What with extending my Xmas holiday into January, my policy about not starting back on a Monday, the public holiday on the 26th and surgery, sick leave and holiday in February, I think this has pretty much been my first full week back at work.
It has not tickled. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it at first. Within a few hours of going back to what is largely a sedentary job, the pain in my knee had me me hobbling about as if Kathy Bates had swung by for a visit. I could not work out why. I was probably sitting more than I do at home and yet the pain was quite distressing. Perhaps it was the pain of realizing I was probably 10 months away from my next holiday.
Perhaps it was the fact that I had coupled going back to work with resuming dog walking duties, or maybe I have just got so used to leaning on furniture I had not realised how much I was doing it. One quick visit to the surgeon seemed to clear things up, though.
‘You are a lady in a hurry!’ He announced. ‘Surgery 18 days ago, just what were you expecting to be able to do?’
‘I don’t know,’ I replied, ‘Do you think I should do some physio? I saw some exercises where you lie on your back with a board under the foot and slide it back and forth. It is to strengthen the quads,’ I added, helpfully.
He looked down at his desk, frowned slightly, then picked a model of a femur with a metal replacement attached at the end that joined at the knee, then flipped the replacement bit so it was on the other way round.
‘Oh yeah, sorry, that was me,’ I confessed, ‘While I was waiting, I picked it up trying to work out what might be happening and the metal bit fell off.’
‘You put it on backwards,’ he explained, gently. And with those few words, re-established exactly who was the one with the orthopedic qualification and who had been Googling stuff.
‘Nine months,’ he repeated, ‘until you are as medically fit as you will get. Remember you also have arthritis in that knee.’
‘What about exercises?’ I asked, ‘Is there nothing I can do?’
‘Who does the shopping?’ He asked
‘Who does stuff around the house?’
‘That is plenty of exercise, ‘ he said.
I knew what he was doing. It was like when the banks visit your primary school and hand out cute free money boxes. He was being nice to me so when I became a candidate for knee replacement I would come to him. He was playing the long game, and to be honest, it was working – especially when we shared a Monty Python joke later.
Earlier in the week, I had seen another woman at work – one I did not know, but who appeared at least fifteen years younger than me. The reason I noticed her was because she was on crutches and seemed to have a sort of brace for her knee. How come she got all that fancy stuff?
I ran into her this morning as I was limping dramatically to the toilets.
‘I have been envying your crutches,’ I admitted, ‘What happened to you?’
‘Oh,’ she said, ‘I smashed the top of my tibia and they have had to fix it wth screws and a plate.’
‘Hope they put it on the right way!’ I was tempted to say, but I didn’t. Instead I admitted I had been coveting her support system.
‘How long are you on crutches, then? ‘ I asked
‘They have not told me,’ she said. ‘Your leg looks really sore, though – are you OK? What happened to you?’
‘Umm.. They snipped a tiny piece of cartilage off.’
And with that, it hit me. Time to drink a mug of cement and toughen the hell up.