Knee Replaclement Journal — Part Four

July 22, 2013 | My Jottings

Monday, July 1, 2013 — After tending to all the typical Monday morning things, I sit for two hours at the computer with my right leg outstretched, working on a large annual report for one of our Fosters that will be due soon. I document each of her medical visits, social activities, outcomes, and any progress or regression she’s made. It’s always a daunting thing to write, but feels harder now because of the sitting. That’s one thing I guess I didn’t realize about knee replacement recovery — sitting for any length of time is difficult, since the leg can’t be bent much yet. At least my leg can’t be bent much. I know others who are at this stage of their recovery and they’re bending, but I take that thought captive and replace it immediately, because it will do me no good. After lunch I drive Michael to his dental appointment, and for the first time since he lost his driver’s license, I don’t go in with him. I know there might come a day when he isn’t able to go in by himself, taking the elevator to the fourth floor, but he can today. It’s warm out, so I lower all the windows in the car, and then decide to see if I can elevate my leg while I wait. This takes some doing, and I realize that if anyone is watching through the ground-level windows of the business building I’m parked near, they’re wondering what it is I’m trying to do. I lower the seat back all the way down, then push my body as far back on it as possible. I can’t bend my knee over the mid console area to get my knee up on the dash board, so I do it this way. Finally with scooting and grimacing I’m able to get my right leg gingerly up over the console and propped up on the dash, and then as I’m bringing the seat back up again, a man in a truck parked next to me rolls down his window and watches me with mild interest. He gets out, leans toward my passenger open window and says tentatively, “I hope you’re having a nice day?” I reply, “I had some knee surgery recently and I’m just making myself comfortable,” and he smiles and tips his baseball cap as he goes into the building. I play Words With Friends on my iPhone for a while, close my eyes and enjoy the warm but not too hot sun, and in 55 minutes Michael returns to the car with gleaming teeth. We drive home and I grab the ubiquitous ice packs and head to our bedroom to put up my leg on some pillows and apply the ice. I’m almost finished with Herriot’sĀ All Things Wise and Wonderful and even though familiar, each chapter is like a mini-vacation. And his writing still makes me laugh.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013 — Our second Gideon Bible study is this morning, and is fabulous. I love how just a few verses in scripture can be mined and untold riches pour out into a shining pile in your heart. Sharon and Chris’s third child, six year-old Li’l Gleegirl, wants to come spend a night to be Grandma’s helper, and I welcome her cheerful presence. She spends a lot of time building clever buildings on wheels with the Magformers. She loves the leftover spaghetti I serve for dinner, and chooses to have her blanket pallet set up in the walk-in closet instead of near the bookcase in our room. She takes a pile of books with her and I kiss her good night and pray for her. She is a child of 10,000 words, and I hope someday she’ll use all that goodwill and huge vocabulary for His purposes. Maybe she’ll be a chatty cheerful mother. Or a smiling speaker. Or a verbose veterinarian.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013 — Today I have paperwork to do and as usual, try to parcel it out, 30 minutes here and 30 minutes there, along with my icing and elevating. Li’l Gleegirl’s daddy comes to pick her up and she proudly shows him her rolling buildings, and asks me if I’d like to keep them assembled and display them for a long time in our living room. I smile and tell her I might have to take them down eventually, but her happiness makes me happy. If only lives were as easy to build and to roll along as Magformer creations are. I see my Physical Therapist Suzanne in the afternoon and she is gentle and encouraging as always. She doesn’t act too concerned when she measures and sees that my range of motion has gone from 4 and 104 degrees to 12 and 95 — not good. I hold back tears and I don’t think she sees. At the end of my session she takes me to the gym and has me half pedal the recumbant bike, because I can’t do a full revolution yet. My knee will not bend that far yet. Suzanne assures me that she sees many people who take a while to be able to fully pedal the bike and she thinks I’ll be able to do it soon. Uh-huh, I think to myself. I hope so. My grey mood isn’t helping and I know this.

Thursday, July 4, 2013 — It’s a national holiday and our Fosters are home and happy to be relaxing. Our city has a huge fireworks celebration each year and in times past we’ve driven down by the Lake to see them, and we’ve tuned our radio to the local station that plays patriotic songs and John Philip Sousa while the fireworks explode and boom and sizzle and fall. But today isn’t a great day knee-wise, and I feel guilty that I know I won’t be able to stay up late to take them to the fireworks, and apologetically tell our gals so. They are both so kind and understanding, and one says, “Next year!” and I agree wholeheartedly and thank God for the grace. We are close enough to the fireworks to hear the thunderous booms, and the show lasts a good 20-30 minutes. Edith and Mildred are a little nervous and come close to stare at us when the whistling ones go off. We can tell when the finale is, and then I turn out the nightstand light and say goodnight to Michael.

Friday, July 5, 2013 — It’s a hot, humid morning and I turn on the central air conditioner and ask Michael again if he’s thankful we have central air, and he smiles at me. We are so well suited to each other weather-wise. We love crisp, cool air, temperatures in the sixties during the day and in the forties at night. We both detest humidity and anything approaching eighty degrees. I’m a little more vocal about it than he is. šŸ™‚ I make two sausage patties and two over-easy eggs for Michael for breakfast, and cut up a pear for him. I have a golden delicious apple, a spoonful of peanut butter and a cup of tea. I don’t feel that hungry in the mornings, but I know I should be eating better, larger breakfasts. At least that’s what all the “experts” say. I have Physical Therapy again today, and since Suzanne is at her new house closing, I have Jana. Jana is great and knows just what part of the quadriceps muscle to work on, just like Suzanne does. Apparently my right quad is tight and like a rope. Jello and rope, metal and plastic, that’s what I’m comprised of these days. W60165BE_01_SpiderTech-Knee-Upper-BeigeJana shares about her family, her go-getter daughter who’s a little bossy and we share a laugh together, and then she applies an odd formation of Kinesiotape to my leg before I leave. It looks a little like this, except mine was more intricate and wound around to the back of my thigh as well. Once again, these are not my knees. (Darn.) It’s supposed to help control swelling.Ā  I return home and show Michael my oddly taped up leg and he studies it for a minute and then says, “Wow.” For dinner I have no inspiration so we order burritos from Burrito Union and have them delivered. They are huge and make two meals, and are filled with simmered and pulled pork, rice and beans, spicy salsa and cheese. I feel bad that I’m not cooking each and every night yet, but I’m so grateful we have the means to order out when I need to. Michael and I watch another episode of “All Creatures Great and Small” by Netflix DVD, and I sit in the recliner with my knee up and iced while I knit a little too. Edith snores at Michael’s feet and Millie is sprawled out on her back on the plaid chair with her furry tummy exposed to the world. That reminds me that I need to call The Bad Lady soon to make a grooming appointment for the schnauzers.

Saturday, July 6, 2013 — I realize that I forgot to do my exercises yesterday and set to them this morning before I get out of bed. I’m anxious to see Dr. Palmer in Stillwater to ask him what in tarnation is going on with my kneecap. Quad sets and Hell Sleds (Heel Slides) hurt enough to make me want to curl up and cry. Clearly I have started the day in a bad frame of mind. I pray and ask the Lord to help me keep my eyes on Him, and I ask Him to continue to heal me and help me wait patiently on Him. Why my patience runs out after about two days after a word of encouragement, I have no idea. Maybe my Encouragement Cork is loose or something, and whenever a fresh supply of encouragement is poured in, it leaks out faster than it should. I get breakfast for everyone and both Fosters have fun plans today, so I see them off. Michael has begun using the cane I discarded a few days after my surgery, but he isn’t using it correctly. I show him what I learned and he tries, but can’t retain it. I let it go. Most of the time he just carries it around with him and doesn’t use it for support. I look at my calendar and breathe a sigh of relief that today and tomorrow there is nothing written there. That means I’ll be able to ice and elevate, read, take Michael for an ice cream cone since that’s his favorite treat lately, and maybe even nap. I take a good long time in my Gideon study and wrap my prayer shawl around me, the black and white one that Sharon knitted for a Christmas present a couple of years ago. After lunch Michael, Edith, Mildred and I lie down on the big bed and I’m planning on reading while I know they’ll all sleep. Lo and behold I fall asleep and when I wake up I realize I’ve slept for an hour and a half. I’m stunned and rather pleased. I’ve been a non-napper for so long it feels very nice.

Sunday, July 7, 2013 — It feels luxurious to stay in bed past seven and to know I don’t have to prepare breakfasts and get meds ready until 8:00. I remember that today is my oldest brother’s 71st birthday and marvel that we are as old as we are. I have no desire to live until my seventies, and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. If the Lord decides I should live into my eighties, my 30-year knee should still be good, if I haven’t beaten it to death by then. I limp a lot today because my knee feels so tight and inwardly swollen. Same old, same old, I’m thinking. I remind myself that progress may take months and that this is normal for many people. Keep at it, keep at it. I wonder if having the surgery was the wrong thing, because the results are certainly not what I expected they would be. But when I think about still having my burning, grinding, sometimes crippling pain from before, along with the weird valgus splaying that was happening, I would not go back. So for the meantime I feel a bit trapped, somewhere in between a horribly worn-out knee I couldn’t live with (not from life, but from an injury in 2007 and the resulting meniscus-shaving surgery), and a horrible new knee that I’m not sure I can live with. Yikes. That’s what I have to say today. The woman of many words narrows it down to this today: Yikes. Ouch. Help. Lord. Thank You.

II Chronicles 20:12b — We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.


  1. Kay in Cornwall says:

    Dear Julie, I wish there was something more that I could do for you than just pray. Mind you, even as I typed that sentence, I was immediately aware that prayer is the BEST thing I can do! So, we will continue to pray – specifically for pain relief, doctor’s wisdom and healing. šŸ™‚
    Alan and I know how you feel about very hot weather. Here in the UK we’re having very high temperatures – at least for us. The mercury has risen to about 28c ( 81f ) degrees in Cornwall over the last few weeks and although we have appreciated the sunshine, we are just not used to the (humid) heat. I’m an autumn person, preferring bright, mellow, ‘comfortable’ days.
    However,things have cooled down a bit here now.
    Please keep us up-to-date with any prayer requests you may have.
    Sending love to you and Michael

  2. Just Julie says:

    Dearest Kay, Thank you so much for your prayers, and for caring. I did visit the doctor last week and will eventually share about that as the journals plod along, and he wasn’t too concerned. I’ll go into more detail later. I’m with you and how beautifully you’ve described autumn — bright, mellow, comfortable. Just yesterday my daughter Carolyn said she’s yearning for fall and even Christmas. Eek! xoxo

  3. Ganeida says:

    Yikes about covers it. Praying for you. We should skype again soon. šŸ™‚ Just so I can reassure myself! šŸ˜‰

  4. Just Julie says:

    Thank you for your prayers, dear Ganeida. I would love to visit again too! God bless your week…. xoxo

  5. Roberta says:

    Hi Julie, reading your journal, I began thinking about the power we give to Time, and the individual ways we measure it. I can relate, through my own experiences, to your feelings of helplessness and lack of control, in general, related to your healing. This period of time can seem endless, while the wonderful in the past seems momentary. That’ s us human beings for you. I just know you will be able to look back on this time as a difficult one, but one you have come through better than you imagined.
    I very much appreciate your honesty in describing your feelings of incapacity in the present, which seems endless. I think we can all relate, as the result of one thing or another. I know you AND YOUR KNEE will come through, and be restored. Praying for, and with you, to The Lord who Loves
    us so much—as witnessed by your love for all your children and grandchildren!

  6. Just Julie says:

    Dear Roberta,

    Your words brought comfort to me again today. That fact that YOU KNOW that my knee and I will come through better than I can imagine, gave me that infusion of hope and strength I needed again today. Thank you. Hugs and thank you…. xoxo

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