Saturday, July 23, 2011

Knee Torture Revelations

This morning I experienced a first!  I was laying on the bed, doing the dreaded "Knee Torture" (KT) exercises (sliding my foot toward my rear, and bending my knee as much as possible) and I was determined to do 50 of them before I got up.  I'm not crazy, I didn't do them all at once, but ten here, another exercise, ten again, a different exercise, and so on.  I was in the fifth set of ten when I realized that I really had to pull back to make it hurt.  (The first 10-20 I always feel like my skin is going to split across my knee and it is pure agony.)

I smiled.  I really did!  I smiled during "Knee Torture".  I did not in my wildest dreams ever think that would happen.

Later, after I read a few blogs, my email, which had a lovely surprise or two, had my tea and breakfast, I went back for round two.  I began with 10 minutes on the bike, with slight but acceptable pain, then back to the bed for the second set of laying down exercises.  Once again, after the first few, I was able to complete the KT sets with little pain.  I finished, hollered for Kailyn to bring me my ice and settled in to read my way through that icing period.

I'm about half way through, The Journal Keeper by Phyllis Theroux.  I started it last night, but already, the book has sticky notes sticking out all over the place. One that I had marked last night was this, "When the desire is strong enough, talent shows up, like a day laborer, to help you achieve your goal."

It seems when I least expect it, perhaps that's always the way it is, something happens that is so earth moving to me it takes my breath away.  Just yesterday, I could not make that darn knee bend without feeling like my skin was going to rip open and I was convinced that this is my lot in life.  The rest of my life my knee would never bend comfortably again.  I was convinced!  I came home from PT with enough pain that I took more Tylenol on top of the pain medication I took before PT.  I laid on the couch the rest of the night, every half hour or so faithfully pulling my knee up, wincing each time.  I was crushed and beaten and when it was time, swallowed another pain pill and willed it to work.  I went to bed, and again tossed and turned, frustrated with discomfort, and read The Journal Keeper until I eventually fell asleep.

It is my belief that the quote above seeped into my brain overnight, as I swear I had no intention of doing 50 of those dreaded KT exercises in one session prior to this morning. The most I had done before was 30 but, my day laborer showed up.  I achieved my goal, a goal I didn't even realize I actually had.

Another little quote I marked in the book was a prayer the author's son told her he prayed, "God, remove my fear and direct my attention toward what You would have me be."  Did I pray that prayer last night when I read it?  I don't recall actually doing so, but I thought about it enough that I shared it with my daughter this morning.  And, toward the end of my time while I was laying with my knee elevated and icing, I got to a good stopping place in the book, and said my own prayer of thanks to God for placing just what I needed in front of me.

One more thing that definitely had an impact on my day was a surprise email from Deb's sister in law, Kerry, who had knee surgery a year ago.  Kerry validated every emotion I've felt (as several of my blogging friends have also done, and I thank you, too!) but she added the reassurance that this process,   the recovery, the lack of control, the giving in, the tears, the frustration, the pain . . . it's all HARD!  When I saw the word HARD, in capitals, after each piece she wrote about, I felt so "OK" with myself. This is HARD, and my last part of my prayer this morning was that I will remember tomorrow morning, when it is HARD to bend that darn knee, (because I know it will be!) that it will get easier as I move myself along this path to recovery.

It is with a most grateful heart that I sit here today, rejoicing that so many are out there, lifting me up and aiding my faltering steps.  Blessings to those who are sharing my journey.


  1. Dear Sandi,
    Hooray and hallelujah! I'm so happy for you and so glad that your friends reached out and shared their stories. As a book title says about a day like this--"O, ye jigs and juleps"!!! Great news.

  2. This certainly is good news, Sandi. My husband had knee surgery, but not knee replacement. It was so painful before that he was almost unable to walk. Afterwards, it was very painful, too and I know he also despaired of it ever healing, but he gritted his teeth, did what he was instructed to do and eventually it healed and he has been walking cheerfully ever since. There really is light at the end of the tunnel!

  3. I get a lot of patients that come to our nursing home for rehab after having knee or hip replacement, or fractures, etc. I hope it helps to tell you that IT DOES GET BETTER :-)



  4. Happy dancing in my chair for you - both for the progress you're having, and for all these new friends blogging is bringing you. Also that you and my SIL are there for each other.

    It sounds like The Journal Keeper might be a book you'll need to add to your collection. A reference book of the best kind. :-)

  5. Hi Sandi, It's a beautiful day here in CO - I hope a good one in Washington, too. Are you able to sit outdoors and soak up a little Vit. D? I put THE JOURNAL KEEPER as a sample on my Kindle - thanks for the recommendation. I can read the first portion and decide if I like it. Glad you're on the mend.

  6. Such success! I love those flashes of insight we get when we realize that this moment, right in front of us, no matter how hard, is not an indication of what will be forever. The Journal Keeper is such a treasure trove - a book I go back to over and over again. Sounds like you have a lot to keep you busy as you recover. Sometimes that physical idleness is a sign to us to grow in some other way. Glad you're embracing the challenge. Be kind to yourself.

  7. may you be blessed, step by gentle step as you feel the strength of others supporting you in your own renewed strength Sandi. Thank you for you kindness and discovering my blog...such a joy to meet you!

  8. Hard to believe that PT actually works, huh?

    Wonderful news.

  9. Sandi, Who HOO!!! I'm glad you had a blessing day. Those moments are the ones to remember when you are having the HARD days. Keep up the good work.

  10. Progress is a beautiful thing! Hang in there, you're going to get many more good days ahead...I promise!

  11. This is a wonderful post. While I have never had knee replacement surgery, I have nursed my husband through two such surgeries. I remember that he really didn't believe he would get his knee to bend to where it needed to be. The therapist he worked with was wonderful and convinced him it would happen if he pushed through the pain.

    One day in the midst of his unbelief, he went to basement to ride the bike. I heard a yell that made me think he had fallen off the bike. Instead, he had bent the knee and made a full rotation on the bike pedals. His yell was of triumph and pain.

    I'm thankful that just the right words were there for you when you needed them.

  12. I just realized that your new posts are NOT showing up in my Reader. I wonder how to fix that little problem, Sandi. I also have not had knee surgery, but I cannot imagine how tough you have to be to do those exercises... I'll try to make sure I don't miss any more posts, but I've got to go back and read the ones I've missed! :-)


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