Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Interesting* Stuff About ACL Surgery

Jamie started his physical therapy last night and we learned two fascinating things about ACL surgery. He had what they call an autograft where the tissue to repair the ACL is taken from his own body (the other option would be tissue from a cadaver). But the physical therapist told us the tissue they take is not ligament but tendon. So right after the surgery, the new ligament is actually stronger than the original from-the-factory ACL because it's not a ligament at all. Then the tendon has to learn how to function as a ligament and it actually loses strength. Over the next few weeks as Jamie heals, he'll be losing a little bit of stability in that knee until his grafted tendon learns its new job.

The second interesting fact involves the quad muscle. Jamie had noticed that his leg felt weak and looked a whole lot smaller than his other thigh. I didn't really understand this because he really hasn't rested the leg much. It's not like he was in a cast for 8 weeks. The PT said the atrophy of the muscle has to do with the sack of fluid that surrounds the knee joint. According to the PT, when the surgeons work on that joint, they first pump it full of saline to expand it and give them more room to work. This swelling trips out all the receptors in the lining of the fluid sack which then tell the brain not to use that quad muscle. And that's what makes it shrivel up and what causes that leg to be so weak following surgery. Jamie asked about going on the 60 mile Orlando to the Coast Thanksgiving bike ride again this year. The PT said his knee would be absolutely fine and handle the bike ride no problem. But there's a good chance his quad will get tired out and he'll have to stop. Of course, he's Jamie and if he said he is riding, he's riding. Guess I'll be driving the chase car.

*Please note the word "interesting" in the title means only interesting to me, not necessarily to anyone else on this planet. But it's my blog, so deal with it. I meant that in a nice way.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

In honor of the Phillies win last week, I'd like to share a few small victories of my own:

Game 1: Tara vs. Heater
It started to get cold here a couple weeks ago (not to worry, it's back up to the mid-70's this week). Night temperatures were down in the 30's outside and in the 50's in our house. It was nearly impossible to get out of bed in the morning. We had the timer on our thermostat all set so that the heat would keep the house comfortable for us, but no matter how low the temperature went it wasn't cutting on. Clearly something was wrong. I mentioned it to my coworker Matt who happens to live in the same neighborhood as me in a house built by the same builder with all the same builder-supplied appliances. He said they had had the same problem and told me what he did. Jamie and I went home for lunch that afternoon and I went out to the garage to fiddle with it. And lo and behold! I made it work! I was giddy with excitment the rest of the afternoon. There's something about being female and fixing something around the house that's so empowering (to be fair, there may be something about being male and fixing something around the house that's so empowering, too. But I've never been male and so I can't comment on that).
Tara - 1 Heater - 0

Game 2: Tara vs. Jamie's Hair
As long as I've known him, Jamie has refused to get his hair cut at an actual salon because he's too cheap to pay for it. His mom has cut it his whole life. Unfortunately, he now lives several hundred miles away from his mom and his hair needs to be cut more than once every few months. And I refuse to do it. I have my reasons. So the cycle has gone like this: hair looks great and is at the perfect length, hair gets too long, hair gets RIDICULOUSLY too long, I beg him to go get it cut, he insists he can do it himself, I beg some more, he shaves it all off. Which makes me sad because I prefer him unbald. But this weekend, I prevailed! Our house was a little messy before Jamie's surgery. After his surgery he was not contributing at all to the housekeeping (slacker) and I was so caught up in providing him with excellent care that I didn't have time to clean. Or I was just using his surgery as an excuse not to clean. It's all in how you look at it. Anyway, our house was gross and needed to be cleaned thoroughly. Every room. So the plan we devised was after church on Sunday he would straighten every room and I would follow along behind doing the actual cleaning - dusting, vacuuming, etc. Well his hair was well beyond the ridiculously long stage. So when we got home he started straightening and I said, "You don't have to clean at all anymore if you'll do one thing for me: go get your hair cut." Now Jamie is really good about helping me around the house. But he HATES it. He hates to clean. So I thought this was a pretty good offer. But he was ready with a counter offer: He said he'd go for it if he could also play Age of Empires for a couple hours when he got back (I hate that game. With a passion. But that's another story for another time). Ok, deal.

As I cleaned the entire house by myself that afternoon (it took me over 4 hours) while a sharply groomed Jamie played video games and watched TV, I couldn't decide whether I'd won or lost. I guess at the end of the day, his hair was cut and the house was cleaner than it's been in a long while. So...Go team!
Tara and Jamie - 1 Dirty House and Too Long Hair - 0

Overall score: Tara and Jamie - 3, The Forces That Are Against Us (namely the heater, the messy house and Jamie's out of control hair) - 0

I guess we're ahead in the series so far. Unfortunately, I have no idea how many games we have to win before the trophy's ours.