Saturday, February 28, 2009


Yeah, I'm uncomfortable all the time right now. Sometimes I can't settle down because of the pain and discomfort. Knee replacement surgery will do that to a person. Part of the rehab is spending an hour, twice a day, with my leg strapped into a continuous passive motion machine, known 'round these part as The Machine. The Machine slowly moves my leg from straight to bent at the knee, increasing the degree of bend by 5 or 10 degrees a day. It's uncomfortable and boring. And sometimes I whine, complain, and cry (a little).

Thursday afternoon, I was strapped into The Machine, working my way toward a 100-degree bend (yay me.). To pass the time, I decided to watch Oprah. Her show highlighted her visit a few weeks ago to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. She spoke with soldiers who are recovering from wounds sustained while on duty in Iraq or Afghanistan. All of the soldiers she talked to have lost a limb, most of them one or both legs. Some of them have been at Walter Reed for over two years, working to rehabilitate their bodies.

These soldiers have suffered pain so much greater than what I'm dealing with. They have witnessed horrors that I thankfully will never see. They have participated in "maneuvers" that will probably haunt some of them for the rest of their lives, a fate I have been spared. Most importantly, these men willingly walked into gravely dangerous situations in order to support their country and their countrymen...which means me.

I was impressed by the acceptance and determination exhibited by all of the soldiers with whom Oprah talked. They are on long, perhaps life-long, roads of recovery...while I will be back on my feet - my own feet - in a matter of weeks.

Suddenly, the discomfort of my surgery and recovery doesn't seem so overwhelming. Suddenly, I don't feel the need to whine over every twinge of pain I feel. Suddenly, spending an hour, twice a day, strapped into The Machine isn't so daunting or distasteful. Suddenly, I am grateful that the pain and discomfort I feel are in real limbs that are still attached to my relatively healthy body.

Thank you, God, for the wonders of modern medicine, that doctors have the technology to repair my broken-down knees and to create artificial limbs for those who need them. Thank you, more importantly, for reminding me that my own troubles are small.


  1. That show made me cry. My kids are in their 20's and we know too many of their classmates that went there. One didn't make it home alive.

    For some reason, my Mom's ortho doc doesn't use The Machine anymore. He prescibes 2 hours a day of physical therapy. Mom was back to full function in less than 4 weeks.

    Hope your rehab keeps going well for you.

  2. Violet, I hope you will be feeling better as every day goes does sometimes take something like seeing how there's always someone with it worse than ourselves to get a perspective on life. In this day and age, we're so fortunate for antibiotics for without, most of us would die of infection.

    I like your post. It was humbling.

  3. What great perspective - thanks for sharing a motivating thought.

  4. Here's to your fast healing--and your positive perspective on things!

  5. I hope you heal fast and that the recover process gets better. It's amazing how seeing others sometimes and the obstacles they face really opens up the doors to having us see that there is always someone who has it worse than we do and yet they still have that amazing strength of hope and faith.

  6. It is amazing how things seem come along to put our lives back into perspective when we need it. Sometimes in a rather extreme fashion but it makes me stop and think "I got nothin'" - to bitch about that is...