Posted by: Cindy Lamb Sterling | August 17, 2011

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

I did NOT:

Appear on America’s Got Talent.

Plant a summer garden and thrill my neighbors and friends with overstuffed sacks of homegrown tomatoes.

Learn to swim.  Again.

Organize my I-photo album which is not so much an album as a series of files (folders?) with only one picture in each.

Host a “Fabulous Fourth!” patio party with loads of friends, food, fun . . . and FIREWORKS!

Think of something – ANYTHING – to do to celebrate  OUR upcoming 35th wedding anniversary.

Surrender my life to full-time Christian service and begin my training for missionary work in Liberia.

Write one interesting word for the last seven weeks.


Get a new knee.

Learn to hate, then endure, then appreciate, then become slightly addicted to physical therapy.

Ride the emotional roller coaster that is post-operative life.  Narcotics (the good, the bad and the ugly), “assistive devices”  including a walker, a potty chair, a CPM (controlled passive motion machine) which was labeled. . . LEGASUS?!,  fragrantly beautiful flowers and thoughtful get well cards, delicious dinners and desserts brought in by friends who were nice enough to listen to my “homebound lady rant” and . . . tears.  Puddles of UGLY CRY NOBODY HAS EVER HURT THIS BAD kind of tears.  I haven’t cried this much since the first time I saw THE WAY WE WERE in 1974.  “You’re girl is lovely, Hubble” would have literally pushed me over the edge during my “recuperation”.   Good thing I couldn’t walk to the edge . . .

My lowest point came on week two of my recovery.  It was a Monday night.  My BFF of 40 years had gone back to Texas and left my husband and me to face the grim reality that I was the WORST PATIENT THAT EVER LIVED.  These are my words, not his.  He just rolled his eyes from time to time and told me to “Bend that knee!  They told you you HAD to BEND THAT KNEE!” as I hobbled, defiant and Chester-from-Gunsmoke like out of earshot.  I hated my husband.  I hated my surgeon most of all.  I hated myself for falling for this whole “young people like yourself are getting joint replacements all the time” line.  Young?! HA!

Fighting back tears with my best I AM FINE! face, I hobbled back into the living room to do my *floor exercises.  (*Not to be confused AT ALL with the graceful gravity-defying movements of young Olympic gymnasts.)  My long-suffering husband helped me to the yoga mat and fluffed the pillow under my weary drug-addled head.   The TV was tuned to NBC Nightly News and Brian Williams’ soothing voice gave me some inexplicable comfort and focus.  (oxycodone, I’m just sayin’ . . .)

My goal was to lift my “injured” left leg off the floor.   Until it was level with my bent right knee and hold it there for 2 – TWO – seconds.  Slowly lower to starting position.  (see attached illustration – Straight Leg Raise)  For the first time since surgery.  Without any assistance.

LSH (Long-Suffering Husband) stood over my pathetic sweaty pajama-clad mass of human despair saying something encouraging and sweet and probably funny to boost my spirits.  But all I heard was Brian Williams reporting “World War Two Hero, Fighter Pilot, Astronaut, U.S. Senator, American Hero . . . John Glenn turns 90 years old today.  And he celebrates his birthday by having knee replacement surgery!”


Oh, wouldn’t that be cool if that were true.  I mean, I DID manage my first-ever Straight Leg Raise later that same week.  And now I’m the Queen of the Straight Leg Raise, 2011 and other delightful *floor exercises.

I was hooked on dope at the time but I’m clean now so I’ll tell you the truth.  When I heard that John Glenn was having the same surgery that I had just had and I quickly imagined how brave and tough and strong he’d be in the days and weeks after?  I cried.  Wailed.  And not lovely Barbra Streisand crying for impossibly handsome Robert Redford crying either.  U G L Y   C R Y I N G.  I told you it was my lowest point.

Flash forward five weeks.  I have found my blog and a bit of my mojo again.  Those horrible “assistive devices” are long gone.  Now I sport a cool cane whose pattern was called “Summer Garden” that I have named Erica.  Erica Cane.  LOL!  My only pain pills are Tylenol and Butterfinger Bites. I still whine and moan a lot because it still hurts and I just had my knee replaced not my character.  I am on medical leave until the end of September.  I miss work and my friends and playing on the floor with my grandkids but that will come.

Happy Belated Birthday, John Glenn!   And bend that knee, sir, bend that KNEE!


  1. More, more, more. Keep writing. Your readers clamor…well, I’m always clamoring about something. incontinence…child-proof aspirin bottles, etc.This is really good material!

  2. wow. When I got to the knee part I nearly dropped my laptop. Thats a tricky operation. I hope your better and hope your fully mobile again

    • Oh pleeease don’t EVER drop your laptop! I did that a coupla years ago and it’s never been 100% the same ever since . . .

      I am sure my knee will recover 100% though:-) Thanks for reading and best of everything with YOUR blog!


  3. My Aunt had this surgery a few months back. I know it can be really tough. Glad you are over the bad phase now. And wow, your husband sounds like a great guy. Lucky you!

    • Thanks! I do have a great guy . . . and nobody laughs at me and with me more than he does:-) Keep writing, Sayali,you’re one of the truly bright spots for me!

  4. Oh Cindy, or should I say Nadia Comaneci? You got me on the Olympic gymnast comment on your floor exercises. Seriously, you are hilarious.

    I can tell you’re doing better now. You can actually FIND the humor in the whole thing.

    Love you, Laura

    • Oh Laura, you GOTTA laugh?! Trust me I did my fair share of whining and crying (I expect there’s a little more to come) but overall I’m much improved and your brother WAS a huge help.

      Nearly 35 years? wow. Theres a post, huh?

      Love you . . . Cindy


  5. only you could make knee surgery sound funny. I have also been called the worst patient in the world, and my children fervently pray that I stay healthy and mobile all the way up to the moment that I drop dead so that they do not have to be my nursemaid.
    My karma (and your husband’s) will be that he and I are left to take care of each other in our old age. Now THAT would make for some comedy!
    Glad you are feeling better and that your mojo has returned.
    Love ya, mean it!

    • I told him your “vision of the future” and he shuddered . . . I say that’s a bad sign for BOTH of you!

      Thanks for following my blog . . . I may not write as often as I had planned but I try to make it good:-)

      Love ya, mean ity, too!!

  6. Nice entry, sister blogger. I know what it’s like having your summer hi-jacked by an event which will acknowledge no competitor. I wouldn’t dare compare my event to your physical trauma, but I am with you, looking behind me, saying, “Well, there went the summer.”

    Your use of humor, irony and honesty is inspiring.

    I am working at about 30% of my normal brain function and vocabulary, so I’d better end this quick before I’ve babbled for a paragraph and can’t find my way out . . . wait . . . where am I?

    • SisterBloggerSteph,

      Sounds like a TLC show, huh? sisterbloggers? hmm . . .

      Thanks for the thoughtful comments. I just this minute read YOUR new post and oh boy, you have a LOT on your list – quantity AND quality!

      Keep writing, you’re talented. Plus no typos from you, EVER!


  7. Cindy,

    Three questions:

    1. Does this mean you won’t be on the Lacrosse team this year?
    2. Did you lose any hearing by taking Oxycontin, I SAID, DID YOU …. ?
    3. Are you gonna get a handicapped parking pass out of all this?

    Glad you’re on the mend!


    • Frank,

      1) I’ll be the equipment manager for our Lacross team. Again.
      2) I’m sorry could you repeat the question??
      3) It was an option – a temporary tag – but I just couldn’t do it. There really are handicapped people out there and a few extra steps will be good for me. Especially since I’m currently hooked on butterfinger bites.

      Thanks for your questions, dear reader!


  8. Your biggest fan! Keep ’em coming.

    • Sweet words from a sweet friend!! Appreciate the encouragement . . . writing is the BEST therapy (even when I don’t have a medical “condition”:-0)

      Love, always,

  9. Glad to see you back and that your funny bone was not replaced. LOL! Have missed you on blogging, but also miss you at work. Be good to see you back but in the mean time, keep lifting that leg!!!

    • Oh I will NEVER have my funny bone replaced. Unless I can get one of Tina Fey’s . . .

      Bending that knee and lifting that leg,

  10. “…had my knee replaced, not my character. ” hahahaha! You still have the funny! I for one am happy you’re back. I missed you on the Facebook and your blog. Welcome back! Love you!

    • Thanks, Winifred. It is VERY good to be back! I truly hope to not lose that much time again! Love you, too . . . Cindy

  11. This is fabulous. Legasus, indeed!
    And “The Way We Were” oh, how good for a necessary cry!

    • A new reader!? This is a big day indeed! I finally wrote again and gained a new reader . . . thank you very much for your comment and “likes”. You know how encouraging that is to a blogger . . . I’ll be checking out your site asap!


      • Cindy,
        Love your thoughts and wit…Paints a perfectly clear picture of your adventures that we miss day to day. Sounds like it’s been a struggle but full of deep revelations and human emotion… The great stuff life is made of. Sorry for the hard times and thanks for sharing. We miss you !

      • SweetLaurel,

        Thanks for the kind and thoughtful words . . . miss YOU so very much, always . . .


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