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2009 NHL All Star Game & Festivities

In previous blog posts I stated that there was no way that I was going to be interested in this year’s NHL All Star Game and surrounding festivities. That was true until I found out that the Skills Competition was going to be televised. Usually, this part of the All Star weekend is very entertaining. It’s just fun to watch.

The best part about this year’s Skills Competition? Alex Ovechkin. When he went over to the boards and had Malkin help him get ready, the announcer said….”Oh, he’s got props.” Then, Malkin put a straw hat with Canadian flag and a huge pair of sunglasses onto Ovechkin. It was hilarious. Just watching him skate towards the goal decked out like that was worth it.

And, it was wonderful to see a variety of players smiling. I had never seen Henrik Lundqvist smile before.

The NHL Red Carpet Event was also fun to watch. The NHL does a great job with this, in my opinion. It’s just fun to see how much the fans love getting autographs and the players interact with them. I get such a kick out of seeing professional hockey players walking on a red carpet as compared to hoity toity screen personalities.

After watching the delightfully entertaining Skills Competition and Red Carpet Event..I decided to watch the NHL All Star Game the next day. 🙂

First of all, it was refreshing to see that different players (other than the goalies) were being mic’d. When it was the players shift time, “gotta go play” was what they said as they hopped over the boards. Boom, boom. Nice job. 🙂

The first couple periods were high scoring and really not that exciting. Then came the third period. Suddenly, with a short time left, the competitive personalities seemed to have come out. And when the game went into overtime….wow. It was great. I, personally, have never seen that happen during an All Star Game. The game was still tied at the end of overtime. SHOOT-OUT!!! Woohoo!!!

All in all, it was a refreshing contrast to the 2008 NHL All Star Game.

Satin Pajamas & A TKR

This sounds like it should be a song. Anyways, sleeping concerns during the recuperation process after having a total knee replacement are common. It’s so common, in fact, that I have already made a variety of blog posts on this subject. Always looking for any way to get a good night’s sleep has caused me to experiment quite a bit. I thought it was appropriate to share some information that I have found helps make my attempt at sleeping easier. It may work for you, as well. Here goes…

Wear satin pajamas. Unless it has been a short period since you have been out of your tkr surgery, there is a chance that you want to toss and turn during your sleep. I needed to sleep in a prone (on back) position for the first three months – you may be different. My discovery: Tossing and turning can be handled MUCH easier when wearing satin pajamas. Why?

Maneuverability. Satin is a material that allows easy slidability. (I made my own word here – slidability. It’s like drinkability only it applies to sliding. 🙂 ) It is easy to maneuver around in. There is no pulling nor tugging against the bed sheets while trying to get comfortable. This means that it is easy to pull yourself into a hopefully comfortable sleeping position. This will be a welcome relief for your tkr leg.

Sensory. Satin is a sensory delightful material. Unless you are allergic to satin, the feel of it against your skin is very pleasant. It’s smooth to the touch. The more pleasant feelings you can get while recuperating from your total knee replacement…the better off you are. 🙂

Comfortable
. Satin is a comfortable fabric. Satin hangs well against your body. There is room to move.

If you are lucky, you can find some satin pajamas lined with flannel to help out during colder weather. This is what I have and I swear by them. (I’ve even been made fun of since I take these on camping trips.) 🙂

NOTE: I would think you can get the same benefit from having satin sheets. However – I wouldn’t recommend combining satin pajamas with satin sheets, though. You might slide yourself right onto the floor. 🙂

Henrik Zetterberg – Longest Deal in Detroit Red Wings History

Here is some hockey news which I found on TSN’s website. Great news for Wings fans! Woohoo!

The Red Wings have agreed to a 12-year contract extension with forward Henrik Zetterberg worth more than $72 million.  The extension marks the longest deal given out in team history.

“Henrik is one of the world’s premier players at both ends of the ice” said Red Wings GM Ken Holland.  “This is a tremendous commitment on the part of the organization as well as by Henrik.  We feel he is moving into the prime of his career and is another key to ensuring the long-term success of this franchise.  We are thrilled that a player we drafted and developed will play out his career in Detroit with this lifetime contract.”
Zetterberg was happy with the deal and explained he has always been treated well by the Red Wings.

“I’m happy I don’t have to do it again,” Zetterberg explained to The Canadian Press. “I don’t want to play anywhere else.”

The 28-year-old Swede will make $7.4 million next season, which does not exceed Nicklas Lidstrom’s salary, as the Wings promised Lidstrom he would always be the highest paid member of the team.  But the year after that, in 2010-11 – when Lidstrom will either be retired or on a new deal – Zetterberg’s salary jumps to $7.75 million.

“Our goal is to try to keep this team together,” Red Wings vice-president Steve Yzerman said to The Canadian Press. “He’s the kind of person and the kind of player we want in this organization.”

In the first nine years of the extension, Zetterberg will be paid between $7 million and $8 million per year, but in the final three years, he is scheduled to make $3 million, $1 million and $1 million, respectively. The extra two years at $1 million each are designed to help to bring down the average and the annual cap hit.
It would be a surprise if Zetterberg ever plays long enough to fulfill the 11th and 12th years of the deal. If he retires after 10 years, he would receive $71 million, or an average of $7.1 million per year, which is considerably higher than the $6.08 million cap hit the Wings are assessed.

“But Zetterberg’s contract is structured so that it gives us a chance to keep an extra player down the road,” Holland explained to The Canadian Press.

The six-year NHL veteran has 17 goals and 26 assists in 45 games this season with Detroit, where he has spent his entire 400-game NHL career since being drafted in the seventh round, 210th overall by the team back in 1999.

Zetterberg had career highs last season in goals (43), assists (49) and points (92) and helped lead the Wings to a Stanley Cup victory, after which he was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
In his rookie season of 2002-03, he led all freshmen with 22 tallies and 44 points but was runner-up for the Calder Trophy to Barrett Jackman of the Blues.

Kill Those Germs with All-Natural Cleaning Agents

OK..after posting my last blog entry about germs in the home, I thought it would be appropriate to write a post about all-natural home cleaning solutions. I remember my great grandmother talking about these back in the 1920’s (no, I wasn’t living then…she regaled her stories to me when I was growing up). So, even though they are not new…they do work and fit into what is now popularly known as “green living”. Plus, they are a lot cheaper than the store bought variety. Remember back in the late 60’s and 70’s when only “hippies” were talking about “natural living”? Here we are 30 years later and it’s the “in” thing. Go figure….

Removing stains:

Baking soda: Place some baking soda onto a damp cloth. Simply scrub the stained area until the stain is removed.

Lemon: Dip slices of fresh cut lemon into some salt. Then, rub the lemon directly on the stains.

Bleach: Place a drop of bleach into your coffee mugs, add water, and scrub until stain is removed.

After using any of the above methods, rinse item with warm water to remove cleanser.

Sanitizing shower curtains, counter tops, floors, etc.:

BLEACH!!! (Bleach is my all time favorite cleanser/deodorizer/sanitizer since it’s so effective and cheap). Add a few tablespoons of bleach to water in a sprayer bottle. Spray on affected area. Let set for about 5 minutes. Take dry cloth and scrub as needed until liquid is absorbed into cloth.

Glass and/or chrome cleaner:
Make your own “Windex” (window cleaner) by simply mixing some ammonia with water in a spray bottle. Spray onto affected area and wipe clean.

Or….1/4 cup white vinegar mixed with 1 quart water in a spray bottle.

Drain cleaner:
Mix vinegar and baking soda to clean/scrub drains and disposals. It removes soap scum and
leaves drains smelling clean.

The above are all-natural cleaners that work well for me. I’m sure there are many more that I am not mentioning. If you have more suggestions, feel free to add them here! Thanks! Hope this helps.

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Top 10 Places That Germs Lurk in Your Home

Seeing that people recuperating from a total knee replacement have a compromised immune system, I thought it was appropriate to pass along this informative article I found on The Weather Channel’s weather.com site. The article was also featured on WebMD.com.

Got misophobia? You’re not alone. Fear of germs is common and can increase as busy schedules make cleaning time scarce, putting the most fastidious housekeeper on edge.
To quell that fear of germs, it helps to know where the germs in your home hide — and the most important places to clean. While researchers who track germs don’t agree 100%, here are 10 top spots where germs may lurk — some probably surprising even to Martha Stewart — and how to send the bugs packing.

Germs in Your Home: Kitchen Sponges
A kitchen sponge can carry more than 134,000 bacteria per square inch, according to a 2007 survey funded by Reckitt Benckiser, the maker of Lysol, and performed by the Hygiene Council. Researchers swabbed 35 U.S. homes for bacteria in 32 different sites.

What makes a sponge so buggy? Using sponges for more than one purpose is common, and people tend to keep their sponges too long, allowing bacteria to multiply, says Kelly Bright, PhD, assistant research scientist at the University of Arizona. “It’s a moist environment, and a sponge is a nice breeding ground.”

Cross-contamination of sponges is common, Bright tells WebMD. You cut raw meat, wipe it up, then prepare another dish and wipe with the same sponge. On a typical sponge you’re likely to find Salmonella (which can cause food-borne illness) and Campylobacter, which can cause diarrhea and abdominal pain, Bright says.
Remedy: Replace your sponge once a week or so, Bright suggests. Or put it in the dishwasher regularly or soak it in bleach for about 15 minutes. “The dirtier the sponge, the longer you have to soak it to be effective.”

Germs in Your Home: Kitchen Sink
Whether empty or full of dishes, the kitchen sink is a germ hot spot, says Bright. “People do a lot of food preparation there,” and that food can lead to contamination, with kitchen drains having more than 500,000 bacteria per square inch, according to the Hygiene Council survey.

Remedy: If you think the last bit of soap suds from washing dishes will take care of things, think again, says Philip Tierno, Jr., PhD, director of clinical microbiology and immunology at Tisch Hospital, New York University Medical Center, and associate professor of microbiology and pathology at NYU School of Medicine.
“Soap doesn’t kill bacteria,” says Tierno, the U.S. representative for the Hygiene Council. His favorite cleaning solution: bleach and water. The FDA suggests kitchen sanitizers or a homemade solution of one teaspoon chlorine bleach in a quart of water, then letting it sit on the surface you’re cleaning for 10 minutes.

Germs in Your Home: Faucet Handles
Both bathroom and kitchen faucet handles are germ-catchers. In the Hygiene Council survey, kitchen faucet handles carried more than 13,000 bacteria per square inch and bathroom faucet handles had more than 6,000 bugs per square inch.

Remedy: “Use a disinfectant cleaner spray every time you clean up,” suggests Charles Gerba, PhD, professor of soil, water and environmental science at the University of Arizona, who has researched microbes extensively. In the kitchen, that should be once a day, he says. In the bathroom, at least once a week.

Germs in Your Home: Home Offices
Surprise: your home office is germier than the typical work office, says Gerba. In a recent study, he compared the average number of bacteria in work and home office to find the numbers of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which can cause serious skin infections.
In his sampling of 60 home offices and 91 work offices, five sites were tested in each. MRSA was isolated in 15 home offices but no work offices. And overall, more bacteria were found in home offices than work offices. Germiest spots in the home office were the keyboard, mouse, phone, and desktop.
“Probably people eat more in the home office,” Gerba says, partially explaining the larger bug population. “You turn your desk into a bacteria cafeteria.”

Remedy: “Use disinfectant at least once a week” on home office surfaces, suggests Gerba.

Germs in Your Home: Toilet Bowl
Not surprisingly, the top germ winner in the Hygiene Council survey was the toilet bowl (but not the seat) with 3.2 million bacteria per square inch. Still, Gerba insists, kitchens are dirtier overall. “There are about 200 times more fecal bacteria on a cutting board,” he says, “than on a toilet seat.”
Remedy: Toilet bowl germs form a biofilm, that slimy layer that develops when bacteria attach to a support such as the bowl, says Tierno. Tackle that film with your chlorine bleach and water solution.

Germs in Your Home: Bathtub
Never mind that you think the bubble bath left you and your tub squeaky clean. Lurking near the drain of the bathtub is nearly 120,000 bacteria per square inch, according to calculations made in the Hygiene Council Survey.

Remedy: Give your bathtub a buff with bath cleaner or a chlorine-water cleaning solution mixed up at home.

Germs in Your Home: Shower Curtain
The crud or soap scum that collects on your shower curtain probably Sphingomonas and Methylobacterium bacteria,says Norman Pace, PhD, professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology, University of Colorado, who collected biofilm from four vinyl shower curtains that had been in place more than six months in Boulder-area homes.

They found an abundance of Sphingomonas and Methylobacterium bacteria, and both could pose a problem for people who are immune-compromised, such as those who are HIV positive, or who have other diseases that make them prone to infections.

Remedy: Regular cleaning or replacement of the curtains is advised.

Germs in Your Home: Wet Laundry
What are germs doing in your washing machine? Probably contaminating other clothes. A load of just-washed clothes may look sparkling clean, but guess again.

Researchers at the University of Arizona found that intestinal viruses like hepatitis A are readily transferred from contaminated clothes to uncontaminated clothing during the washing.

Remedy: Bleach and drying time. The use of bleach reduced the number of infectious viruses on swatches after washing and drying by nearly 100%, the researchers found. Putting clothes through the drying cycle helped reduce viruses, too, according to Bright, and a hot water wash is good. “If you use the dryer, put it on hot,” she says, to kill remaining germs. And “separate adult clothes from kids’ clothes.”

Germs in Your Home: Vacuum Cleaner
It’s supposed to clean, but your vacuum cleaner is also a source of contamination, Gerba tells WebMD. “We looked at 30 vacuum brushes. € Fifty percent contained coliform fecal bacteria and 13% E. coli,” says Gerba. E. coli can cause diarrhea and other health problems. Coliform bacteria don’t typically cause illness, but are often found in the presence of other disease-causing organisms. “Vacuums become meals on wheels” for the bugs, Gerba says.

Remedy: “There’s not much you can do about the brush,” he says. “Vacuum the cleanest areas first and the dirtiest last,” he suggests. That way, you’ll be less likely to spread around as much bacteria. And if you use a bagless vacuum cleaner, wash your hands afterward, since bacteria can remain in the receptacle.

Germs in Your Home: Beds
Mattresses and pillows provide food for dust mites, Tierno tells WebMD, and bedding can also be a reservoir for molds and spores. “In the mattress core there are all sorts of human secretions and excretions,” he says. “Fecal matter as well as sweat and semen.” What’s the problem? “Bedroom debris is probably one of the biggest causes of allergic rhinitis,” Tierno says. “Allergy from dust mites is also a problem.”

Remedy: Place an “impervious” outer cover over the mattresses and pillows, Tierno says, to keep the debris contained. Then wash bedding regularly in water hot enough to kill the bugs.

How Long Does It Take To Heal From A TKR?

One of my readers (you know who you are..:) ) let me know about this interesting article written for tkr patients that I – in turn- wanted to pass along. The information on this Guest Post is as follows:

Total Knee Replacement: How Long Does It Take To Heal
Written by Richard Haynes.
http://physictherapy.blogspot.com

When you finally decide to go ahead with a knee replacement, you can get bombarded with a lot of information from friends, family, and hopefully the surgeon. When it comes to friends and family, most of the information you will get are opinions though they mean well you get very little fact. The time it took for their knee to heal can vary and unless they had the knee operated on within the last 4-6 months the information you get may be inaccurate.

Your surgeon may or may have not discussed with you some of the experiences you will encounter when, it comes to the actual amount of time it will take for the knee itself to be completely healed.

During the healing process your knee will go through what I consider three phases from a rehabilitation standpoint. The phases are the acute phase, the post-acute phase, and the long term healing phase.

These are phases that I have discovered are important for a patient to understand. The time I feel to discuss them with the patient is not only prior to surgery but, again after surgery as there will be information during the pre-operative briefing that will not be retained.

In general the phases mentioned above tend to play out for the patient in the following way:

1.Acute Phase: This is without question the most painful. It lasts from the day of surgery out to week six.. This time can vary from patient to patient but by week five there is a noticeable decrease in pain. The knee will go through the swelling phase and “throbbing phase” when it comes to pain. It is vital that your understanding and compliance with pain control measures are followed. The use of ice before and after rehabilitation are recommended along with foot elevation to keep the swelling to a minimum. Sleepless nights are generally in store and are not unheard of due to pain. The best measure found to relieve the pain you will encounter during sleep is to move or pump the knee back and forth five to ten times as the knee gets stiff and the spasms occur.

2.Post-Acute Phase: This phase kicks in from roughly week seven to week twelve. Here is where you begin to get a better handle on how to control the swelling and you also have learned as well how temperamental the knee can be. In other words as you become more active the knee will fool you. You will be tempted to do more then the knee is ready to handle physically. if you take on more then the knee is prepared for, the next day you will pay the price in increased pain and swelling. The use of pain medication though not as frequent is still advised. You should at this point be up on a single point cane and away from the walker which with the new found freedom add to the subtle ability to overwork the leg.

3.Long Term Healing Phase: This is the phase that most orthopedic surgeons will tell you will take close to a year for the knee to be totally healed. You will be able to however to do most anything within reason at this point unless it involves a high-impact activity like constant running and jumping. Pain, swelling, and muscle spasms at this point have completely subsided. You will have obtained all the range of motion of the knee that you will get. Your strength gains however can always be improved in the muscles surrounding the knee. Your walking pattern has now been established and the knee can and will endure most anything you ask it too.

There will always be some differences among patients when it comes to set time frames with pain and recovery. Having a total knee replacement is considered a major surgery and the advances made in surgery have shorten the time frame by weeks if not by months with some.

The key to joint replacement recovery is patience. By having some patience you develop a stronger more pain free recovery instead of pushing yourself to the edge of suffering from chronic pain and overall physical breakdown.

Meal Preparation After A TKR

Literature regarding preparing for a total knee replacement state that for a time period after the surgery, patients will need to have help with their meal preparation. I’ll vouch for that…

The first week after my tkr, it was very uncomfortable to stand up for longer than a few seconds. And, the crutches I needed to walk with added to the concern. It could be worse, yes, but I definitely agree it makes for an easier recuperation to have someone else do this task.

After the first week, there are ways to do it on your own. As much as I love eating plain steamed veggies, the task of preparing the veggies was too cumbersome for me. Heck, just filling the ice bag took everything I had. 😦 So, I needed to make some changes. Here’s what worked for me:

Frozen vegetables. There is a reason for frozen vegetables. They came in VERY handy during my tkr recuperation and meal preparation. Either microwaved or poured into a steamer – quick and easy. The less time I spent standing in one position, the better.

Frozen entrees. Formerly known as “tv dinners”, there are so many varieties and brands to choose from – it’s easy to find something that suits your palate. Plus, the nutritional value is decent. All you need to do is remove them from the box, poke the plastic film, and pop them in the microwave. When done, just dig in. Quick and easy to the max.

Crockpots. I swear by these and have loved mine for more years than I care to admit to. 🙂 All you need to do is put in a piece of protein (like chicken), a washed and cut baked potato, and whatever other veggies you want. (If you don’t have the energy for the potato, just put in some rice with a little bit of liquid). Of course, frozen veggies are the easiest. Sprinkle with some Italian seasoning, put on the lid, cook, and you have a great meal. It probably takes about 5 minutes to prepare.

There were (still are) times when I’d fill my crockpot with water, add some split peas, herbs, and frozen veggies. Cooked at high for about 4 hours is all it took to give me a deliciously easy and tasty bowl of soup.

Hope some of these suggestions help you during your recuperation from a total knee replacement. The first couple of weeks is the most difficult. If you’re like me, the less time standing – the better.