Meet My New Best Friend

What the heck?!  My left knee was swollen, incredibly painful and agonising to walk on. I woke up with it like that. Had I been running a marathon in my sleep and sustained an injury? I could only weight bear and walk if I was super slow and ultra careful. And it still hurt like  %$$#@#$$%%!!!! Somehow I had managed to tear a ligament or a tendon. Great! Poor blood supply = slow recovery. Could take as long as 12 months I read on Dr Google.

In the meantime,TRH (The Retired Husband), the eternal pessimist, was already seriously contemplating knee replacement surgery and wheelchairs. Not on my shift!

For two weeks I did not leave the house. TRH did all the running around. The thought of climbing into Big Red was terrifying. You see she, the Ford Ranger utility, is a very big and very high car.  You can see her better here. Negotiating my way into it would necessitate exerting pressure on the knee.  Shallow steps were bad enough. A leap up the hill into the car had me breaking out into cold  sweat. Fear – of pain, of further injury. It seemed to be an insurmountable problem. I would be housebound For.Ever.  I did not voice that aloud just in case TRH overheard me.

Here it is, ready for use

In the midst of this physical and emotional agony,  the knee was being given intensive care level treatment – internal, external – you name it, it got it thrown at it. As it slowly started to mend, I added gentle exercise to strengthen supportive muscles.

Necessity, however, is the mother of invention. I needed a step I thought. Not just any step either. It had to be re-usable. If travelling solo (something I was determined to do again, and as quickly as possible), I needed to be able to pull it up into the car ready for the next time I needed it. Which could be wherever I happened to stop, exit and re-enter Big Red.

And who better to make a step than TRH. He was clever. He was creative. However, he seemed strangely reluctant. He wanted time to think. He wanted it to be aesthetic so I would not be embarrassed in public.  What?!

I didn’t want to wait any longer. Being housebound was not helping my recovery. I needed to get out. I wanted to get out. To see the world and smell the fumes of traffic. Limp along the hallowed halls of the supermarkets. TRH was happy to chauffeur me.

So I took the matter into my own hands. IKEA came to the rescue. We already had an IKEA lightweight plastic step rolling around not being used. I grabbed it and to my delight found that it already had two finger sized holes on either side. That nicely solved the problem of how to attach a rope to it. Then I had another lightbulb moment. We had a spare dog leash. On it went. Perfect in every possible way.

And here it us sitting next to me

I went out to the car with step in hand for a test run. So easy! I could climb into Big Red without any problems. TRH did a double take when he saw my solution. No comment. I showed him how it worked and off we went. My new best friend, the step, is now affectionately known as my dog.

So began  my next phase of knee rehabilitation. TRH chauffered me wherever I wanted to go. I was not yet ready to drive. A couple of weeks later I ventured out on my own. Getting into Big Red on the driver’s side requires slightly adjusted physical manoeuvring. Not a problem. And the dog gets pulled in to sit beside me for the next time I need to use it. She never complains or demands any attention.

The knee, I am happy to report, is much better. I have been able to markedly reduce heavy duty pain relief. And I am now able to sleep without a pillow between my knees. Small steps = major progress in my book. However,  I still hobble and am super careful about how I walk. I want to close that door of pain gently and never re-open it.

© Raili Tanska

Steps for Peace 
Small steps make a big difference

Written in response to Lady Calen’s Sandbox Challenge 20 

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30 thoughts on “Meet My New Best Friend

  1. You know the old saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention”. These joint pains as we get older really interfere with the quality of life. Keep on, keeping on Raili.

  2. You never appreciate something until it goes wrong! My knees are a bit of a problem but not on that level. I hope it gets better soon.
    I think I know what caused it Raili – Trump!!

  3. Pleased to hear you’re feeling better now Raili, I used to drive all day when I worked, now if I drive more than twice a week I have trouble with my knee . It’s an age thing, we are slowly wearing out 😉

    1. Tell me about it. I refuse to let my knee get the better of me! Seriously though, both my knees are creaky and cranky. But to not be able to walk is a bitch – and so is the pain! I’m grateful it’s almost better.

  4. Good grief, girl! Do you know what you did to it to begin with? I’m glad to hear that things are improving. I know from talking to a couple runners that sometimes those injuries are difficult to heal. Let’s hope not in your case!

    1. I have no idea – I woke up with it like that. It was fine when I went to bed. There is some stuff out there that targeted exercise has helped some people so much they have cancelled schedule knee replacement surgery. I’ll be seeing a physio when we get back from our roadtrip. In the meantime I am doing a range of exercises to strengthen the supporting muscles. The other exciting thing on the brink is the use of stem cells to regrow the knee! How amazing is that. They are doing some fabulous stuff with stem cells. My bet is once it becomes more commonly available, old fashioned surgery will become ancient history.

  5. I had bilateral knee replacements about 7 years ago, both done same time. It was pretty scary at first, but after intense 3 day a week PT for about a year, I am fine now. The problem with me is I had to wait for surgery 10 weeks because of medications I was taking. By the time the 10 weeks were over, my other knee was shot supporting the bad knee. Lesson learned. I’m glad things are better for you now, just be careful not to overdo your good knee!

    1. Wise words, thanks. Wow, both at the same time! My brother had both his done last year, but one at a time. I’ve not come across anyone doing both together. I’m waiting for the stem cell regrowth 🙂

      1. I figured if I had one done, I might put off the other knee surgery from fear of the first. It was really awful trying to walk for the first few days.
        Now 7 years later, they are bothering me again. They say they only last like 10 years. ‘m not doing again!!!

      2. Oh noooo!!!! I have heard so many horror stories of knee replacements gone wrong. Some people are getting fabulous results with just physio exercises to strengthen support muscles. So much so that they have cancelled replacements. And stem cell research is touted to be the next miracle thing for growing new knees.

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