Weighty Matters

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Asking for Help – Being Willing

on March 22, 2017

Hard to believe that a week has gone by since my knee replacement. All things considered, I’m doing pretty well. My fitness activities of rowing and Tai Chi have paid off. I am already strong enough to not use the walker, at least at home.  This was okayed by my physical therapist. I still take the walker out with me for short walks just in case I get tired, but I’m also careful to find the right balance between pushing myself to recover and overdoing.

Pain comes and goes. It’s odd because the site of the pain moves. Sometimes I feel it right in my knee but other times it’s located in my upper thigh or the side of my leg, even down on my shin. I still have a fair amount of bruising and swelling from the procedure which contribute to the soreness. The worst time for me is in the middle of the night. I believe this is because my leg stiffens from inactivity and that just aggravates the different parts. So, I’m not getting good sleep. As a result, I’ve been taking naps a few times during the day. All in all, things are manageable with medication, massage, rest and icing.

I can tell you that I’ve learned this procedure and recovery process isn’t for sissies. I had my first physical therapy session on Monday. The goals are to increase my extension and flexion. In order to do this, we need to challenge my leg and muscles and that requires me to keep pushing, even when it hurts. Pushing through the pain leads to improvement. I know this. I can feel it after. However, it does not make for a pleasant process. On Monday during the session I was extremely grateful that I was able to keep from verbalizing the colorful language that was rocketing around in my brain.

I left with instructions to do at least four sets of four specific exercises every day at home. I space them out throughout the day. Yesterday, the first two sets were torturous, but I am tough and determined, so I didn’t wimp out. I continued to push through the pain, following the therapist’s instructions to not go past a 6 or 7 on the pain level. By the time I did the first set in the afternoon, I noticed that the exercises weren’t quite as painful, so I know that continuing to work my leg, even when uncomfortable, reaps benefits. I hold onto that thought when my inner child wants to whine.

So, that’s where I am so far, a week out from the operation. My brother and sister-in-law left on Monday so I’m on my own at home. My family could not have been better caregivers and I am eternally grateful that they interrupted their lives to fly down and help me. They were physically helpful, of course. My sister-in-law carefully wrapped my leg so that I could shower and then checked and re-bandaged my incision. However, she also went to the supermarket and cooked for us and did my laundry. My brother found some fix-it jobs around the house and took care of them, like fixing my sliding screen. Everything they did made my life easier.

Good friends prepared a meal for us for Friday night. The husband transported me to and from my PT appointment. The wife is doing that for me today. Friends have texted and called to see if I need anything. My neighbors check in on me.

I am surrounded by people who care about me and are ready, willing and able to help.  I am, indeed, a very fortunate woman. This situation is teaching me an important lesson. It is okay for me to ask for help when I need it. Recognizing that I can’t do everything by myself right now and being willing to reach out to the helping hands that are ready does not compromise my security or my standing as a strong woman. Accepting assistance doesn’t mean I’m weak.

For some reason, this has always been hard for me. I’m not sure why. I know when I was  younger I liked that people considered me strong, dependable and someone on whom they could rely. That became my reputation so perhaps I thought that I needed to protect that image. Maybe it was a subset of my issues with low self-esteem and I was over-compensating. So, always being strong became massively important. It’s really interesting for me to look at these things now from my more adult, better adjusted perspective.

Today, I’m looking at my willingness to ask for and accept help as positive indication of a healthier self-esteem. I can ask for assistance because I believe that I am worthy to receive it.

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2 responses to “Asking for Help – Being Willing

  1. JulieR says:

    Mary, I’m so glad to hear you are progressing well!

    And congratulations for realizing that it’s not weakness to ask for help when you really need it!

    So often there’s a double standard — we expect more of ourselves than we do of others. If any of your friends or family members were in the same situation you would be unhappy if they *didn’t* ask for and accept your help. So plan to pay it forward some day and get back to concentrating on taking care of yourself.

    BTW, I only know you from seeing your posts here and at arghink.com and probably reinventingfabulous.com (there’s so much crossover between the two, I may just be assuming you were there as well as at arghink). Though we live a continent apart, we are near in age and struggle with many of the same issues. Thank you for your openness. Your posts on “Always Hungry?” alone have helped me and at least two others who were inspired by my success. Hearing about how you’ve dealt with your knee issues has made me redouble my efforts to take better care of my own, problematic knees. I guess I’m just trying to make sure you know that when you send your words off into internet-land, they do more good than you probably realize. Thank you.

    • Mary Stella says:

      Julie, thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words. I’m glad that you derive some support and help by me sharing my experiences. Sorry you’re having food and knee issues. I hope that you’re able to see improvement!

      Yes, I used to frequent both those blog sites. I haven’t been to Argh in ages! I definitely need to go back.

      Take care and thank you again.

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