Four weeks in

Time seems to move on and my latest progress report is probably due. It’s been 4 weeks since my surgery and things seem to be moving along nicely.

I still have plenty of pain and if someone knows a comfortable position that allows you to sleep for more than 30 minutes at a time, I’ll take it. Physio is where they send evil souls to repent for lives badly lived (twice a week with with equally hellish exercises twice daily.) I am thoroughly skilled at doing math based on 4 hours (T1s) and 6 hours (ibuprofen) simultaneously and knowing to the minute when the next increment comes due.

There are good sides to this, however. Although one of my physiotherapists seems to think I’m making no headway, I have greater range of motion in my knee than I did prior to surgery. I can almost make a full rotation on the bike pedals, something I have not been able to do for almost 10 years. I have more than 90° of bend in my knee, which I did not have prior to surgery. This is in spite of the surgeon pointing out that one usually does not have the bending range in a replacement joint that one did have prior to surgery.

I have graduated to a cane indoors, although with the snow and ice, I tend to use my crutches outdoors. I can go longer periods of time without elevating my knee. I still avoid frequently using the stairs and sleep downstairs on the sofa bed. I was a little worried about the lack of height it had so we bought a memory foam mattress to put on top of the existing one. This is quite comfortable and I suspect the one currently in the motor home, which is the same size, is destined to spend this summer in the basement while we camp.

The really interesting reaction to my surgery, though, comes from the cats. When my leg starts to really hurt, both cats are there. Darcy snuggles, while Furball has to snuggle right up to my incision. If you need feline companionship in my house, all you have to do is wince.

If you’re wondering whether or not I recommend this, I will throw in the fact that I don’t know anyone who’s had a knee replaced and didn’t like the final result. I’m looking forward to the finished product six months or so down the road, considerably more than how I got to that point. I will tell you this much about the process. This is certainly one example where it’s not the journey. It’s the destination…

Progress report

It’s been almost two weeks since my knee replacement, so I figured I should fire out a quick line on where I am right now.

I still have quite a bit of pain. When you consider that the surgery involves cutting the ends of the bones off, hammering and gluing metal replacement mating surfaces on the end of the tibia and femur, and cutting one of the largest muscles in the human body and stapling that back together, I’m not really surprised. My biggest problem these last few days is my left hip and left hamstring. Both scream at me constantly and I don’t really sleep much at night because of it. I suspect it comes from learning how to walk properly again and I assume it will go away eventually.

I may have avoided a nasty infection in my knee. This is a bad thing, but after three days on antibiotics, I’m feeling much better. This is important, since infection is the worst case scenario for a knee replacement. At the really bad end of the scale, it requires removing the new joint, waiting until the infection clears, and then reinstalling it.

The infection has me behind on my exercises, though. Rehabbing a joint involves mixing pain and frustration and scheduling this regularly. I do want to get back on track and go back to my regular physio appointments Mondays and Wednesdays. These were to start Wednesday, but my physiotherapist thought visiting the emergency room and dealing with my infection was a better idea.

I can’t wait until I’m allowed to drive again. This should be any time now, and it’s not like I’m going anywhere specific. I dislike not being able to get up and go when I want to. And, as you can imagine, I probably suffer from unsurvivable boredom.

One more thing for the progress report. I still have a sizable number of staples in my knee. These come out Monday and I’m looking forward to getting them out. Actually, it’s probably more accurate to say I’m looking forward to having them out. The “getting” part is not my favourite past time. I could post a picture, but a rather long incision picture with about 40 staples doesn’t appeal to most people. Suffice to say, I look like an office supplies accident, and leave it at that.


Busy, busy

I’ve been more than usually remiss with posting in the blog. I didn’t get a chance to do much during the election, whose results were an improvement. How much of an improvement remains to be seen, but an improvement nonetheless.

My issue is that I was finally approved for knee replacement surgery in June and have been working with the date for surgery I was given then. This was approximately the end of February, or possibly, early March.

This resulted in a number of issues, such as dealing with my classes scheduled for next semester and finding a replacement instructor or instructors. The question also arose as to whether I would teach the first part of the semester and have my replacement step in when I went for surgery.

This got turned around a bit last month when I discovered that my surgical date would be early January rather than later. Suffice to say, I’ve been trying to finalise things in a huge hurry. I need to do a bunch to things around the house to get ready for the winter, as well as now needing to be prepared for work things to be arranged before that point as well.

This does clarify how my teaching schedule will pan out next term. From a budget standpoint, it does mean replacing me for the full term. However, several classes I was scheduled to teach were cancelled and this does provide a cheaper solution.

This also means a spate of more or less last minute medical appointments to prep for the surgery.

Now, after six repair jobs, there really isn’t much to do with what’s left of this knee beyond replacing it. Four of those, by the way, were during the 1970s, when knee surgery was a thing of cold chisels, pry bars, and big hammers. This is very much like that, although with a far daintier end result. And, I am really looking forward to that end result.

I was told In 1985 that I needed a replacement knee. The surgeon I saw at the time did offer the additional comment that I “might want to wait until they got better at making them.” I didn’t know the wait would be quite this long…

A project delayed

Some things progress. Some don’t.

I ran into a sticking point when I tried to finish the pony wall. I ran out of nails. They need to be galvanized since they’ll be outdoors. However, only the hardware stores sell them and the one that is normally open on Sunday was closed for inventory.

I did think of buying a spiker at Canadian Tire. However, they sell nails for the 34° framing nailers they sell, but not in galvanized. So, I’m stuck.

I did have a few things left to do that I could. I finished taking the last few things out of the camper and left the cupboard doors open. I did cut the lumber for the last wall. I also assembled some of the frames for the shelter.

Now, I have to wait until tomorrow to get nails. Maybe, I should buy the nailer anyway…

A last minute project

There’s nothing quite like a last minute project. This one is brought on by my remembering that, since I’m having a knee replacement in February, I won’t be able to clean snow off the camper roof.

This has bothered me for a few days. I would like to get one of these temporary shelters but most aren’t tall enough to go over the roof of the camper. Last night, I thought about building a pony wall around the camper and putting the shelter on it. I put the idea to carpenter friends and they heartily agreed with the idea.

Converting this from an idea to a plan is another thing, since they don’t really provide full measurements. You get such things and the length, height, door opening, etc., but not such things as the height of the eaves, etc. So, last night, I took an expensive flyer and bought a 24′ x 12′ x 10′ shelter. This morning, once it was light enough to see, I assembled a frame and determined how much higher it would have to be to clear the edge of the roof and the air conditioner on the roof center. I figured I needed 2′ for sure, so went with 2′ 6″ to be on the safe side.

Next, I moved the motor home to a spot where it was reasonably level, leveled out the camper, and parked it. Next, I cleaned the last of the things that had to come out for the winter. Then, it was off to the hardware store to pick up lumber and nails.

Every good project starts with a pile of lumber.

Every good project starts with a pile of lumber.

Twenty odd pieces of lumber and a bag of HDG box nails, I was ready. I remembered rather quickly that framing muscles don’t seem to exercise unless you’re actually framing. And, my knee seems to be a bit more detrimental to carpentry work than I remember, as well. However, I quickly got the first wall framed up.

First pony wall framed.

First pony wall framed.

I cut the lumber for the second long wall, and went in for supper. After a quick bite, and serious inspection by the cats who seem fascinated over the smell and texture of sawdust, I went out and assembled the second wall. This leaves one about 12′ 6″ long. But, by the time I got this one finished, it was too dark to cut. Also, I need to throw a new, sharp blade on my saw. I also seem to have not picked up enough nails for the last wall, so have to do a bit of hunting to find some tomorrow. For some reason, the hardware store had a sign saying they were closed tomorrow.

I was also reminded of something else today. There’s the same amount of work… more even… involved in framing a pony wall than there is a full-sized one. And, one of these days, I really need to buy a framing nailer…

Ah, the niqab thing

Once again, another news story comes out where the majority of Canadians believe that members of the public service should not wear a niqab at work. The study states that 64 percent of Canadians call for a ban on “Muslim women from front-line federal public service jobs if they wear Islamic veils.”

Further, 74 percent say they disagree with wearing a niqab during a citizenship ceremony, although two Federal Courts have ruled that such a prohibition is illegal.

My response to this is two words in length: so what? The freedom of religion and expression called for in Section 2 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the wearing of religious symbols. And, there are some who say the niqab is cultural rather than religious in nature. However, it is called for in some branches of Islam and the differences between Shia and Sunni Muslims is substantially greater than the differences between some Christian sects, such the difference between Catholics and Amish. If you see some Muslin women not wearing one, or a hijab instead, this is a reflection of these differences, not that it isn’t a religious piece of apparel.

Equally important to consider in this is that we have a charter to protect minority rights, not the majority opinion. Further, the fact that we have a court system that actually enforces a charter that states such things as everyone is equal in front of the law is something you should be proud of, regardless of the fact that you may not agree with every one of those decisions.

And, if you’re against public servants wearing a niqab, although there are no federal public servants who do so, ask yourself, “Why?” How does it affect you in any way? Will that public servant process your form more slowly, or not be able to do her job.

If you don’t have a practical, functional answer, other than personal opinion or wanting them to adopt your culture, you’re the problem in this issue, not the woman wearing a niqab.

Remember, we have a proud and long history of not requiring cultural assimilation of immigrants. If we had required it, public servants may only speak Cree…

For sale: one vote (redux)

Note: Clara pointed out that it was difficult to find the reblogged content, so this is another shot at telling the same story.

I wrote this for the Whitehorse municipal election in 2012, but, with 23 candidates for council and 3 for mayor this time around, maybe it could bear repeating. I actually, unlike last time around,

Note that the election this year is October 15th… four days before the federal election.


So here are some hints for those who want to get voted in. Note that this probably applies for all elections. A political campaign is a job interview of sorts and the electorate’s only way to choose the right person for the job is the platform put forward by the candidate. So, when expressing your platform:

1. If you intend to deal with an issue, explain how you intend to fix it in detail. Everyone loves kittens, rainbows and unicorns, but general campaign promises without details are usually best moved to the field with a backhoe to make next year’s crop grow that much better. If you cannot provide details, it means you know nothing about the subject other than what to call it.  Honestly, we have enough elected representatives who know nothing. We don’t need more.

2. Prove you have an understanding of jurisdictional responsibility. Each level of government has its responsibilities. If you’re running for one, don’t make promises about things that come under another level of government. This only indicates that you have no clue about the position you aspire to, and probably indicates your level of qualification for it.

3. If you promise something, be prepared to vote that way when the time comes. There is no excuse for supporting something you said you would not support or vice versa. The common story is “after studying the issue,…” or words to that effect. If it was a promise made in your campaign, it meant that you already studied the issue, or should have. Changing your mind in this manner means you either knew nothing about your stand on the issue, or you simply meant to lie your way into office. Unfortunately, we have too many of those cases, too.

4. Have some idea of how financing works. While governments and businesses run through two completely different models and experience in one has no relevance to the other, the general rules of finance are still the same. You can only spend what comes in. Whether through transfers, taxation or borrowing, this income is the maximum you have to provide vital services. And, unlike a business, you simply can’t close the plant and move to somewhere offering lower operating costs. Explain (in detail, again), how you intend to meet your promises and still afford to provide those services.

5. Be honest. Admit it when you don’t know something. Take responsibility for those times when your ideas don’t work. Sometimes you’re going to have to make unpopular decisions (some of the decisions the current council have been decried for are some I heartily approved of). People aren’t going to be happy with everything you do, but will be far more willing to accept it, grudgingly, if you can show you honestly and sincerely feel this is the best choice. The only way to do this is have a long history of being honest and sincere and it doesn’t take much to indicate that these are characteristics you don’t have.

So, there’s my pitch. These aren’t that much in the way of demands for buying my vote. I know it seems a lot, but you’ll probably find that the same price will purchase far more votes than mine…


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