Monday, July 25, 2011

Final Day With The Old Left Knee (07/25/11)

Hello Folks,

I got the call this morning... "Be at the hospital at 9:00 am. Your surgery is scheduled for 11:00 am."

Okay... Now I have the exact times... Great!

An Open Letter To My Left Knee

Dear old knee, you have served me well. We've spent over 20,444 days together in this life. I learned to crawl, walk, and run with you. I can remember when I was four and how my knees would swell up because of Rheumatic Fever.  Mom would always put me in a hot tub of water and wrap hot towels around you to calm the pain.

After being bedridden for over a year, I was once again able to use you and by my teen years, I was allowed to play sports with you. And boy, did we ever play sports... Baseball, basketball, football, and Judo!

I must admit, I wasn't always gentle with you. In fact, I probably asked a bit too much from you while wearing those Chuck Taylor Converse All-Stars. We ran on every floor imaginable while playing bball... tile, macadam, concrete, dirt... You name it, we played on it together.

Thirty years ago during a Judo competition, I made a move to throw my opponent, lifted him onto my hip, and my left foot failed to spin with us and the torque dislocated you... OUCH! I can remember that day like it was yesterday.

They injected dye ( arthrogram ) into you because MRIs didn't exist yet and they claimed nothing was wrong with you. But you and I knew better and finally, the surgeon agreed to try something new on us... arthroscopic surgery!

Alas, when the surgeon entered to see you up close and personal, he found more than what he expected and performed a five hour reconstruction surgery. He sewed you up, packed ice on you, and sent us both back to our hospital room to recover... I cried for us. :(

It took us a year and a half to run again. And when we did, you would swell and I needed to ice you down. That lasted for well over three years until you had no more swelling.

You never "looked" the same after that surgery. But that was okay, because you served me well for the next thirty years of playing more and more basketball in men's leagues and also as a coach.

Tomorrow, they will replace you with metal and plastic. I'm not sure what your fate will be after the surgery. I assume that they dispose of you in a proper manner.


Let's not forget all those fishing trips and tournaments we fished together. Man, did we ever fish! There were slow days and then there were off the wall fantastic days, too. I must say that you always responded when I needed you to load and unload the boat. You even helped me pull the boat and kayaks through low level water... We would do anything together to  catch "The Big One". I even asked more of you when I had my hips replaced seven years ago. Did that speed up your deterioration? I'm sure it didn't help. You always responded... spending your fair and equal time on the raised trolling motor pedal or supporting my body weight when my right foot was on the pedal.

As time went on, I knew you were having problems. I took you to see Dr. Tymon, the orthopedic surgeon, and he tried to help you with a steroid injection. However, that only lasted a little over a month. The doc was looking for six months of relief... It wasn't to be. That is when the decision was made to move ahead with the replacement.

Please know, that I will always be grateful for the service you have given me in my lifetime. I am forever thankful I had you because many are not as fortunate as I was.

Take Care and Be Safe,