22 November 2009

Knee Replacement: Seven Months Later

As much as I want to complain about this knee, I must say that this was the best $80,000 that my insurance company could have spent on me. I'm completely in love with this joint. And this is not to say that I'm to the point where I don't know it's there. Oh, I know it alright. There's still just enough pain and just enough discomfort (with attempts at too much flexion) to remind me of the relative youth of the joint. I am, however, no longer in enough pain to require much in the way of painkillers. At this point, the pain is simply annoying.

I continue to protest that there are certain things I still can't do, one of them being inline skating. If you'd asked me two weeks ago about getting back on skates, I would have said I'd probably never skate again. Well, strike that. Our pooch can attest to the fact that I'm back on skates. Mind you, I'm not back on my speed skates yet. That's only because I was too afraid to try them out. I did, however, take a spin on a pair of old school Rollerblades the other day. What's even more impressive was that I did it with the dog in tow. Or was I in tow? Sometimes I pulled him. At other times, he pulled me. The hardest part was stopping. I don't use that stupid little brake behind the wheels. I do the full on speedskater stop. It requires that you put your knees to good use since it's a gradual stop which involves turning your feet inward while you're still moving. As you're slowing, you alternately pick up a skate and put it down on the ground sideways. It's a move that's hard on the knees. Much to my surprise, neither the skating nor the stopping hurt this knee. I felt great. I got a bit of a workout while making the dog burn off some of that excess energy. What's next? Getting back on the speed skates. I'd stopped skating months before the surgery. The pain of skating was simply too much for this joint. Truthfully, I thought my days on speed skates were gone for good. And perhaps they are. But I won't know until I try.

My next serious goal is to work toward popping up on my shorter boards. My head is telling me I can ride my 7'3" bonzer egg. It's not the pop-up that's difficult as much as it is the speed of the pop-up. One thing I noticed after seeing a recent video of me surfing is that my pop-up slowed down after the surgery. Prior to getting the new knee, I could get to my feet so quickly that if you blinked, you missed it. When I saw the video taken a few weeks back, I could see that my pop-up was no longer quick. It was obvious to me that I was spending too much time thinking. I know what I was thinking about: pain. Jumping up on a joint that's been attacked with a scalpel, a drill and a saw is a bit daunting. It did hurt when I returned to the lineup in July. It doesn't hurt now. Once I saw the video, I made myself speed up my pop-up. It's still not what it used to be, but it's less deliberate than it's been for the last four months. If I can get that lightning quick pop-up back, I'm certain I'll be able to once again surf those shorter boards.


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