operating room and moved myself to the table. I had the spinal block. I felt the anesthesia medication going in through my IV. I noted it was 7:35. I next noted it was 9:25 and I was in the recovery room. I had no headache, no nausea and felt fully awake. My husband said that I was out of surgery at 9:07 and that the surgeon had stated it went well.

My first questions were about the anesthesia. I learned I handled it well and that it was a good option for me. My second set of questions were about the knee joint. Did the surgeon test it before he stitched me up for maximum flexibility and extension? Did the surgeon test it after he

Comparison of legs for swelling eight days post surgery

had stitched me up? The nurse said yes, lots of testing was done before I was stitched up and after I was stitched up. She also said these were not questions she often received! I told her it was a quality check. I wanted to be sure the part was installed well and correctly!

She asked if I could handle ice chips, I gave it a try and said that it was too bad they weren't lime flavored. She asked if I would like a popsicle which was lemon flavored. It tasted great and by the time I had eaten it, I was back in my short stay room. I lucked out in that I had the same nurse post op that I had pre op. I ate a container of jello and a cup of broth. All stayed down.

What I didn't realize was the spinal block takes time to wear off. Sometimes, the brain can't detect full bladder symptoms. . . enough written. Once I could wiggle my toes, PT came and ran me through the exercise program. I had a visit from the nurse practitioner who again quizzed me and my husband about our home situation. Then a member of the orthopedic team came by to test me. They all gave me a thumbs up on going home the same day. All that remained was the surgeon's sign off. I was in the bathroom, when he came by; but, he signed me out and a little before 2pm, we were headed home.

It was wonderful to be home. My husband, Bob, is and continues to be an excellent caregiver. He had to deal with the support stocking which wouldn't stay up around my thigh. It ended up rolling down and acted like an elastic band around my thigh. It gave me a rash and a bruise. By the third day, I couldn't stand the pressure and took them off. The clinic nurse sent me knee high stockings in the mail which arrived today. She would have preferred my husband drive to the clinic and pick them up. The clinic is 40 minutes away with light traffic. I feel okay being on my own for an hour; but, not more than that!  

The materials regarding the surgery state someone is needed to stay with the patient for a minimum of three days post surgery. I can't imagine being on my own for meals, bathing etc after three days. I still need a watchful eye getting in and out of the shower. I can make a sandwich; but, can't carry it with the walker so end up eating it standing. My husband fixes me a plate and serve me. I have eaten at the table; but, most often it is more comfortable to eat with my feet up. I'm still working on the muscles to raise my leg. . .so far those muscles are on vacation!!!

I've ridden the ROM Tech five times every day---that is the prescribed amount of sessions. Each session has a passive and an active movement phase which helps with the range of motion of the knee. You can adjust the pedals to keep the 12-15 minute time manageable for pain. I use the ice machine 30 minutes of almost every hour that I'm awake. At night, I leave a gel pack on the area that feels the warmest or aches the most. 

I believe the coolness along with the extra strength Tylenol has helped manage my pain. Moving and stretching also helps. I've taken two narcotic pain tablets which I split into four dosages over the second and third day. I also take aspirin twice a day to prevent blood clots and Celebrex twice a day to reduce swelling.

I've taken photos of my leg and the pretty colors it is turning. If I had been able to stand wearing the support hose, the bruising would have been less. It looks awful; but, it doesn't hurt. A waterproof bandage covers the incision. It will come off on April 18 when the stitches come out.

The second, third and four days were when my leg was the sorest. I felt like I'd been in a car accident! I am appreciative of the flowers a couple sent me as well as a the paper bouquet my friend Sharron sent. My in town daughter and her two daughters dropped by for a visit on Saturday. My quilters friends have sent me healing wishes, A number of them also have sent me photos of the quilt show so I could view some of the entries! I'm appreciative of the multiple calls my London daughter has sent! 

Life is good and getting better every day!


Sunday, April 7, 2024

A top. . .counting it!!--Secret Agent post 3

 My knee joint replacement surgery was delayed a couple days. I took advantage of the extra time and worked to get my Kerr and Ringle mystery to a top. When I last posted about this project, I was working on clue number five. 

Putting the sections together
I thought I was being careful following the layout. I stitched the pieces together and posted a photo on the Modern Quilts Studio Facebook page. When I headed to bed Tuesday night, I saw I had turned a block.

What the top looked like Tuesday night
Wednesday, I was up early to drink some apple juice before surgery. I had time before we needed to leave so I ripped out the errant block, oriented it correctly and restitched it in place. I was feeling great about the top. I took another photo,

What the top looked like Wednesday morning
I saw another error. Sadly there wasn't enough time to fix that error. I think this is the last oops! I will fix it once I can sew again. For now, I'm counting that I met goal number six on my April list. I like how it looks. It measurers about 49x49 inches.

I'm linking to Cynthia at Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework. Regarding my knee surgery, I'm planning to write a post about it on Wednesday. The short report is my knee is healing and I'm doing okay.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

March Update and April Goals

Lime Sprinkle finish
My March Goals were: 
✔1. Finish Lime Sprinkle.
✔2. Make progress on the Farm quilt.
✖3. Complete the February and March embroidery software lessons. Didn't open the software.
✔4. Make selvage squares in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color of the month which is purple.
✖5. Make progress piecing the blocks together for Indigo Way. Looked at the blocks; but, didn't have extended time to be able to leave the blocks on the floor.
✔6. Make progress on the Modern Mystery quilt along with Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle.
✔7. Sew at least one kitchen towel.
✔8. Piece some blocks for the 2024 temperature quilt.
✖9. Make progress on the blocks I began in the Cindy Grisdela workshop.Thought about making more progress. Worked on the Kerr and Ringle mystery instead.
✔10. Visit the Vancouver library exhibition of Portland Modern Quilts.
✖11. Sew with Miss K should she be available.She wasn't available.
Get the blocks from the
Modern Mystery into a top!
✔12. Make progress on the 2022-2023 temperature quilt.
✔13. Make progress on the quilting for the Farm quilt.

My April goals are:
1. Make progress on the 2022-2023 temperature quilt.
2. Glue selvage squares in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color of the month.
3. Complete the February, March and April embroidery software lessons.
4. Begin planning a modern mystery quilt along for next year.
5. Catch up with the temperatures for the 2024 temperature quilt.
6. Get the Kerr and Ringle mystery to a top.
7. Do my PT and follow the recovery plan so that I will heal correctly and be able to have the range of motion to kneel for: CPR training, or quilt blocking or to play with the granddaughter. 

Today I'm having knee joint replacement surgery. The surgery is the reason why I listed goal number seven. Recovery is going to take some time. I'm looking forward to being more mobile.