Monday, June 19, 2023

These old knees ain't what they used to be!

 When I was a kid, I remember singing a silly song entitled, "The Old Gray Mare, She Ain't What She Used to Be." It was a song that always made me giggle. Well, today, I feel like that old gray mare. I am definitely not what I used to be. These 65 year old knees are wearing out. 

Wrapped up and resting
For the past 2 years, I've dealt with pain and swelling in my left knee. I've had 4 steroid shots and have been through a series of braces. While those things bought me some time, they didn't fix the problem and it continued to get worse. Finally, last month, I was back in the orthopedic doc's office begging for help. I could barely walk and knew if I didn't do something soon, I was going to need a complete knee replacement. I didn't want that!

Since I loved hiking and being outdoors, it was urgent I do something. I wanted to stay mobile as long as possible. Talking with the doc, we came up with a plan. After XRAYS and MRIs, the verdict was a lateral meniscus tear and severe arthritis. I knew the arthritis was part of aging, but when did I do damage to that knee? I couldn't pinpoint it. I'd had several falls over the last few years, including a really hard one on my right knee while in Israel, but this was my left. Did I perhaps damage it then too and not realize it? Who knew. 

So the doc planned surgery for the following week. He would perform an arthrosocopic lateral Meniscectomy, Chondroplasty, and debridement of the patellofemoral compartment and medial compartments. Now that's a mouthful! In essence, he was going to make 2 holes in my knee, stick a camera in one hole and cutting instruments in the other. Next he would remove the torn ligament, scrape out damaged tissue and try to remove as much arthritis as possible. Sounded like a quick and easy procedure...

Well, the day of surgery, I was pretty calm thanks to all the prayers going up from my friends and family members. The anesthesiologist was able to find a vein in my hand on the first try, which was amazing because that never happens for me. After being rolled into the surgical suite, I was moved onto a gurney and within a few seconds, it was lights out for me. 

I woke up in recovery to some pretty rough pain but the nurse was instantly there with ginger ale and pain meds. After an hour, I was able to go home with instructions to keep my leg elevated and iced. I was also given an arsenal of pain meds. 

Things went pretty smoothly until the anesthesia wore off and the pain set in. I wasn't expecting it to be so bad, especially since I'd been through a horrendous automobile accident in 1991 where both bones below the knee in my right leg were crushed. But I was younger then. 

I had a fitful night but managed to make it through. I wasn't looking forward to the

day as physical therapy had already been scheduled and I'd be making my way there in a couple of hours. Thankfully, one of my girls had volunteered to come chauffeur me to the appointment. 

My therapist was a young, oriental woman but boy, she was tough as nails. She worked me hard and I was exhausted by the time our hour session was over. As I was leaving, she said she'd see me twice next week and we'd continue for about 8-10 weeks! What???!!! I wasn't expecting that! Getting old sucks!

My therapist
So, I'm doing my best to look at the positives, which is a little hard right now. One day soon, I'll be able to walk without pain. At least I'm not confined to a wheelchair like I was back in 1991 for a year and a half and then I was on crutches for another year. Now I'm shuffle along on my trusty walker. 

I'm thankful for gel ice packs, pain meds, a sweet husband who picks up the slack, and kids who do what they can when they can. I am tired and I'm doing my best. 

God continues to prompt me to rest and I find it interesting that I'm currently reading a book on that very subject. I don't know why I have such a hard time resting, but I do. I feel so worthless and unproductive when I'm not doing something. 

Surgical sites and doctor's initials

The Bible says God rested on the 7th day. He didn't rest because He was tired, He'd just completed His work. If He deems rest important, I guess I'd better learn that lesson sooner rather than later, otherwise, I may have to keep going through physical maladies until I understand. I definitely don't want any more object lessons, not for a very, very long time. 

The book I'm reading
I was able to remove the bandages long enough to take a shower yesterday. I was scared to death I'd fall in the shower, so I had my walker half in and half out so I could hang on. I'd had to put waterproof bandages over the surgical sites before showering to protect from water, but that wasn't a big deal. After drying off, I had to remove those bandages, put new ones on and rewrap everything. By the time I was through, I was exhausted and ready to ice my knee again. 

Today, I'm going to take it easy until time for therapy. I hope I can do it. There's so much I want to be doing, but my knee is hurting so they'll have to wait. 

If you have good knees, love them! Take good care of them! Knees are so important. I plan to pamper mine after healing from this surgery. Otherwise, knee replacements are in my future and I am not wanting to go through that, especially since this surgery has been so painful.

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