Knee Replacements and Recovery

It’s been a while since I have blogged!  Mostly, the reason is that I had a knee replacements, and sitting at the computer for any length of time has been difficult.  Now that I’m eight weeks out from the surgery, I’m doing much better, and I have been reflecting on what I have learned throughout this process.

“Pain” is what led me to have the surgery to begin with.  My right knee cap was on top of the the bones of my knee, and, as the congregations I was serving at the time will tell you, I was in a lot of pain.  However, I refused to have the replacement until after I finished the year, which was my year leading into retirement.  So, with the help of braces, cremes, and exercise, I managed to limp around and keep going.

It just didn’t make sense to me to take a month or two out of the work that needed to be done in preparation for a new pastor to come on board, as well as to lay the groundwork for my leaving.  So, I lived with the pain and tried not to complain.

The middle of June, I began vacation, and from there I went right into retirement.  It gave some breathing room for the congregations, as well.  The last week of June, I had my knee replacement.  More pain.  This pain, however, was different from the pain of an arthritic knee.  Instead, this was the pain that goes along with healing where the other was degenerative.  Over the two months since my surgery, I have improved, and the pain has lessened and continues to be better every week.

What else comes to mind in reflecting on this experience?  “Patience” is a big word!  I am reminded over and over again that patience isn’t something you automatically have or is bestowed on you by a benevolent God.  Rather, patience is something you practice and learn as you go along.  I wanted my knee to heal much faster than it has, and yet, I’m told that I have come along faster than many who have gone through the same surgery.

Even now, I wish away the remaining aches and tightness that comes with the healing muscled and rebuilding of the flexibility and range of motion in my knee.  I’m very grateful for physical therapy where I’m reminded that this does require patience, and that brings me to the next word which is “perseverance.”

Without perseverance in doing the exercises at home and doing the ice/elevate, the process of healing would have been much slower.  Push through the pain ran through my head every time I was doing the exercises.  That doesn’t mean I didn’t moan and groan throughout them, but I kept at it because I knew how important they were to my recovery.

“Perspective” is another word that comes to mind.  When I keep my experiences of the surgery and the recovery in perspective, it helps me focus on what I need to do and where I’m going with the post-recovery.  I can now walk without limping in great pain.  There is still tightness and some aching, but I also know that it will eventually go away.

That means that I will be free to pursue a more normal living pattern (whatever that is or becomes in my retirement), and I will be able to focus on things other than knee pain. Of course, my left knee also has arthritis pain, but it it tolerable and not yet bothering me in the same way that my right knee did.

Maybe someone who is reading this will find it helpful knowing that there is a “process” that can help them get through whatever it is that they face.  My knee replacement reflections, when I think of them in more spiritual terms, remind me of life itself.  We face challenges all the time, and there is “pain,” followed by the practice of “patience,” leading us to work at “perseverance” to get through whatever we are facing.  And, it’s helpful to keep things in “perspective.”

If you have read all the way through this, thanks!  If it has been helpful, wonderful!  May God bless your day!

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