How Recent Surgery Is Affecting My Mental Health

September 28, 2023 Elizabeth Caudy

My recent surgery is negatively affecting my mental health. My last post was about having a schizoaffective episode right after the surgery. As if that wasn’t enough, I have had to go through and am going through a lot of other stress and anxiety, too. While my knee is healing well, the surgery's mental health impact is almost unbearable.

Why My Knee Surgery Is Affecting My Mental Health

For one thing, there’s the surgery itself. Knee replacement surgery is major surgery, and what affects the mind affects the body and vice versa. After all, the brain is an organ in the body, and our bodies aren’t made up of separate parts. Everything’s connected.

Then, there was my stay at the hospital. I was on a heavy narcotic painkiller at first, and sometimes, at night, I couldn’t make it to the bathroom in time. So—and this is so embarrassing—I wet the bed. This was nothing new. My psychiatric medications are very sedating, and I’ve had problems with incontinence at home a few times before this. But as humiliating as that is, my husband, Tom, could help me clean it up—I was with someone who loved me. That wasn’t the case at the hospital. At any rate, now I know to bring adult diapers to the hospital when I get the replacement of my left knee. This surgery complication has been hard on my mental health.

There’s the rub. Everything I’m going through now, I’m going to have to go through again. I’ve wished so many times that I was on my second knee replacement instead of my first. I can only hope that I’ll be freaking out less the second time around with past experience to support me. My right knee is healing well, so that means my left knee should, too, right?

Physical Therapy After Surgery Is Hard on My Mental Health, Too 

Physical therapy has been tough for me, too. I do it religiously because it will make my knees healthy and strong. But I don’t enjoy it. It feels like just one more thing I have to do. It's one more way that my surgery is affecting my mental health.

Do you want to know what motivates me to keep doing it? I imagine strolling around the Renaissance Faire with Tom next summer. One of several reasons I decided to get knee replacement surgery was so I could go back to the Renaissance Faire. (Hey, any reason is a great reason to keep up with physical therapy. Am I right?)

Learn more about how my surgery has been impacting my schizoaffective disorder here:

Even though I still don’t reply to text messages and emails asking me how I’m doing, the mental anguish is starting to let up. For one thing, I’m getting used to doing the physical therapy exercises at home twice a day in addition to the ones near the hospital. I’m starting to realize that every ache, pain, and wince isn’t a cause for alarm. And I feel prepared for my next hospital stay. I just hope I learned something through all this that will make the next round a little easier.

APA Reference
Caudy, E. (2023, September 28). How Recent Surgery Is Affecting My Mental Health, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 17 from

Author: Elizabeth Caudy

Elizabeth Caudy was born in 1979 to a writer and a photographer. She has been writing since she was five years old. She has a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA in photography from Columbia College Chicago. She lives outside Chicago with her husband, Tom. Find Elizabeth on Google+ and on her personal blog.

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