I JUST LOST A MONTH OF MY LIFE! What a strange journey. I can't remember much about it. Knee replacement surgery turns out to be a big deal. I don't even want to know about the drills, the saws, the screws, the metal and blood and stitches and staples.
My proud Orthopedic surgeon offered to show me a video of the event . . . I declined!
Then to SHADY ACRES, our pet name for the classy rehab place where all you do for weeks is sleep, eat and endure Physical Therapy 3 times a day.
There you are in your elevated bed, drugged out of your mind on some morphine derivative, when a nice physical therapist gets you vertical, embraces you with a thick canvas belt so he can catch you if you fall - (FALL is a four-letter word). And off you hobble on your walker to the Torture Spa - the PT room.
Which in some ways is the highlight of your days! - Caring and charming young therapists urge you to stretch, push, lift - go beyond the limits of your pain.
All around are dear old souls in various states of disrepair. One, a darling slip of a crone from Germany slumps sleepily in her chair, oblivious to the therapists request to wake up and lift her broken leg. On the walls hang canes, bars, weights, obstacles - the tools of recovery.
A sweet old guy with his polyester pants hiked high on his chest and a heavy cast on his arm looks a bit dense until the clever therapist, to distract him from his pain, asks about his early life. (I'm nearby rolling my unbending and excruciatingly painful new knee back and forth on a 'skate board' - you heard me. I overhear the dear old dude tell the therapist that he was a mechanical engineer who taught at a famous university and still, at 92, consults in his field! I change my mind about him.
Then there was Phyliss. Cute and tiny - always well dressed for the Torture Spa - her hair wispy blond and sprouting gray. She's 89, widow of a podiatrist, likes to talk about piles of fun in Paris in the 50's. Looked me in the eye and said, in her deep aristocratic voice: "Dorothy, you will get better, you have a lot of life in you . . . what a smile!"
I loved Phyliss.
Then back to my room, and up on the Passive Exerciser . . . by which I mean a monster machine which moves up and down bending your new knee while you doze off with the aid of multi meds - all of which cause nausea and an unwelcome clogging of one's gut.
Dear young aides like ghosts answer your bell in the night helping you to the bathroom, taking your 'vitals' . . . voicing encouraging platitudes.
Weeks go by. Blending miserably, strangely.
But wonderfully cared for.
I'm home now. Recovering Slowly.
Purging my bod of that creepy cocktail of multi-syllabic medications.
I'm so happy to come home to the topside world!
Yesterday I put on this mask I made in 1999.
Somehow it reminded me of my drugged-out month in the post-surgical underworld.
Just thought I'd share :)