Driving and Biking in the Big City

Archive for January 2016

Mama said there’d be days like this

leave a comment »

Source: Mama said there’d be days like this


Written by commuterchroniclesdbh

January 30, 2016 at 1:11 pm

Mama said there’d be days like this

with 3 comments

Good but fake attitude

Physical training in the hallway with a half-hearted smile

I never expect bad days and am always blindsided.  I am lucky enough to have a Pollyanna spirit so I don’t see it coming until it’s here. Same with drinking; I’m a happy drinker of alcohol instead of a sad or angry drunk. You won’t see me “crying in my cups.”  Instead, I’ll be dancing on the tables.  I also now know that I am a highly optimistic taker of pain killers. This is something new I’ve learned about myself by having two knee replacement surgeries in four months.

I call into work and take on a dozen assignments while I’m working from home and only days out of surgery. “Yes, you can expect me back at work on Monday,” I say and then I fall promptly to sleep for the next three days. Or I tell a friend I will meet her in the medical center for lunch on Friday and an hour’s drive away, thinking I’ll surely be driving in no time. Luckily, my friends and co-workers spotted this about me even before I did.  They take my optimism and whittle it down by at least three.

Then, comes a bad day as happened yesterday. I’m not at all prepared for these feelings because I don’t have that many of them.  I’m miserable, aching all up and down my new knee and can’t get comfortable. Not sitting, not standing and not laying. I’m lonely, depressed and feeling my age – which lands on the more experienced side of the half-century mark plus some.

As someone with a high threshold for pain – two children by natural child birth, a broken ankle without realizing it and a silent heart attack that I only learned about three months later — I was terribly surprised at the constant pain of knee replacement. No wonder gangsters are always threatening to shoot enemies in the knee caps. It’s damned painful. I’ll tell you anything if you threaten knee pain.

My first knee replacement was Sept. 1, 2015, and it was the worst. I whined for the first four weeks, stayed up all night uncomfortable and begged for prayers at 3 a.m. from FB friends. The prayers helped so I’m glad I did it. As I tell friends and family, I’m a communicator by nature, and everyone within my sphere knew I was miserable.

For my second surgery on Dec. 29, I was prepared for the pain and recovery period. I even asked to be out of the hospital a day sooner. Last time, I didn’t trust myself to go home because I thought I was about to be paralyzed by the extreme pain.

And, as luck would have it, this second knee has been easier anyway. This left knee turned out to be more damaged than the right — absolutely no ACL left so that had to be replaced, too. That means that I immediately was relieved to no longer have the natural pain of a bone-on-bone knee, beginning to turn outward and with totally no ACL for stabilization. So, when I went through my first surgery, I had a bad knee as my secondary during physical therapy. It wasn’t much help. This time, I’ve had a repaired but great secondary knee support.

Now that I’ve come to a bad day, I forced myself through it. Like you, I read a lot about how to keep my attitude good, how to get enough sleep, what to eat, etc. I’m a Baby Boomer of the first order, thinking I will live forever and feel like I’m 19 years old for my entire lifetime.

I’m lucky in that I can write about my pain and spill my guts. That’s a huge help. That’s what I’m doing right now and started yesterday in the throes of my misery. It’s giving me great relief. I have notebooks and notebooks filled with streams of consciousness about every problem and misery I’ve ever felt. No, you don’t want to see them. I can’t even stand to read them myself. The worst are my three diaries from junior high. Yuck. Definitely an awkward, self-centered and shallow age for me.

dirty shoes

Muddy shoes and loyal Tucker at our halfway point

My best mood adjustments are exercise and nature.  I have biked, swam or played tennis every day of my life.  I don’t sleep well if I’ve spent a day at my desk with no exercise. As a kid, I played all sports, ran the roads and used up my energy and then some. When I’m in a bad mood from the injustices of work or life, I go for long bike rides until I come home exhausted and happy again. I often have to force myself on the bike but am glad I did it within the first five minutes.

So, on my recent bad day, I gutted it out and took a long walk on the gully out back of my house and in the beautiful sunshine. With my loyal hound, Tucker, at my side, we walked about a mile to the park, rested and then the mile back home.

We were lucky enough to spot a busy egret or two who were doing some fishing in the murky gully water. Toads and turtles jumped out of our way as we walked the dirt path that was a bit muddy in spots from recent rains. I had to watch out for slip and slide in the mud – not having my balance back quite yet. The highlight of the walk came when three houseshoe-sized and shaped dogs joined us with their owner. Who can stay depressed in a bevy of lively hounds?

I can’t say I was in good spirits when I got back from my walk, but I felt like I’d been productive and more positive. After last night’s sleep, I’m doing well today. It helps that the sun is shining and my pain has subsided. Soon I’ll be back to myself. Soon.

Gully friend

Gully buddy to lift my spirits

Written by commuterchroniclesdbh

January 28, 2016 at 2:34 pm