“…my guess is that it’ll need to be replaced within the next ten years," the surgeon told me and Joey in 2011, right after he’d repaired a torn meniscus in my left knee. And darned if Dr. Looney wasn’t right! (don’t let the name fool you, he’s the kindest, sharpest surgeon you could hope for.)
I’ve been laid up here at home recovering from a full knee replacement for the last three weeks. I had put it off as long as I could. Years actually. Ignored the pain as best I could. Disguised the limp so others wouldn’t see how much I was hurting. But by last summer I knew the time had come. Or at least I’d better schedule the time to come pretty soon.
On January 9th, I drove myself to the Bone & Joint Clinic in Franklin and wasn’t able to drive again til the middle of last week. It’s an amazing thing that they can put you to sleep around 9 am, replace your whole knee, wake you up an hour or so later, and within moments have you walking down the hall and up and down a set of three stairs. Like it happens every day. And I guess for them, it does. Probably a dozen times a day.
I was on my way home by 3 pm. Sore. Really sore. But a new man. Or at least the same old man with a new leg.
Since it’s wintertime and there’s not much you can do on the farm right now, I figured it would be a good time to get it done. I’ve heard varying reports of how long it will take til I’m back to normal—from 6 weeks to 6 months—and though I’m not very good at just sitting still, I am looking forward to the day when I can walk, and run, without pain.
We’re planning to spend the month of July in Montana again and my hope is to be able to take Indy and go on some mountain hikes and spend more time out in nature. Something I’ve never really been able to do since we started going there.
Indy’s been such a good sport. Helping me push my walker, then steady my cane, and now walk on my own… always careful when she sits on my lap to read me a book, not to hit Papa’s ‘owie.’
I’m glad I got it done. Even though I don’t feel the fruit of it yet. I know I will. Like most hard or scary things, once you face them head-on, the dread you’ve been carrying around for so long, is immediately replaced by gratitude and peace.
I go to physical therapy in Columbia three times a week, and though the progress is slow, I’m getting there. I’ve gone from barely being able to get around, to pushing a walker, to leaning on a cane, and now I’m completely off that. I've still got a pretty good limp when I’m walking, but each day it hurts a bit less and my knee gets a little stronger.
So though you won’t see me motoring along too quickly anytime soon. One day you will. And if you do, don’t be surprised if I borrow a line from my favorite philosopher Forrest Gump… “why Lieutenant Dan… you got new legs!”