Process of Healing

On Dec. 4 I had my left knee replaced. It is my third implant which follows a hip implant six years ago and a shoulder replacement last February. I will be having my right knee replaced next May, making me part of the new improved bionic human.

I am grateful that orthopedics has come this far, but I wish I could have been part of a more futuristic procedure which I’m sure will rely totally on stem cell regeneration. Won’t it be great when they can simply regenerate cartilage and bone without cutting, sawing and suturing?

Healing from surgery or any illness does give you a lot of space for reflection. This can be good and bad. The bad side for me comes from my inner critics that scold me for getting into this predicament in the first place. “Why did you have to be so excessive? You could have been more moderate and then this wouldn’t have happened!”, or “ How come this happened to you? Other people go full steam ahead and don’t have to have joint replacements!”F

Unfortunately when I like something, I really LIKE IT! I danced most of my life and taught aerobics for over 20 years. Part of the excessivity was based on the fact that I was a single parent and needed the money. However when you’re young and nubile you cannot project yourself into the place where the very thing you love will end up hurting you.

The information on overusing joints and its negative outcomes was certainly not available then. I use the aforementioned argument with inner critics often and it seems to quiet their voices. However, the “Why did this happen to me?” scenario is harder to get rid of.

I have a huge attachment to injustice and my situation seems riddled with it. I was, after all, trying to earn a living so that I could pay the mortgage, feed the kids and continue to have heat and electricity. But all of those responses mean nothing, a compromised joint doesn’t care, and the reasons why did not get me canonized. It is what it is! Which is a metaphor I find both appealing and repugnant.

So what have I learned from my surgical journeys? First and foremost, don’t take your body for granted. It is an incredible vessel and it usually serves us well. We need to reciprocate and give it the care it needs. You can rest assured that I am definitely going to use common sense when it comes to my exercise routines unless of course I will be able to learn the Argentinean Tango, then all resolve may go down the ballroom drain!

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