Whenever we deal with a life-changing event we develop certain expectations about what is going happen—good or bad. When we get married we usually plan the day carefully and expect to have a wonderful time. When we move a distance we allow for a lot of hard work and minor emergencies on the way to an exciting new life. If we’re lucky what we plan meets our expectations.
I had my right knee replaced two weeks ago. Given my sensitivity to medications and the unpleasant experience my brother had last year, I expected a difficult time and planned ahead. To my relief things have gone much better than I anticipated.
We moved a few months ago and still have boxes to unpack and rooms to organize. So that became my first focus of attention, particularly my office. I’m always amazed at the volume of paperwork ordinary living generates. Add in selling and buying houses and the amount can be staggering. I don’t know if it’s this way all over the country but in California an amazing number of trees are sacrificed to document real estate deals. After unpacking and getting my files in order, I tackled our taxes and actually got all our stuff to the CPA in a timely manner.
Next came the kitchen. We moved from a house with a large kitchen and lots of storage to one with a much smaller space and fewer cupboards. After a fair amount of trial and error and ingenuity I think I’ve finally gotten it into good shape. If I could only find our missing serving bowls and cookware. I foresee a garage sale in our near future.
With the house as organized as I could get it for the moment, I tried to get myself in as good a shape as I could beforehand. I found a physical therapy center that rented time on their Alter-G machine and started making use of it two or three times a week. (The Alter-G is an anti-gravity treadmill that uses air to support your body weight. It allows you to exercise your muscles without stressing your joints.) In addition I rode my stationary bike on alternate days and did the oh-so-familiar PT exercises for the legs. While I was not as consistent in my exercise as I would have liked, I did improve my fitness level.
I also included a non-traditional item in my preparation—acupuncture. I’m allergic to so many medications that I was worried about finding a pain medication I could tolerate. Since acupuncture can be quite effective for relieving pain, I made it part of my treatment plan. After having a session the day before surgery, I actually slept through the night—something I had not expected—and was relaxed and ready for my procedure.
Come the big day I felt as prepared as I could be. And with one exception all went well. We were able to find a pain medication I could tolerate—though it does have one unfortunate side-effect. Unlike my brother, I’ve experienced relatively little discomfort and have had no problem starting my exercises. My biggest problem right now is caused by the pain med. It puts me to sleep. I can’t seem to stay awake more than ten minutes at a time. And when I am awake I’m less than fully functional. It was kind of okay the first week but is getting really old now. I’m trying to cut down on my dose but haven’t found the right balance as yet. It’s hard to concentrate on writing when I’m fighting the sleepies or when I hurt.
At two weeks I’m walking on my own, have good flexibility in my knee and have been cleared to drive as soon as I solved the sleepy problem. All in all, my reality has exceeded my expectations.
photo credit: <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>
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