Blogging On Percocet

1 Day Post Op

So I’m one day post op from my 2nd hip replacement.


They definitely gave me a little too much Percocet this morning and on an empty stomach too…so I’m still feeling a little nauseous and loopy. 


I had my first physical therapy this morning and there is another planned for this afternoon.


It was really hard to walk and every little step was in pain…I asked the nurse half jokingly whether it was okay to curse as we went down the hall with the walker.


While I realize that I still have quite a way to go, I am glad to be starting the process of getting back on my feet again.


I am grateful to G-d for all his mercy, for my family and friends,(especially Dossy here with me and my very understanding daughters who put up with my kvetching through all this), and the superior surgical and medical care that I realize not everyone in the world has so readily available. 


Thank you to everyone for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers. 😉

New Body Parts

Hip Replacement

As I gear up for Hip Replacement #2, my sister sent this funny comic to me. 


I heard that something like a million joint replacements are now done in the U.S. every year. 


And these procedures are expected to increase precipitously with projections by 2030 of:


– 3.48 million knee replacements (a factor of almost 7 times)


– 572,000 hip replacements (an almost 2-fold increase)


This also means that revision surgeries will start to rise rapidly as replacements wear out or are in need of replacement themselves. 


Thank G-d that they have these procedures to help people–I don’t know how people lived with the incessant pain and degenerative mobility even a generation ago. 


What’s it like to have a body part inserted to augment your own?


Just ask this horse! 😉

The Best Cut

Butcher
So I wasn’t sure I wanted to share this, but my wife encouraged me in an effort to help others going through similar things.



Recently, I went to the Surgeon about my other hip to read my MRI…



After having read the report myself before the appointment, I was convinced I was heading under the knife again with the pain I was experiencing, challenges getting around, and the verbiage in the report like: 



“Significant…”



“Advanced.”



Anyway, my daughter came along because I wasn’t sure I was going to easily get parking in this place…always a challenge there. 



Waiting for the doctor, I asked G-d for a miracle, since after all the hospitalizations this last year, I literally thought that another one at this time could very well kill me.



Low and behold, the doctor comes in and as if G-d is directing his speech for the next 40 minutes or so, he does everything to dissuade me from having the surgery this month, even though he was the one at the last appointment that had already booked me on his surgical calendar. 



So today the miracle unfolded…



First, the doctor read my MRI, but then quickly flipped the screen to an MRI of another patient–a 76 year old–and he showed me the unbelievable progression of the osteoarthritis from near onset to ultimately the complete collapse of the joint over about 9 years time for this lady…the last MRI looked like complete and utter bone devastation–I had never seen anything like it!



Next he opened his drawer and took out a horror basket of used replacement joints parts that he had removed from patients that needed revision–he showed me the wear and breakage and described in horrible detail how he often has to dig these out of the bones of his patients and how each revision–which everyone will need after about 10-15 years or sooner if they become symptomatic–becomes more complicated and dangerous in terms of infection, blood clots, and recovery. 



Then he told how in the field so many replacement surgeries do not go well and that he sees 3-5 patients a week who come to him because they are UN-happy with the replacements their doctors did. 



This went on and on, and bottom line…he said, “I love to do the surgeries–I really do–but wait as long as you can before getting it [on the other hip], since while it can provide for short term improvements, each revision is worse, and at your age you could need three–on each side.”



Needless-to-say, from this whole thing, I was in utter shock and some disbelief as I had been told these prosthetics can last 20-25 years with the newer models, and I was not aware of what the revisions really entailed in later years or the challenges they brought. 



As he continued to describe the risks in painful vivid details (note, I was his last appointment of the day and he was talking his time here), my eyes were literally welling up in tears.



I looked over at my daughter and she was sitting mouth agape shaking her head at what he was saying. I was deeply sorry that she had to sit through this (what we had thought was a simple MRI reading and confirmation of the upcoming procedure date). 



I left the doctor’s office, of course, canceling the surgery–still in severe pain and with trouble walking–however, “scared straight” to make the best of this for now, but also afraid of what lies ahead. 



I have to have faith that the L-rd who made the miracle to hold off on the surgery for now will continue to guide and protect me through this illness that today has no cure. 



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

There Is Today!

Racquetball

I’ve always enjoyed physical fitness.


While I’ve lost some mobility with my hips…


I am trying to make the most of every day.


Rebecca is showing me the ropes with racquetball, and even Dossy tried it. 


A friend told me: “There is no yesterday, there is no tomorrow, there is only today!” 😉


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Disabled, Can You Imagine?

Disability
A very important article in the Wall Street Journal by Anthony Weller about what it’s like to Paralyzed From The Neck Down.



Weller has suffered for 10 years with primary progressive multiple sclerosis. 



He describes losing everything…from “incalculable personal pleasures” to being “totally helpless.”



And what’s more, you have to save your chips in asking others for things, because “you’d be asking the whole day.”



“Say goodbye to any sense of personal space, too”–in needing everything, you’re essentially left like an open book to everyone around you.



Here, I can’t help thinking about those moments of personal indignity–in caring for our own bodies–that even that someone else must be there for.



Then, there is the just sitting around and endless thinking…”There isn’t much else to do.”



I remember learning about some medieval torture methods and one involved lying a person down in the space cleaved into the stone face of the dungeon and there a person would essentially rot–not being able to move, sit or stand up, or even roll over. 



How long could a person last like that before completely losing their mind?  



While Weller says that he used to imagine being paralyzed as feeling like being “encased in stone,” but now he see it more that your limbs just ignore you, to me whether you are paralyzed in your own body or embedded in medieval stone, the challenges physically and mentally are as scary as anything that can be imagined. 



How do you keep your sanity, let alone any hope?



Weller says, you live in the past, “happiness isn’t is, but was, [and] you try not to contemplate the future too much.”



G-d should have infinite mercy on his creations and lift up the fallen, cure the sick, and release the innocent that are imprisoned…please, please, please let it be. Amen.



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

A WOW Wheelchair

A WOW Wheelchair

Absolutely loved the article and video in Bloomberg Businessweek on the Tankchair.

Brad Soden makes these amazing ruggedized wheelchairs for wounded veterans and other disabled people in need of getting around some rougher terrain.

They are customized for each user and cost about $15,000 each.

They are built on tank-like treads and can go up stairs, through fields, across streams, and over snow.

“Basically, it’s get off the couch and go enjoy life!”

They are tough and can last 15-20 years!

He first made one for his wife who was paralyzed from the waist down in a car accident and was having difficulty keeping up on a family camping trip.

Soden is truly inspirational–he produces these not too make money, but too help people.

“The body can’t keep up, so we’re gonna fix it.”

This is an awesome man making an extreme machine. 😉

(Source Photo: Tankchair)

New And Hip

New And Hip

So this is what a new hip looks like.

Well almost, anyway–this is a small-scale model of one.

About 300,000 people per year benefit from this procedure in the U.S.

Thank G-d for such medical advances.

I don’t know what people did in earlier times having to live with the pain and loss of function and mobility before they had this available.

My father always told me that the doctors are G-d’s messengers and they only know and can do what G-d tells and enables them to do.

In that sense, a good doctor is really an angel of G-d’s mercy.

It’s amazing and miraculous! 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Walking Tall Again

CNN has a video out today on this amazing new technology for paraplegics.

It is a miraculous robotic exoskeleton called the ReWalk by Argo Medical Technologies in Israel.

The inventor, Dr. Amit Goffer, is himself quadriplegic and asked a simple question, “Why is a wheelchair the only answer for those with spinal injuries?”

He challenged the status quo and now there is a way for paralyzed people to stand and walk again.

I choose this video for the blog, because I found it so immensely inspiring to see someone previously wheelchair-bound participating in a marathon in Tel Aviv this year.

The ReWalk is strapped on and has motorized joints and sensors and a battery pack.

When combined with some braces, a person has mobility again on their feet!

I cried when I saw the patient, Radi Kaiuf go over the finish line after walking 10 kilometers with the ReWalk and everyone, including the children on the sidelines, cheering for him.

Congratulation to all the researchers from the Technion University who helped make this a reality–hopefully people around the world, who are in are in need, will be able to benefit in the future and walk again.

Truly, mobility is life! 😉

The Pain of Parkinson’s

The Pain of Parkinson's

At the dedication of the new George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, the picture of the elder Bush in a wheelchair really struck home.

My mom has Parkinson’s Disease and is wheelchair bound.

For a number of years, I have watched (feeling helpless) my mom go from a vibrant person to succumbing to the devastation of this disease of unknown origin.

First, for many years (before we new) was a slowness of gait–with everyone yelling “come on mom, hurry up! Why so slow?”

Then, the uncontrolled shaking, especially of her hands, and deformity of the joints.

Next came the difficulty moving, the shakiness when walking, and the falls–until the time, some nerves were damaged and her foot got turned inward, so she could no longer stand.

Therapy, a walker, and then a wheelchair, and now for most of the day–confined to bed and loss of basic movement that we usually take for granted.

With loss of mobility, came loss of appetite, insomnia, depression, and GI problems.

Despite visits to numerous medical experts–we could only treat the symptoms, but could never keep up somehow with the progression of the illness.

My beautiful mom has suffered terribly, and my dad (despite his own medical challenges and age) has been her caretaker through it all.

Dad has done all the things for a person that can be done–on call every minute–until exhaustion at times. He has been nothing less than heroic in his deeds, dedicated to my mom and doing it with endless love for her–and always remaining (at least outwardly) optimistic and hopeful for both of them.

My mom went to the hospital a week and a half ago and this last week was transferred to a home.

Her eyes show the story of her suffering, and her body is drawn from fighting the illness, yet inside her the intelligence and love–she shows with a mere rise of her eyebrows and smirk–gives me strength.

I love my mom and dad. It is a tough road when age and illness take their toll.

It is scary to think at times what the future holds for each of us and how we will endure in the face of it.

Mom and Dad have suffered in their lives from the holocaust, with seemingly endless hard work trying to make a living, and with debilitating illness.

Their story and lives are a monument of strength and courage, love and devotion, and faith in the Almighty.

From Wheelchair To Walking

Berkeley Bionics (now Ekso Bionics) has done miracles here in helping the disabled to walk again.

Based on the Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC) from Lockheed Martin that was developed for the warfighter to carry 200 pounds of weight at 10 mph, Berkeley has adapted this technology for medical rehabilitation.

I first watched this eLEGS technology on a National Geographic special called “Make Me Superhuman.”

This woman literally walks for the first time in18 years after a skiing accident, and I was literally crying for her.

She wobbled and would’ve fallen if not for the safety harness, but after a few times retraining her muscles to walk again, she was able to take steps and turn using the eLEGS exoskeleton technology.

Over and over again, she says how grateful she is to be able to stand, be normal height, walk again, and get out of her wheelchair.

This technology can really bring hope to the disabled, especially as it gets refined, more compact, and cheaper.

The vision is that paralyzed people will one day get up in the morning, put on the eLEGS, get in the car, and then walk around all day just like you and I.

Oh, what a great day that will be. 😉