Monday, July 23, 2012

AK-Ampu-Knee Replacement: The Saga Begins

I don't like reality shows (OK, I've been known to watch DVDs of Hell's Kitchen for the pure, operatic drama) and I did not begin this blog intending to star in my own. But when I was a fledgling, beginner amputee five years ago I scoured the inter-web for What Life Could Be Like with less than four limbs. More recently I went looking for what I could expect from a surgery that would affect me differently than it would a bi-ped.

In that spirit I'll share with you some of my upcoming experiences (sigh) as an above-knee amputee going through knee replacement and PT. Tomorrow at 9:30 am the Journey Begins. They call it "Joint Camp." (No, not that kind of joint.) I hope I get a T-shirt.

Another reason to share this detoured summer--I was supposed to ride my horse, remember--is that it's a way to spit in Christian Science's eye. Secrecy is a defining characteristic of that church. You never tell anyone other than your nearest & dearest when you face a challenge; to speak of an error is to give it power over you. (The belief of power, whatever that means. The belief of pain still feels like pain.)

Secrecy is also supposed to be critical to protect your experience and growth from the potentially damaging judgments and opinions of non-Christian Scientists. Although it only hurts you by causing you to fear, turning your own beliefs against yourself. Even an all-powerful CS god can't protect you from your own whacked-out thoughts. (Or something. It's late, tonight.)

When I was bedridden for a year at fourteen, suffering with a messy and undiagnosed infection in my left leg, my Christian Science practitioner (or rather one of a series) was my aunt who lived across town. And though her grown daughter--my cousin--was a close friend of my mother, and though she visited me often that summer, and was herself a Christian Scientist, and was close to her own mother (my aunt), the wall of silence about what had happened to me was impermeable. Twenty years later my cousin was shocked to hear I'd had a bone disease. She'd thought I'd been kicked by a horse.

And in my late twenties, I spent most of my first pregnancy (still a Christian Scientist) in a sweat of pure terror after a nurse-midwife commented my leg looked as though I'd had tuberculosis, and maybe the doctor would call for a chest x-ray. It was possible, she said, that my baby could be born sick. I refused the test; I suffered through the pregnancy shaking with fears I was not allowed to share, fears my practitioner refused to listen to, fears I didn't believe would be defused by medical tests. I didn't think I'd had tuberculosis...but I had no way of being sure. So I prayed, and cried, and prayed some more.

My daughter was born perfect after a straightforward labor and delivery. Besides amazed and deliriously happy, I was relieved. And exhausted. I didn't think my prayers had caused the healing of or protection from dormant tuberculosis...but I had a feeling Christian Science might claim it had. 

After I left the religion I had another daughter after an exciting pregnancy (a horse fell on my leg) but this time I wasn't afraid. I was excited and happy to be a human surrounded by human love and human skills. 

And here I go into the unknown to help blaze a trail for amputees--and why not, bi-peds are welcome too--through the wilderness of Total Knee Replacement. (It's not the knee on the side of disease: that was taken care of the afore-mentioned amputation.)

I'm glad and honored to have you reading this blog. I have a lot on my mind besides joints and prosthetics, so bear with me. I'll be gone for a bit this week and then, hopefully, back on the keyboard by next week.

Crutches, walker & cane are at the ready; my bed is raised up enough that I can slip on my prosthesis when I have to get up, knee-less for all purposes for a while. But hell, it's just a flesh wound. And like the camel up the road, I've got the right to spit. Christian Science had better put on its shades. 


  1. Will be thinking of you today Liz!
    Square Peg

  2. Liz, It's a hard step but one more in your journey!!! Thank you for sharing all of your thoughts and I do think that CS needs to put on its shades!!!

  3. Hi Liz,

    Best wishes for your speedy recovery. I, too, especially hated the "split thinking" that went with being a "good" CS.

    It is so asinine to pray for a healing when you can't even admit you have an issue to pray about. I was very sarcastic about it as a young person. I made up an eleventh commandment, "Thou shalt not BS thyself."

  4. In general, the surgery consists of replacing the diseased or damaged joint surfaces of the knee with metal and plastic components shaped to allow continued motion of the knee.