Diane Becker, "Country Life"

A bat is ruining the relative peaceful Becker household — not that they’re known for their warm loving personality.

One evening I was working on my computer when I thought I heard a movement. My first thought was our house is haunted but ghosts don’t scratch walls. Then I thought it was a bird somehow trapped in our hall closet that was flapping its wings frantically from one wall to the other.

I woke Tom up to tell him, and after listening and agreeing with me about the problem, we went to bed not wanting to deal with wild animals in our home at such a late hour.

The next morning there was more fluttering, so the door to the closet was carefully opened and everything was taken outdoors. No animals, birds or ghosts.

It was a quiet day, but that evening there was something moving around. This time we realized it was in the wall.

We have a conduit to a speaker in this wall, just wide enough for a small bat to squeeze through.

Fluttering and then silence again for a day. Tom bought a bat camera, which has a screen with a long tube with a camera and light on the end. He poked it behind the speaker and maneuvered the camera until it showed two sharp ears and a black soft body. This bat looked dead, so we figured it had fatally flung itself at the wall.

We hammered on the wall and it didn’t move. Don’t they have this magical sonar that detects sound? We considered how small a hole in the wall it would take to get it out of the house. That night it banged on the wall again.

We read up on bat removal and talked to a bat expert who said it may be flying around at night eating bugs and returning to our wall to sleep. We need to cap the conduit while he’s out.

The bat camera still shows a quiet creature with wings and ears laying at the bottom of the wall. The plan is to wait for him to fly out for the night, then climb to the back of the attic and cap off the top of the conduit so he can’t get back in.

Except we don’t have his routine down. He’s flapping at all hours of the day and night. I’m ready to take the small-hole-in-the-wall-removal route. We can always patch the wall and put a bookshelf in front of it.

I don’t want a bat bite. I don’t want my family in danger of getting a bat bite. I don’t want a bat dying in our walls. So we’re going figure out a way for it to fly away on its own.

Wish us luck.

Mayo Clinic News Network

DEAR MAYO CLINIC: It has been months since I had knee replacement surgery, but my knee is still hurting. Can anything be done at this point, or does the surgery just not eliminate pain in some patients?

ANSWER: Although it’s uncommon, a small percentage of patients continue to have chronic knee pain after knee replacement surgery. But when that happens, you don’t have to just put up with the pain. Have your situation evaluated. Several additional treatment options may ease chronic knee pain after knee replacement.

Knee replacement surgery, also known as knee arthroplasty, is one of the most common orthopedic surgeries performed today.

It is most often used to repair joint damage caused by osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis that causes severe knee pain and makes it hard to perform daily activities.

During knee replacement, a surgeon cuts away the damaged bone and cartilage from your thighbone, shinbone and kneecap, and replaces it with an artificial joint.

For most people, knee replacement significantly improves mobility and relieves knee pain.

But in some patients, the pain persists after surgery.

Your first step in dealing with ongoing knee pain in this situation is to make an appointment to see the surgeon who performed your knee replacement.

He or she can evaluate your knee and check for possible complications from the surgery, such as an infection or a problem with the artificial joint.

In the past, if a surgeon didn’t uncover potential issues that could cause the ongoing pain at that point, patients were left with few treatment options to reduce the pain, other than taking pain medication. Over the past several years, however, there have been some new developments to treat pain after knee replacement surgery.

The first is a minimally invasive procedure where the nerves that carry pain information away from the knee are ablated, or destroyed, with the use of a special needle.

Studies of this approach are showing promising results for pain reduction in people with chronic knee pain who are not good candidates for surgery.

This approach also is helping those who have had surgery, but knee pain remains a problem, as in your case.

Another minimally invasive procedure that has shown some benefit for chronic knee pain after surgery is the use of dorsal root ganglion, or DRG, stimulation.

The dorsal root ganglion is a collection of nerves near the spinal canal that can be stimulated to provide pain relief in certain conditions.

Results of multiple research studies published in medical literature have shown this to be a promising approach for the relief of chronic pain.

The DRG stimulator is a device that’s implanted beneath the skin that connects to multiple leads. Those leads conduct electricity to the area that requires the stimulation.

The electrical signals interfere with the transmission of pain signals to the brain, and that results in a decrease in chronic pain.

Although these new interventions show promise in reducing chronic knee pain after knee replacement surgery, they do not work for everyone.

If you’re interested in learning more, ask your surgeon for a referral to a pain clinic for a full evaluation and consultation.

A pain medicine specialist can review your condition and discuss what options might work best in your individual situation.


In other news

As a birthday reading gift to myself this month, I decided to reread one of my favorite novels — “A Woman of Substance” by Barbara Taylor Bradford.

Stepping into a shower stall in our house is a lot like stepping into a jungle. I have not ever actually been in a jungle but have walked through 8-foot-tall cornfields midsummer, so I have a good idea.

The following area bankruptcies were filed in U.S. Court, District of Nebraska. Reprinted by permission from the Daily Record of Omaha.

Norfolk High coach Derek Siedschlag’s scouting report on the Kearney softball team cited the Bearcats’ “small ball” offense as a strong point and a pitching staff that was not a strength.