Under the knife again


A week from today I will go under the knife again. Having had my left knee replaced about six years ago, the time has arrived to replace the right knee as well.

This will be either my fifth or sixth knee surgery, I have lost count. If it is the sixth, then the first four were done arthroscopically and were done to repair torn places due to wear and tear or injury. By the time this is all over, as one NFL quarterback said, “My knees (will) look like I got in a fight with a midget and lost.”

The first knee replacement was accomplished by opening up an 18-inch cut which required 47 metal staples to keep it all together after the surgery. I’m told this next surgery will only require a five to six inch cut and metal staples will not be used.

In any event, they still must do the carpentry work and saw out my knee joint and replace it with plastic and metal. I have no cartilage left in that knee, so it has been “bone on bone” for quite some time.

I blame the surgeries and replacement on several factors: A few years ago, I learned that my feet are ever so slightly misaligned. The obvious result of this congenital condition is that my shoes wear out on the outside soles fairly frequently. The suggested correction for this by the podiatrist was to either break both ankles and re-set them or buy shoes more often. I opted for more frequent shoes.

I also am of the opinion that eight seasons of football as a center or tackle, thirty years of martial arts (Isshin-Ryu karate for the curious), and however many miles I marched and ran while I was in the Marine Corps all contributed to the damage to the knees. Having a bit of extra weight did not help, I am sure.

Unlike last time, when I stayed in the hospital overnight at least one night (my memory is a bit fuzzy), this time I am told I will be going home (or to a rehab facility) after the surgery. I will not be able to drive for six weeks and, if my previous experience is any sort of a guide, I will have about three months or more of physical therapy. At least I know what to expect, so that’s good.

So, once again, I embark on a journey that will last about a year before I will be able to return to normal — at least “normal” without continual pain. Looking ahead, I have one dread and one specific thing I am looking forward to.

I dread the needle that will put me under. I’m not afraid of needles, but back around the first of the year, the person taking my blood for a procedure required eight sticks to get the needle in. I am what they call a “hard stick.” What I am looking forward to is the ability to kneel in church. I haven’t been able to do that without pain for a long time.

In my recovery at home, I will have the best care. My wife is a registered nurse and a retired professor and associate dean from the Tanner School of Nursing, the University of West Georgia. I couldn’t ask for a better person to take care of me and to make me do the necessary things I don’t want to do.

So, by the time a week has passed, I will be one step closer to being a cyborg. Your prayers are appreciated! And, as one famous cyborg once said, God willing, “I’ll be back!”

[David Epps is the Rector of the Cathedral of Christ the King (www.ctk.life). During the pandemic, the church is open at 10:00 a.m. on Sundays but is also live streaming at www.ctk.life. He is the bishop of the Diocese of the Mid-South (www.midsouthdiocese.life) He may contacted at davidepps@ctk.life.]