It has been four weeks today since my knee surgery (Monday, June 29th). Though I wanted to put up a post sooner, sitting at my computer desk has been difficult to say the least. Even now, I am in a recliner with Robert's laptop on a lap tray.
This has been a very challenging recovery. The hospital stay was easy until two days after the surgery, when I developed a nasty fungal (yeast) stomach infection. Since then, the course of events has gone as follows:
July 1st - Treated with drug for stomach infection; infection improving.
July 2nd - Home from hospital; infection still improving, but intense nausea.
July 3rd - Home health nurse and physical therapist visit; changed course of pain medication, lessening the amount. Off of stomach medication because it was causing the nausea.
July 4th - Intense knee pain all day, especially when exercising.
July 5th - Spent 6 hours in emergency clinic because of intense pain; was released with new pain medication; returned home and took new medication only to have a severe reaction to it. Switched back to old medication, but increased the amount. Pain is more manageable.
July 6th - Developed thrush (fungal yeast mouth infection).
July 7th - Began treating thrush with probiotic supplement, probiotic foods and prescribed drug.
July 8th - Thrush is better.
July 9th - Since coming home, I am spending 4-6 hours a day on a "continuous passive motion" machine, which bends my knee to regain range of motion. Also have been attempting to do physical therapy exercises though intense pain often cuts this short.
July 10th - Am learning how to manage snacks, meals and medication as meds taken on an empty stomach cause much stomach distress.
July 11th - Exercising is still very difficult and I am discouraged, knowing that my range of motion depends on this.
July 13th - Began to cut back on narcotic pain meds; thrush still present.
July 14th - Cutting back more on pain meds.
July 15th - A most difficult day - spent all day crying with no control. I think I'd become addicted to the pain meds and was coming down from them.
July 16th - A much better day. Went for physical therapy as an outpatient. Session was very painful, but overall productive. Therapist told me to take more pain medication (oh no!) so I'd be able to do the exercises.
July 17th - Went back to old pain medication schedule. Am able to exercise more freely now.
July 18th - In the morning I noticed a little red spot the size of a pea at the very top of my incision (incision is about 10 inches long). Called Kaiser and they said it sounded like nothing.
July 20th - Today, three weeks after surgery, I reached the four-week goal of bending my knee 90 degrees. Yippee! Physical therapist notices red spot, now the size of a quarter, and says we should keep an eye on it.
July 21st - The red spot is now the size of a 50 cent piece. After dinner, I notice that the spot is slightly opened and draining a small amount of yucky discharge. Time to go to the doctor.
July 22nd - Appointment with orthopedic doctor, who says I have a "stitch abscess". He opens and drains it, clips off the bad part of the stitch, swabs it to be sent to the lab and dresses it. Prescription for Keflex (antibiotic) given. Am to return on July 24th (two days later).
July 23rd - Infection is increasing in size - now the size of a medium peach. Antibiotic is not touching it. If it gets into my knee joint the surgery will be destroyed.
July 24th - Visit the doctor who tells us that the infection is MRSA (pronounced "mersa") - the worst possible news. This is the antibiotic-resistant strain of staph bacteria that has the medical world in a panic. The doctor warns of the dangers of this infection and prescribes Bactrim. I am told to stop exercising and using the CPM machine until infection is under control. (There goes all my hard work and range of motion!)
At home this past Friday (after getting the bad news), I called a naturopathic doctor and she made certain recommendations. I am on antibiotics and am also following the course of treatment given by the naturopath. One thing she told me to do was to apply tea tree and lavender essential oils directly to the wound as these destroy the bacteria without creating any resistance. Something is helping because the infection site is shrinking.
Now, for what is really important and why I shared my struggle with you. Through all of this the Lord has been so kind and near. On some nights I would just lay weeping because of the pain. Robert took it upon himself, at those times, to sing to me. He began with "Gentle Shepherd" and has since added in many more songs.
This has been so precious. For one thing, I had never heard Robert sing all on his own before (in over 32 years of marriage!). He's only ever sung with music. So perhaps you can imagine how sweet it was to hear him next to me soothing me in song with thoughts of my kind shepherd. This has now become something we look forward to every evening at bedtime.
Once Robert starts singing, it isn't long before my heart is also compelled to worship. And in that worship, the presence of Christ completely transcends the physical pain and I find myself falling asleep. Oh, how precious He is! This indeed has been a priceless treasure wrought out of the darkness.
In no way am I out of the woods with this MRSA infection. And I am still struggling with the stomach and mouth infections. Robert just got over a week long bout with the stomach flu. He is feeling much better, but has so much on his plate right now. Please pray for us that:
1. We might keep our eyes on our kind and gentle shepherd.When this "day of trouble" began with the stomach infection, I asked the Lord draw very near to me and also give me a poem to honor Him. That prayer was answered last night. May you be encouraged in your struggle to seek Him, thank Him, praise Him and sing to Him (even, or rather, especially in the darkness of your trial).
2. We might not waste this trial, but cooperate with God's sovereign purposes and bring Him glory.
3. Our God might restore my health and mobility.
Christ is all that you need - bless His Name!
"I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you will know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name." Isaiah 45:3