I know this is self indulgent, but consider it a service, because about 1 in 8 people will be shopping for a new knee or hip someday. Or if you are like me, you will be begging for one. I can be your test pilot. I am scheduled for knee replacement. April 26th is the date that I am supposed to be reborn as a non-gimpy girl. It will take until then for some lab to manufacture the perfect limb. I have chosen traditional- not non-invasive surgery- because I toe in, and it will allow a more precise positioning of the replacement knee. DO not try to reprogram me. I am scheduled.
This is me at 4- already in orthopedic shoes. I wore them throughout high school, and they got clunkier. To me, Penny Loafers were heaven; I was in Buster Brown Oxford hell.
I have started my “to-do” list of pre-operation tasks. Tomorrow I will have a CT scan of my left leg so that the knee prosthesis can be created to my own unique and pigeon toed specifications. In the weeks to come, I will give blood, have a physical, get a heart check up and go to joint replacement class. Once my checklist is all filled in, the saw, grinder, glue and sutures can be applied to my knee. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared, and I’d be lying if I did not say I was excited to move on. Or just to move without having to go peg-leg for stability and pain relief.
I picked the day (Monday) because it is good to get a fresh Doctor. I thought I would only be in one night, but they have me penciled in for 3. I want to be home for the weekend. Steve will be home from Florida, and he will make a good orderly. He can do his podcasts during the week while I am in the hospital, and I can come home to his immersion in my rehabilitation. For anyone who knows Steve, it is obvious that I am joking about his nursing me back. I will be happy if he just keeps the dogs out of my way. The White Sox are out of town that week, so I will not be keeping him from the Cell. If the Blackhawks are going strong in the playoffs, Steve may be miffed. But we can work it out. I’m pretty sure that I will get ambulatory quickly. I plan to embrace my pain killers, and work the knee into its new home.
I am lucky: I have only stayed in the hospital to have a child. I am pouting that this time my parting gift from Hinsdale Hospital will be the mold that they use to build-a-knee. A baby was much more fun to bring home. The knee mold will not require a car seat or sleepless nights, though. In fact, the painkillers guarantee sleepy nights. The ability to do the two-step at Mike’s wedding is a nice consolation, though I am a bad dancer, and Steve hates to dance at all. I WILL be able to line dance and macarena with my friends and family. That should horrify Steve and the boys. I need to brush up on the electric slide.
The scar is 8-10 inches long, and will end my mini-skirt days- but those should have ended already, due to my age. It’s just that my legs, from the knee down, at least, are the only part of me that is not lumpy. Now I will have a zipper scar on my only svelte surface. When I visit the orthopedic office, the chairs are fraught with zippers. It is the tattoo of a secret club- those with replacement parts. My goal is to get strong and prevent the other leg from going all arthritic on me. My physical therapist always chirps at me, “motion is lotion” and so I will have to get up and get along to make this knee my own.
By the time that the stitches have healed and the risk of infection is gone, the pool will be open for me to rehab in. If that is not perfect timing, I don’t know what is.
If you had a bad result, or want to tell me scary stories, please don’t. I want to be Pollyanna Janet, skipping into her new improved leg. To reward you, I promise I will only post my happy results, not any complaints. Then when it is your turn-or your spouses/parents/friends turn to get bionic- I will share my sunny success. Promise. In the mean time, I will carry on with a hitch in my step, a gel pack in the freezer and an heating pad in the nightstand. But the countdown has begun. 56 days.
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