When you have multiple health issues, it’s easy not to trust the warning signs your body is giving you. I remember when my knees started hurting: I found myself making lifestyle changes so I could ignore the problem. I avoided stairs, drove around the parking lot to find the closest space, and kept searching for that magic pair of shoes that would make my pain go away.
After many years, I decided that it was time to stop ignoring the warning signs and get help. My orthopedist worked with me to relieve the pain and prescribed physical therapy until we finally decided that it was time for a double knee replacement.
Today, 10 years later, I don’t even think about my knees any more. Recently, after one of my surgeries (and I’ve had over 40), I found myself not moving as much as I would like. I got tired after any activity but simply chalked it up to being out of shape.
I continued to beat myself up for lacking the motivation to exercise and believed that it was somehow a failure on my part. Then I was on a flight home from a business trip, and the flight attendant asked me whether I needed assistance. What! Did I look that bad? I called my doctor as soon as we landed, and we agreed that I would go directly to the emergency room.
I felt fine when I was sitting down, but got really tired whenever I exerted myself at all. My hemoglobin was good, so, again, I told myself that either lack of motivation was keeping me from recovering from my latest surgery or else I was just getting old. As it turned out, the oxygen levels in my blood dropped significantly when I exerted myself, leaving me feeling exhausted from lack of oxygen, not lack of motivation. My team of doctors addressed the issue (Probably a reaction to a medication) and got me on a plan to improve. Voila-I started to feel like myself again. If you don’t ignore the warning signs of a life threatening illness, you can be on the road to recovery sooner.
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