Member Musings features the reflections and thoughts of an NPC member. This month’s featured member is Iris Shur.
TALES OF A BIONIC WOMAN
When my knee screamed “fix me!,” I didn’t wait several years in pain before opting for surgery as I did with my hips. A few weeks of agony convinced me to schedule the knee replacement surgical procedure pronto. According to my doctor, my knee was “bone on bone.”
Although it was certainly painful, after a few months the whole experience was already a blur. After labor pains, where a baby is the prize at the end of the procedure, or after a knee replacement that leads to a painless knee, the memory of pain fades.
My new knee is just a stock one. My sister-in-law had hers made to order someplace in Europe. I never did ask my surgeon why mine was ready-to-wear.
Following surgery, I experienced a few problems in the hospital. The nurse kept saying that she usually was on another floor and that was why she knew the answer to nothing. The aides were inattentive and left me with a bedpan for extended periods of time. Without getting graphic, I’ll just say that caused serious and long-lasting irritation.
For the first couple of days, every time the physical therapist got me up to walk, I almost passed out, the result of very low blood pressure. She acted as though it was nothing, but I was a nervous wreck as I fell to the floor after a few steps. It was certainly scary. I admired the physical therapist’s calm demeanor—I write tongue in cheek.
Finally I was able to leave the hospital for the rehabilitation facility—a veritable Taj Mahal compared to the hospital. Only thirty rooms, and all, private. What a blessing.
I remembered when I’d had my last hip done and had roommates. It was a disaster. One of them used her cell phone to make calls all night. Another had hordes of company and another listened to my conversations and gave me advice based on what she heard. I managed to get them all transferred to other rooms, one after the other, with my secret method.
OK. I’ll tell you: I kept the TV on all night. That did it.
Most of the aides and staff at rehab spoke English fluently. However, on the first day an aide who did not was helping me out of bed. “Don’t drop my leg,” I pleaded as she held it in her hands. She immediately dropped it, causing me to almost pass out from the pain. Apparently in her language “don’t” means “do.”
While in rehab, I was supposed to ice my knee every so many hours. The first time I asked for ice the aide brought it in, put it on my hip and left. I looked at my friend and said, stupidly, “Does the cold go from the hip to the knee?” Really, I thought it might be purposeful to have it on my hip. But when the aide returned I asked if the ice was to be on my hip since I had knee surgery. Without missing a beat or saying a word, she picked up the ice from my hip, plopped it on my knee and walked out of the room.
As one of the rehab nurses took my blood pressure I remarked that with two hip replacements, a knee replacement and a pacemaker, I wondered if I was going to be able to fly. “Oh yes,” she answered, clearly clueless, “there is no restriction for you flying.”
Gradually the pain subsided, the knee started working well and the feeling that there was a girdle around my knee lessened.
Life in the rehab facility was idyllic. Visitors came bearing gifts. Friends played card games with me. The food was outrageously good with entrees like coconut shrimp on the menu. After every lunch and every dinner a dessert cart offered homemade cakes, cookies puddings and pies as well as ice cream sundaes.
Can’t wait to do my other knee!
Do you have something on your mind you would like to share with your fellow NPC members? Email your Member Musings to Penny Fisher at firstname.lastname@example.org.