Father Damian Ference has learned that having knee surgery is not a "set it and forget it" lesson in quick fixes. Healing takes work, his work, and that can be tough stuff. Today, in the second of his "Lessons from Surgery" series, he shares what he's learned about spiritual healing through the rigors of physical therapy, and how his "scientist" got the ball rolling. But the heavy lifting? That's the patient's burden. Read the first installment here.
The Scientist brought a model of a knee in the examination room with him. Step by step he walked me through the operation. I was fascinated. When he finished, he asked if I had any questions. I did. I wanted to know how long the surgery would take, how long I would be on crutches, how long rehab would take, how long before I could drive, how long before I could walk, how long before I could run, and what kind of risks were involved with my surgery. He took his time and answered each question thoroughly. Two weeks later he sliced into my leg.
The surgery was scheduled for one hour, but the Scientist said that there was more damage to the knee than he was able to determine from the MRI, so it took him a little over two hours to complete the procedure. When I woke up, my left leg was wrapped in an ACE bandage and a fancy leg brace that works as an immobilizer. I ate a bowl of ice and two red popsicles, and then asked if I could go home—I told the nurse I was afraid to get a staph infection. She checked with the Scientist and he released me from the hospital that afternoon.
The surgery happened on Thursday. On Monday I began physical therapy. The Scientist, a nurse and a physical therapist were all in the examination room that day. The nurse took off the brace and bandage. The Scientist examined the incision and commented on the swelling—he said it looked like I’d been icing and elevating often, as instructed. Then he asked me to lift my left leg. I couldn’t. He smiled and explained that he had to cut into my quad muscle in order to flip my kneecap over for the microfracture surgery. He said the muscle would come back, but that it might take a few weeks. That’s when the physical therapist took over and introduced me to the exercises that I would have to do every day, three times a day...