My Left Knee – Episode Three

Back – way back, actually – in the late 1950’s, there was a television game show called “Who Do You Trust?” The contestants, a married couple, were given the category of the next question. The husband then decided whether he trusted himself or his spouse to answer the question correctly. (Given that the show aired almost 60 years ago, the condescending sexism of the premise didn’t appear to bother anyone associated with the program.)

angle_13469cIt feels like I have been playing my own version of “Who do you trust?” in the past week. Most of the time, I’ve felt like I’ve been making little or no progress in physical therapy. The exercises have been strenuous and painful; and my stamina doesn’t seem to have improved. Still, every time I’m at a PT session, the therapists have told me that I’m making excellent progress. They have said that I’m doing better than expected with both straightening and bending my knee (two of the key skills that PT works on). So… who do I trust? My perception, based on my degree of pain; or the therapists’ feedback, based on angles measured with some sort of protractor-type gizmo. Maybe because I liked their answer better, I decided to believe the therapists instead of my own experience. And probably not so surprisingly, once I decided to believe them, I could start to see evidence of progress.


My first days at home were a full-time job just getting from morning to night. By the time I got dressed, fixed meals, did my PT exercises, and put  ice on my knee, the day was full. It was time to get some sleep and start all over again. By now, though, those things take less time, and I’m trying to decide what else I can do to fill my day. I mean, there are only so many hours of the Olympics I can watch during the day. I’m working on a knitting project or two, and looking at some of the “some day” projects that I can do around the house without a lot of standing or walking. It actually feels good, like the borders of my world are expanding a little bit. I know, or at least I keep reminding myself, that progress will come slowly and unevenly, and there will be many days when I will be impatient. But for now, I’m choosing to believe the experts and trust that I’m getting better.

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Barbara Bruneau

Barbara Bruneau is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She is semi-retired, having previously served congregations in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Barbara enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and weaving. She shares her home with cats named Abigail and Bijou.

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