What's With Wally?

Warblings from Wally David


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Oh! My Aching Knee – Day 2 & 3 – Negative Ned and The Power of Postive Encouragement

I had a whole blog post written about a guy I nicknamed Negative Ned. Dude was a bummer, maaaan.  He was a guy in my group rehab sessions while at Park Ridge Hospital for my total knee replacement. (TKR) He is a guy in his early 70’s and in relatively good health compared to a lot of the folks in the group. Yet two days post surgery, he was saying how, even though he needs his other one done, he was not going to do it based on his experience so far. I was going to get all high and might on my soapbox and tell you how I gave the guy some straight talk. But this morning, I’m just not in the mood to.  I did give him some frank words of encouragement, even though his name is not Frank. I hope they helped him because if not, he is going to have a rough go of it. His son was with him at one point, but looked totally disinterested in the exercises “Ned” was doing and the progress he was not making.

Sara was at some of my sessions and really encouraged me to make progress and not give into the pain.  It was very helpful to have her there cheering me on. She is not a very “Rah rah” type of person, and not a BSer, so I know that if she said I was doing well, then it was the truth. Thank you Sara! I really appreciate the powers of positive encouragement.

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Oh! My Aching Knee – Day 1 – I guess it was the right decision.

Wow. I will tell you one thing. There is no wasting time after total knee replacement surgery, that’s for sure.  I’ll skip all the things that fall under the TMI category. You’ll thank me later.

I didn’t get much rest overnight. Vital signs being checked, IV machine beeping all the time, general discomfort, all conspired to keep me up most of night. Around 5:30 I started to fall asleep and in came the parade.
Two Care Assistants/Medical Technicians marched in at 5:45 AM to get me up and out of bed. Getting the t-shirt on was not much of a challenge, save for trying not to pull out the IV line. Getting my shorts on was a different story. I definitely put them on one leg at a time. The right leg as not bad but the left leg. WOW, that hurt. Hauling my ace bandaged-wrapped leg up was murder. But then I had to “skootch” and drag my butt to the edge of the bed. That was much worse.

Next came the walker. I guess the green tennis ball are an add-on for the legs of the walker. My destination was a vinyl covered, fake leather reclining chair. The chair itself is nice and comfy. However, the fact that they required my leg to be propped up with a pillow under my lower calf was causing my leg to be straightened. Oh..the pain. It came from the fact that it was being stretched by gravity. If the knee were up on a pillow then it would stiffen and be much more difficult to get bending later.

Someone is at the door. I’ll be back in a minute; talk amongst yourselves.

Ok. I’m back. The surgeon came in to check on me. He expected the straight-legged position to be uncomfortable. But he told me we did the surgery at the right time. Although I’m “young” at 47 to have it done, he said that it was a “real mess” in there when they opened it up. If I had not had it done now, it would have been over the summer or fall at the latest.

So, despite the pain I’m in right at this moment, I guess it was the right decision.


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Oh! My Aching Knee – Day 0 – Then, I Got Queasy

The big day is here. My total knee replacement is happening today.

Getting ready to leave. I was packed last night and amazingly enough, I slept right through until my alarm at 6:30 AM. Last time I had knee surgery, I woke up four hours early.

As I took a shower this morning, I looked down at my knee and I flashed forward, envisioning the big scar that was going to run the length of my knee.  Then I thought about the metal and plastic that will be in there within six hours or so.

Then, I got queasy.


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Oh My Aching Knee – The Night Before

Big day tomorrow. I’m having a total knee replacement (TKR) of my left knee. I’m 47, but I have the knees of an 80 y/o. Being overweight and an old repair done 30 years ago have led me to this point. Pretty much bone on bone in there with loose stuff floating around.

Everyone who hears that I’m having it done knows someone else who has had a TKR. To a person, the results are positive. That is comforting to hear.

Because of my relatively young age to have this done, my hospital stay should be shorter, my rehab easier and my return to work sooner than normal. I hope that is all true.

Tomorrow is the big day. Wish me luck.


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And It Ain’t Even Winter Yet

Life in a small town, just south of Rochester, NY can be very appealing. It is a nice, peaceful little town. One stop light, three pizza shops, two bars, a grocery store, video store, three or for houses of worship, a micro-brewery and even an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet.

Something had to put a check in the negative column regarding life here. It is the weather. We have two and a half seasons: Summer, winter and what I like to call “In Between”. “In Between” lasts for a few weeks to a month or so before or after Winter. I count it as a half a season.

In the summer, the weather is pretty nice. It does not get too hot or too humid. There can be a fair amount of rain sometimes, but the lawn does not get burned.

In the Winter, the weather is pretty awful. Here are some old favorite “You Know You Are In Rochester, NY When…” jokes:

“18+ inches of snow falls overnight, but you never thought of NOT going to work.”
It is true! They barely have any snow days for the school kids either.

“It can be 70 degrees one day, below freezing the next, and you think nothing of it.”
Literally.

“In winter if the temperature hits 45 degrees and the sun comes out, people walk around downtown wearing shades and no jackets.”
If it hits 50, people start sun bathing.

“There are places at the poles that seem to get more sunlight during the winter months than we do. ”
Very true. Why do you think so many excellent studio photographers come out of the photography at my Alma Mater, Rochester Institute of Technology? Because in the studio YOU control the light.

“Halloween is snowed out with great regularity. ”
There is nothing quite like kids having to wear parkas over their Spider Man or My Little Pony costumes.

“You have experienced frostbite and sunburn in the same week.”
Early May Little League game snowed out one day, heat stroke the next.

“The only thing at the annual May Lilac Festival is snow.”
Oh but the purple of the Lilacs looks so nice against a bright, white, snowy backdrop.

As I put the 5th gallon of windshield wiper fluid since November into my car, I heard an interesting fact from the weatherman on the radio:
“So far this year, we have had 27 inches of snow, and it ain’t even winter yet.


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30 Years Ago Today…I Wept

It Was 30 Years Ago Today…that the world lost a true part of its heart.

30 years ago today, John Lennon, former Beatle, and one of the best song writers of our time, was murdered.

I will never forget where I was or what I was doing when I heard the news. I was in bed. I was a senior in high school and had fallen asleep while listening to the Philadelphia Flyers ice hockey game on the radio. I woke up somewhere around 2 AM and turned the radio, expecting to find out the score of the game. Instead, my world was rocked.

I changed to the local all-news, all-the-time radio station in Philly, KYW 1060. I was so confused. I didn’t hear the familiar tick,tick,tick of the fake teletype machine in the background while a news anchor reads the latest news. I heard a Beatles song. HUH? Why would KYW be playing a Beatles tune? Maybe it was a 10 second clip in honor of a Beatles’ birthday. The song finished and the deep voiced new anchor said “For those of you just tuning in, it is unbelievable, but John Lennon has been shot dead.”

At approximately 10:50 pm on December 8th, 1980, as Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, returned to their New York apartment in The Dakota, Mark David Chapman shot Lennon in the back four times at the entrance to the apartment building. Lennon was taken to the emergency room of nearby Roosevelt Hospital and was pronounced dead on arrival at 11:07 pm.

I was devastated and in complete shock. I was 17 and a huge Beatles fan. While I was not old enough to enjoy the Beatles during their amazing time together, I loved them, as well as, Lennon’s solo work. I got up and played one Beatles album after another, listening to them with my huge, clunky headphones.

I did not sleep that night. I just wept.


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What do you have to be thankful for?

I have a simple question for you. It should be one that is easy to answer: What do you have to be thankful for?

My wife, Sara, sons Mike and Matt are all in relatively good health. I’m doing OK as well, though I do have the knees of an 80-year-old. My in-laws and my parents are all alive and kickin’, in their late 70’s and early 80’s. My brother and sister, as well as, Sara’s sisters and all the assorted nieces and nephews are all doing fine. For everyone’s relatively good health, I am thankful.

Speaking of health, Sara and I volunteered at the Family Fun Weekend put on by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society of Upstate New York (Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/MSupstateNY). Sara has worked for the NMSS for over six years, in a variety of roles. As her dutiful husband, I “volunteer” for the Bike MS and Walk MS events, as well as other assorted efforts throughout the year. However, this was my first Family Fun Weekend.

The Family Fun Weekend was held as a nice late-fall getaway for members of the MS Society and their families. It allows for the members with MS to get together with other members and socialize, play games, do crafts, and eat some really good food. I was humbled to be there and do what I could to make it a nice time. I was humbled because these wonderful people suffer from, to various degrees, a very difficult disease. Yet, to a person, they were in good spirits, friendly and so glad to be in each others’ company.

Not once did I hear anyone complain. No one bemoaned the fact that they might be in a wheelchair, use a cane, have difficulty seeing or need help feeding themselves. They didn’t let their disease get in the way of having a nice time with friends and family. To a person, their spirit was an inspiration.

So, as Sara and I headed to the car last Saturday afternoon, me with my achy knees of an 80-year-old, what went through my head? How much knees hurt? No. How lucky I am not to have MS? No. What went through my head was how lucky I was to have been in the company a wonderful group of people. For that, I am thankful. What do YOU have to be thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving
Wally