Because I worry, I asked lots of questions. When I could expect more mobility? Why am I having cramping in the night occasionally in my calf? etc. Finally, I asked the question I was most concerned about. My scar is still quite hot to the touch. When leaving the hospital, the main thing that is impressed upon joint replacement recipients over and over is that if your incision gets hot and red, check in immediately, it’s an infection. Even though nothing feels bad, I was concerned that perhaps this hotness of my healed scar meant that underneath I was not accepting the titanium implant.
Fortunately, x-rays showed that that worry was unfounded. The surgeon assured me that everything was beautiful inside and out, and that the heat at this point simply meant that there was still healing going on under the surface.
I’ve been thinking about the implications of healing going on under the surface for several days now. Healing that happens that we don’t see. In the systems of our body there are blood cells rushing to the scene to do their jobs in preventing infection and providing nourishment, bones to support us, ligaments to tie us together. That doesn’t begin to bring in the respiratory system and our healing breath, our digestive system providing nourishment for growth and removal of waste, or the nerves which regenerate and grow after surgery. Our bodies are fantastic, and they are one system with the brain as well.
So often we want to divorce our brains from our bodies, to heal bodily trauma by withdrawing the mind, or to forget we have a body at all. Having surgery brings us into our bodies in a visceral way. During this recovery, I’ve worked to stay with myself, to not withdraw from pain, to have the experience as a unified whole. It hasn’t been easy, but I think in large part it’s why I recovered so quickly. I’ve done the work of healing, massaging the scar and my leg on the outside and doing PT exercises to heal on the inside. The energy work I’ve given myself and received from others finds holistic ways to reach what I can’t. I had a fabulous Alexander turn with my friend Sarah that reminded me to lengthen my torso before trying to stand after weeks of curling up in bed. All this work combined has me back at about 90% of my knee function. And yet…. there’s still more underneath. Slow Forward.
Where else in my life have I felt the heat of healing? Have I been afraid of what’s going on underneath, or have I done the work? Unanswered questions to ponder deeply for the next few months.
I am reminded of a quote from Bruce Fertman. “Fear is a loss of contact and support. To decrease fear, increase contact and support.” More to ponder here, always.
One day, the surgeon said, I’ll just wake up and notice my scar is not hot anymore. That will mean that the underlying healing is complete. That feeling, I think I know.