If you had to choose: More years out of your life, or more life out of your years, which would it be?
These are the choices I'm thinking hard on just now.
At this moment, I'm leaning toward adding life to my years. I finally decided that enough was enough - I'm going ahead with the knee replacement. I know it won't bring back the knee of my misspent youth, but I can at least get my rump off of the couch and actively participate in our daily farm life to a greater extent than I do now. How much use and pain relief I'll get from my prosthesis is a mystery. It's a case-by-case thing.
When the pain and swelling get so bad now, that standing long enough to cook my kids breakfast ends up trashing my knee for the day, the idea of a knee replacement seems like a Godsend.
But there's a heck of a lot more to the process than just replacing a broken part and getting on with life. There are a lot of potential complications, firstly, that my prosthesis will expire before I do, necessitating a second fairly involved surgery, and the possible removal of even more pieces of my leg bones.
Secondly, I have to be extra careful about preventing and quickly treating infection in my body for the rest of my life, lest the infection become blood-borne and travel to my new knee, necessitating surgical intervention to disinfect or possibly replace the parts. What does that mean for me? Antibiotics before every dental visit, seeing my doctor sooner rather than later anytime I suspect that I have a sinus infection, or any other otherwise-small bacterial infection. I'm not a fan of taking antibiotics, so this caveat is no small impediment for me.
Thirdly, my body and my family have already been through the ringer this year. Our car accident in May broke my arm and my thumb, spawned a pair of brain bleeds, gave me a wicked, lingering concussion, erased a good chunk of my memory, and cost me about 20% of my scalp, which took three months to re-grow, even after plastic surgery. Should I really even think about putting my body and my poor, put-upon husband through another round of incapacity?
And lastly, though this is a fix of sorts, my life won't be quite the same anymore. On my list of permanent can'ts are things like running, jumping and jogging, or anything else that could be considered a high-impact activity. Not that those figure greatly into my daily life, but still, when someone tells you that you can't do something, you grieve the loss of that freedom a little. They're also pretty adamant that I avoid falling down on my new knee. Now that could be a problem for me. Gravity and I don't always get along so well. Soon, I'll have to be extra-extra careful not to wipe out in a giant pile of chicken crap or step into a molehill, since apparently, I've not been precisely fastidious in avoiding these pratfalls up until now. I'm glad that someone out there has faith in my ability to pull my shizz together!
So, there it is. The good, the bad, the annoying and the practically-impossible, all laid out just like that. If I had a sincere love of couch surfing and piling evermore crap on my husband's to-do list, I could ride this messed-up knee thing all the way down the line. But I don't. We bought a farm because I wanted to work a farm, not play armchair quarterback to my poor, overburdened hubbin. So in spite of all the downsides, can'ts and possible complications, I feel like my only real move here is to take a chance on this procedure.
The length of time I have here on earth is completely uncertain, as my brush with mortality in the high desert taught me well. I have to be decisive and take the best advantage I can of what lies directly in front me, and that is working this farm, building a family business and experiencing life and exploring the world with my husband and daughters. And the knee I have now won't get me there, so in the end I guess there really isn't much of a choice...
I'm gonna do it.