Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Old Grey Mare

I was twenty-one when I had my first knee surgery (in February). It was on my right knee. The first surgeon scoped it to remove arthritic tissue and something called a plica that was supposed to have gone its merry way after I stopped crawling as a toddler. After I started falling all over the place and swelling and running a high fever and blacking out with pain during physical therapy it seemed to "people" that maybe something went wrong.

So we went to a second surgeon who's first question was, "Did it ever occur to him that the plica may still be there because it was still doing its job?"

Well, then.

That led to surgery number two (in July) and surgery number three (in December). 1993 flat out sucked. Mostly, it sucked doing the full semesters of college courses to keep my insurance (yay). The surgeon was rather appalled at what he found in there when he went to clean the back side of my knee caps off. "It was a hellish disaster area in there. I'll be shocked if she doesn't need new knees by the time she's forty! I'll give her a 30% chance of walking like she did before. What the **** did she do to screw them up this badly?" My parents had no idea. There was no accident or particular sports injury, so they suggested the only thing they knew.


Needless to say, I went to a new physical therapist as well. He did torture me. It was his job. He also knew what he was doing and in a relatively short time for someone destined to not walk again, I was up and moving around. It took a longer while to get a lot of my mobility back. Years. But, after I turned forty last year, I did run my mile. It was just something I told myself I was going to do when I got there with my very own knees (what's left of them).

I'll tell you what, though. They are starting to complain! I've fallen a few times. Stupid stuff. Moving chairs at the library. Caught my boot heel on the DishTV cable when it came loose from its hangers on the steps to the back yard. If my knees took that particular hit as personally as my face did, then...they are well and truly miffed.

So when Buddy asked me to do the spider monkey thing and rock climb over the stuff crammed into our storage unit to see if the mattresses were at the back, I realized three-quarters of the way into it that I was having more difficulty than usual and that maybe it was time to start training a new generation of spider monkeys. Since the trip involved climbing and lifting, there is more pain than just from hiking...and the old knees...

...just ain't what they used to be.

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