As a child, I grew up on a farm and spent a lot of time on my hands and knees planting and harvesting tobacco, watermelon and collard greens. While I loved working the land, the hard labor left me with some pretty stiff knees and painful joints- a condition that only worsened after 20 years of wear and tear driving a school bus.
The pain got so bad that I chose to sit on the school bus after dropping off the students because I knew it would be too hard to get up and down the bus steps. I always had ice pack and pain ointment handy when I got home from work, but the first-aid only went so far before it was time to get back on my feet and start the whole cycle over again. I tried medications and shots to alleviate the swelling and just set my mind to tolerate the pain, but it kept getting worse.
The final straw came one morning as I was getting out of bed. Almost as soon as my feet hit the ground, it seemed like my legs just buckled beneath me and I went down on the ground. I couldn’t get back up for more than twenty minutes. I was 42 years-old, and knew it was time to do something. The pain was limiting my ability to walk. It was limiting my ability to stand and to work.
Last year, I had both of my knees replaced, and I have to say the surgery was a “piece of cake” compared to the pain I had been living with. Now, I don’t have to worry about unexpected falls, ice packs or how I’m going to get up the stairs to drive my school bus. I am so grateful I can work and walk again!