Tuesday, February 2, 2021

We take a lot for granted

 

The Don Joy Off Loading Knee Brace

Yesterday, I went to the orthopedic surgeon for the results of my recent MRI. 

I was hesitant to hear what he had to say and speculated the worst - knee replacement surgery, but thankfully, that's not in the cards just yet. 

He did say I have a lateral meniscus tear, two subchondral pseudocysts, and severe arthritis. After giving me that news, he left the room, a nurse entered and drew up a syringe with Cortisone. I watched as she carefully laid out the bandages, a numbing spray, the long needled syringe, and some antiseptic wipes. As she left the room, I turned to my husband and grimaced. 

I'd had a cortisone injection in my ankle joint last year. It was extremely painful. I wasn't looking forward to another injection but knew it was coming. 

About five minutes later, the doctor came back into the room and had me sit on the exam table, pants rolled up, as he lifted the needle. "Just imagine yourself sitting on a dock dangling your feet over the edge of the water..." And then he jabbed me! Oh, gravy!!! The numbing spray helped some but there was intense pressure and pain. 

A couple of minutes later, he was done and ordering the nurse to take me over to the physical therapy department to be fitted with an off loading knee brace. He said we'd see how I did over the next 6 weeks and if I wasn't much better when I came back, he'd do arthroscopic surgery to remove the damaged tissue and hopefully keep me from having to have a total replacement. 

The off loading knee brace is a weird looking structure - a thick flexible plastic webbing with several large velcro straps. It's supposed to take the pressure off of the "bad" side of my knee and transfer it to the "good" side. 

As I walked/hobbled out of the doctor's office, I realized how much I take for granted. Being unable to bend my knee caused me to remember the days of immobility I suffered after a bad accident in 1991. During that time, I was confined to a wheelchair and couldn't walk for over 3 years. 

I knew my knees had been suffering. The creaks and groans they made when bending or stretching reminded me I was aging, but I didn't expect to suffer such damage just getting out of the bathtub. In one split moment, my knee was damaged. 

So today, as I maneuver through my house with my lovely brace on and a handy, dandy walker in tow, I think I need to be more cognizant of my health. I need to thank God for the parts that are still functioning and forget about the parts I've lost. 

It's really strange when you think about how a broken and scarred body can still function without so many parts - I've not only lost both breasts to cancer, I've lost my thyroid gland, my gallbladder, and my uterus. 

As a child, I remember playing the game "Operation." As I'd work carefully to keep from setting off the buzzer as I removed tiny, white, play bones, I never imagined a body could live without vital organs or parts. 

But I'm still here and I'm proof it is doable. 

I'm hoping I don't end up losing my knees in the near future. I've heard terrible things about knee replacement surgeries. Maybe this brace, the walker, the pain meds, and time will help my wounds heal and maybe, I'll focus on being a little more grateful for the pieces and parts I still have left inside of me. 

Life is so short and I still have much to do. I need functioning knees to help me accomplish those goals. Please pray I get to keep them.

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