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It has been 19 months today since my total knee replacement on April 12, 2011. It has been an interesting journey I must say. It definitely was not what I expected. What I have found is there are certain points I wish I had know before going into this. I thought I had done all the research, talked to enough people, saw enough people who had had the surgery to have a good idea of what I was getting into, but I was very mistaken. I guess the first question people ask me is would I have it done again. I am mixed on that answer. My knee is much better than it was before the surgery. I had gotten to where I couldn’t leave the house without a compression stocking and a hinged knee brace, as I just didn’t know if the knee would hold out long enough to go anywhere. I was in constant pain and it really was a quality of life issue. I was 49 when I had the surgery done and had been fighting with my ortho doctor for almost 2 years before they finally agreed. I went through all the shots and such to finally get approved for the surgery. I understood that there was going to be physical therapy, I was really going to have to work, but that the results would be worth it. I knew several people who had this surgery and were doing great. I also talked to a handful who did not have such great results, but I felt the odds were in my favor, I was young, had a good doctor with a great track record, and I decided to go for it. Image

My main warning for anyone who is having this surgery is get ready for pain. Between the staples in the knee, the intense physical therapy, you are going to be in pain. You also better be ready to really apply yourself to your physical therapy and if they give you one of those machines that makes your leg bend and straighten, use as much as possible and be sure to straighten your leg as soon as the doctor says to start doing your exercises. I ended up with the problem of my leg would not straighten. It bends just fine, but I got stuck at 25 degrees and would not get any straighter than that. Have you ever tried to stand for any period of time with a leg stuck at 25 degrees, which is the straightest it is going to get? I then had to have manipulation under anesthesia at the end of August 2011, which is where they take you to the operating room, put you to sleep, and then literally straighten the leg. I had a bruise on my leg that was in the outline of a hand where the doctor pushed so hard on my leg he bruised it. Within three days of the procedure my entire leg from thigh to ankle was black and blue and then I was back in physical therapy every day for three weeks. I am now stuck at somewhere between 5 degrees and 10 degrees straight, bending is just about what it was before surgery, but I can live with it. I can stand for as long as needed and can walk fairly normal, so I really am better than I was before the surgery.

I have to say there are some real quirks to the surgery. I can feel my knee click now. I get in certain positions and it feels like it is going to pop out, even though I know it won’t, it is just a weird feeling. I have noticed that since I haven’t been doing my exercises in a while that I have lost some strength in it that I had developed, but once I start back to doing my exercises that should become better in no time. So, I have to say I probably would do it again, even with all the problems, but for anyone looking at having it done, listen to your doctor and get ready for a lot of work. Get ready for the “physical terrorists,” which is what I call them, as one told me that if they aren’t making me cry then they aren’t doing their jobs. Get ready for making a lot of changes in your life while you are trying to get back to normal, as it took me almost a year to really feel comfortable with my knee again. The doctor warned me about that, but you really don’t understand what he means until you are experiencing it.

My words of advice for anyone who is having issues with their knee and it has become a quality of life issue, i.e. you can’t walk without pain, you are falling from it going out (which is one reason I wanted the surgery), and you are just not able to live a normal life because of it, then it is probably time to see about surgery, but make sure you get all the facts, talk to everyone you can find, do your research and know what you are getting into before you go under the knife…till next time…

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Well, it was a good run while it lasted. I went almost six weeks off my happy pills, but came to the decision this week that maybe going off the antidepressants wasn’t the smartest decision I have made in a while. I am probably one of the least violent people you will meet. I can’t remember ever being in a physical fight with another woman or man. I try my best not to have road rage, but there are certain drivers who should never have been given a license, and I try not to tell people off at the store, even after their kids have run over me, the person has hit me with their shopping cart more than once, or when a certain man thought that leaving a shopping cart sort of cockeyed in the line constituted holding his place, but putting all that aside I would be considered a rather laid back person. This week I actually wanted to find someone and punch their lights out. I decided after that maybe it is time to go back on the pills. I think maybe that would be considered possibly causing harm to others, which in certain situations would get you committed on a 72-hour hold at most psychiatric institutions. I really don’t want to spend my last couple of days before I go back to work in the psych ward, not my idea of a fun vacation.

This week has been extremely stressful. It started out Monday with me getting fired via email from my job. I then spent most of Tuesday arguing with banks, trying not to tell them how stupid they are. When you don’t cuss it is very hard to find the appropriate words that convey the true meaning of how angry you are, but I really did try. I ended up being switched between three different divisions of the bank, through four different people, and finally found a lady who fixed the problem just to get me off the phone, but that works for me. By the time we rolled around to Wednesday I felt like I had ants under my skin and was wanting to punch out anyone who would be stupid enough to get within a few feet of me. This is when I decided maybe it is time to get back on my medication.

I did like the way I felt at one point off the medication, actually having some deep feelings about things, but then the new feelings of anger just aren’t going to cut it. I guess to get feelings of any sort you have to be willing to take both extremes from happy to sad, nice to mean, and anything in between. Maybe it is better to have your emotions more railed in by the medication, as it really is easier to function in society when you don’t want to bite off everyone’s head that looks at you crossed eyed or the opposite of starting to cry every time they look at you wrong. I guess what I was considering not feeling emotions was more normal than the way I have been experiencing emotions for years now. I guess the extremes of really happy to really sad are not the norm and being a more even keel is what makes life easier to deal with.

I did call my doctor Wednesday though and they informed me that I shouldn’t have just stopped taking my pills…duh. I was also told that even though I might not have felt like they were doing any good that the people around me can tell, and they are the ones we stay on our pills for. I guess that makes sense. We devised a plan on how to ease back on them and then build back up to where I need to be to be able to wrangle my emotions back in and be easier to live with, deal with, and keep me out of jail, as I really don’t want to have to spend time in jail for punching out a complete stranger. That might not be a good thing. That might actually be a felony charge, and I really don’t want a police record.

I guess I wouldn’t call my stopping the happy pills a complete and epic fail…I was able to see what I feel like on and off the pills and now can make a better judgment as to whether taking them is the best thing for me or not. At this time going back on them is probably best for everyone involved…till next time…

It is now the day after the big election. I was hoping we would have a new president, but no… The Obama has made another term. I was very upset when I first heard. I contemplated buying a silo or something in the middle of Kansas or buying an isolated cabin up in the middle of the mountains somewhere and becoming a hermit, but then I started really thinking about the situation. I have to admit I didn’t like either candidate. I thought the Libertarian candidate was probably the better choice, as I feel that marijuana needs to be legalized in every state of the United States, well medical marijuana, and this is coming from someone who has never smoked the stuff. Once I calmed down and really started looking at the aftermath of the Big Election 2012, maybe we are better with the evil we know than the evil we don’t. We have no idea what type of president Romney would have been. He might have been worse than Obama, which I just can’t image that one, but it is possible. We at least know what to expect from Obama… the awful, unconstitutional bit of legislation called Obamacare, the United States apologizing for defending our country and our troops, and other fun stuff like that, but at least we know to expect all this stuff from him. It isn’t like we are going into the next four years blind, which maybe that is a good thing.

I just wish there had been better choices than what we had this year. I really don’t feel like our choices have been that great for several years now. I have to admit I really rather liked George W. Bush. He had his issues, but you normally could predict what he was going to do, and he truly loves this country. He really does care for the troops and military. He did what he thought was best to keep this a great nation, instead of the joke we have become under Obama. We used to be a country the rest of the world respected. When we said to do something or we are going to take care of the situation, the other country stepped back and rethought what they were going to do. We now have a president that apologizes for everything, and I mean everything. Oh you killed our people in Libya, well I am sorry we upset you. Give me a break, but at least we know that he is going to do this and we only have to put up with him for four more years, so at least that gives me some solace in the situation.

I guess my point to all of those who told me how great Obama is, was the fact that he is the most unpatriotic president we have ever had. He has not shown up to several military functions that every other president never missed since the events were put in place. He is the one who does everything in his power it seems to diminish how great the United States is. He admitted he hasn’t really done anything about the immigration issue and that is one reason he won most of the border state towns. They know if he is in for four more years they can keep coming over the border with no consequences, which is a problem. Do you remember a little war called the Civil War? The way we are going there is going to be another war in this country and it is going be an urban war, a war between classes, the have and have nots, the illegals versus us citizens who believe you should go through the process of being legal like our ancestors did. My great grandparents went through Ellis Island, let the government change the spelling of their last name, they learned the languages, they assimilated and didn’t expect everyone to learn their languages and cater to them, they loved being here and did what they could to be an asset, not a hindrance. It isn’t a race issue, if you are here illegally, you are an illegal! Whether you are from Mexico, Asia, Africa, wherever, if you aren’t here legally go home, get your paperwork in order, and then come back when you legally can. I get so tired of wondering when I moved to little Mexico. I tried to buy hair color earlier today and the packaging was in Spanish… goodness when did that happen and Obama isn’t doing a darn thing to fix it, and probably won’t as that is not on his agenda of things to get done. Right now his agenda is to make this a socialist state with government control of banking, health care, and anything else he thinks the government needs to take over, and then one day we are going to wake up under Marshall Law and there are going to be a lot of people telling the the rest of the Americans we told you so….. till next time….

Well, this is a new experience for me. This morning I get an email that my services are no longer needed for the company I have been with for almost three years. You might be thinking who gets fired through an email? Well, an independent contractor who works over the Internet. The joy of a work from home job with a boss you will never meet in person, the lack of human interaction, but when you are an introvert like me that just wants to do their job without office politics or having a boss standing behind me breathing down Imagemy neck it is a good thing. But, back to the issue at hand. I am now officially fired. This is one of the only times in the past 13 years as a medical transcriptionist that I don’t have at least one other job to fall back on. I am right now floating in the wind wondering what the heck to do. With the holidays coming up, a handful of big transcription companies buying up all the little ones, hospitals outsourcing to the big transcription companies, there isn’t much going on out there.

I personally have been home so long I don’t have the wardrobe to even go back to a job outside the house at this time, as I don’t think shorts and an old T-shirt is acceptable attire for most office jobs. Honestly, I don’t want to go back to an office job as a secretary, as getting a job outside of the home with my skill set is basically office worker or secretary. I was a graphic designer for over 18 years before I got into transcription, but I haven’t kept up with all the new software packages, well they are the same packages I used to use but have gone through a zillion upgrades and I could figure them out, but there is a bit of a learning curve. This would mean I would basically have to go back in entry level and the thought of that at the age of 51 isn’t very appealing to me, but will have to keep that as an option.

So, here I am at a crossroad. I haven’t liked what I do for a long time now. Sitting here typing until my hands cramp, because as a medical transcriptionist you are normally paid by the line, so the faster you type the more you make, or no tippy tippy typing means no money. I have beat my hands to death now for over 10 years and they are letting me know it. I have been trying to figure out a way out of this profession, a way to transition into something else I want to do, but I wanted some breathing room, an exit plan, not just kicked out on my butt and now scrambling.

Told my hubbie I have one week to figure this out and then I have no option than to go out and hit temp agencies and see what I can do. I do have other skills though, other options. I have an embroidery business. I have a commercial machine that has been making extra money for four years now, maybe it is time to get on a wild advertising journey and get enough orders to cover what I was making. I have had a pretty good little business just word of mouth, I guess it is time to get the old guerrilla marketing book out and get to work.

I am also a writer. I have a couple of books on Amazon in the Kindle store. I have two other books almost finished, plus I have a series of doll-making books I am working on in collaboration with my mentor/teacher, so I would think I could figure out how to make money without depending on a transcription company who would drop me over one bad report. I mean just Friday they were praising my work and today they are “appalled” by my work, what gives? You give me an audio report that even the person who speaks the language this doctor speaks couldn’t understand, so by the time I am done typing it looks like Swiss cheese from all the blanks, but I am the bad transcriptionist. Give me a break. If a doctor wants his report typed to perfection he need to learn to talk. I mean basic communication… speak clearly and then we all know what you are trying to say… but that is for a different post.

I guess it is now time for me to take action, figure this out, and move on. I was wanting an exit plan and now I have one. Not the one I wanted, but you know God works in mysterious ways and guess this is Him moving and I better follow…till next time…

I don’t know many other diseases/conditions that are insidious as depression. It sneaks up on a person and by the time you are fully entrenched in it you are so down and deep in it you don’t know how to get out. It starts with little things, not wanting to do things you like to do. Instead of sitting and painting or whatever you like to do you decide you would rather just stay in bed or watch TV. You get to where you are just tired, have no energy, just not yourself. You are still functioning at this point, but you just feel different. You can’t put your finger on it, but different. Next step is you don’t want to get out of bed anymore. You don’t want to leave the house. The last thing you want to do is something fun or something you used to enjoy. You are having trouble getting yourself to work, let alone being able to do anything once you get there. This is the point where people start wondering about you. They tell you to get out of your funk. Just snap out of it. What have you got to be depressed about. You have a family, decent job, good life, get over yourself. What they don’t realize is they are just making things worse. For me at this point I would sit and cry for no reason. Have you ever tried to explain to someone why you are crying when you have no idea yourself. They look at you like you are nuts. What is wrong they ask. Well, I don’t know. Why don’t you know? I don’t know…. and it just goes downhill from there.

The problem is if you have never experienced depression you have no idea what it does to a person. How it affects your mind. How a once lively, creative, and engaging person becomes a “hermit.” They are probably just as frustrated as the person with depression, but no one really has a clue what to do or how to fix it. In most cases medicine can help. The problem with that is normally the first pill they put you on doesn’t do the right job, so you have to keep doing a trial and error thing until you finally find something that works. What is kind of sad about this part of it is most of the side effects for antidepressant agents is thoughts of suicide or hurting others. So, tell me how that is fixing the problem. I went from not just being depressed, but now I want to kill myself or everyone around me. Not a good situation.

I guess what prompted me to write this today is a writing buddy of mine had been ignoring my emails and texts for over a week now. I would send them and wait for a reply. I finally got tired of it and sent one of those texts that say something like, “hey, are you alive? are you ignoring me? you know it won’t work!” Finally I got a response. They are slipping into a low cycle in their depression and are playing hermit. It was noon when got the text back and they had just gotten out of bed. I informed them that next time let me know something before it gets that bad and we can call and talk, whatever they needed, but not to let it get that bad next time.

The problem is this isn’t my only friend who goes into hermit mode. I have a mentor/teacher/friend who does this to me also.¬† They will not answer my emails or calls not just for weeks, but months. I finally have to get in my car and drive four hours down to see them to get them to talk to me. Sad thing is, I truly understand where they both are coming from. When you get into the deep cycle of your depression the normal path is to Hermitville. That place where you just want everyone to leave you alone and let you be. I am not talking about people who get a bit blue now and then. They lost their job and are in a bit of a funk. I am talking about those people who are deep into depression, the drowning type of depression where you see no light at the end of the tunnel. To you every day is dark, and there really is no way out of it for you.

What I realized a few years ago was my mother suffered from depression but I had no idea. As a teenager I would watch her sit on the couch for days and cry. I would try to get her to talk to me and she would just give this look of go away. I would get upset, sit down in the chair across from her, and talk to her. I would carry on a two-way conversation with her and she would just stare at me. I guess this is why to this day I can’t stand for people to give me the silent treatment. Yell at me, tell me to get lost, tell me you need some space and I will leave you alone, but don’t ignore me. You want to drive me nutty? Well nuttier… give me the silent treatment.

What I found out years later that my talking to her like that really was more of a help than a hinder. I still to this day feel bad about being that way to her, but I was told by more than one expert in the field that my making her listen to me and interact that I was actually helping her find her way out of her depression. Who would have thought. I just did it because I was frustrated. I see now though behavior in me that I used to see in her and it’s not a good thing. They say most mental illnesses are inherited and guess that is true….till next time…

Okay, what is it about dogs and butts? Is there something we humans don’t know that maybe we should? I have this little 2 pound chihuahua called Sassy that I have had since she was born. Back several years ago I breed chihuahuas and she was part of one of the litters. She has a soft spot on her head where the skull didn’t together and never will, so I didn’t feel right selling her, plus she was so little and so cute I just had to keep her. Now seven years later I wonder at times why the heck I did. I know, I love her dearly and wouldn’t know what to do without her, but she has this obsession with her butt. I will be sitting on the bed and she will run over, spin around in circles and then sit on my hand with her butt placed strategically so I will not miss it. I will then be laying down and next thing I know she is doing the spinning thing again and putting her butt in my face, not on my face but very close. If I ignore her she will keep backing up until she is right in my face with her backside and I have no choice but to acknowledge her presence. I just don’t get it. She does the same thing to her mother, but she will literally go over and sit butt first on her mom’s head and sit there until mom either plays with her or growls and scares her off.

I have noticed though that this is just not a tImagehing with Sassy, as they all do this butt in the face thing with each other. I was watching Sassy’s sister the other day back into the crate butt first, because her brother was already in the crate and I guess she figured if a fight started she was in the right position to run or sit on him and make him tap out. Not really sure. But, if you sit and watch other dogs, big and small, the majority of them like to back their butts into the other dog’s face. What is up with that. Is it some form of endearment? Does that mean I like you in doggie speak? Does it give them an out if the conversation doesn’t go well? Seems like you would want to be face to face so if you needed to fight you would both have your teeth where you could do some damage, not be where the other dog can take a chunk out of your butt. There has to be some sort of reasoning behind this that I am not getting.

The other thing dogs do is this whole sniffing each others butt. That really bugs me, as you already know what comes out that end, so why are you wanting to smell it also? Could you image two humans sniffing each other in the butt as a way to say hello. That is past gross. Uggg… I mean there are some people who are complete butt heads and looking them in the face is about the equivalent to smelling their butt, but that is a totally different story. The thing is dogs seem to be happy with the arrangement. One of those hey bud, whatz up, how’s it hanging, sort of things I guess. I am just very glad I am not a dog, as the thought of having to stick my nose in the butt of everyone I meet is just a bit much if you ask me… till next time…

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