Knee Replacement Journey

I’m coming into the home stretch of my knee replacement process. It’s far from over as I’ve read that full recovery can take a year, but the most difficult part should be wrapping up. ( I tell myself this every day when I wake up to keep my spirits high). It has been very difficult, more so than I imagined and I was pretty vividly imagining how bad it would be right up to a few weeks before surgery, at that point I decided to go all positive and convince myself it would be fine. Good thing I did that cause I might have backed out if I had ANY idea of the living hell this thing would be! The good news is that once you get the surgery you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Within a few days of surgery I was aware that the daily grinding pain in my knee was gone. Yes, it was replaced with a different pain, much more intense but in spite of that surgical pain I knew the old pain was gone. Wow, that means a lot but you might not realize how much until it’s gone!

My knee history: I twisted my knee in 1976 and tore medial meniscus cartilage, it hurt a lot and after an arthroscopic attempt at repair I had full blown surgery. This initial injury and repair took a little over a year, by which time I knew my knee would never be the same again. The first surgery was followed by another a few years later and then years of adapting to limited activity and some amount of pain. About 12 years ago I started having a lot more pain and a diagnosis of osteoarthritis, probably resulting from the surgeries and initial injury. I had more arthroscopic surgery at that time, (the surgeon was thrilled to find a stitch that had been put there some 35 years earlier!), at this point the recommendation was total knee replacement but I wasn’t ready. The next years were basically a downward spiral of reduced activity, joint pain, and trying every anti-inflammatory that came on the market. The last two years I took only Diclofenac and Tylenol, occasional Oxycodin, Hydrocodin and assorted other painkillers that I could get my hands on. (I only took the hard stuff when it was bad).

What made me decide to get TKR?
A couple of factors drove my decision to go for it.

  1.  I was very satisfied that the medical/technical improvements were significantly improved that I could not expect to gain anything by waiting. Even 15 years ago the process was still somewhat ‘iffy’.
  2. My age (60 this year) means that if I have to have repairs on this joint in 15 years I should still be physically strong enough to survive surgery and expect to enjoy the results. Age is also a swing vote in favor of surgery because putting it off means added years of reduced activity which of course makes it harder to recover.
  3. Insurance coverage – this is a big one. I have insurance and the surgery is covered (aside from copays and deductibles) thanks to my employer. The future is uncertain regarding insurance, how will our economy impact our coverage? Also uncertain – how long will I be employed by such a rare company that offers good insurance and paid time off?
  4. Quality of life – this might be the biggest factor. The disability has been an increasing factor in pretty much every activity. When someone asked me to do something my first thought was, ‘how much is that going to hurt?’. “Want to have lunch at that sushi place down the street?” becomes “are you willing to toss and turn all night because of walking a block or so?” When I thought about going to a conference for work it gave me pause to think of all the walking required to get around. It’s a game changer to have full use of both legs!

If you are considering TKR or know someone who is, I encourage your comments or questions. It’s not an easy road but in the long run it can give you a new perspective on life!

Update 10 months later:

My new knee is a miracle, it’s not completely pain free but I can walk briskly for a block or two and not suffer all night. My old knee is probably going to need TKR as well, it’s not as painful as the other one maybe because the worst wear is under the kneecap. Anyway, I’m not looking forward to it but I can certainly get through it and it will be great to have two good knees. I highly recommend this to anyone who is suffering with a worn out joint. Don’t wait too long.

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Technology (iPhone & iPad) in the Hospital

Kudos to the beautiful hospital that provided me with a knee replacement! Not only am I healing with no apparent secondary infections, they had great wifi access for patients and visitors! This really makes sense from the patient perspective, we have to give up jewelry, cosmetics and although I understand the reasons, to keep us safe from infection, it IS de-humanizing! I know it’s irrational but reading the preparations for admission I began to wonder what I had signed up for: Shower the day before your surgery using a soap that apparently has disinfectant properties far superior to ‘scorched earth’. The highly detailed instructions for washing my own body made me wonder a bit about the assumed intelligence of the audience, but at least unlike shampooing my dog I wasn’t told to leave the soap on for five to fifteen minutes! (What do you do for that time period? Have deep conversations with doggy that wants nothing more but OUT of the tub?)

Wifi meant I could use my iPhone and iPad when I was conscious enough to do so but there are risks with having my precious iEquipment in plain view. The room was private but strangers would come in from time to time to write on the board or whatever and I was nervous about leaving my iPhone dangling from a cord and the only available duplex was across the room in plain view so in the first few days when I was not getting up very much it wasn’t a great option. That’s when I remembered my new ZaggSparq 2.0! I would plug the iPhone into the ZaggSparq during the day and get a charge then when needed I could ask someone to plug in the ZaggSparq to the wall to recharge. (My iPad doesn’t use much juice so I didn’t have to charge it at all.) Anyway the system worked fine, kept my iPhone charged and allowed me to have it beside me at all times, like a little electronic security blanket.

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Dotnetnuke converts to C# – Please Fork!

This is a little like the Pope proclaiming that he is converting to Islamic, ok no it’s not, but it’s caused an equivalent tidal wave of reaction among the DNN world. Initially response has been; “cool, this means more developers, ease of development for those who jumped into coding with C#” Yay for DNN corp for keeping up with the jones’s…

But then the cold harsh reality sets in, the blood thickens in your veins when you realize how this will affect YOU and all your DNN sites! What will that upgrade path be like? NOOOOOOOOOOO! I just upgraded an old site that was on 4.95 to 5.6.1 and I’m still working the bubbles out. (Like when I installed a Zagg screenshield on my iPhone and the bubbles seem to come back overnight.) (I love Zagg shield by the way, none other are worth the money or your phone!

So I’ve been reading some interesting posts from worthy DNN people trying to sort this out, and just was reading Chris Hammond’s post on the subject and it occurred to me – FORK! Why not fork a C# version of DNN but continue with the VB.net version until C# is accepted and proven?

Long time ago I started with PHPNuke and it forked to PostNuke and it was better but until PostNuke was solid and supported I stuck with PHPNuke. Not that this is the same scenario at all, cause that was a theological split if I recall, but DNN would do well to serve it’s community by not forcing this move until it’s solid and stable.

Some of us have a LOT invested in DNN and I am not speaking as a VC who hopes to get a high return on my $$! Honestly since DNN bought Open Document Library I’ve felt pretty insecure with my investment, and the latest Active Modules purchase hasn’t helped at all. I’m trying to beat down that instinct to flight.

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Sigh, it’s not just boredom

Pay attention next time you sigh, apparently it’s a lot more important to our health than we thought. This article on Discovery News made me more conscious of my breathing and I realize I sigh several times a day. I’m not concerned about it but it makes me more aware of my body’s goings on and that can’t be bad. Especially intriguing is that someone figured out that people on ventilators don’t thrive unless some sighs are programmed into their routine. Also too much sighing is not good.

I’ve been thinking more about breathing since reading this article and I’m very glad I gave up cigarettes over 11 years ago, possibly the best decision I’ve ever made. I’m stunned to see people smoking still in light of the evidence of what that will get you. Why not just cut a vein and get it over with? You really want your kids to watch you turn gray and struggle for breath?

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My favorite iPhone Apps

With 25 billion app choices it can be overwhelming to know what’s good and works. Reviews in the App store can help or not.

Listed below are my current favs (* indicates free version):

  • Seesmic – Twitter app, very nice interface
  • Atomic Web Browser – Tabbed browser much nicer than Safari
  • Perfect Browser – Very nice browser, my new favorite, lets you emulate any browser but not perfectly yet…
  • *Boxcar- Brilliant app, sends you notifications of updates from many, many sources
  • *DropBox
  • FlashLight – turns on the LED, very good flashlight
  • *Yelp – Find gas, restaurants etc
  • *Tripit
  • Ewallet – stores passwords, etc. encrypted, syncs between devices effortlessly
  • *FTP – starts an ftp server and gets an IP so you can move documents easily
  • *PhotoShop Express
  • OneNote – syncs to your @live account, similar to DropBox, I wish I could sync to my corporate OneNote!
  • *The Weather Channel
  • Angry Birds – the only game I cannot resist (still waiting for a Duke Nukem app!)
  • *Kindle
  • Star Walk – Great astronomy app!
  • *Hey Tell – send short recorded messages to other Hey Tell users (perfect iphone/ipad/itouch convergence app!)
  • *Shazam-ID music as it plays
  • *SoundHound-similar to Shazam
  • RedLaser – read barcodes and get shopping reviews and price comparisons
  • *Chase Banking app- makes deposits from your iphone
  • GeniusScan-uses the camera to scan a document (receipt) and send by email
  • *Netflix
  • AT&T My wireless – lets me manage accounts and watch my usage
  • Mobile CRM – I can’t connect to my corporate CRM but its not the app’s fault.
  • *Xfinity App-manage my account and remote control for my TV’s and DVR
  • *Dragon- Voice activated web search -still  doesn’t work great but a good idea
  • *GPS Lite
  • *Skobbler – turn by turn navigation GPS
  • *Mashable -more news than any human can swallow, can’t stop reading…
  • *Photoshop Express – easy to work with
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