Wednesday, April 25, 2012

bees knees

Getting back to the blog

I have had a long break from this blog, but I am now facing a fairly major step in my life so I thought I would use this to share my journey with  whoever you are out there who takes the time occasionally to dip into this blog. 

 I am 62, in reasonably good health but have dodgy knees. 

xrays don't scan very well here is a very faint image of my dodgy knee
It's hereditary I think. my mum had dodgy knees, though she always claimed that it was because of an accident.  I did have an accident - fell off a bike and cut my knee open when I was twelve and thought speeding down a hill on a gravel road and ending in a ditch sounded like good fun.   But I don't think that's why my knees are dodgy, I just think some people have em and some people don't. 

My knees have been dodgy for a few years,to the point where I might even pass up the opportunity to browse around a market because it's painful walking and standing for so long - and me giving up that opportunity is a very bad thing.  I've always loved walking - it's been a way to get myself calm when I get upset, it's the joy of watching the dog get excited when I put my shoes on, it's taking the time to see the trees and, at the moment, the puddles, it's a chance to slow down.  But at the moment I think twice everytime I walk and when I do I walk slowly and it's often painful. And lately everyone and their dog has been saying to me as I wobble - (yes I have developed one of those distinctive dodgy knee wobbles)  - 'when are you getting your knees done?'

I noticed it when I visited the lovely Em in Korea and she strode while I dawdled.  I'm a good dawdler, but even dawdling is getting difficult, so I have finally made the decision to get my right knee done - June 4th is the date.  It means the damaged bits of my knee are replaced with a combination of metal and plastic after cutting into the bone to make a flat surface.  It's called Arthroplasty of the knee and it will make me beep when I go through those doovy lackers at the airport.  But importantly what I am hoping is it will get rid of the pain. 

So I've had the MRI - where you get fed into a long cylinder, with, in my case, my knee clamped like a bit of wood on a workbench, so it didn't move and they play you music to keep you calm, but the machine is so loud you can't hear the music. And they talk to you as well over the headphones and say encouraging things like 'only 6 minutes left' and 'well done'. Then that lovely photo gets sent over to the States where they make a prosthesis out of titanium which is what gets put into the knee.

I admit I am terrified - scared it won't work and I'll go through that and still have the pain or never be able to straighten my leg or my nerves will be damaged or that it will be infected and I'll have to have it removed and another one put in (the possible risks in the info sheet the surgeon has given me).I'm scared I'll die from the operation (not mentioned) or blood clots (mentioned).

But, what the hell, I have had a good life and I want to be able to walk properly again, for long distances and keep up with the grandchildren. So I am preparing myself.

Me with the dodgy knees and the dog who loves to walk and chase the bike
I am going to a physio who specialises in osteo stuff and the advice is to strengthen the muscles around my knee and my 'gluts' so lots of buttock squeezing while I stretch my leg back etc..  I ride my bike, I try to do it most days for at least 20 minutes each day - take the dog to the park and ride around the park.  I have a fold up bike so I can put it in the boot.  That's a funny thing - I can ride my bike all day and my knees don't get sore unless I go uphill, so the alternative is I could just get a wheel and pedals prosthesis!  And I love water and swimming which always helps and I do hydrotherapy with all the other old dears who have all sorts of dodgy bits - shoulders, hips, knees, ankles - the things that can go wrong with the human body are endless.  And sometimes after I have been doing my exercises my knees stop hurting so I think well maybe if I just exercise I won't need to have my knee replaced, but then I sit at the computer and have trouble standing up and have to limp around my chair for a minute to get the legs going!

Stay tuned for the journey if you like, or if you don't want to be reminded about all the difficulties of ageing stay away for the next month or so!

If you've had a similar experience or know someone who has, I would love to hear from you, I htink it is important that we share our difficulties and dilemmas as well as the good bits of our lives.

No comments:

Post a Comment