Monday, January 26, 2015

Caregiver, Cook and Crazy Person

Life goes on after separation. Luckily I had a distraction. Forrest had his first surgery with the doctor scoping his knee trying to figure out what was wrong with it. Our family has bad knees, probably because of too much abuse from Ultimate Frisbee. Three of us have had knee surgery and Garrett barely escaped it. Forrest went into it with trepidation but good spirits. This initial surgery was done in Frederick and he recovered at the farm. (He lives and works in Arlington, but no one to care for him there and Mom is the best caregiver anyway).

Well, not good news for his knee. He was missing a huge chunk of cartilage due to a tramatic injury (probably falling on it numerous times in Ultimate and snow boarding) and the way he walked just wore the cartilage way. Hard to believe at age 26, but there it was. So, a specialist was called in who performs carticel surgery where cartilage is removed from his knee, grown in a lab for 6 weeks, then a patch is put on the knee in another surgery. So the photo above is from Georgetown Hospital right before surgery #2 where they harvested three pieces of cartilage. Still looking good! More recovery at Dancing Leaf Farm. I was getting used to this! 

This third surgery was the most intense, the implantation surgery. Not only did he have the cartilage implanted but he also had an osteotomy where a wedge of bone is added to the shinbone to align his knee so he walks properly. It's a pretty extreme surgery with a long recovery. But Forrest did his own physical therapy beforehand, preparing his leg for the trauma that would befall it. The surgery was performed on December 22 (cartilage for Christmas!) and I brought him home after a couple days in the hospital. 

Tucked the boy in and this is where he lived for 3 weeks. The Christmas tree was at the other end of the couch so he looked foggily at the colored lights in his waking moments. He said he would be a 'drugged up zombie' for Christmas and whoo boy, he was! We had a most mellow Chritmas, with all the boys here and Deidre with baby belly. Forrest was crashed out on the couch, Deidre laid down on the living room floor where I gave her pillows and covered her with a blanket and she zonked out for nearly 2 hours while the rest of us drank wine and beer and talked like everything was normal! I told them all that this would be the most memorable Christmas because of the circumstances. But I have to say, I loved it. We kept it very simple, no extravagant gifts, no fussy dinner, just laughter, love and light. The hardest part for me was keeping up with his electric ice machine. It needed new ice about every 5 hours around the clock. I bought about 40 lbs. of ice and the freezer was making ice as fast as it could. I did have to keep him fed too and people who know me, know I don't like to cook. That's what I've always said was the hardest part of raising kids, that you have to feed them! But I made smoothies, bone broth (with veggies), lasagna and lots of cereal. I really did enjoy taking care of him and it was a nice, bonding time for us. 
Reader beware! The next photo is scary. So if you don't want to see it, quickly scroll down.

The Big Gash. The scar looks so much better now. He's been putting cocoa butter on it and it's healing up nicely.

The best part of this whole ordeal was New Year's Eve when 9 of his friends came over to party with him all night. Most spent the night and we all had a great time. These folks are so fun, caring and nice and I was so happy that they rallied around him. He was bored living on the couch for 2 weeks and they brought a welcome distraction…..along with booze. These are his kayaking friends so the next day they waited for the temps to warm up to about 29 so they could go do some big white water on the Potomac. But first they made a delicious, huge breakfast.

New Year's Eve Trapper joined in the festivities and had a beer. He wouldn't give it back. Even the dogs had a party as Forrest's friends brought 3 more dogs. All in all, it was a fun time. 
Forrest has now moved back home and I have to admit I miss him. But he's on the road to recovery and hopefully there won't be another surgery in his near future.


Bruce Hamler said...

Thanks for the report. I've been wondering what all the medical fuss over Forrest was about. Nice scar too! Hope he heals up fast!

Ellen Gordon said...

Wow--hope that fixes Forrest's knee forever! Vitamin E rubbed in is also good for scar healing. And if there is any lumpy scar tissue, continue rubbing it for the first year--Rebecca seemed to be injured a lot, growing up (the horse thing) and a plastic surgeon told us that gently rubbing scar tissue can help it break down, and was worth doing for the following year.