Sunday, August 19, 2012

Operation Override: Successful

Not quite 4 weeks since I went "Under the Knife." (The reader is encouraged to sing along to the tune of "Under the Sea" while making up lyrics in poor taste.) I guess it's fair to say I aced my knee replacement surgery, especially as someone with only one knee.

I was glad to have the heads-up advice from an AK amp & will pass it along accordingly: be prepared to have to put on your prosthesis every single time you get out of bed for at least several weeks, including every trip to the bathroom. I'd also studied the best way to use my prosthesis so I could depend on it more than I usually it. A fake leg is no stand-in for an organic one, but I found the best positions to use it to my advantage getting up and down. 

And yes those days in the hospital were a bitch. The more I think about the PT sessions, the more I recognize that being told to perform an exercise when 1) I produce no visible movement whatsoever  2) it hurts like hell and 3) I'm told neither of those first things matter, sends me over the edge into my personal abyss. Everyone's got his or her own limits. It was very hard for me to ignore the alarms, buzzers, flashing lights and smoke boiling out of the beat-up old machine that is my psyche just because I'd chosen to accept this particular mission: override.

Post-op fragility is a drag. I hate having the sense of being a puzzle with every separate piece clearly defined and not yet connected, only set in place. There's a crackling to the swollen skin, an outrage to the muscles, a clunk in the new knee. And the override command says, Do it anyway. Get up. You can't hurt your leg even though your leg says it hurts.

This is a stark contrast to Christian Science. It demands that you not only do it, you can't feel any pain because your body doesn't exist in the spiritual realm of perfection.

No. It hurts because this body is where I live. But I have the hope that it won't hurt as much later, as I push the muscles a little more, as the swelling comes down, as I sleep better every night, as I find myself stepping up or down a stair without wincing. As I turn around in the kitchen saying, Damn--where did I leave that crutch?

I'm down to a single crutch now. Last night I walked on crutches without my prosthesis. I understand this is not typical. Ah, the triumph of override. In PT I'd cried. There was no improvement, no result, no progress and there never would be, only pain and despair.

But there are times to trust my body, and other times to tell it to shut the hell up so I can work. Apply override with caution and commitment. Your results may vary. But it's worth it in the end.

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