Knee surgery is a hell of an experience, especially considering all the comments I’ve received.
The last time I felt so consumed by physical pain, I was lying spread-eagle with four men peering at my nether regions – this was in preparation for a baby to shoot out into the world. In the end, my suffering produced a human being, so it was worth it. AND people seemed to empathize with the pain of childbirth.
Fast forward 55 years to knee replacement surgery…
Sure, I got a new knee out of it, but nobody understands this kind of pain. Or seems to care. But if there’s anyone about to undergo knee surgery, below are some canned responses to use when interacting with people on the low-end of the empathy spectrum.
“Why is it taking you so long to recover? I had a friend who won a triathlon, rewired her entire house and replaced two toilets a week after surgery.”
Response: My apologies! My post-op care team neglected to tell me to compete with Wonder Woman. I’ll ask my physician if I can employ a body double to perform these activities. Thank you so much for your unsolicited judgement!
“You are going to get hooked on those drugs. You can’t be in THAT much pain! My cesarean scar ripped open TWICE and I didn’t shed a tear!”
Response: Wow, and here I thought that all bodies were different and that every patient responded differently to surgery. Would you like the number of the physician who prescribed my pain killers? I’m sure she would love to hear your opinion.
“You’re so lazy. I went through twenty hours of labor and gave birth at home to an 18-pounder. Did I lie around for weeks after, crying? Nope, I washed the floors, breast fed him a dozen times and did the New York Times crossword puzzle before he was six hours old.”
Response: The trophy shop wants to know if you’d prefer a Large or Extra-Large MY PAIN IS MORE VALID THAN YOURS plaque. I assume that’s the purpose of you visiting me today?
“Why do you have a disabled parking sticker? If I can lug triplets to the mall from a parking space two towns away, you should be able to limp a couple of rows.”
Response: I prefer to reserve my energy stores for creating art and overthrowing the patriarchy. I’ll take all the help I can get.
“Honey, what do you mean you can’t sleep? I slept through our kids blowing out a wall trying to use a pressure cooker.”
Response: Yes, I too would appreciate the sound sleep gained from not worrying about our children’s wellbeing every moment of the day. Could we swap these stereotypical mom/dad roles until my knee fully recovers?
And one comment I wish visitors would say:
“Wow! That knee surgery took ten years off your face!”