Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day Fish Boil and Some Recovery Sadness

Well, it has been just under a week since I've blogged about my progress. The truth of the matter is that it has been a kind of a rough week for me.

As I was getting up for therapy last Thursday, the phone rang. It was the therapy center calling to say that my PT was out sick on that day. Weird, I thought, as I had been up much of the night with some stomach troubles myself. I was feeling pretty rotten, and my husband called the pharmacy to find out what we should do if my narcotics were making me feel BAD. The pharmacist suggested that I take some ibuprofen for pain control. I took the ibuprofen and then my husband chatted with the nurse from the surgeon's office. She told him that I SHOULDN'T take ibuprofen. Oh. She felt that it wasn't my pain medication causing the gastrointestinal distress, since I had been tolerating it for a few days. She suggested that it must be a stomach bug. The next day, Friday, I went and saw the physician's assistant to get my stitches removed. She also felt I was struggling with a stomach bug. In the meantime, I started paying attention to when I was having trouble. Strangely, there seemed to be a pattern with the stomach acting up about two hours after I took medication. The PA had suggested that IF it was my medication, I could just take acetaminophen instead of the narcotics. So, over the weekend, I tried that. No luck, still yucky.

Now, it is enough to deal with the pain in the knee and the immobility involved with it. Add pretty severe nausea, frequent field trips down the hall (if you get my drift), trying to stretch out the time between pain pills to try to prevent the stomach stuff, and virtually no sleep due to pain and nausea; and you've got my past five days of fun. Normally, I try to keep the sunny side up, and keep things light and positive; but I am also trying to accurately chronicle my knee surgery recovery. Honestly, it has NOT been fun.

At this point today, I have not had any pain medication for 16 hours. I will be trying to go to bed and sleep after I post this. I have to get up early and go to therapy tomorrow morning. Considering the speed (or lack thereof) in which I currently move, the early morning rush hour traffic through massive road construction; I need to sleep and get going early. So, the evening debate begins. Medication or no medication??? If this goes as it has been going, I will try to sleep without, be unable to stand the pain, and then take medication, only to be up two hours later and spending time contemplating the inside of my bathroom.

In spite of all of this doom and gloom, I can tell that I am making some progress with the leg. With no pain meds on board, I was able to do my exercises, and bend the leg using the rocking chair for about 15 minutes this evening. My extension can put the leg flat, and the thigh muscle seems to be working a bit better now. My goal for therapy tomorrow is to ride the stationery bike and stretch it to the point where I can pedal without pain.

My husband went back to work today, and I made it through my first day home alone. I was able to make myself a meal without any problem. I finished knitting a baby sweater, when I haven't really felt up to knitting , reading, or much of anything since my surgery. Tomorrow, my husband is dropping me off at therapy and then going on to work. My mother will be at the fitness center doing her water aerobics, and I will catch a ride with her when she is done exercising. That is our plan for therapy days until I am able to drive myself again.

Although I felt kind of lousy yesterday, it was my in-laws annual Labor Day Fish Boil. My husband hates to miss family events, and so I had my first non-medical outing since the surgery. It was a long day. It takes us an hour to get to their house. They live on a lake. I sat in the back seat of the car, with my leg propped up on a pillow on the back seat. The family was glad that we made the trip, and they were generous with the recliner chair for me to put the leg up. I did make it out into the yard for the famous boil-over.

For those unfamiliar with a Fish Boil, here's what happens. Fish boils are common in Door County, Wisconsin and in some places in Minnesota. We started this tradition several years ago after my in-laws attended a boil in Door County. We start with a wood fire and put a large cast iron Witch's Kettle over the fire. You dump in a whole box of salt and bring the water to a good, strong, rolling boil. There are three ingredients in our traditional boil, and you have the ingredients prepared in advance. Timing is everything once you start cooking! When the water is boiling well, into the pot goes your red potatoes. They are scrubbed up, but still have the skins on them (they hold together better that way.) The potatoes boil for exactly 10 minutes. Then a large cheesecloth bag of onions go into the kettle. We chunk up a bunch of white onions. The onions and potatoes boil for exactly another 10 minutes. The last ingredient is white fish. It is gutted and cut into chunks and put into cheesecloth to keep the pieces together. The skin and fins are still on our fish, but they have no scales. Our white fish was swimming in Lake Superior on Thursday, and we were eating it on Sunday. Very fresh. The fish goes into the kettle and cooks for exactly 10 minutes. The water in the kettle is now just a couple inches under the top of the pot. Any oil contained in the fish rises to the surface of the water. At the end of the cooking time, a coffee can of diesel fuel is thrown onto the wood fire causing a tremendous flare of fire! Exciting!!!! The sudden flare of fire causes the liquid in the kettle to boil up and over the sides of the kettle, taking all the oil with it. Here's how our boil over looked yesterday.



Anyway, we serve the Fish Boil with fresh coleslaw. The traditional dessert from Door County to go with your Fish Boil is a fresh tart cherry pie. When you think about it, with the exception of the pie, it is a fairly healthy meal. Boiled fish, potatoes and onions with coleslaw isn't too bad.

Hope you all had a great holiday weekend!

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