Knee News and/or New Knees Near

May 9, 2013 | My Jottings

Last week Michael and I drove 2 1/2 hours south to Stillwater, Minnesota to do several things. One thing was to have a special templated MRI for my upcoming minimally invasive total knee replacement surgery on June 10th. I laid absolutely still in a huge noisy donut for ten minutes and then the MRI was completed. Since my dear friend Su and I are on this Knee Adventure together, she and her husband Danny also drove down because her MRI appointment was right before mine.

After those appointments the four of us grabbed a quick dinner at Chipotle Mexican Grill, which was delicious. For those who might still say TACK-o for taco, Chipotle is pronounced chi-POTE-lay and not chi-PO-tul. 🙂

Then we checked into our gracious and beautiful bed and breakfast room at The Aurora Staples Inn, where we were warmly greeted at the door by the proprietor, Cathy. Cathy gave us a short tour of this elegant manse, saw us to our rooms, and invited us downstairs to the library where yummy appetizers were waiting for us.

Michael and I stayed in the lovely Giverny Suite, and below is a photo taken from the doorway. Whenever we stay someplace new I like to walk around the place and take in all the details, the views from the windows, the paintings on the walls, the books on the mantel or the magazines on the coffee table, the cleanliness of the bathroom (yes, it’s true). The first order of the day for Michael is to immediately try out the bed and pronounce whether or not it will give us a good night’s sleep. Neither of us were disappointed. There were so many things to appreciate in this inn and in our room, and the bed was great. You can click to enlarge the photos if you like.


Just to the right in the picture above was a corner gas fireplace, and since the weather in Stillwater was not what we expected for May, we enjoyed the warmth of a fire most of the time we were in our room. If you check out the website to the inn and look at the different rooms, you can see The St. Croix Suite, which is where Danny and Su stayed, right across the hall from us.

Here’s a photo of the inn, but you’ll have to picture it in different weather — while we were there it snowed a bit overnight, sleeted and rained, and the wind blew the chill into our bones, so the strolling we had planned for quaint downtown Stillwater was cut short.


Su and I were scheduled to attend a two-hour exercise and informational class from 5:30 – 7:30 that evening, so we all went downstairs to the library for our welcome appetizer before we headed out.



Since we had just eaten an early dinner we weren’t very hungry and I felt bad for wasting Cathy’s efforts for us, but to sit with friends we’ve known and loved for decades and to enjoy this serene and beautifully appointed setting seemed like such a gift.

Spouses were encouraged to attend the class, so Danny and Michael came with us. The room was filled with over-55 folks who were scheduled for either knee or hip surgeries. I was so glad we went, because I learned a lot and felt even more certain about my decision to have this particular surgeon and hospital for my ordeal. Su felt very reassured too. A Physical Therapist and an ortho nurse went through all the details of what we can expect, how we can prepare for surgery, and what recovery will be like.

The contraption in the distance at the right in the photo below is a CPM (Continuous Passive Motion) machine, and when we’re not doing physical therapy, walking up and down the aisles of the hospital (within hours of surgery) and occupational therapy, our legs and knees will be bent and straightened while we’re resting in bed. For a photo of how it looks, click here.


I’ve been doing my exercises and a few of them make my right knee burn like fire, but in this very short time I can actually feel a difference. There’s less pain and more stability, and more range of motion. With such dramatic results, I might have been tempted to just do the exercises for a month and forego the surgery, except for the icky-looking deformity that makes my lower leg splay away from the center now. My valgus angle isn’t as bad as this photo, but this will give you an idea what I’m trying to describe.

Back at the inn, this is a picture of the landing on the second floor right outside our suite. I thought it was so nice that they keep that little corner refrigerator filled with treats for their guests.


The Aurora Staples Inn has handsome woodwork everywhere, and wallpaper that makes a guest feel like they’ve taken a step back in time. Or a thousand steps back in time. This view below was on the landing. Look at the gorgeous inlaid floors too.


Breakfast was at 9:00, so we got to sleep in — yay! Out of habit Michael and I woke very early, but to be able to stay in bed and read by the warmth of our fire was divine. I read a Psalm out loud and we talked about how grateful we are to know the Lord is always with us, how He sustains us, opposes our enemies for us, and draws us to Himself.

When we came down to the dining room our places were set and Cathy served us the most delectable fresh fruit parfaits with yogurt and granola, and then a baked French toast dish with blueberry sauce. I had no room for the petite dessert offered but I’m sure it was a delight to the eyes and the taste buds.

It’s just so nice to be expected, isn’t it? Cathy took every care to make us not only feel welcome, but expected. A Keurig coffee maker with fresh water set up in the parlor, books and games for the borrowing, a generous appetizer, friendly sharing during breakfast, the fridge stocked with treats, a tray with a pot of coffee placed quietly outside our door each morning…we felt tenderly pampered.


Su and I have been friends since 1980. She was the matron of honor when I married Michael, and I was the matron of honor when she married Danny. There’s a peaceful comfort that often comes in friendships that have lasted so long. I never feel like I have to be super perky and well-behaved around Su, because she loves me no matter what. And I think she feels the same kind of ease with me. We have known each other during some very unperky times, and the Lord’s faithfulness to us has been great.

Danny will be Su’s caregiver when her surgery is over and she’s recuperating at home. He’s one of the best men we know.


Michael and I slept later than usual, but I think both of us look permanently ty-ode. Nights can be challenging these days, especially in unfamiliar places.


Su and I have 32 days until our surgeries. Will our hospital rooms be right next to each other? Will we race our walkers down the hall together? Will we text each other about how bad the hospital food is? Will our pain meds make us goofy and foster some giggly memories?

Stay tuned, and I just might share about it here. Exciting stuff, people. 🙂

God bless your weekend, dear friends and family….


  1. Kay in Cornwall says:

    Thankyou for this lovely, long, detailed post. The inn looks beautiful: my idea of the perfect place to stay.
    Now, if we could borrow the Doctor’s Tardis (and the Dr. of course – you may need to Google this), Alan and I would be over like a shot to look after you post-op. Alan is an excellent carer (I know from my own experience) and I would be very good at making sure you completed all your physiotherapy exercises! 😉 One of the reasons that I recovered so quickly from my operation in March 2011 was because I stuck to my physiotherapy religiously.
    We will be praying that everything goes well – your operation of course, and all the practicalities at home.
    P.S. My ears are still causing a lot of discomfort and I would appreciate prayer.

  2. Just Julie says:

    Thank you Kay — it’s good to know how well PT (Physical Therapy) works. And thank you so much for your prayers. I will be praying for your ears today. xxoo

  3. Ember says:

    That was such a beautiful place you stayed! A temple of well-being :0)
    May all go well with your surgery, and may you soon feel a whole lot better. Glad the exercises are helping, too. xxx

  4. Just Julie says:

    I hope we get to go back someday Ember. Thank you for your good wishes… xoxo

  5. Roberta says:

    So glad you are off to an excellent start on your “quest for a well-functioning knee”! I thought you were amazingly nonchalant about the
    MRI (its noise and claustrophobic environment—for ten minutes!!!) I did not have the same attitude.
    The education piece provided by the medical personnel sounded great—nothing like knowing what to expect. And their immediate post-surgery rehab sounds state-of-the-art.
    Most of all, you and Su have the best loving support possible.
    Despite your reason for staying there, the Inn, and its hostess sounded
    I know The Lord will be with you all through this.

  6. Just Julie says:

    I am always struck by your comments, Roberta. You have a way about you…you listen (read), relate, encourage, and love, all through your written words. Thank you. You make it easy to feel connected to you even though we’ve never met. xoxo

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