One of the things I learned during this process was that everyone experiences pain and heals at a different rate. I had asked Dr. Johnson if my lethargy and weakness just after my surgery was "normal." He said he'd seen just about every kind of reaction during his career. He'd known patients who were sitting up and ready to move around just several hours after surgery to ones who didn't want to do anything but sleep. Some barely needed any pain medication; others depended heavily on it. But every patient, no matter how they reacted, was always carefully monitored for any complications such as adverse reactions to drugs, blood clots, or a developing infection.
Luckily I didn't suffer any complications during my convalescence and I was able to return to work after six weeks without so much as a limp. However, I knew from my research that it would take at least a year for the healing to be complete, and I was determined not to be impatient. I literally had to retrain my brain to recognize the fact that I could now shop, visit museums, sit through a play, climb stairs, and take long walks again. My knee no longer ruled my life.
It's been a little over two years since my surgery. A day doesn't go by that I don't think about the miracle of my knee. I've traveled to a lot of places during that time. Most recently, I returned to England. I couldn't help but remember my last painful trip there and that afternoon sitting on a London park bench. This time I visited the southern county of Devon. I walked miles through idyllic English villages, shopped in bustling outdoor markets, and hiked along the stony severe beaches of the Jurassic Coast. One highlight was attending the wedding of two dear friends that took place in an ancient church located in the tiny hamlet of Colaton Raleigh. That night at the couple's reception, for the first time in years, I danced. Without pain. Without even thinking about my knee. Into the wee hours of the morning.