Yep you heard me. You take your life for granted more than you know. And honestly, I am 100% guilty as well. I didn’t even realize it until I was faced with every day tasks that suddenly became a huge challenge for me to overcome. My perspective was changed drastically when it became hard for me to even go to the bathroom alone, and I started to wonder how much I really take for granted.
Two weeks ago I got two procedures done on my knee and it has been nothing but difficult since I left the operating room. One was called Medial patella-femoral ligament (MPFL) reconstruction, which is a procedure used to correct serious and recurring dislocation of the kneecap. The second procedure is called a tibial tuberosity, which I would not recommend looking up, but also helps in stabilizing knee caps. I know that everyone has their own challenges that make us unique and one of mine is overcoming knee problems that have gone throughout my high school and collegiate athletic career. Due to multiple injuries, I decided to take a leap of faith and get surgery to get my knees fixed now instead of later in life when it could be harder.
Like I said, since surgery, it has been the furthest thing from easy. I’m non weight-bearing on crutches for 6-8 weeks and I have PT every day to help keep my strength which is extremely challenging, more than you could realize. Overall it is a mulit-month recovery. Every day itself is a challenge. Trying to go to the bathroom, trying to shower, getting to class, you name it. Even sitting on the toilet is painful, and my mom had to help me into the shower because I couldn’t stand. When I returned to my classes, people didn’t hold doors open for me or they just rushed around me. This always surprises people when I tell them that, but when I thought about it, did I notice people when they were obviously handicapped or had struggles? Did I wait to help them? It’s a struggle to open doors on my own and sometimes I am too prideful to ask for help. Every simple task has become a mental nightmare. I constantly have to remind myself to take it slow and to be careful or I’ll end up pushing myself too hard.
I think the worst thing is not being able to walk. It is exhausting and laboring to crutch everywhere, trying to avoid stairs and large crowds of people. It takes me three times as long to get places, and there is so much I can’t do. Just going for a walk on a nice day in downtown Athens isn’t possible, or being able to just go out and pick up a few things from the grocery store. And forget trying to hold things. Anytime I buy anything, need anything, need to go somewhere, someone has to do it for me. As an independent, prideful woman, it hurts to lean on everyone so much. I always enjoy being the person who takes care of others no matter what, but this doesn’t allow me to do so.
My Worst Nightmare
It’s been two weeks from today since I got surgery, and yesterday I took a big step forward, only to take two steps back. It was my first time doing a full cycle on a stationary bike, working on my range of motion and flexibility. I was ecstatic. I even took videos and sent it to my parents and closest friends. Then when I was doing plank on my knees and elbows, I put too much pressure on my tibia and something snapped. The sound makes me shudder still thinking about it. I caused a hairline fracture in my tibia, off the fracture they had given me to stabilize my knee cap. If you’ve ever had a fracture, you know how excruciating it is. I was in agony. Not only that but I was furious and upset. After making so much progress, I still managed hurt myself and I am back to resting it.
I wish that no one had to go through what I have gone through. After dealing with years of pain and injury, the hurdle of getting surgery is just as difficult, if not worse. Better yet, I have to get my other knee done in a few months. Staying positive as much as possible is crucial though. Reminding myself it can always be worse and that in the end it will be worth it. But man do I miss driving and walking. The simple everyday pleasures that life brought me such as carrying a cup of warm coffee while strolling in North campus. I truly took that luxury for granted. Now whenever I see someone who is on crutches, or handicapped, I ache for them. The struggles, pain, and all that is in between.
It is so easy to get caught up in not having the newest iPhone, the most stylish clothes, but I would give those up to be able to walk normally and have good knees. To be able to not miss out on social events or to be able to shower in comfort. My surgery has definitely made me realize I take so much for granted, and I know I will have a newfound appreciation for walking when I can start doing it again without any help. I hope that you know how precious the little things in life are, because sometimes you can realize it too late. I also hope that you take notice to those who need help more than others because you could help someone so easily with just opening a door or being patient.
What do you take for granted?