Knee problems cramp my normal spring style

Normally, spring is the busiest season for me. As soon as winter weather gives the tiniest hint of breaking, I’m outside fixing fences, building walls, turning over soil, cleaning corrals, brushing out horses, etc.

As the weather warms, I begin planting garden areas, cleaning poultry pens and raising chicks. Whenever possible, I try to get my children and grandchildren involved. All the activity provides me with information and ideas for newspaper stories, blogs, magazine articles and more.

This year knee replacement surgery on Feb. 27 set me far behind schedule. The first four weeks post-surgery were terrible. The pain was awful and it took all my strength and effort to do simple tasks like taking a shower or going to the dining room to eat.

Thankfully, for most of those early weeks my sweet wife completely catered to me. She even did all of my daily animal chores and never complained. I also had supplemental help from other family members. I owe a lot of thanks to many different people.

After 10 weeks, I am walking without crutches or a cane. I can go up and down stairs. I can even carefully walk up and down the hill in my backyard to take care of my horses and poultry. I still get gimpy and sore at the end of the day and daily therapy to regain my strength and flexibility will be necessary for many more weeks.

Next week I was supposed to be leaving on a fishing trip to Canada. I had to back out because I am still icing my knee several times a day to control swelling.

I learned some important lessons from this experience. I saw some obvious problems with the health care system. Yet it is difficult to complain because I have an artificial knee that should carry me through the rest of my life much better than the old one could have. It might be the only joint in my body where I no longer have to worry about the degeneration and pain from arthritis.

Through the course of therapy and treatment I met dozens of wonderful people who were also dealing with significant medical issues. I was impressed with their optimism and fortitude in spite of painful and debilitating conditions for most.

Thankfully, spring did not totally pass me by. Cold weather delayed many early blooms. The lilacs are at their peak right now—about two weeks behind the typical schedule. Last week I was able to take engagement photos for my youngest son and my soon-to-be daughter-in-law. The tulips and fruit trees blossoms were glorious and we were able to incorporate them into many of the photos.

My backyard is a jungle because it hasn’t been mowed yet. I hope I can finally get to it by this weekend. And even though I won’t be in Canada next week, I hope I can make it out fishing for the first time this year. I’m not ready to put the boat in the water, but I could probably sit in a camp chair for an hour or two and catch bluegills from the harbor docks.

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