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Sunday, March 22, 2015

If It Is To Be...

I've had a few folks check in lately and ask; "How are your knees?"
They're just fine, thanks for asking.
For those relative newcomers to this blog, on 13 January 2013 I fell down a set of concrete steps while carrying a heavy container. I could not brace my fall with my arms, so my knees hit first. I completely ruptured both of my quadriceps tendons. My right kneecap was halfway down my shin, and...well - you get the picture. Approximately 28 hours later, I was on the table @ Wilkes-Barre General Hospital getting everything reattached.
The Dr. who did the surgery was a hard-charging 30 something; a no-nonsense kinda guy that was very, very good at his chosen profession. Although he never said "you'll never walk normally again", he clearly indicated that wherever I was at 12 months post-surgery, that's the best I could expect for the rest of my life.  
So that's the first piece of bad news received.
As we live in SE PA, and the surgeon was in the Kingston area in NE PA, we decided to transfer my follow-up visits during the rest of my recovery and rehab to an orthopedic surgeon closer to home. "Dr. C" was a sixty something that just retired in early 2015, and my wife had worked with him ( she's an O/R nurse ) for over 20 years and felt he was the best of the best in our area.
During our initial appointment, his message to me was: "Take it easy & protect your knees; don't fall again!" When I asked how much of my leg function I would get back, his simple answer was:
"That's up to you."
He set-up a rehab schedule with a P/T group we picked in Harleysville, and from March through July, I was there twice a week getting pushed and stretched and scraped. Prior to that, from late January through March, I also had an RN and a P/T coming to my home several times a week to monitor my health and my progress. My wife took a brief leave of absence from work, and most of her time was spent on the phone fighting with insurance companies to get approval for the equipment and care that she knew I needed. My daughter, also an RN, came home from CA for a week when my wife went back to work. She helped me start walking outside while there were still patches of snow on the ground.
As of late and for a variety of reasons, I've been thinking about the gap in experience between 30-somethings I work with and those of us that are potentially within a few years of early retirement. I will simply offer this: Although I recognize there will always be exceptions, there is no substitute for experience. I'm at 26 months post injury, and I am still making progress. Thankfully, my recovery did not stop at 12 months as predicted.
My takeaway? When experience speaks, slow down a little and listen. You just might learn something.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
If It Is To Be It Is Up To Me


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