Sunday, March 3, 2013

This Really Happened

My knee surgery is scheduled for Thursday.

Not my MRI.  But knees!  Knees are cool.

I'm in total denial about what it's going to be like to not have the use of one leg for a few weeks.

Then I start looking at my calendar.  And it dawns on me:  How will my children get to school?  How will I make dinner?  How will I get all of my work done?  How will I clean the house?  How will I get up and down the stairs?  How will I pee?  All of these things will be possible, on crutches, but how much slower will I be?  Will things take twice as long?  Three times as long?  Do I need to get a handicapped thingy for the car?  How much class will I have to cancel?  Do I need to do the whole ADA thing through HR?


Friends come out of the woodwork to offer rides and meals and hugs and sympathy.  I am overwhelmed by the support.  And starting to feel very, very worried about how this is all going to happen.  Everyone around me sees how serious this thing is going to be, except me, who is acting like I'm going to get a little vacation.

One of the neighborhood husbands is a super-nice guy.  Man is he nice.  But we've probably only ever spoken a couple of dozen words to each other the whole time our families have hung out these past few years.  I don't know.  The ladies hang out with the ladies, for the most part.  But literally, we're very friendly with each other at parties and that's it.

But then this guy--who happens to know quite a few physical therapists thanks to where he works--starts bugging me.  Like, calling and emailing, kind of a lot.  Very kindly, very gently, in a roundabout sort of way suggesting that I get a second opinion on the surgery.

I blow him off.

Several times.

Look, I tell him, I don't have time for a second opinion.  This surgery has to happen before Spring Break so I have time to recover and then get back to work.

More phone messages, more emails.  Very gentle, very kind, not pushy at all.  One email contains an attachment that points out that the recovery on this surgery usually requires six weeks without bearing weight on the foot.

Six weeks.

My doctor didn't tell me that.

Still, I blow this very nice neighbor off because, you know, I'm busy.

Thursday morning rolls around and I have a meeting with a bright young nuclear faculty who wants to maybe do some writing together, and I tell her I don't know if I can commit because I'm starting to worry about the recovery time on this knee surgery.

Oh, the microfracture surgery, she says.  You have articular cartilage problems.

My jaw drops.

I decided not to have that surgery, she says.

Jaw drops further.

Then we spend an hour talking about how she's done a year of physical therapy and strength training and stretching and massage and is back to near-full use of her leg, including running, though she chooses never to run down hill.

Are you kidding me.

All that knocking, with Ed McMahon at the door, and I was not even going to answer.

The meeting ends.

I call my neighbor.  I talk to a physical therapist he works with.

Confirmation, in a very kind, very gentle, very non-push way, of the possibility of all of the above.

I cancel the surgery.

I make an appointment to meet with a good physical therapist on Monday.

My knee starts to feel better already.

This really happened.

The end.


  1. Holy karma cow! I am so very happy to hear this incredible story ... amazing how the universe works when you listen, eh?

    Been thinking of you dear friend, and am so glad to hear about this alternate path.


  2. Oh, how I hope this much kinder and gentler option works for you! Fingers crossed, lady!