Monday, October 19, 2015

me and my new knee

So here she is. 19 days post op. My new knee.

We call her Briony.

She’s not a thing of beauty, I don’t suppose, poor thing, being so swollen and discoloured, but remarkable nonetheless.

Especially when you look at her from the inside.

Even though i saw it happen I still find it hard to believe.

That a surgeon and his team were able to cut open my knee from top to bottom. Carefully move to one side all the blood vessels and muscles and nerves and who knows what else until they got to the bone.

Which looked like this:

And then attacked it with drills and saws and I suppose sanding machines so they could replace it with this artificial creation, made of who knows what, glue it into place, I believe, and then ever so carefully replace all the bits of flesh they removed, sewing them up as they went, until they got to the final layer of skin. Which they held together with 33 staples.

You can see them on the picture.

They were taken out a week ago. By a cheery nurse in my GP’s surgery and we counted them all out, each one, as they went.

And the knee is swollen, as you can see, and warm to the touch, which you can’t, and in some places strangely numb. Ditto.

The numbness comes from peripheral nerve damage, they tell me, and the warmth from the quite astonishing processes of healing going on inside.

I help the healing as best I can with my twice daily walks and my four times a day exercises and the painkillers I need to keep taking, night and day. 

It all takes up most of my energy and time, which is not surprising, given that it strikes me as astonishing that I can still walk at all.

And how remarkable it is that we can so quickly heal from such immense physical trauma, and that we so precisely know the exercises that will help us.

But how much harder it is to heal emotional pain. 

The operation happened 19 days ago; and every day I can feel my knee getting stronger and stronger.

Meanwhile I still weep over the death of my partner 10 years ago; I still struggle with the problems associated with my gender identity. Which have been with me since the day i was born.

And it is the same human mind that devised these incredibly sophisticated ways to heal physical suffering through surgery ; and yet is apparently incapable of finding means to heal the feeling, suffering emotions. Experienced by the same human mind.

It must mean something, but I don’t know what.

All I can do is note this with astonishment.

And keep up with the exercises.

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