Because I’m a little superstitious, I’ve waited a bit to share this news: I’ve started turning the corner after bilateral knee replacement!
A clear sign that my healing was taking a turn for the better was two or three weeks ago when my taste buds returned to normal – and my appetite also returned.
The taste of food and drink had been a little “off” since surgery.
I don’t know. Anesthesia? The effects of trauma on my body? I don’t know that there are longitudinal studies on general surgery effects on human beings. I just know that tastes for me were not the same as before surgery – until the past few weeks.
My appetite was also much less since surgery. Perhaps because nothing was quite as tasty as I remembered? Whatever the reason, I was aware I was eating less and getting full more quickly.
I’m sure another contributing factor (or factors) to my delayed healing was my surgery to cut a blue nevus mole from my scalp just before Christmas, followed by a really severe stomach virus (and pulled back muscle) right after Christmas. The mole-removal incision was fairly deep because the doctor wanted to be sure to get good margins. All of that, the surgery and the virus, slowed my knee-healing process at least a couple of weeks, probably longer.
This past Thursday was the day of my biggest breakthrough, though.
I woke feeling better than I’ve felt in a LONG time!
I had energy. I felt stronger and more mobile. Walking was much easier.
I felt like a human being again – for the first time since surgery.
I even got validation when I checked in at physical therapy. One of the receptionists told me I looked good, that my face had some color. She said she’d been worried about me because I had been pale. But on Thursday, I had color.
I felt that “color.” I felt better. I felt more like my pre-surgery self.
I could walk almost normally.
A big bonus of the last few weeks has been less pain, especially in my knees. Right now it’s raining, and my knees aren’t fussing. Some of my muscles are, and my scars have been, but my knees aren’t.
I still have a way to go, but my knees are bending well and are even straightening better. And that means less bursitis pain in my hip because the angles are better between hip and knee when I walk.
I can also stand and walk for longer periods of time. I haven’t used a cane in several days. My balance is much improved.
All of this is not to say I’m “back” quite yet, though.
I still have some knee straightening to work on. I still have quite a bit of strength-building to do with my legs. And I still have quite a bit of pain on some days.
But I can tell I’m turning the corner.
I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. Before Thursday I could only see dark tunnel around me. But now I can see a bit of light in the distance – the light that is pain-free walking, mobile walking, walking for a mile or two or three or more.
Boy, seeing that light feels good! It’s very encouraging.
That light makes it easier to tolerate the pain that I still have. When I compare with even a month ago, I know the pain is lessening. Today’s rainy day is confirmation that my pain levels are diminishing. Slowly. But they are diminishing.
Soon my physical therapist will let me start walking as exercise. She said I’ll walk for time to begin with, 15 minutes at the pace that’s best for me. I’ll probably choose to walk in town first before heading out to the Chickamauga Battlefield later in my process.
It’s interesting that my walking places have to do with literal battles – as I’m finishing what has felt like a metaphoric battle to get back to walking. I was going to say “walking normally,” but when you were bone on bone in both knees, your walking before surgery probably wasn’t normal. So I’ll say, “get back to walking even better than normal.”
I know I still have a long way to go. That I still need to be patient, not expect too much too soon.
But I can feel a difference. Physically, emotionally, spiritually.
The first big, noticeable difference since surgery in mid-September.
So I’ll say it again . . .
That feels good!