Friday, December 24, 2010

More about my Surgery- Knee Replacement.

Tom's Journal.

I will have to take things one step at a time for quite a while-- still on the mend, old soldier that I am.
Let me take it from after I finally arrived to the VAMC [Veterans Administration Medical Center-- in Milwaukee, 5000 W. Wisconsin Ave] -- 2nd floor, Orthopedic surgery OR, etc. My son, Andy, his mother, Karen and others were there to help and encourage me-- but I drove there in my Ram pick up truck by myself about one half hour prior. I unloaded my power scooter and proceeded to amble toward the hospital entrance when it suddenly stopped/ died. I thought it was low on power or maybe the fuse needed to be re-engaged, but that didn't help either, so I 'recruited' some near by Veterans and their wives who pushed me up the hill to the entrance until they just about had their own 'emergency' too. A VA cop came upon the seen with his hands in his pocket-- so I had to instruct him to place his hands on the back of my chair to assist in pushing me along, instead of just gawking at the 2 Vets huffing and puffing.... Ha! The VA people took my scooter to their shop to analyze it, and put me in a wheel chair and up to surgery. The staff latter told me that the 'electrical harness' was shot and needed to be replaced, so I had them put the scooter back into my Dodge Ram truck and chain it down.

The docs and staff prepped me for surgery and had a short word with me-- and then 20 minutes latter I was wheeled into the OR and put to sleep in a few seconds... out for about 3 1/2 hours-- then woke up with a terrible sharp pain in my Right knee region! I was still groggy from the general anesthesia but the pain was immense and intolerable. The doctors and staff continued to administer more and varied types of pain meds/ mix and match, and finally they came upon some sort of 'cocktail' that half way worked. From what I remember from the post-op meeting with the head doctor [part of the "Dream Team", he said that the surgery came out good, with no substantial blood loss or mistakes. I told him that 'I would NEVER have any other surgery at the VA!' I was out of my head at the time, but I would guess that the docs knew that from all their vast past experience with other patients. And I will be glad to talk to them again when I see them for my next appointment and x-rays of my knee surgery.

The PT [Physical Therapy] staff and specialists had me up to exercise that very day!! OT [Occupational Therapy] taught me some valuable info too in the next 5 days, and then they discharged me.

I had some very rough nights trying to sleep-- always being woke up at all hours of the night and morning so that my body never got a chance for REM sleep [Rapid Eye Movement-- sleep stage number 4] and the 3rd shift "African-American" RN's treated me worse than a dog! Then they tried to play the "Race Card" on me, even as I kept my mouth shut--not giving them any ammunition. Those goofy, hateful Black RN's on 3rd shift didn't have any substance of wrong doing on me, so they had the VA police burst into my recovery room at 0600 hours [Thursday morning, I believe] and storm trooped up to me demanding / confiscating my simple camera-- accusing me of shooting pictures of the staff-- and telling me that "THIS IS A GOV'T FACILITY AND NO PICTURES ALLOWED!!" I had nothing to hide, only saying that one of the staff took a few pix of my Right knee that was cut open for total knee replacement. If that is such a high crime-- just shoot me.... lol. Imagine an American citizen and decorated Vietnam Veteran being treated this way-- especially right after a painful knee surgery at the Milwaukee VA !! The VA recovery staff NEVER ONCE bathed or cleaned me all the time I was there!! They just left me lay in my own dirt and sweat, and the 3rd shift racist nurses refused to even help me stand up out of my bed! I will speak more about this latter, but for now, I still fear that the VA-- 'Big Brother' might take revenge on me if they heard the whole complete story. I was NOT ready to be discharged so soon, but was afraid that the staff would continue to abuse me if I stayed.

I eventually ended up in my own home in Union Grove, WI., but knew that I could not function by myself-- and no one had the time or inclination to stay with me to help me out in any way, shape or matter. So, Saturday morning, the 11th of December, I had my good nephew, Steve Schuckman, drive me to the fine Kenosha hospital down by Lake Michigan-- 8th Ave. --KMH, where they admitted me and adopted me for a while. On the 7th Floor, the doctor and nurses treated me like a prince and bathed me and took good care of me all my stay there. Special thanks to the head RN's on 1st and 2nd shift, 2 special nurses that I forgot/ lost-- but will surely search out and post latter to praise and honor, just as I said. So it was like night and day, and the little bit that I spilled to the staff at Kenosha Memorial Hospital-- made the nurses gasp in horror. Then I told them THAT was what they had to look forward to when Obama-care comes along... lol. I made a few good friends at that good hospital in Kenosha... and I felt the Holy Spirit working inside me all the time, witnessing to those people with a good heart. I gave away a Bible and some other witness tools, plus my email address.

After that extra week and much work with PT, I asked KMH to discharge me and had one of my relatives drive me home again. Still having incredible pain and discomfort, at least I can get around with my new VA walker and canes, even took a few showers at home and broke my FAST the first day I was home on Dec. 17th!! I had bloodless surgery but with no extreme blood loss [of course] and FASTED for 13 days-- no food at all, only water and 'lemon water' to irrigate my precious kidneys. I lost 50 pounds, but that was NOT the reason I FASTED-- abstained from food. I fasted for personal, health reasons, AND also feared that if I defecated at the VA hosp., I would not be able to clean myself properly [and I had that one right-- didn't I ??!]. I started to have bowel movements the later half of my week at KMH--Kenosha, but they had no problem cleaning me and assisting me showering while sitting on a stout bathing bench at KMH.

The VA staff and Otho people assured me that they would continue to give me enough pain meds AFTER I got home-- but even when at the KMH, I only got a fraction of the right meds-- at PRE-surgery levels!! Thanks for not keeping your word, boys.... NOT!
I will talk to them again after the Christmas holiday as I am running low on the meds-- PRE- surgery level-- they just don't give a hoot, I guess, and I will NOT have the left knee done there ever again-- because I know and understand what it means to "be in their mean-spirited hands with no recourse." And I know that there are many more Veterans in my boots too with stories to tell.
I am waiting for the Rapture and Jesus Christ-- where pain and out cry will be no more.
But can we really ever trust the Gov't to keep their word??? Duh.... Not really.

Been living on fresh fruit and sardines so far, as I want to continue my weight loss and drop 100 more pounds. My high weight didn't cause my arthritic knees, but it sure aggravated the problem, IMO. The VA |" $$ bill|" is paid for, but I still owe the KMH a co-pay. Right now I am most concerned with getting better and giving thanks to the Lord, for coming out of the surgery alive-- and not the 'wrong anatomy cut off.' I will never understand how another Vet came up to me in his wheel chair, with his leg amputated 3 days before my surgery-- and with a chipper smile.... Wow!

Sharon's son, Jamie, wife and 2 grand kids were up there in WI from Ohio to visit her at the Woodstock nursing home yesterday and the day before, but they are still angry with me for my posting something negative about the last Harry Potter movie, that had all sorts of the occult and witch craft in it, condemned by the Bible, IMHO. Sharon even showed them some scriptures from the Bible that our pastor recommended, but they were not interested in the least, and continue to wallow in their spiritual ignorance. They attend church regularly near Columbus, OH., at their Methodist church, and are very plastic, worldly and materialistic, IMO., but I could care less....Ha! I have more important things to worry about-- like my health and scooter repair... lol. I am not going to get worried or excited over some small goofy thing that happened months ago, nor have the time to deal with myopic, proud CINO's. Sorry..... get a life, please. But try to remember, 'telling the Bible truth can be dangerous-- serving the Lord and His Word can and will make some folks angry. I suppose I ought to pray for such people, if i had the energy to do so. Hey! You guys pray for them, OK?

Please pray for my close friends, Steve Schuckman, Steve Brulport and his wife, Barb, my oldest daughter, Barbara, and Cpt. Robby Bohnen-Green Beret, and my laid off son, Andy Schuckman. Pray for the good servants at church like |Joe and Doris Vander Mollen and Bro. Bill Lee and his wife too for all their hard, generous work and aid to me.

Merry Christmas !!

More latter,

Tom Schuckman

Heaven is my Home.

Finally Home from Surgery.

Tom's Journal.

Hello Readers and Friends!
I got home from KMH-- Kenosha Memorial Hospital after further Rehab, rest and healing, this past Friday-- came home to my own house in Union Grove, WI., but still have a long row to hoe with the persistent pain of the TOTAL RIGHT KNEE REPLACEMENT SURGERY AT THE MILWAUKEE VAMC HOSPITAL on Dec. 6th, 2010. The docs and staff at the VA hosp. said that I would have 'some post-op pain' but everyone is different... some walk away with hardly any pain or complications, and others suffer pain BIG TIME! PT nurses, etc. come to my home and work with me at least 3 times a week, teaching me ow to stretch, exercise, walk, etc., but for some reason I am healing very slowly and still have much pain. The local church has brought over food and encouragement, but I am home alone and my Computer had the hard drive burn out and had to be replaced-- and I still can't get my AOL back and functioning yet! My brother Albert and his son, Steven have boarded my faithful dog, "Deuce" the Rottweiler these past 3 weeks, and I get him back on Sunday so I'll have 'someone' to talk too.... lol. Sorry that my PC was broke-- and my power chair fried the electrical harness right when I needed it the most-- on the way from the VAMC parking lot-- to the hospital building....Ha! It's still in the shop-- but I can't drive my vehicals yet anyway.

I have a long bitter/ sweet story that I need to write about, the surgery, staff, ill treatment --- some of it disturbing and uncomfortable-- the way I was treated at the VA- 5 day stay post-op recovery at the Milwaukee VA, etc.

I just want to get this initial post/ message out to you all, that all the "Dream Team" VA surgeons/ docs and staff say--was a very successful complete right knee replacement surgery. Confidentially, with all the trouble and pain, I WISH I NEVER HAD THE SURGERY in the first place, and right now, I certainly don't plan on having the Left knee cut and replaced any time soon! But everyone says that in a few months-- everything will feel better and I might have a change of heart and mind. I Fasted 2 days BEFORE the surgery and flushed my bowels out with Phosphate soda--and continued my Fast [no eating at all] for 13 days--when I finally got home for the last time last Friday. I had NO BLOOD in my surgery...for personal, health reasons, and the surgeons respected my wishes [], and I believe that the actual surgery last about 3 1/2 hours. The doctors were satisfied with their 'handy work' and said the incission looked good and healthy/ normal. I wish I could remember their names so I could post and thank them. All the time my wife, Sharon, is still at the Woodstock nursing home and Rehab, but I sent some friends, like Steve Brulport, over to drop off some Coca Cola, Grapefruits and a cooler to keep her beverages cold. THANK YOU, STEVE BRULPORT, faithful close friend and Christian warrior! Your reward is waiting for you in heaven.

My son, Andy, and nephew, Steven Schuckman, have been over to my house a few time to help and do some errons for me too. Bill Lee, from church came over to visit and bring some good food too.

Thank you all for you many prayers and well wishes!

Warm Regards,
Tom Schuckman