I try to be a positive person. I look for the silver lining and generally have learned finding the positive far outweighs the harping on the negative. Yet, I admit I can also be a skeptic. My inner cynic comes out when my life experiences have tainted me in a negative way. My medical history is one example.
From an early age, I hated all medical things. A couple of traumatic experiences made sure that every experience after would also be traumatic…if only in my head. My medical anxieties only grew in Cancerland, where complications abounded as painful procedures and treatments ravaged my body. After that, my first knee replacement was no picnic. I had difficulty with pain management before I even left the hospital. When you have to pull the cord in the bathroom because you are about to pass out from pain it leaves an impression. Mainly, that you don’t ever….ever….ever want to get behind on your pain medication again. When your pain medication doesn’t work to control said pain, you feel out of control and like you are going to die.
Therefore, 10 years later, when the doctors tell you how much things have improved since your last knee was replaced you are doubtful. When they “encourage” you that it is now an outpatient procedure that will only take 3 hours, you are not encouraged. When they say they don’t need to use general anesthesia and you will not need narcotics, you shake with fear. When they say your PT will all be videos, you cringe. It all seems to be no big deal to them…but to me…it was a BIG DEAL. Bigger than life. Bigger than sanity. Terror is a good term for it. Trepidation. Dread. Horror. Fear. Panic. All terms I could use.
I mean, you are still sawing my bones off, right? You are still drilling and hammering my BONES, right? Then you are sending my home with my loving but NOT MEDICALLY TRAINED husband and a bottle of Tylenol, correct? How am I not supposed to be scared out of my mind. Need some anxiety meds before surgery? Nope…it will interfere with the anesthesia.
You might can tell, I was not in a good place mentally or emotionally before this surgery. Thankfully I had the wedding to distract me and then downsizing Dad’s apartment. That left me with just a day or two to ponder my plight. I admit it…I am a baby about medical things. I try to keep a stiff upper lip, but I have been carved up over the years and I don’t like it one little bit. This was my mindset going into this surgery.
The day came and went. I came home in three hours. I could walk. I could move my leg. I kept waiting for the unbearable pain to show up…after the block wore off. I never got behind on my meds…set my alarm through the night and everything. But I also never had break through pain like last time. I wasn’t foggy and out of it. I could think clearly. I did not feel out of control.
I am one and a half weeks out and I can already bend my leg past 90 degrees. I am almost completely straight as well. I can walk with a cane already. Last time, I went back to work one month after and still had to use a walker and major medication. It took me months to get my bend to 90 degrees. The pain was constant. This time, there is pain, but it is manageable.
Of course, because I had done this before I was better prepared this time. I knew what to expect and how bad the pain could be. I took off about 18 lbs before surgery and did my strengthening exercises daily. I trained for surgery this time and that could explain the much better outcome.
However, as much as my cynic hates to admit it, I think the doctors were right. The improvements are incredible. I was wrong in my expectations that I would suffer greatly and that the doctors were crazy. I had to put my trust in the process, even when my insides were screaming not to do it. I am glad I did. There is still a long way to go to get my strength back, but I am well on my way. I continue to be surprised at the little gains I am making each day. Thanks to all who were praying and checking on me. It really has been much smoother than I thought it would be. I’m still taking it very easy…lots of sleeping, but overall, I am encouraged that I will get back to pain free at some point nearer in the future than I had anticipated. Oh happy day!