Harriet, my operated-upon, bionic knee, celebrated her first year of existence on Friday. She wanted a full-fledged party complete with balloons, whoopies, and champagne, of course. She got wine and tapas on the porch with three good friends — including, of course, Margaret who saw us through the first three weeks of this new knee. The cats were not invited but they crashed it anyway just in case Jennette, who’s such a softie, might slip a little chicken their way. That didn’t happen so they went back upstairs grumbling all the way.
In a way, it’s hard to believe that it’s been a whole year since Harriet and I made our way, on foot, to Western Hospital for the O-p-e-r-a-t-i-o-n. Little did we know what the coming year would bring to our little relationship. Here I was that morning, thumbs up, wearing my “It’s All Good” shirt to make a positive, outer appearance while the inner one was shakey as anything. I had never had an operation before that one, well I did, 20 years earlier, but it was an in-and-out of the hospital in the same day kind of thing, not one of these pack-a-grip for a few days “vacation”at the expense of the provincial health insurance, be prepared to be blurry from drugs for longer than you’d like.
When I mentioned to folks about this anniversary of Harriet’s, they said, almost to a person, “Wow, it doesn’t seem like a year!” Harriet and I would disagree. We have lived every second, every moment, every hour, every day, every week, every month aware that things weren’t quite what they should be. It took a lot longer than we imagined to recover enough to be able to step out with a bent knee and some semblance of normal walking. I, for one, was surprised just how long it took and how painful the process of learning to bend a new knee back and forth really was. I had to keep reminding myself that we had gone through major surgery — and a blood clot, to boot — and the body takes whatever time the body takes to heal from that, and not a second less.
I did think we’d be dancing a jig and whistling Dixie by this first anniversary, and that Harriet and I would be able to just peacefully co-exist without me worrying so much about her doing something dramatic like, god forbid, falling. I guess that worry will be with us always — at least according to the locker room sages who have an abundant supply of Post-Knee Surgery Horror Stories.
Tuesday I have my Five-Minutes-With-God meeting, or, in other words, my year end appointment with the esteemed Dr. M, the Surgeon. I’m not expecting much. He’ll have his fellow come in and take all the information about what I’ve been doing, how I’ve been feeling, etc. before he whizzes in to admire his handiwork and, perhaps, ask me how I’m doing. Just for the hell of it, I’ll take my questions about Harriet’s sister knee and when/if that needs to be done, maybe tell him about that twitch of pain I felt walking down the street a month or so ago and, if he’s not already pulling back the curtain to get to the next cubicle, ask him for his strategies to get rid of that stiffness that Harriet still complains about.
Even with all the setbacks, Harriet and I are glad that we did it. It might take another year before everything clicks into place, but, as Jennette reminded me, we are walking a whole lot better than we used to — pre-surgery. And, really, isn’t that what this whole hoopla is about?