Every day my husband asks me, “Are you better today than you were yesterday?”
Every day, I could confidently answer that question. I was getting a little more mobile and a little less achy with each passing day. I felt like Wonder Woman — ahead of every curve for someone who just had major surgery.
Monday, Monday. Can’t trust that day.
I was apprehensive about my final in-home physical therapy visit Monday morning. I knew the therapist wanted me to get to at least a 100 degree angle on my seated knee bend. I wanted to reach that milestone. I’d had a wonderfully progressive weekend — my leg was very bendy and hardly achy at all.
I was able to get in and out of the car, tool around Target and Kroger on a Mart-Cart, make potato salad and other side dishes for Sunday’s dinner — all by only lightly leaning on my cane.
I was low on Percocet and so I was supplementing it with Tylenol and that seemed to be working.
Still, I was concerned that my knee just wouldn’t stretch back far enough to earn that triple-digit angle. But if I passed that test, I was planning to reward myself with a night out at a book club meeting. Make this last milestone, I told myself, and you’ll have earned a celebration with friends and a rousing discussion of The Bloggess’ book, “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.”
When the therapist arrived, she wanted me to walk outside to see if I could get a little speed under my feet, raise my heart rate a little. Brimming with all kinds of confidence, I scaled down our houses four front steps and was striding down the blacktop driveway, cane in hand, when my calf muscle in my right leg said, “Bitch, please.”
Worst cramp I have ever had in my life. Tears rolled down my grimaced face. I tried a couple of more steps to walk it out. My calf muscle insisted, “Bitch, apparently, you don’t listen. I said NO.”
Apparently my calf muscle is fond of calling me a bitch and it contracted that much tighter.
It was all I could do to get my hefty ass back into the house and into a chair, where my therapist applied an ice pack to my rigid leg muscle and recommended I get some magnesium tablets.
There was no seated knee bend test, as I could barely move my leg without excruciating pain. The therapist left.
It took more ice, my last two Percocet, a muscle relaxer and a banana (for the potassium) before I could put any weight on my leg at all. And the cane was now at rest; I was back leaning on my little-old-lady walker.
Remembering that the restaurant where my book club was meeting usually seated large parties on it’s second level — up two flights of stairs — I knew my big night out was probably out of the question. I called the restaurant to confirm that our party would be seated upstairs.
Had I retained the mobility I enjoyed over the weekend, I know I could have slowly angled my way up those steps. Now with my calf muscle holding a death grip on my lower leg, there was no way I could make it.
I cried just a little in disappointment.
Three weeks to the day since I had every muscle and nerve in my leg severed and sewn back on to a prosthetic, I guess I should expect the occasional setback. But this was the first big one — the first day that was not better than the last one.
I am clearly not Wonder Woman.