SHORT-TERM PAIN…

Can you finish the phrase?  I just had a total knee replacement for the second time (I have two knees, so I don’t plan to do anymore). This round is a struggle. I was bearing down on my swollen knee, and a family member said, “Don’t do that. You’ll hurt yourself.” To which I replied, “Hospital people told me to do it, and you’re right–it hurts.”

When I go for my “required” walks in the hall, the first steps are painful. The knee wants to settle in with status quo (state as is). But what we’re going for is flexibility. Getting there hurts. If I don’t do the sometimes painful physical therapy, the knee will decide that we are settling for less than it is capable of.

I wouldn’t mind pain if it didn’t hurt so much. My preference is to not do the exercises. I’d rather lie in bed and groan once in a while. I need a long-term vision for the PT (and for life). People have coached me by saying from experience, “It’s all in the PT.” I would like to tell them, “But you don’t understand–PT hurts.” They went through it, so they do understand. They know that it will hurt much more in six months when I try to make my knee do what it should do, and it can’t, because I went the no-pain route.

I sometimes see pastors avoiding conflict. It hurts. Conflict is the light on the dashboard, saying that something needs to be dealt with. The light does not fix the problem; it only alerts me to the problem. How foolish if I put my hand on the dashboard to cover the light because I don’t like what it is saying. I must see the light as my friend, letting me know that I have business. I once tried to ignore the light telling me that the engine was hot. I figured I could get to the top of the hill and coast. Wrong. I didn’t drive the car home. It was towed. Cost me much more to ignore it than to deal with the problem.

Like I said it another blog: short-term pain–long-term gain. The opposite is also true. Avoid the conflict and it becomes a disaster. Deal with the conflict and learn how to live successfully. There may be fallout, but less than by avoiding it. Peter warns us not to be surprised at the trials that come our way, but we often do: “I thought it was going to be easier.” Jesus told us, “In the world you will have tribulation…”

So I am doing the exercises with a heavily swelled knee. The pain is actually my clue that something good is happening. Interesting. Sometimes we interpret pain as the absence of God. Maybe He is closest to us in our pain. Just as I got correction for causing pain to my knee, some “friends” who don’t understand may encourage you out of pain–the very thing you need to become all God wants you to.

When we get to the point where we can thank God for the pain that is stretching our spiritual muscles, we are posturing ourselves for long-term gain. Hey, I think I’m getting it. Back to the exercises. Ouch!

4 comments on “SHORT-TERM PAIN…

  1. Joyce Hardwick says:

    Oh Paul, how I identify with your thoughts. I’m a couple of weeks ahead of you but still fight pain, especially in going down stairs. Ouch. Time to read a book or take a nap. Not do more PT exercises! But I know from experience- what hurt terribly one day can feel less painful the next. Praying for you. Aren’t we glad we only have two knees?!

    • I am going to Latvia and Finland. I just realized that these knees have never been there before, though the rest of me has many times. It will be a new experience for them. Looking forward to two months down the road. Thanks for your sympathy, Joyce.

  2. Heidi Brooks says:

    Hi Pastor Paul! I had both my knees replaced in 2014 (7 months apart). Now I help administrate a huge support group online for TKR people. 🙂 It’s important that you treat REST as a crucial part of therapy — just as in life — to benefit from the healing process, especially in the first couple of months. Elevate your leg, as we like to say, “Toes above nose, knee above heart, as straight as you can make it” which will help with the swelling and pain.

    When are you going to Latvia & Finland? Hopefully it’s not for a while. If it’s within the next 6-12 months, get guidance & clearance from your doctor before flying, since you’ll be at risk for blood clots after this major surgery. You may already know all this, but in case you don’t, it’s very good to know! And, of course, before you walk through the metal detectors, let them know you have new knees. I set off the detectors at a courthouse already. 🙂

    Sending you Love & Prayers & Hugs!!
    Heidi (O’Brien) Brooks

    • Good to hear from you, Heidi. Where do you live these days? Usually see your mom when we take our yearly trip to San Pedro. Thank you for the instruction. Good to hear it from a pro. I cancelled a trip to Detroit because of on being three weeks away. The doctor said I could fly in four weeks by taking some blood thinners. Sounds like you know your stuff. How wonderful to help people like this. My advantage is that I am still doing a lot of exercises at 73, so I went in strong. Came through the first one fast. This one is complicated by much more swelling. I am staying in touch with people who know how to do this and going regularly to PT. Kind of you to reach out! Love to you and your extended family!!

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