The old saying "be good to your knees, you'll miss them when they're gone," goes through my mind now whenever I see people out for a brisk jog or run, because I used to take my knees for granted, too - at least until they no longer would allow me the luxury.
Arthritis in my left knee, inherited from my father, and aggravated by a series of incidents starting when I was just a child, had made my life increasingly difficult over the past three years.
I finally no longer could walk without using a cane, but my x-rays didn't tell the entire story of my pain, so I continued to get steroid and other types of shots until they also failed, and eventually just made the pain worse.
I was sure my days as a reporter were numbered if I didn't get back on my feet, and the sooner the better.
When I found out I finally was going to get relief, I almost thought it was too good to be true.
My first experience with an orthopod had not worked out well, but when I met Dr. Donald Golobek of North Central Orthopedic Services in Wellsboro, I knew I had found the right medical professional to help me.
I finally heard the words I longed to hear, "We tried everything else, looks like we need to do this surgery."
My only concern was the time I would need off from work - at least two months.
As the only reporter in the Northern Tier for the paper, I knew my absence would place a hardship on my employers and fellow reporters, but they were gracious and worked with me to get better, so I could return to work whole and well, and for that I am grateful.
Following a two-to-three hour surgery in April, Golobek told my husband while I was in the recovery room what he had found was "a whole lot worse than we thought, and it's a good thing we did this now."
My hospital experience at Soldiers and Sailors was great, and the nursing staff was wonderful to me.
The only problems I had stemmed from my erratic blood pressure which caused me to nearly pass out the second day after surgery when I hobbled into the bathroom with my walker.
After my meds were adjusted, and I started to gain more strength, Golobek said I could go home, only four days after the surgery.
My leg was swollen and bruised from my thigh to my toes, but with the aggressiveness of the surgery, it was not unusual to see that, I was told.
I was home, and my husband began his turn as nursemaid. (I had done mine with him about 12 years ago after he broke his leg in several places and needed three surgeries to fix him up.)
Though he isn't a cook, he did pretty well, the only problem was, I wasn't hungry. The anesthesia had left me feeling quite sluggish, and the pain meds and iron pills I was on didn't help either.
Even after things cleared out I discovered I still had no appetite for much of anything, and so, without meaning to, I lost a few pounds.
Not the best way to lose weight, but I needed to shed it and so it was gone, putting less weight on my joints - a good thing all in all.
Following a couple weeks of physical therapy at home, I started outpatient therapy at Elite Therapy in Mansfield. More on that next time.
Clarke is the Northern Tier reporter for the Sun-Gazette. She can be contacted at email@example.com