December 23, 2009

The Knee Replacement Saga - Six Months Later


hiking on Grizzly Ridge, Purcell Mountains, British Columbia

Ah, my husband took this picture of me in 2004. I remember this hiking stroll in the Canadian Rockies very well! It takes your breath away to be immersed in such beauty! It is amazing that I got my left knee to behave 28 years so that I could experience glorious joys such as this hiking trip. In fact, it was amazing that I even lived after getting hit by a Mack truck in my youthful 20s! Multiple fractures healed, but the knee was never the same after that. Eventually, it all caught up to me. I knew it would. It was just a matter of time.

As many of you know, time finally ran out for me. I had a total left knee replacement on June 23. The recovery and therapy months were hell. No doubt about it. I had lots of pain. Sometimes, it was excruciating. I cried a lot. I did not want to be me. Poor hubby was beside himself, watching me struggle, endure, and cry. It was a journey that I did not want to take. And I am still mad as all get out that I had to have the replacement. There’s no going back, once you have (essentially) an amputation. There are going to be worries about possible infections and another replacement later on.

Let’s now fast forward to six months later. I am walking and getting around pretty well. The bone-on-bone pain before the surgery is long gone. I still have some moderate swelling and residual pain above and to one side of the knee. The nerve damage is still there, and I get stabbing sensations where the nerves are trying to regenerate. I am told that all of this is to be expected. I wonder if I will ever feel “normal” again. And, will I ever get to the point of forgetting that I have a huge hunk of medical equipment buried in me? I rather doubt it.

But I can accept it all at this point because I CAN WALK! And I can do some stair climbing. My stamina has returned to almost normal levels now. My ability to walk on uneven ground is improved. I can pretty much do what I need to do at this point in my life. Given what is going on with Washington politics these days, I also am relieved that I had the surgery before any governmental interference.

I am thankful for the care and expertise of my surgeon. His service charge was WAY too low, by the way. I am thankful to medical technology, so that I could have a state-of-the-art titanium knee made just for women. I am thankful to my former employer and its contribution to my medical insurance premiums (which I earned as part of my compensation). I am thankful for my insurance company (Blue Cross/Blue Shield), which didn’t give me one bit of trouble in paying the medical claims. I am thankful for the hospital staff, except for the poor excuse of the day nurse on the orthopedic ward. (Santa should deliver a whole truckload of coal to her house, thereby trapping her inside so that she can’t take her bad attitude out on other patients.) I am thankful for the therapy staff that got me moving again.

I am thankful for my sweet hubby and his tireless devotion in taking care of me. I hope to reciprocate someday if he ever has to go through a similar recovery. And, I am thankful for the emotional support from many of my blogging friends during the past six months. I’m blowing kisses to all of you!

We did a small road test last month up to Kentucky, and I did pretty well on that excursion. We’re looking at 2010 travel brochures that are now getting stuffed in our mailbox. Will I ever do wilderness hiking again? Probably not. I’m glad that I did it while I could, LOL! However, sweet hubby and I have many more traveling adventures ahead of us, and this bionic knee will help keep me walking and experiencing new joys.

P.S. And YES, I am thankful that the surgery is over!  Onward with life! 

14 comments:

  1. Oh Donna! This post both frightens me and encourages me at the same time. I am scheduled for total knee replacement on my right knee on Jan. 8. Then, a few months later the plan is to do the left knee. It is also bone on bone right now, and quite painful. (right is the worst, so right is the first!) I have put on 20# for lack of any exercise. (some of that is due to lots of cooking...it is one of the things I get much pleasure from) It is what it is, and if I don't want to hobble around like a cripple for the rest of my life, I must do this. I am only 56, so I hope to have a lot of years left to enjoy the new knees. And...I love to garden, walk, take care of my chickens, etc. Can't do much of that right now. I was hoping to be back on my feet, so to speak, by late spring so this gardening season would find me pretty much healed up. Now, after reading this, I'm not so sure!!!

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  2. I don't think I heard the Mack Truck story. That sounds pretty horrible. But obviously you survived or this blog would be a little creepy! LOL.

    I am so glad that your knee is feeling better. I remember when you had it done and could tell by your posts that it was a hard thing to go through.

    I for one can't wait for you all to go on adventures again because some how we end up with beautiful post cards from it. *wink* *wink* LOL!

    Have a very Merry Christmas my dear friend.
    HUGS
    Kim

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  3. I do understand your anger; kind of like how dare your body let you down. I'm glad to hear the the worst is over and you are definitely on the upswing.

    I've heard so and so got a hip/knee replacement and nothing much after so always assumed it was pretty clear sailing. Apparently it is not; today there is improvement but it has been a very, very long haul to get there.

    God bless and Merry Christmas.

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  4. I had heard that knee replacement surgery was very painful and you confirmed that for me. I am glad that the time has passed and your are doing so much better now. I can't wait to see your new traveling photos! Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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  5. I so glad you're feeling better, and your new knee is behaving. My sister is scheduled tentatively for her knee replacement. I would just like to add, thank God for those wonderful people who came up with this procedure. Where would so many people be without it. My mom refused to have it done and she's in a wheel chair. So that pain you wen through may have been worth it, just a little bit. Have a Wonderful Christmas and much Happy Hiking in the Future.

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  6. I am amazed at your progress, and your story! Sometime I'd like to hear about your collision sometime, I'd say you're a survivor all the way and have gone on to become an adventurer, too! Merry CHRISTmas to you, my friend and fellow patriot!
    XOXO
    Joni

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  7. Donna, I'm so glad you're better. Both my Mom and my sister have had both knees replaced, my sister had both at the same time. I know you'll have many great adventures in the coming years. As I age, my adventures change, but I still have fun, and so will you.

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  8. Donna, I am so happy to be reading this all these months later. Your husband sounds like such a compassionate man. He obviously loves you very much. Keep walking and may the rest of your recovery go even better.

    Thanks, too, for all those comments on healthcare. We certainly are in trying times here in the States.

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  9. I never Had a Bionic "friend" before....Hahahaa....Well Done! See there? It's OVER! Bet you're SO glad of That little fact!
    The photo is Gorgeous Girl! Glad you got to "do" the trail as well...
    Happy day to you and Know that you are loved!hughugs

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  10. It has been a ig year for you and I am glad you feel alittle free-er in movement and all.
    My Granny had the surgery and suffered for longer than she expected....and shes tough!
    But now 18 months later she does feel "Normal".
    So Donna You may just feel "NORMAL" again! *wink*
    Merry Christmas My Faraway friend!

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  11. Hi Donna,

    You sound like you are doing well for such a big surgery! Love that photo and I just know you will have lots more adventures coming your way! Thanks for your card, I kind of ran out of time with my cards this year! LOL But I wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas and thank you for being there for me this year! Thanks for being such a good blogging buddy!!

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  12. Now get out there and shake a leg...but don't break on hiking!! LOl what a glorious thing to be able to get ones walking back and do things again you love doing! Praise God.

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  13. So lovely to be catching up here Donna...my grandson playing happily away with his new fisher price musical ferris wheel ...a big hit!

    Looks like the building is moving forward...how lovely!

    Do hope the new knee will take you on many more adventures...and yes, it is good to be thankful for the lives we have had and the wonderful things we have been able to do!!

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  14. What a blessing that you are doing so well! I've heard stories on both sides, good & bad, and just hope my knees hold up for me.
    I am so happy that it turned out well for you!

    Blessings!
    Nita Jo

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Marty, here! Donna loves comments, and I faithfully pass them on to her. Thank you so much for visiting!