Even though I had my surgery six years ago now back when I was 16, I can still remember they first time I really paid attention to knees as clear as though it were yesterday.
Before I had the operation, they had both begun to turn inwards (the left more so that the right) and were giving me a fair bit of pain in lots of parts of my body because of the way that I was standing and sitting. By then, it had got to the point where they didn’t even really face outwards when I sat down anymore either.
As silly as this possibly sounds, I don’t really remember paying all that much attention to how they now looked for the first couple of days after I’d had the work done. I must have seen them at some point but it didn’t really register. I was still in bed with an epidural block in my spine with lots of pain killers in my system. I think I noticed that they were looking better as I lay there with my legs outstretched (which was already a huge change in the right direction for Lefty already.
It hit home most of all when the epidural was taken away and I was told that it was time to brave my first attempt at getting out of bed and having a shower. This is the point where my memory really kicks in. Mostly because everything that followed in the next half-an hour of so really, really hurt.
I very quickly realised that sitting myself up onto a sliding board and pulling myself into the shower friendly wheelchair wasn’t easy. I couldn’t do into matter how hard I seemed to try. My hips (which had been broken as part of the surgery so that my knees could be reset) were throbbing and my arms were heavy with effort. Eventually (and a lot of help later) I was in! Later, I was given something called a Monkey Pole to help me pull myself into a sitting position, and mum came up with the idea of swinging my legs off the edge of bed before I tried to use the slide board, which made life so much easier I cannot even begin to tell you. For now though, back to sitting in The Chair.
These chairs also had a hole in the bottom so that you could sit on them over the toilet to go to the loo. There is probably a proper name for it but I don’t know it, sorry. I’m pretty sure my one hips brushed against the edges of the hole a couple of times. That hurt a fair bit, too.
So I sat in the shower, being washed down by my mum, crying. It all felt too soon and it all felt too much. I sat and wailed that I had made a mistake, that I had been stupid, and Mum kept telling me that I hadn’t and carried on washing my hair. I looked glumly at the floor and waited for her to rinse the shampoo from my eyes.
That was when I was them, blurry from water at first, but I blinked that away and they were still there. Two nice and pink, (the water was lovely and warm) front-facing, ‘normal’-looking knees! I wasn’t crying now, but I did hear myself actually gasp the phrase “I’ve got normal knees”.
Mum laughed and assured me that I had, them there were more tears, but happy ones this time, and suddenly I knew that I hadn’t made a mistake. It would be a long journey, but it would all be worth it.