by C.K. Thomas
“No way,” I thought, “Not in a million years will I have any kind of surgery, and especially not elective surgery.”
The day has passed when a bum knee gave no promise of getting better over time, only worse. The surgeon said, “You have two choices: live with the pain or have a total knee replacement.”
The agonizing decision made, I showed up at the hospital at 7 a.m. for a 9 a.m. surgery, the first ever operation for me! The well-oiled machine in pre-op came staffed with people who love people. I felt the love. Then, bingo, I woke up in recovery with more people who love people, only with different faces. Foggy and disoriented, I don’t remember many names, and it seemed as if I landed there for a very short time before arriving at a nice room I had all to myself.
The next couple of days were filled with a flurry of people who love people, and I have fond memories of a night nurse, a day nurse, and a housekeeper. These women stayed for more than a quick check on me. We talked about the doctor who did my surgery, about their lives raising kids and mine, being retired and free to pursue the dreams I had put on hold while I raised a family myself.
Home at last, I’ve had phone calls, texts, flowers delivered to the door, lunch brought by a lovely new acquaintance, and a long-time friend who stayed to play Bananagrams and take my mind away from the healing process for my knee that is accompanied by no small amount of pain.
The home nurse showed up on my second day home at the same time the physical therapist arrived. They knew each other, of course, and didn’t seem to mind crossing paths. Their concerns have been about blood pressure, pain levels, and the logging of other vital information. By now the staples are gone from my knee, and the nurse will return only one more time to check on the incision.
The physical therapist will be with me for a few more weeks, making sure I’m walking and doing the exercises that will ensure my new knee works better than the old one. All these people accompanying me on this surgical adventure have given me much more than I had expected, in both care and concern.
I don’t want to have another surgery anytime soon, and I’m in awe of the effort that must be put into recovery. However, the unexpected connections with exceptional people have overcome my fears and given me a renewed faith in the capabilities of all of us to embrace our fellow humans with compassion and generosity of spirit.
Thank goodness surgery is over and thank goodness for those who make such a miraculous thing as a brand new knee possible.
C.K. Thomas lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Before retiring, she worked for Phoenix Newspapers while raising three children and later as communications editor for a large United Methodist Church. The Storm Women is her fourth novel and the third in the Arrowstar series about adventurous women of the desert Southwest. Follow her blog: We-Tired and Writing Blog.