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One Woman’s View

Facing new adventure

Contributing writer

Soon I will be embarking on a new adventure. While I claim to thrive on new experiences, I am facing this one with a complicated mixture of emotions. I am in the process of scheduling a date for knee replacement surgery.

After this is accomplished, I will have fake lenses in my eyes, fake teeth in my mouth, a fake pancreas clipped to my belt, a fake breast in my bra, and a fake knee.

Bionic woman, move over.

I wish I would also have all the powers of the bionic woman, but I don’t think that is in the cards.

On one level, I eagerly anticipate getting a new knee. Maybe by next basketball season, I can sit through a game without intense pain — I declined to have the surgery before this season was over; I know how to set priorities.

Another emotion is gratitude that medical science has made this option possible. Ever since I heard about joint replacement, I have wished it could have been available in time for my mother who suffered from severe arthritis pain in a hip the last 20 or 25 years of her life. A new hip would have been a godsend for her.

Since I have some pain in most of my joints, the new knee may not be quite as neat a solution for me, but I am still grateful to have this option. Modern science has accomplished so many things, which in my mother’s day would have been considered miraculous. We should not take them for granted.

I confess that I also feel a certain amount of trepidation. Yes, I know that most people sail through this surgery and are better for having it. However, I know a few people who continued to have problems. Being a born worrier, I sometimes focus on those cases and become apprehensive. If I can digress a bit,

I am not as chronic a worrier as I used to be. I finally decided that everything I worry about comes in one of two categories. If it is something I have some control over, I should get off my duff and do something about it instead of sitting around worrying. If it is something I have no control over, I should turn it over to the Lord and stop worrying. Either way, worry accomplishes nothing. As I think of the upcoming surgery, I keep reminding myself of that philosophy.

Some of the apprehension is not my concern about the surgery, but with recovery. Medicare will pay for the three to five-day hospital stay and some time in a nursing home for physical therapy. I’m hoping I can stay there long enough to graduate from a walker to a cane, since my house is definitely not handicap friendly.

My bathroom door is too narrow for a walker. Even without a walker, it is a challenge to get in my house from the garage. The back door opens onto a landing with stairs leading down to the basement and up to the ground floor. The landing is barely large enough to shut the door without falling down the basement stairs. I don’t know what the builder of the house was thinking of when he designed the back entrance. I know he was not thinking of a fat, old woman with a gimpy leg making her way through there with a basket of wet clothes — or a walker. Oh well, I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Believe it or not, in some ways I look forward to the hospital and nursing home stay. I plan to take a good supply of paperbacks and my crochet basket. Maybe I’ll have enough down time to do some reading and crocheting, if I don’t spend too much time visiting with other patients and residents.

I heard a joke about a man who was having surgery on his shoulder and asked his doctor whether he would be able to play the violin after the surgery.

When the doctor assured him he could, he replied “Good. I’ve always wanted to be able to play the violin.”

I guess I need to ask my doctor if I’ll be able to dance ballet with my new knee.

Last modified Feb. 23, 2011

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