Month 7 after the TKR

January started so well. The New Year meant that my total knee replacement felt further away as it was now ‘last year’. On the first weekend of the year, I went for a Sunday afternoon walk on the North Downs, walked up St Martha’sHill and tested out my knee on a sandy path which had always been difficult. It was fine. 

My New Year’s resolution was to walk up a mountain in the Autumn which meant I needed to increase my stamina and my strength each month and I was checking progress on my Fitbit. The plan was to increase the distance I could walk from 3-4 miles to 10 miles by adding in an extra mile each month and to walk up  hills and on rougher paths. 

But then a peculiar diamond shaped patch of rash appeared above my waist;  red raised spots close together, about 4cm by 2cm which seemed to be attached into my skin and hurt when I moved. I went to the GP who could see that they were spreading around my back and confirmed it was shingles. And simultaneously, I lost my voice and acquired a persistent, hacking cough.  

The only thing to do was to rest and then rest some more for two whole weeks. I felt worse than when I had first had my operation and spent a lot of time lying flat on my bed as when I moved, I had a stabbing pain through my abdomen. I felt totally exhausted but everyone I spoke to, confirmed that shingles was indeed rubbish. After a fortnight, I ventured out to Tate Modern to an exhibition, but had to adjourn to the cafe half way through as my legs felt weak. 

View from the Members' Room at Tate Modern
View from the Members’ Room at Tate Modern

A friend sent me a text, ‘Convalescing is all about resilience, patience, and belief in the future,’ and in my fatigued, disgruntled state, I had to believe it.

At the end of the month, my husband said ‘You look better now.’ 
‘Why, how did I look before?’ I asked. 
‘Terrible but I didn’t want to say, in case it upset you,’ he replied. 

February could only be better.


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