Monday, July 17, 2017

The Neverending Story of the Neverbending Story

Well it's approximately 9 weeks since my big knee surgery. The Penn Med recovery protocol states that at this point in recovery I should be walking, squatting, and heli skiing treacherous mountains (OK, so I embellish slightly). So I decided to rip up the protocol that is tormenting me and focus on one thing: bending my fricken knee.

My knees and I have had a love/hate relationship now for 5 years. I coddle them, massage them, offer them encouraging words, but I must say, at this point in my recovery, my knee and I are definitely going through a "hate" phase. We are not on speaking terms. The knee has one job. ONE JOB! It just needs to bend. It is so stubborn, perhaps angry with me for subjecting it to so many surgeries. Regardless, the knee has decided that it is now a non-bending appendage.

Now I must admit something before I get too far along in this blog. This knee bending business is tremendously painful and I am popping painkillers like it's nobody's business. One particular painkiller, Gabapentin, is actually an anticonvulsant drug that is also used to treat nerve pain. The pain that I suffer from is like an electrical shocking sensation to my knee - kinda like when a filling in your tooth bites down on aluminum foil. Gabapentin is quite effective at killing this pain; however, it comes with some nasty side effects that affect my brain. My thinking, memory, and processing skills are crap...temporarily, I hope. I'm positive that my IQ has dropped at least 30 points. I can't think of people's names, I can't think of common words, I can't string together complete sentences, and I can't follow or process plots in TV shows or books. I just spent a month reading and re-reading a murder mystery called, "It's Always the Husband," and I'm really have no idea who did it! Someone was murdered? Frustrating. So I will likely have to access my thesaurus numerous times to express my thoughts, and my thoughts may not be organized and sequential. Bear with me.

My surgeon in Philly gave me a deadline of 60 days to reach a knee flexion of 90 degrees. Day 60 came and went, and although I seriously considered lying, I had to admit to my Surgeon that I was reaching only 70 degrees, despite the fact that I'm spending about 5 hours a day doing my incredibly painful "bendy" exercises. This is not good enough, and indicates that there is likely some scar tissue in my joint capsule that is preventing me from progressing. Lucky for me, there is a "procedure" to "help me along." As the Surgeon's Assistant described how the surgeon would cut the scar tissue out and force my knee to bend under anesthetic, I thought, "procedure, my ass!" That's a surgery, people. Another damn surgery. Even my Gabapentin brain can process that! So they are scheduling another surgery for August. Dammit!! (and a string of many bad bad words). I can't do any more surgeries. I am surgeried out!

Why does this machine make Kirstie cry? Stupid machine.

I am; however, still...what's the word...ADAMANT that I will bend this mother f#$%in' knee on my own. I visited my Physio, Ian, and he agreed that I might just be stuck, due to adhesions/scar tissue. As he manipulated my knee, I instructed him to reef on it. No pain, no gain. He pushed it far enough that I was digging my fingers into the wall and yelling bad bad words that nice Canadian girls shouldn't utter, but alas, the damn knee wouldn't budge. When Ian was releasing the stretch, in a moment of excruciating pain, I blurted, "I hate your face!" I hope he knew I was joking. Well, sorta. Sorry, Ian. I appreciate your help. You have very nice face.

In the meantime, I am obsessed with knee flexion. When friends come to visit, I fixate on the angle of their knees and...ugh...word-finding difficulties...ESTIMATE their flexion (Wow, Darren's knees are bending well. He must be at least 125 degrees!). I notice people climbing stairs with ease and enviously watch them sit down on chairs. It's kind of a problem. My friends and family have been very supportive, feeding me, bringing me pills, entertaining me, and propping me up on the boat like the dead guy in Weekend At Bernie's. I'm back living at home again with Evan and my furry friends. Ev's Mom was here to help - cleaning, supporting, cooking, and serving all of my favorite foods, as my appetite was...what's the word..BAD...NON-EXISTENT. Thank God for supportive friends and family who stick with me through all of this. To be honest, some days I wake up and wonder if I will ever smile again. The next thing I know, I'm floating on a pineapple with my sister, grinning from ear to ear. Thank you, my posse. I love you all so so much.

No knee bending necessary for pineapple floating!

Warning: This is the paragraph where I feel very sorry for myself
I've experienced challenging recoveries, but I must say that this particular recovery has been the most difficult and painful one thus far. It's difficult to express how I am feeling. I literally do not have the words (Gabapentin stole them away from me!) I can relate to my little white dog as he sits at the window, watching the world go by. Life feels like it's moving at fast forward speed around me, while I sit stagnant on my knee bending machine.  I am so disappointed in my body. I am not asking my knee to run, jump, or dance. I have accepted that is no longer a possibility. I am simply asking it to perform the basic function of bending! I have committed the last 9 weeks of my life to rehabilitating my knee, only to receive subpar results. I feel angry that, despite my positive outlook and ugh...what's the word, like a purse.. PERSISTENCE, I have to endure another surgery. I also feel terrified, and absolutely sick at the prospect of more surgery...even if they are sugarcoating it as a "procedure" to "help me along."Why is this happening to me? Enough already. Enough!
End of pity party rant.

Luckily, I do have a back-up plan if this knee bending thing doesn't pan out. There is a delightful little pirate ship in Cayman called the Jolly Roger that sails out every evening for a...ack, whats the word...sounds like ethnic...AUTHENTIC pirate experience. This ship is presently for sale for a steal of deal at $799,000 CI! I could be the peg-leg pirate (no knee bending necessary) and Evan could entertain hoards of tourists nightly in his pirate gear (because he loves large groups of people...and dressing up as a pirate). Perfect. It's always good to have a plan B. How do you save a drowning pirate? With CPARRRRRRRRR. haha. Is anyone laughing? Anyone?

Behold: The Jolly Roger in all it's glory!

The logical, non-medicated part of me knows that I will get through this. I always do. 

Cheers, Friends. Never ever take for granted a bendy knee!

Why are we so awesome? Because we ARRRRRRRR

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