A Kind of Journal

by Tony Copple

28 July 2011
Today I had surgery for the first time since having my tonsils out at age 3. This time it was a bigger deal; total right hip replacement. Arthritis had taken its toll over the past two years and now was the time to say 'enough!' I received a call that there had been a cancellation, and would I like the spot, and was in three days later. I had no concerns about the process and my surgeon Dr. Au did a grand job at my favourite hospital, Queensway-Carleton Hospital. Here a some thoughts looking back after having the staples removed today. I knew things were going well in the ante-room outside the OR when a nurse, Lee, noticed my Dr. Janet's glucosamine cream, said she had heard it advertized on CFRA on Sunday mornings, and I asked if she was also a listener to Good News in the Morning. Yes! Shortly after that I was lying under the lights and the next thing I knew was waking up and asking when they were going to give me the injection. For the next two days I was served by a succession of angels looking after my recovery.
   I didn't want them to take the catheter out; it was just so darned convenient. Did you know the ancient Syrians created catheters from reeds? One black nurse came in at 6 am and when I asked her what time she got up she said "4 am, and then I spend some time with the Lord before coming here." I felt totally at home, even joyful. I was doing very well and Dr Au let me leave on day 2 after the surgery. Photos: L-A
When I got home my leg and later my foot started swelling up, painfully. Only Hydromorphone pills were able to handle the pain and I decided to go back into Emergency in case the cause was a blood clot. My very good friend Dave Brown took me in (L-A had left on her mammoth drive to Thunder Bay) and stayed for hours in case I was coming home. I wasn't. I left the next day after an ultrasound with an appointment with the thrombosis clinic. It is now a week later, and though I did have a small clot in the lower leg, it has dispersed. The swelling pain remains, but I am now back on Aleve instead of Celebrex and that is good. Two of my best memories of this time will remain reading The Michmash Chronicles, and discovering the beautiful music of Adele, one of the most popular singers in the world, who came from the same neighbourhoods as the hooligans who trashed London this week but raised herself out of it through guts and talent.
The first task I accomplished when I was able was to Cannibalize two record decks and buy a new stylus from Bleeker's so that I now have a player in the basement where the record collection resides. I'd been meaning to do this for months but never had the time.

29 August 2011
It's now more than four weeks after my operation. Can drive again in a couple of weeks. Treating this enforced vacation as a real gift, and loving it! It's given me time to think and plan, relax and enjoy something similar to retirement. With my trusty Lynn watching over the initial needs of clients, I can ignore the work routine and just enjoy a different kind of life. Fo the first three weeks we left the phone switched to Lynn permanently, but now its just for the three days a week she officially works. She shifted all my August appointments to September or October.
I am not really better yet. The pain I started getting a few days after the op in my foot and lower leg, with the swelling, is still a problem every morning, but I am down to two Tylenol Arthritis a day, plus Aleve and MSM. Because I have reduced the painkillers considerably I do have an ache in my hip, about 2 on the pain scale, from the normal healing process.
To reduce the foot and leg pain I spend a while morning and night putting the leg into hot and cold water, and while doing this listen to an LP side, now I have a working record player in the basement. It's interesting - a few albums and CDs have become my recovery friends: Adele 19/21, Terry Jacks, Double Fantasy, while others I have tired of. As I soak, I have been reading Guideposts (which L-A has received for years but I never looked at) just trying to get through a story before the tears make it impossible to see. Maybe that's why my foot has received the pain - it got me reading Guideposts.
6 Sep, and 'it's getting better every day.' I am just about off Tylenol, and sleeping well. We returned to heavy Sunday routine yesterday: radio station 8 - 9, Blackburn Hamlet Community Church 10 - 12, Prison Alpha ministry 1:30 - 4:30, and home by 5. I had no problems. This week I will be driving again. I finished editing and producing our holiday film - much in HD, so the editing process was a major learing curve for me. Very happy with the result. Have been dealing with a few work problems each day, while not having to stretch myself. I have really enjoyed these last few weeks, and not least because I have spent more time in L-A's pleasant company.
30 Sep Yesterday I was discharged from the need to see a physiotherapist at the hospital ie I am cured! Pretty good progress. From the pre-op preparation the whole process has been a joy for me. I mean that. I enjoyed every aspect. This of course is primarily because of my interactions with the superb staff at every level. As I was guided through the process, the very hospital itself became my friend, and when I left yesterday after a farewell coffee in Tim Horton's, I felt sad that it was all over. If I had a problem in my left hip I would gladly come for a re-run.
Any staff/physician/volunteer who has made my stay special? Dr Keegan Au, of course. I am sure he will light up the Maritimes. I was one of his last patients here. I was particularly grateful that he allowed me to continue with my Nu Skin nutrition products very soon after the op, which I believe were a major factor in my speedy recovery (LifePak, Overdrive, Appeal). Jean, in the room just before I was moved into the operating theatre. Every single nurse who looked after me in the 2 days following the operation, particularly those wearing crosses showing that they are followers of Jesus Christ, as I am. This was tremendously uplifting. One black nurse who lives in Arnprior seemed to me angelic. I wish so much I could remember her name. My friend nurse Kathleen Kidd who visited me immediately after the op. Leah, physiotherapist, who saw me for 3 visits and gently guided my recovery. The reception staff, and the staff in the Joint Assessment area including Colleen.