Wimpy, Gimpy and Off Kilter
Have you ever had something in your life at which you were afraid to take an honest look? I’m not talking about major life-threatening things here. We generally face up to those after a short dip into denial.
What I’m talking about is a niggling fear like that which I’ve avoiding bringing under my personal surveillance spotlight for over a year. It terrifies me inordinately to even talk about it. So, here goes.
My daughter had knee replacement surgery, second knee, about three weeks ago. She’s doing great, healing more quickly than I did with the same procedure. And good for her.
“Mom,” she said. “I’ve been walking about, both with my walker and without, and I think my new-knee leg is just a little bit shorter than the other.”
Just hearing somebody else say something like that made me expel a huge breath of relief. “I’ve been afraid to say anything. But I think my hip-replacement-surgery leg is shorter than the other and that is why I still cannot walk without a lurch and a cane. There, I’ve said it. I’ve been afraid to talk about it or even think about it.”
This is painful for me to admit. It is like when the dentist digs into the tooth I had decided to not mention. Ouch! Worse yet, I don’t know what my problem is. I’m not embarrassed. So I have to use a cane. So do a lot of people. Big whoop.
I’m not sure when I first noticed something might be “off”. After surgery I had six months of physical therapy. Towards the end, I wanted to ask Arturo if he had noticed any defective parts but I kept mum.
Every time I’ve been to a chiropractor, he’s said one leg is shorter than the other. Maybe it always has been. I had thought it was something only his eye could see. Again, big whoop.
I walk every day leaning into my cane. I know better. I’ve relearned how to walk after four other surgeries on a knee that looks like a road map. I figured out a cadence which matched numbers, one through four, each to a specific movement and hung in there until I could walk without counting. This surgery, I ignored what I know works.
Fear entered early. I was terrified of falling, of throwing my hip off or out or under. Irrational, I know. But such fear has direct cause/effect on the muscles. I held my muscles tense and tight, slowed healing through the strength of my fearful mind. I can see that clearly—now.
Evidence mounted, albeit slowly. When I sat, one pant leg lurked lower—or higher—than the other. But when I put my knees together, I couldn’t see a difference. Same results when I stood. But to feel balanced, I lift my left heel slightly off the floor. My solution: I wear skirts and dresses. Out of sight, out of . . .
At my local farmacia, I bought those thin padded inserts for shoes. Threw away the one I don’t need. That helped when I wore shoes, which I wore only when I went walking.
My daughter said, “I’ve been looking at orthopedic shoes online.” She waited for me to respond.
“I thought about them,” I admitted. “But most of the time I go barefoot or in sandals. I can’t stand the thought of my feet enclosed in those clunky hot shoes all day.”
My mind held a clear picture of orthopedic shoes. They were black or white, with a four-inch sole and built to withstand nuclear attack.
“Mom, you’re stuck in the olden days. Orthopedic shoes come in sandals and every style imaginable. Go online and look. Have a physical therapist check for what you need. Have your young friends search for a store in Guadalajara.”
“I haven’t mentioned this defect to anybody else,” I told my daughter.
“Write about it,” she responded. “It will be cathartic.”
I hate it when she’s right. Go ahead. Laugh at me. I’m laughing at myself. But my laugh is sickly and weak, off kilter.
HDN: Looking out my back door
November 24, 2016