Full disclosure: I don’t want to write this.
(2020 update: I shouldn’t have.)
On August 27 2018 I had a partial knee replacement on my right knee. It wasn’t my first knee surgery and I had used the months prior to make sure I was well prepared. I had meals in the freezer, my house was clean, and I’d spent time praying. I even continued to strengthen my body with regular leg days all summer.
Not my first surgery. More like the 5th in 5 years. Plus two colonoscopies and a needle biopsy.
Partial knee replacement leaves the ACL alone, a full replacement doesn’t. For my medical friends, mine is the medial compartment. But it does involve “messing with bones” and bone pain is THE WORST.
(You May need a cute kitten at this point)
To help control the pain, I was given a nerve block for the leg that was being worked on. The plan was to send me home to recover.
the nerve block failed.
it was the worst thing.
After a surgery, they take you to a recovery room. It’s generally a pretty calm space with very nurturing nurses. Based on my previous experiences, the surgical pain is always at a 3 to 4 on a pain scale, and quickly drops to a 2.
Five surgeries, remember? Plus:
- 6 months of plantar fasciitis.
- a broken foot.
- 6 years of arthritis.
- 2 separate class 3 sprains.
- 5 days of active labor.
- 2 c-sections, one was unplanned.
- 2 torn meniscus
- 2 bone bruises
I KNOW PAIN.
And until five weeks ago not once have I ever rated my pain as a 10.
I have no cartilage left in my knees and walked around all summer (ok hobbled) with my bones bashing together and I generally rated my pain as a 7.
I saw 10. It took 3 hours to control the pain.
(before you get freaked, I’m allergic to some pain meds. It wasn’t an easy task for them.)
(and I figure you need a kitten)
it. Was. Bad.
It was the kind of bad that lingers in the brain and in the soul.
Fear. Anxiety. Flashbacks. Depression. Anger. Powerlessness. Vulnerability. Frailty. Guilt.
Harder still, hiding from friends because I wasn’t strong enough to tell them how awful it was in my head.
im getting better.
Last week, I was finally strong enough to face the ugliest part.
god, why did you let this happen?
God, I’m angry at you… this wasn’t supposed to be how it happened.
There is something miraculous that happened as I began to pour out my heart to God and tell Him all the dark and ugly mess that was tangled deep inside me.
For the first time since surgery, I found peace.
I still don’t understand the why. But I know there is one. I’m certain.
God makes beauty from my ashes.
every single time.
It was the best thing
I will never view my failed nerve block as something I’m eager to repeat. It’s not going to get celebrated with an annual party.
But I’ve begun to see it as the “best bad thing.”
Of all the scary and life threatening risks from surgery, it’s the one I’d pick again.
It was just pain. It wasn’t life threatening. It didn’t leave me paralyzed. It didn’t require blood transfusions or months of antibiotics or an attorney.
God protected me from all of the truly horrible things. He only handed me one hard thing. Pain.
I’ll pick hard over horrible every time.