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Well, I didn’t . It conjured up the picture (or whatever sensory thing it is) of old person pee; this because I know some folks who live in “rehabilitation facilities” and they’re just nursing homes. Nope, I was going home after my three days in the Beth Israel tomb and hiking up them steps like a mutha-sheeper. This was my plan.

Instead, I found out that for many practical purposes, “total knee replacement” means “removing your leg and replacing it with a pillar of pain.” I needed Mommy to help me pee; no way was I going home to my kids like that.

So, off to rehab we went, me and my stuffed leopard Max, who I discovered is useful as a cervical pillow. There was a support strut up the length of the ambulance’s stretcher that dug into the sore place worn into my butt by four days in bed, and I spent an hour trying to wiggle around it and not make prolonged eye contact with the car in back of us, because weird.

My rehab hospital was in the boonies of Woburn (pronounced WOO-burn) and I was there for only two weeks, because (to quote a certain popular video game) I was filled with determination. I had three hours of therapy a day except on the weekends: an hour of individual PT with the adorable Amy, another hour of OT with the lovable Leigh, who re-introduced me to the wonderful world of personal hygiene with tactful assistance, and then Gait Group, which was boring and rubbed my nose into what a wussy I still was. Those 37 steps loomed over me like a monster guarding the gates to my longed-for home, and I was vastly relieved when Amy and I worked out how to do the hardest part, which is stepping through the door of my building.

Little by little the knee became more cooperative. I got a canned lecture on how Pain Meds Are Bad while I was there, which was weird, because my surgeon’s practice has made it clear that there’s only a certain window to bring the knee fully online, and if pain is getting in the way, it makes the whole freaking exercise pointless, and you can always just be brought off the meds if needed. (Yay! say I. Especially since the anticoagulant for the blood clots mean I can’t use NSAIDs like most post-surgical folks.)

I ordered some basic stuff while there, joining Amazon Prime to make sure it got home in time: Handlebars for my john, a bench for my shower, and a couple of reaching tools which have captivated the cat, who can’t get her tail grabbed by them often enough. I recommend all these things.

Then the golden moment came when the bestie showed up to spring me the hell out of there. It hadn’t been a bad stay–bed was comfy, roommates nice–but the night shift left something to be desired in terms of getting the pain meds out on time. (I Officially Complained, which caused a minor kerfuffle, with night service improving radically afterwards. Use that phone number on the wall, patients of the world!)

And with the help of my daughter at thar sheeping doorway, I made it up all 37 steps just fine. Yay me!

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