NEW TO THE SOUTHERN RURAL ROUTE!

Remember how you and your siblings grew up and went your separate ways? Most often to form new families? Biblically, this is what we are to do – cleave unto our spouse. However, somewhere after my late 30’s, I wished that I could spend more time with my siblings because they were interesting and I really liked them as people.

After Poppie died in 2015, my sister-in-law, Flip-Flops, made it possible for me to at least spend more time with my brother, Bubba. She suggested to him that the two of them move into the house that Poppie built on the two acres where Momma, Poppie and I had lived together since 1985. The property had been in Momma’s family for 132 years according to handwritten deeds dating back to 1884.

It took our lawyer a while to iron out a deed and agreement to address our current property issues and our hopes for the property passing to the next generation. Then Priss, our sister the architect, drew up plans for an 8-foot “room addition” to the end of the house because Bubba wanted a larger bathroom.

Retired, he worked on the house 5 and 6 days a week. Flip-Flops still works but he often had her on the weekend work schedule, too.

On the weekend of December 10 and 11, Bubba and Flip-Flops moved in with about half their stuff and numerous small, unfinished projects around the house. The following day, I had knee replacement surgery (more on this below).

While Bubba is very good at construction-related tasks, he falls somewhat short as a convalescent caretaker. A few times, he had a momentary lapse about my knee. Like that day at the bank. The drive-in teller lanes were higher than the street. Bubba pulled up to the teller lane exit, looked to his left and gunned the motor. His SUV shot across 3 lanes of traffic in a northeasterly direction. Only when we came in for a brutal landing did he remember to holler, “Hang on!”  No less shocking to me was his rude eyeball rolling punctuated by loud sighing noises as if I were personally responsible for parts falling off my brand new two-wheeled walker.

This is Bubba in front of my porch. He was dogsitting Radar.
Bubba and Radar (he was dogsitting)

REVIEW OF KNEE REPLACEMENT SURGEON

David Heekin, M.D. of the Heekin Clinic, 2 Shircliff Way, Suite 605, Jacksonville, was my surgeon for a right knee replacement. If you need a knee replacement, his name will come up because he has an excellent reputation. Unfortunately, I am among the many who do not like his hospital of choice – St. Vincents/Riverside. I postponed the surgery for two years because I didn’t want to put myself in St. Vincent’s/Riverside. That opinion was based on my cancer experience with the office of Joel Stone, M.D. and two of my father surgeries. He had two knee replacements by Harold Lynn Norman, M.D. and they did not alleviate his pain. He also had back surgery by Ashutosh A. Pradhan, M.D. that ultimately killed him.

Heekin first replaced my brother’s knee and my brother was very happy with the results.

My goal going into the surgery was to survive St. Vincent’s, to regain the ability to walk without pain and to get myself off of Aleve.

I was in the hospital two days and a few hours on the third day. Within hours of surgery, I was sent to Joint Camp for physical therapy. The food was excellent but I was not on a restricted diet.

SURPRISES

My leg was numb from the knee down. No one had mentioned this possibility. My brother tells me it will disappear in 10 months.

St. Vincent’s or Heekin Clinic, I don’t know which, orders your walker and a bedside commode (to be placed over your commode for additional height). Delivery is made by Fletcher Medical to your hospital room. I thought this was utterly brilliant. All of my previous experiences with hospital equipment required you to wait for delivery to your home.

When you leave the hospital, you are given a paper grocery bag full of all the bandages and shower knee guards you will need during convalescence. More brilliance.

RECOVERY

Other than my physical therapy days, I stopped taking pain medication two weeks after surgery. Ten weeks after surgery, my pain level was down to a 2  on a 1 to 10 level.

Physical therapy was Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I expected a greater range of motion after the staples were removed but that was not the case. Swelling makes everything stiff. On each therapy day, I obsessively asked the physical therapists to look at my scar. It was healing to a barely noticeable scar. I was just amazed.

 

knee replacement scar after 6 months
Scar is 5.5 inches long. I’ve seen them much longer.

RECOMMENDATION

I met all my surgery goals and I highly recommend Dr. Heekin for knee replacement surgery. You won’t see him much and appointments at his office are never timely but I was very happy with my results.