When you think about it, the human body is truly amazing. We can treat it badly, but it still attempts to heal itself. And it can!
On May 5, I woke up with pain in my knee. At the time, I didn’t remember doing anything to injure it, but I figured since I’d been quite busy preparing for a big party, I’d probably tweaked it.
During the next week, the pain grew. I tried ‘doctoring’ it myself, but it just got worse. I stopped taking my long walks so as not to further injure the joint. After several weeks, I finally gave up and went to the doctor.
The first X-ray showed arthritis, but the MRI showed two tears in the meniscus and a Baker’s cyst in addition to the arthritis. However, the cartilage and tendons were intact as was the ACL. Huge blessings.
Between the x-ray and the MRI, my doctor prescribed physical therapy. It didn’t help.
Since the pain was growing worse, and I was no longer able to sleep through the night, I scheduled surgery.
We were planning our 50th anniversary celebration for September 5, so I had to work the surgery around that date. I finally scheduled it for August 6, a month before our party. I naïvely assumed I’d be fully healed by the big day. Not so.
This was my first major surgery. Others who have had the same kind assured me it was a ‘piece of cake.’ What I didn’t realize was that these folks had experienced many surgeries in their lives. Given the context, this probably was easy—for them!
It took me a couple of weeks to recover from the anesthesia. I’d sit at my computer and stare at the screen. I had several editing jobs to finish, but I just couldn’t concentrate for any length of time. Since I am usually able to focus in on my work, I felt very disconcerted and confused.
Since I still wasn’t sleeping comfortably at night, I began to drop off on the sofa several times a day.
The pain in my knee continued, despite elevating and icing. I saved the painkillers for nighttime, and they began to allow some drugged sleep, but I was still walking gingerly, icing, elevating, and hoping the pain would go away.
Can you say, ‘unrealistic expectations’? Even though the doctor had said it might be three months or more for complete healing, I thought I’d be one of those who bounced right back. Not so.
I managed to get through the anniversary party okay, but my knee still ached.
Three days after our big bash, I caught what I thought was a cold, but I now believe was a bad case of the flu. Not only did I feel terrible, but the pain in my knee felt worse.
The doctor called in a prescription for antibiotics, but the illness persisted.
A couple of weeks ago, I was so discouraged, I sat down to talk to a good friend who is a nurse. She has also had several knee surgeries, including replacement. What a helpful conversation.
She pointed out that recovery time depends on lots of factors, including the extent of the work done, personal healing time, stresses, immunity, etc.
My surgery had been scheduled for one hour, but took over half again as long. I was also under the stress of planning and carrying out a big party. Larry had surgery two days before the party for a basal cell carcinoma, and I was worried about him. (He, too, has had little surgery in his life.) By the time I talked to my friend, Larry had developed an infection at the site of the surgery. So no stress at all!
I finally went to the doctor again, and she gave me three prescriptions: another round of antibiotics, cough meds, and steroids. I have been trying to avoid using steroids for the knee pain, but this time, I agreed.
What a difference a few days has made! The flu (or whatever) symptoms are finally diminishing. The cough is lessening. And for the first time since May, I can walk at my normal pace and climb up and down stairs without pain!
I am so grateful for medicine for discovering all the great treatments and drugs which allow our bodies to heal. But the major miracle is that they do it at all. I finally feel back to about 90% of normal and can foresee the percentage increasing as the days pass.
Isn’t the body’s ability to heal wonderful?