Oxford commas, healing, and exercise

Knees even look like commas, don’t you think? They bend a little and often come in pairs. serial_commaThe Oxford comma is optional; some people think they’re redundant. The Oxford knee is just half a replacement, like the comma is only a pause. A full replacement might be a period, or a colon for two replacements. One Oxford knee and one full replacement, well that would be a semi-colon. You get the picture.

If you squint your eyes when you look at the exercise sheet that the physiotherapist gave me, the contorted human figures look like commas, hyphens and question marks. Similar to grammar rules for punctuation, I sometimes forget and think exercise is avoidable. I wasn’t always like this, but I’ve grown lazy. Like right now, I’d rather be at my keyboard than doing my second set of exercises for the day.

No one’s said anything, like, “You can’t fool me, I know you’re not exercising!”, or—my biggest worry—”Show me which exercises you’ve been doing.” However, I have walked away from my recent medical appointments with (unrequested) new exercise sheets, so there’s a good chance they’re on to me. The pinched nerve incidents being pretty clear evidence that something’s wrong; not to mention the fact that it’s one of my exercises which makes it better!

Back to grammar. Like avoiding laundry, eventually it catches up with you. A comma can save a person’s life, as blogger Liz Bureman illustrates in this post on The Write PracticeLets-eat-grandpa. The Oxford comma clarifies meaning in a sentence with a list, such as:

After driving for an hour I stopped to stretch my legs, down a burger and get gas.

rather than:

After driving for an hour I stopped to stretch my legs, down a burger, and get gas.

Well, you get the picture.

Landing on my feet

Things are better! After a consultation with my physiotherapist, Michael, yesterday, and a visit to the chiropractor today, hope is on the horizon. Michael at Six Points Physiotherapy determined that my pain was not being caused by the knee, that shooting pain from my right rump to the bottom outside of my foot, was likely a pinched nerve. He then rewarded me with a nice new treatment whereby I sit in a chair with electrodes attached to my knee and a nice warm blanket. *No exercise!

I went back to work feeling on top of the world (actually 34 steps above ground level) and did some clever artwork for the home page of my website. After several hours, I got up from my chairRed Flag and ouch! you guessed it…my old friend had returned. I shuffled to the top of the stairs, when a neighbour took one look at me and said, “So just how are you going to go down the stairs?” I mumbled, “One step at a time”, and did just that.

I almost made it into my car. Sitting side saddle in the driver’s seat, I got stuck with the door open and hanging out into the parking lot in the pouring rain. So much for my plans to pick up a Valentine’s Day card for my saintly husband. After feeling sorry for myself for a good ten minutes, I forced my painful lower extremities into what should have been driving order, and went through the motions. Amazingly, I made it home without having to brake. There’s something to be said for sloped driveways.

DRSLYThis morning I saw Dr. Sly, my chiropractor, and he identified the problem immediately. He gave me a stretch to do which opened up the pelvis and seemed to free up that pinched nerve. In a daze, I walked out to the parking lot feeling no pain for the first time in 20 hours. What to do? Not those stairs up to my office, not yet. I wanted to enjoy the feeling while it lasted. I went home and had lunch with my sweetie, faithfully did my stretching exercises, and then tackled the office stairs. So far, so good.

*Upcoming blog will cover my “no exercise” strategy.

Pain, get thee hence!

PAINdepressionoptYou’ll notice my timeline’s gone a little wonky. One of the symptoms of the new me is procrastination. From the second day after surgery until about 3 weeks ago, I was busy bragging unashamedly about my Oxford knee replacement to anyone who would listen.

Then an old foe returned to haunt me: pain. Following a road trip that expanded in distance and time, I discovered that any rotational movement or weight shift with a twist could bring me symbolically to my knees, with terrible cramping of the outside of my leg.

Walking downstairs from my bedroom one morning, I was struck by a piercing pain from the base of my spine to the bottom of my foot. The most miniscule movement was unbearable. It took ten minutes for the muscles to relax enough so that I could sit on the stairs. Another 20 minutes there, and I crawled back to bed. And there I stayed for the rest of the day.

I’ve had many repeats of this in the past few weeks, most often on stairs, but sometimes following driving, or just getting up from sitting. The second week I made an appointment with my surgeon to make sure I didn’t have an infection or structural problem. No issue there; apparently I’m to expect some pain as the muscles which haven’t had to work for a long time get strong again.

I’m going to get to the bottom of this—tomorrow I see my physiotherapist for a consultation—but there’s a point I want to make before this too passes. I’m no stranger to pain or depression, and what I’m finding now is that the euphoria which took hold after the operation has been replaced by a touch of despair.

Being able to put full weight on an operated knee only two days after surgery infused me with hope. Now I’m wondering if I only imagined I was pain-free at the time. My brother wisely advised me that I was in an “altered state”. (He was somewhat qualified, having just had a hip replacement five weeks earlier.)

The connection between pain and depression is very real. It’s hard to feel good about the day ahead when sleep and discomfort have been battling each other all night. I’ve noticed I’m particularly irritated by bright light and loud noises. Wanting to crawl back into bed and pull the duvet over my head rules over happy voices. Get thee hence, joy!tylenol2

Oxford knee, with a comma

When I returned home from my first surgery (ever) a couple of months ago, my son Holt brought sixteen of his closest friends over to see the cool new bed his dad had built for me, on top of a previously prominent drum set in the living room.When I explained that I had just received a half-knee transplant, called the Oxford knee, the jokes started about the Oxford, comma, knee.

Picture of homemade bed with drumset stored underneath.

Building a bed high enough to accommodate a drumset turned out to be advantageous.

I should have started my blog then. I’ve discovered one other WordPress blogger, Laura Macky who planned ahead, and even has a picture of the admitting nurse for her surgery on December 11, 2012, one day before me. But, late bloomer that I am, I’m going to start with the perspective that, since I’ll probably be getting my other knee done, this is really a head start. Badaboom.