"The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That's real glory. That's the essence of it." ~Vince Lombardi, American Football player, coach and executive, 1913-1970
I've seen the orthopedic surgeon and he's confirmed I have arthritis in both knees, and recommended I have a TKR--Total Knee Replacement of my left knee. I don't have an exact date yet but surgery will be scheduled for some time in January at Warwick Hospital. Les and I must attend a physiotherapy class together in mid-December to learn more about what is to be expected and how to do the exercises necessary to strengthen the muscles in and around the knee.
After four years of nearly non-stop trouble with my right S-I joint (Sacro Iliac joint) popping out of place and causing my right leg to drop down and be anywhere from 1/16th to and 1/8th of inch longer than my left leg, requiring chiropractic visits to put it back in place, I have finally hit on how to get my S-I joint back to where it belongs on my own which is great because it is this issue that has brought me to my knees, literally.
So I do my knee exercises given to me by the physiotherapist I've seen recently, as well as a very good exercise to strengthen the muscles in my lower back to hold my S-I joint in place. I walk with crutches whenever we leave the boat for any length of time, which helps take the stress off my knees, and I am grimly looking forward to being on the other side of this surgery and recuperation.
From all accounts it is extremely painful. I've had eight surgeries in my life before moving to the UK and I've never once had any pain afterward thanks to the amazing pain control available in the U.S. I tend to bounce back from surgeries and recover fairly rapidly. I am taking the examples of two people as my focus points: Graham on NB Matilda Rose who has been there and done it, and is offering me pointers and support for which I am extremely grateful, and Sir David Attenborough who is 93 and had both his knees in the last two years. He said before the surgeries he could only shuffle along painfully for a few feet; after recovery he can now walk for a mile and a half with no problems at all.
My mother had her left knee replaced due to arthritis, at age 70 in 1993. She was in shock afterwards as the procedure was not really explained to her and as she sat on a chair at home doing exercises she told me, "They cut my leg in half is what they did--and no one told me it would hurt so badly."
I am a pretty tough old bird. I've had to be to survive this life, so I hope it stands me in good stead now. I am concerned about pain control because there are so many drugs I cannot take--I have a long list of allergies and toxic reactions to most synthetic drugs, and to many antibiotics. I do best with opiods and I've told all this to the surgeon along with giving him the list of drugs to which I am allergic.
I don't need to control others but I loathe losing control of myself. It comes from way back in my childhood. Loss of control often causes me to blank out on the present, as I go somewhere else in my head for awhile until I can gain control of myself and my situation again. This does not make me a good patient and I worry about Les--about whether he will be able to take care of me during recovery and whether he will survive it. Living on a boat will make this quite challenging for us both, but what is life without a few of those, eh?