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.
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.
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
Small steps make a big difference
Written in response to Lady Calen’s Sandbox Challenge 20