In between writing that will actually EARN me money this year (what a concept!) and doing a lot of house-and life-cleaning that somehow eluded me last year, I also squeezed in a little time to have knee surgery on Wednesday. What fun!
Not really. I realized how much I didn’t want to have surgery to repair “unspecified” damage to the meniscus of my left knee at my pre-op appointments where I was the biggest sour-puss you can imagine. I scowled at the
nurses, got into an utterly pointless gun control argument in the waiting room of the surgery center (I really was in a bad, stupid mood), and resented every rule and regulation I was given. When I learned mine would be the last surgery of the day, I couldn’t believe I’d have to fast for 16 hours — and skip my morning coffee. It only occurred to me later that it also meant my knee would be the final task in somebody’s long day — not the coveted surgical spot. But once I learned that I could, in fact, have coffee in the morning, I was totally cheered up, fear and loathing passed, and I moved on to acceptance.
My friend Patti took me to the center (my husband Larry was in DC until 3 pm) and we chatted and laughed until I was ushered into the surgical waiting area. Then the fear resurfaced big-time. I hated being in a hospital gown, hated getting an IV, and hated the idea that something was the matter with my body. (And yes, it did occur to me that I am going to be a very cranky old person.) I was swabbed, covered in warm blankets (nice touch!) and wheeled into the surgical room and remember nothing more until I popped out from under anesthesia and felt remarkably …good.
That night I took one pain pill, had some soup, crawled into the sofa nest I’d made for myself, and watched TV until midnight. The only real pain I felt was in my back because the dumb sofa was too soft. And the next morning, I was dying to get up and get around. Crutches really slowed me down. I couldn’t find a way to carry my water glass and hold my crutches; I had to ask for things; I was dependent and felt — lame.
Friday I went back to the doctor’s to get my stitches out and get off the crutches. My knee looked puffy but remarkably normal. My surgeon showed me the photo of my meniscus. The inside hadn’t been too bad — a tear we never saw was easily buffed out. The outside meniscus was a hot mess — like spaghetti instead of a round disc. She’d done what she could but isn’t sure if it’ll ever come back to full strength. I felt good that I wasn’t a total wimp and there really was something wrong with my knee, but felt bad that there was something that wrong with my knee. In fact, she said the inside meniscus was a 49-year old’s knee; the outside was a 69-year old’s. Ouch! That hurt!
I’m committed to being a model rehab patient and getting everything back, but I can’t do yoga or pilates for two months. I’ll be confined to non-lateral movements on the bike, flat treadmill and elliptical — three machines I pretty much loathe. But all things considered, it wasn’t bad. My knees are old but they’re not shot. Lucky me!