A doctor once said to me: It's not like a car, Margaret. You don't just pull out the bad part and plug in a new part. It takes time to heal. I thought all my doctors were saying that when nine months or 12 months was past, I'd feel normal. The pain would go away. And stay away. I didn't even ask what to expect after nine months or twelve months.
Even after I fell on the saltillo twice in the middle of the night, soon after arriving in Texas, I felt better than I expected. There were periods as soon as five months after surgery, when I felt cured. A day here or there in the spring or early summer when I walked around the shopping district without the cane. And yet there were setbacks that lasted weeks. Walking has usually helped. Elevating my feet always helped with pain in the night. Now I don't even take the cane in the car with me.
But this morning I had tingly legs (the first thing they had asked about after the first round of nerve blocking shots after the diagnosis). Yesterday I had leg pain.
An X-ray after the night-time falls came back normal. And I haven't fallen since. The only explanation I can think of for current symptoms is that I postponed the surgery too long. Those leg nerves took a beating.
The surgeon says only sit for a half hour, then get up and do something, move around. But yesterday I sat for an hour in an absorbing meeting, and not for the first time. Then I couldn't resist sitting for awhile in Starbucks with my book. I wanted my "normal" life back. But it was probably "normal" life (moving some furniture ever so carefully) that sent me for diagnosis and the first round of shots two, almost three, years ago.
Now I'm working on "New Normal." Because I have to. After all, even repaired cars still need maintenance. And my mechanic says I'm not 29 anymore.