Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Saturday, December 16, 2017

An Unpleasant Truth, an Update, a Rant and Lessons Learned

I knew about this unpleasant truth before my knee surgery.  I watched it play out in my mom's last years of life.

The Unpleasant Truth:

Simply stated, 
after a certain age, any major health event (like a surgery) can result in a negative impact
 on your previous function and energy levels. 
With my mom I called it ... "a new normal."  
Recovered ... but at a lower level than before.  

While I watched this gentle downward slope occur in my mom after every illness, I simply would not believe it could happen to me.  I was younger and stronger (then), and as we all know - younger folks usually have a fixed (and sometimes unrealistic) opinion about their aging years.  So it was with me.  I would not give in, not give up, not stop trying ... I would not!  And I haven't, but ... now I actually am older.  My attitude is still stubbornly the same, but my body as other ideas.

With this knee surgery, I may have experienced a little bit of that "new normal" and I am not happy about it.

The Update:

Two weeks ago I was discharged from Ortho care - I was recovered, and my flexibility and strength were "within normal range for my age."  Translation?  You aren't in your 30s anymore.  Ha! I was fine with being discharged, but I countered the 'normal for my age' comment with ... I am not normal for where I was 6 months ago.  They said complete recovery will come with time.  But, I countered, will my left knee be as flexible as my right knee 'with time?'   "Hmm," they responded, "maybe."  That was not the answer I wanted.

This week I was discharged from PT.  My progress has plateaued, I was doing well, and I will only "improve with time and regular adherence to an exercise program." Ok, I am fine with that. Will I improve enough so that both knees are the same?  "Maybe."

Professional opinion?  It may be another 5 or 6 months before the symptoms resolve.  (Do I hear a 'maybe?')

The Rant:

Crap!  'Maybe' is such a weaselly word.  Not 'yes', not 'no', just somewhere in the middle?  or maybe yes? or maybe no?  Crap, crap.  I am just not a 'maybe' person.

I want my left knee to be as good and my right knee. And I have done way more  over 6 months than just 'wish' that was so.  I was adamant from day one when I knew something wasn't right. I would get this condition fixed ... I wouldn't let it set me back.  Over 6 months I did the doctor thing ... the X-ray, meds thing ... the PT thing ... the MRI thing ... the surgery thing ... the PT thing, AGAIN.

The Orthopod said my knees "are great."  "Fix this small problem and you will be good to go."

BUT I am not 'good to go' yet!!  My knee still swells, gets stiff, hurts at times.  My left leg is not as strong as my right yet.  My general stamina is much reduced because I couldn't do aerobic exercise.   I can't sit too long, I can't stand too long, I can't walk too long!  I can't get down on the floor easily.
This better not be my "new normal."  I will know better in May - 6 months from now.

Lessons learned:
  • Avoid all optional surgeries if at all possible at any age, but certainly after 70.  Sometimes the 'fix' is not a 100% fix no matter what the medical professionals say.  I still would choose this surgery because now I don't walk with a cane anymore.  (That's one in the positive column.)
  • Stay active - exercise, exercise, exercise, 'cause it doesn't take that much down time to set you way way back.  Be at least strong going into any medical procedure.  It can't hurt.
  • The term 'new normal' is a misnomer.  It sounds somehow like an ok status.  It isn't!  The unpleasant truth:  'new normal' is really 'a step backwards.'  
Ok, done!

Time to close up the computer! I have exercises to do!  :-)

Talk again soon!


Priscilla said...

I have one of those new normals, too. My pesky hip. I'm gong to keep exercising with you!

Linda said...

All I can say is, agree, agree, agree! Getting enough exercise in is the hardest but I see examples every day of the difference it makes and I want to have the energy and stamina for weaving, fiber festivals and classes among other things!

Michelle said...

Yep, "creep ages up on us" as my dad used to say. My jogging days are over since my knees became problematic, but they say walking is better for you anyway. I'm going to keep doing what I can as long as I can; fortunately, I haven't taken a step backwards when it comes to my horse!

happyone said...

It's no fun getting older.
Thankfully and I thank God every day, that I am healthy and can still get out there and walk my 6 miles each day.

Paula said...

I found that out when I broke my leg in 2004. It hasn't been the same since. And I am not happy with the 'new normal' but there isn't much I can do about it! Merry Christmas Elaine!