My Left Knee – Episode Four

Knee pain

For the first two weeks after surgery, everything hurt. It hurt to stand up, it hurt to sit down, it hurt to walk, it hurt to bend my knees, it hurt to straighten them out again. During that time, the doctor and the therapists were very encouraging – they frequently said that I was doing better than they expected at this point in time. I had to make a conscious decision to believe their assessment; because my own experience seemed to say otherwise.

This week, though, it seems like I turned a corner. I’m certainly not pain-free – I have been warned that it may take 6 months or more for that – but I’m starting to see that the exercises I’ve been doing have had some results. I’ve stopped taking the strongest of my pain meds. I can feel a greater range of motion, and my overall energy level is getting better.

I returned to see my surgeon for my two-week checkup. After asking a few questions and checking out my range of motion, the doctor said “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it.” And in Physical Therapy, we’re practicing walking with a cane instead of the walker. All in all, things seem to be going very well.

collect_3182cWith all that positive energy floating around, it’s no surprise that I let it go to my head. Since I’ve been off the strongest pain med for a week, I can now begin driving; so I’ve been looking for an occasion to take my car out for an adventure. Yesterday seemed to be just made for adventure. I needed a few things from the grocery store, so I decided to drive on my own rather than call someone and give them my grocery list. Then – and here’s where I went overboard – instead of going to the smaller store in the next town over, I decided to drive a little farther and go to one of the big stores.

“I just need a few things,” I said to myself. So I drove just over half an hour to a town with some variety of large grocery stores. “Just a few things.” I was sure it would be manageable. But there were two things I didn’t think about. One is that the “few things” I needed were not all clustered in Aisle 3 – oh, no! Milk was in one corner of the store, bread was in the far opposite corner, produce in a different location, and a box of macaroni was right in the middle of the store. So a lot of walking (with the grocery cart serving as my walker) for just those few things.

But the other thing I failed to think about is that whenever I go to that store, I get seduced by all the fresh produce, the exotic cheeses, the fresh fish and seafood, and… well, you get the idea. So by the time I finally got to the checkout, I had a cart that was nearly full, and I had done even more walking than I had planned. And then, of course, once home, I had to get all those bags into the kitchen and put away. It was a long day, with a sense of accomplishment to know that I had actually done it, but a clear lesson that I’m not yet back to my pre-surgery “normal.”

I continue to be grateful for all the good wishes and prayers from friends and members of my congregation. Progress continues, though perhaps not quite as rapidly as I would like to imagine.

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Barbara Bruneau

Barbara Bruneau is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She is recently retired, having previously served congregations in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Barbara enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and weaving. She shares her home with Russell, a solid charcoal gray cat with an attitude; Khaleesi, a tortoiseshell rescue cat still getting accustomed to being around people; and Sadie, a beagle-and-yellow-lab mix

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