August 30, 2012
I had a tough session at physical therapy this morning, another two-plus hour workout that always benefits me, both physically and mentally. I reached a milestone today, sweating and groaning to dip low enough for my knee to register 130 degrees of range of motion, a first for me since I began therapy back in mid-April, when my range of motion measured a whopping 60 degrees. That may mean nothing to many of you, especially if you’ve never had the pleasure of having any type of knee surgery, but it’s a pretty big deal for a 51-year-old chick who’s used to unimpeded mobility.
I’m really hoping, in spite of the setbacks I’ve experienced since having the surgery, to recover fully and to have that recovery last for many years. I get that a knee replacement is in my future at some point, but I’m hoping I can delay that another 15 or so years.
Often, people ask me what injury I incurred that warranted surgery and caused such a lot of damage to my knee. The professionals tell me that my injury likely traces back to a specific mishap. The best I can come up with is a brisk walk up a very steep hill about a year and a half ago, but who knows?
I was feeling pretty good about my 130 degrees of range of motion, until I had a conversation with a woman today while my knee was being iced down. She’s 68 years old and had a full hip replacement almost 3 months ago. She’s doing well enough to begin teaching jazzercise classes by mid-September. I still hang onto the wall to step up about 2 inches off the floor. I have seen many physical therapy patients come and go during my four-month (so far) recuperation, and I’ll admit, sometimes I feel a little sorry for myself.
As I was leaving the doctor’s office today, a man was entering the building who made me do a double-take. This man was an amputee, having lost his leg from the thigh down. He strutted into that building like he was ready to take on the world and from the looks of him, he could. When he spoke as we passed, he referred to me as “dude” and commented, “Cool brace.” And he was humming a tune. Did I mention he arrived at his appointment on a motorcycle?
My attitude turned around 180 degrees right then and there. I usually have a pretty good perspective most of the time but when I get impatient with my recovery or with the way my knee can still slow me down, I admit I get a bit whiny.
Not any more. Guy on the motorcycle, whoever you are, I admire you without even knowing you. I want to thank you for smacking a little sense into me. I hope the rest of your day was as good as mine turned out to be.
Carole Townsend is also a Gwinnett Daily Post staff correspondent and author of “Southern Fried White Trash.” The book takes a humorous look at families and how we behave when thrown together for weddings, funerals and holidays. She has been quoted on msnbc.com, in the LA Times, USA Today and the Christian Science Monitor, been featured on FOX 5 News and CNN, and is often a guest on television and radio shows nationwide. She currently travels throughout the southeast, meeting readers at book signings and speaking publicly at various events. Her next book, “Red Lipstick and Clean Underwear,” is expected on book shelves in Fall 2012.