Posted in Family, Today's File

Inventory Item: Right Knee, Size XL

worst knee our surgeon had seen still in use

I’m writing from my hubby’s hospital room, where we’re “camping” for a few days.  He is in possession of a brand new knee as of yesterday (lucky 13th), and we’re learning that one size doesn’t “fit all.”  The grippy-socks they provide for patients only fit over the ends of his size-17 flippers, so he’s reclining right now with the generic set of socks pulled over the toe-ends of his feet like an impish pair of sock puppets.

The knee itself was pulled from the “stockpile” of extra sizes; my Hawai’ian Guy’s bones are so big they needed to install an Extra-Large Knee. (We’re grateful to learn that they evidently keep extra sizes on hand.)  The doc told me afterward that he’d never installed such a large knee before.  It was a second “first” for this doctor, who–despite his presumably extensive experience with used-up knees–told us on first viewing Keoni’s x-ray that his was the worst knee he’d seen still in a person’s body.

We did have to disappoint our 10-year-old, Christian, who wanted to bring “the old knee” to school for show-and-tell, as the hospital is required to dispose of the used body parts after surgery.  Sorry, Son.

I’m a little on the side of sleep-deprived, so rather than attempting a single coherent piece, I’m just going to share a few observations here before I go back to what I’m supposed to be writing for tomorrow’s deadline…

“My Idea of Camping is When Room Service is Late.”

My mother had that slogan on a Tshirt once (funny but false–she’s a Girl Scout and a skilled woods-woman who taught me plenty).  We’re referring to this as our “camping trip” because it’s definitely a departure from the comforts of home–but truthfully, the menu is decent, the “park rangers” are super-friendly, and (somewhat to the surprise of the nursing staff) we can snuggle quite comfortably together in the hospital bed… though of course there are ongoing interruptions all night as the dutiful rangers show up at regular intervals to wrangle the wildlife into a state of wakefulness and get blood-pressure readings from the arm which was wrapped around my blissfully (but briefly) sleeping self.  (See “sleep-deprived” above…)

a new zippered knee

“Chicks dig scars.”

That’s what Keoni always tells our fifteen-year-old football player when he comes home with his latest round of bumps, bruises, and gashes from football practice.  Time to test the theory on himself now: that’s a heck of a leg-zipper!

Yeah, I dig it.

My “Office” Environment Just Got More Distracting.

Lucky for me, my job can go with me wherever I go!  The hospital room has wireless internet, and I’ve got my daily freelance deadlines as always–no sweat, right?

I was sure I’d left myself plenty of writing-time to meet today’s noon deadline, and couldn’t figure out why it was coming along so slowly.  After all, I’d only paused for a few moments for the physical therapy session.  And another few moments to meet with the discharge planner.  And another few moments for the pain-management consultation.  And another few moments for the…  Okay, okay, I clearly need to budget more time to get anything finished here.  Tomorrow’s assignment had better get tackled tonight so I’m not sweating deadline again.  (See how resolutely I’m following through with that plan? Ahem. No, this blog is not part of tomorrow’s deadline…)

Call me Coach!

I’m ready for my whistle and clipboard!  I’m Keoni’s designated “rehabilitation coach,” so the dynamic duo of K&K has been stirring up mirth and merriment in the group physical therapy classes.  Happily, it’s a cheerful group of people who seem universally pleased by the prospects of their new joints, and open to a little humor.  Even ours.

When we got to the section of self-dressing (pulling hospital scrubs on over their own clothes for practice), the folks who don’t have in-home help or coaches got “reachers,” or extendable sticks with maneuverable grabbing-fingers at the ends, to help them with things like socks and pants that have to be applied to one’s person beyond the reach of one’s arms…  Keoni looked wickedly interested in the “Nifty Nabber,” but I wouldn’t let him have one because he wouldn’t promise not to use it for grabbing ME. I heckled him for a strip-tease when the group got to the self-UN-dressing segment, and the whole row of little-old-ladies (in various stages of “undress” themselves) were snorting in a most unladylike fashion as we all got the giggles at the new challenges presented by those basic items like socks and pants.

One of my coach-duties is the administration of injections to prevent blood clots and pulmonary embolisms, so I got my training today.  Sheesh, what a production!  I had to watch a ten-minute “procedural video” to prepare me for the complexities of…  a three-second stomach-stab action.  Okay, okay, got it already.

Walking Tall

Keoni has been in so much pain for so long, and he’s been walking with the stooped-over bearing of a much older man. He jokes with the younger kids that he’s so old he’s not their step-father; he’s their stumble-father.  Today’s field trip down the hospital hall, with the shepherding help of the physical therapist and the aid of a walker, was honestly not any slower than his pre-surgery pace.  But I’m joyfully noting that he has his own inches back.  He’s walking tall again, and at least the pain he’s experiencing now is attached to a solution.

Random Other Notes…

…Watching from our ninth-floor window, I have to observe that Idaho drivers have NO idea what to do with a traffic Roundabout.  Every entrance to the hospital-grounds includes a diagram explaining the “device” to drivers, but there’s a state of observable confusion going on below our window all day long.

…A.A. coffee beats hospital coffee, no contest. Though I was glad to have coffee when I peeled myself out of the hospital bed this morning to tackle my writing assignments.  It’s not bad if I remind myself to think of it as “camping coffee.”

…Keoni really does prefer being poked by needles with ink in them, but for the necessary evils of IVs and injections, the nursing staff has been very considerate in targeting un-inked areas of his arms.

…Suzy-cat is no doubt very put out with us.  We left plenty of water and kibble out for her, and our teenager (who’s staying with friends for a few days) promised to stop by for an attention-session, but I have no doubt we’ll hear about this when we arrive home. The electronic compression-pads on Keoni’s calves periodically inflate with a little electronic vibration, and when he was still groggy from the anesthetic, he thought it was Suzy cuddling up against his legs.  Now we’re referring to the compression pump as the “ghost cat.”

my cook's new-found "porn" channel

…Amidst all the electronic equipment in this hospital room, there’s one strange device…  What’s it called again?  Right, a TV.  We don’t have any channels at home (haven’t watched any TV at all in the last three years, except in rehab or jail) so this device is quite the novelty for us.  Keoni, of course, has found his own version of “porn”–the Food Network!  He’s jotting down recipe-ideas, so I have no doubt his “therapy” is going to include a quick return to the kitchen.

But I already knew that about him–I have a stool set up and waiting for him in our kitchen, so whenever they release us from Knee-Camp, we’ll pack up our little post-surgery slumber party and return to the comforts of our own bed and our cat and our kitchen. I’m already looking forward to some new recipes from my newly-tall kooky cook.


I am... a writer, an explorer, a coffee-drinker, a recovering addict, a barefoot linguist, a book-dragon ("bookworm" doesn't cover it), a raconteur, a sailboat skipper, a research diver, a tattooed scholar, a pirate, a poet, a spiritual adventurer, a photographer, a few kinds-of-crazy, a joyful wife, a mom... a list-maker! :)

28 thoughts on “Inventory Item: Right Knee, Size XL

  1. I’m glad Keoni will finally be out of pain. I had dinner with a girlfriend a couple of days ago who had knee repacement surgery a year ago; she said it has changed her life. You would never know a year ago she was using crutches to get around. So congratulations. Also, just want to say based on that scar, that your husband must really love you to let you crawl up into his hospital bed!


  2. So sorry Keoni had to go through all this, but it seems as though you and he and Suzi will have a lot of comfort and new foods to share through the rehab period! I have had a couple of older friends who had knee replacement surgery. They apparently did not have as capable or cheerful a rehab coach as yourself and seem to have never truly rehabilitated. You have such a great spirit about all of your family doings! No wonder all those folks want you to write those thousands of words for them all time. Best of luck and all good wishes for a perfect recovery for Keoni and a perfectly delectable time in the kitchen for all!


  3. Aloha Kako’u, After seeing the post-op photos, I’m thinking you’re going to dig me a lot! Much Mahalos Kana Ka’i ;)


  4. There’s light at the end of the tunnel. My husband had two knee replacements at once…it made a huge difference in his life. Blessings on this journey, therapy partner!


  5. Love your writing, Kana. So much energy in it! Good luck with that new knee for hubby. Sounds like life is going to get easier!


  6. How lucky the medical profession has come up with these extra “spare parts” (knee replacements). I can think of at least five people who have had either one or both replaced.

    You always sound so bubbly—in all situations. Love reading your posts.


  7. Currently hobbling around on painful knees, I got chills when I saw the x-ray.
    I’m wishing Keoni a speed recovery. I’m sure he’ll soon be at home in the kitchen whipping up something delicious – with a real cat at his feet!


  8. My husband has to go for x-rays for his knees, too; I better not show him these pictures or he might never go for the x-rays! I wish your husband a really fast recovery.

    Ah, and you know what… Since I started writing is like the T.V. doesn’t exist anymore (which I kind of like).


  9. Thanks so much for sharing this story, Kana. I’m glad all is going well…and I add my good wishes for a speedy recovery and return to better health and less painful existence. I’ve had my share of bedside (or in the bed:) time when my husband was hospitalized for his four (yes, 4) heart attacks. The first was when he was only 36 and our 3 children were all very young. But I can honestly say that it definitely made our relationship stronger. :) Good luck getting any sleep, though…no matter how kind the staff may be, it always seemed that as soon as you fell asleep, they came in to do one test or another.
    I love your sense of humor…it is captivating!


    1. Hey, wait a minute…I clicked to log in with wordpress…but the comment says anonymous…I’m not anonymous…I’m me, Vivian, from Positive Parental Participation! Let’s try this again.


  10. Really glad to know all is well. My dad said it was easier to tolerate the pain because he knew it would eventually go away, unlike the degenerated knee pain. Best wishes to K&K.


    1. Our thoughts EXACTLY. Pain isn’t new to him at this point, but the idea that it’s a PRODUCTIVE pain (and temporary) is a joyful new twist. ;)


    1. A fellow blogger who just underwent surgery was asking for tips on patience after she realized she was pushing TOO hard on her recovery… I wrote her (from the hospital room) that my hubby’s “patience” was currently taking the form of a determined spouse sitting on his chest until the nurse arrived to assist… It’s ironic, really, that “patients” and “patience” are homonyms… ;)


  11. Good for him. He wont believe the difference a new knee will make – my father-in-law has 2 and they transformed his life. It’ll take a lot of work and pain on his part to get back up to speed but its worth it in the end. My mother-in-law swears the best rehabilitation equipment was a skateboard! No, I’m not suggesting you send him out on one to see how he gets on, but sitting in a chair with his foot on one so he can easily move his leg back and forwards is apparently a miracle worker! Good luck! xxx


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