Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Smorgasbord of Indecision

The real title of this should be something like....."A Million Thanks"....directed, of course, to all you beloved people who leaped into the fray to cheer me on or warn me NOT to) in my struggle to reach a decision about doing a knee replacement.  

The situation is turning somewhat into a farce whereupon I discuss my concerns with someone  and make a decision to go forward, then wake up the next morning and stagger out of bed  beating myself about the forehead and ears with my cane shrieking, "No, no, no.......I can't, I can't".

I figure I have until a week from Thursday to finally nail it down since that is the date of my first appointment  at the Red Cross to stockpile the first pint of my blood for the occasion.

However, in reading and rereading your wonderful comments of support and encouragement I realized that I hadn't made it clear to you what the real  basis of my doubts and fears was.  I have no shudders or quivers regarding the actual surgery.  Hell, they can do whatever they damned please to my bod as long as I am not there, or, if I am forced to be there, as long as they have saturated me with some stuff that makes me feel nothing while floating comfortably above the operating table.  Before I did my research on the procedure i thought that they had to saw off the ends of both your thigh bone and your leg bone, insert the prongs of some intricate metal device into both bones and bolt them into place with all sorts of hardware.  Even that prospect did not upset me.  

Then I learned that the real process does not require such carpentry as sawing and hammering.........apparently a couple of properly shaped metal caps are simply glued onto the ends of your various leg bones, said caps being lined with fake plastic cartilege etc. and hinged into position neatly and there you go, dancing the Turkey Trot down the corridor with the medical staff pirouetting and following you like in a Woody Allen movie.  Almost something to look forward to.

No, my cowardice and fears, such as they are not the usual ones about pain and mutilation......that stuff I can handle with no trouble.....they are for later that day or perhaps the next day when all the dregs of that wonderful joy juice they pumped into me have dissipated and two falsely cheery faces are falsely grinning at me over the bed sides.  I see them making  beckoning gestures, folding down the bedrails and trying to tempt me into taking a walk down the hall with them NOW.........migawd.... before the paraphernalia glued to my leg bones has even had a chance to set much less settle in ......and refusing to take my shrieks of "NO" for an answer.  I cringe in shame as I envision the non-existent muscles of my body betraying me and dissolving me into a spaghetti-like pile of limbs on the shiny linoleum floor, requiring 3 or 4 strong male nurses and several technicians to raise my bulk up and drape me unceremoniously back onto the waiting walker......where the 2 physical terrorists await me eagerly. 

Now, you must understand that I have not actually enacted this scene yet in any of my various trips to the hospital......I usually docilely obey and find myself staggering down corridors aghast at the very idea but too weak to protest.  And up to now there have always been enough strands of muscle fiber to do the job.....but that was when I was only 79 or even 83.  I have no confidence that those so called muscle fibers are still able to rise to the taskand the lack thereof concerns me mightily.  

I have  been very lazy recently resulting in a lot of loss of muscle tone.  To fail at the serious job of rehab is where my uneasiness lies.  And I am not really being unrealistic.  I know the importance of exerting every muscle for 30 or 40 minutes at least 2 times a day to regain strength and control during the weeks following such surgery and I have some doubts about whether I can manage it.  I keep peering down into the depths of my being to check out my reserves and see nothing there but the empty bottom of the bucket.  Sigh.  I am having trouble dredging up even a bit of enthusiasm.  

And then there are the moments when I think I may be able to do it after all........I can hardly wait to see how this all comes out.


  1. The idea of having any kind of surgery is frightening so don't be so hard on yourself. I trust you've weighed the pros and cons of the situation. Knowing nothing about it, I'm not going to give you any unsolicited advice. You strike me as having good instincts, so go with your gut on this one. I wish you the best in whatever decision you make.

  2. Dear Lo...Whatever you decide will be the right decision for you. No one else can tell you if you are up to all the rehab after surgery. I have heard pros and cons about this type. I love you, my prayers are always with you, whatever you decide, and I still think you are the wisest women I have ever met!

  3. G'day Lo. All the best with whatever you decide. I wish I could find that magic wand. I am sure it is around here somewhere. I will go and have another look for it in a minute !!!!!
    Take care. Liz...

  4. This is definitely something you have to decide, regardless. We know ourselves better than anyone else can guess and I think you'll figure it out by GB day. {{{HUGS}}}

  5. Is there some way you could do a muscle-building program first? In fact, that makes so much sense to me. There are many ways to build muscle strength without torturing the offending joint.
    Well, just a thought.

  6. Praying that you come to the right decision for what you can handle.

  7. I wonder whether the physical therapy folks have a way to assess one's physical readiness for the procedure. The surgeon probably wouldn't dwell much on that, but the PT people have to be familiar with what it takes.

  8. It's a rotten decision to make, isn't it - I felt that I'd prefer to be told I had to have my new hip, not have to actually ask for it. Easy for me to say because I'm younger than you and it's not my knee, but I'd set a few weeks rehabilitation against a knee that would be a damn sight better than the one you've got now. Best wishes, whatever you decide.

  9. You won't be the first with such a problem; I would definitely want to discuss it with those most interested in my muscles.