You know what happens when you say to somebody, “How are you?” Either they tell you, “Fine, thank you,” or they answer truthfully, telling you more than you want to know. Much more than you want to know. Lots of people have asked me how I’m doing. I am going to tell you. If you don’t want to know, stop reading right now.
As readers know, I tripped and fell in April. I didn’t hold the handrail. I landed on a patio stone on my knee and tore ligaments and tendons. I had total knee replacement in May. I started physical therapy right away and thought I was making progress. I advanced from a walker to a cane. But at the end of July, I suddenly got a huge hematoma on the operated leg, and the blood settled in my knee. As a result, I couldn’t bend or straighten my knee, and I regressed to the walker. All of this was very depressing. I saw no end in sight. After a lifetime of activity, I was suddenly disabled. I couldn’t adjust mentally.
I switched physical therapists. The new therapist, Karen Y., is incredibly knowledgable about all things physiological. After a few sessions, she told me that she believed I had arthrofibrosis, a condition in which the knee is encased in scar tissue. I had an MRI; she was right. At her suggestion, I went to see Dr. Frank Noyes of Mercy Hospital and the Cincinnati Sports Medicine Institute, who is a surgeon and an expert on arthrofibrosis. He confirmed the diagnosis and advised against any additional surgery, due to the risks and my age. His staff built a rigid cast for my leg, which forces it to be straight; I wear it every night. It worked. It straightened my leg. I ride a stationery bike every day. I’m walking without a cane. Karen is teaching me to walk without limping. I’m not completely recovered yet. The thing about scar tissue is that it never goes away. I have to exercise every day. But I’m feeling better. I’m feeling hopeful.
What kept me going was my loving partner, who took care of me, went to every doctor’s visit, and made sure that life went on when I was down and unable to do anything but mope. And I counted on the blog. It was my daily work. It kept me engaged, distracted me from my problems, put me in touch with my virtual friends, involved me in what I enjoy most: thinking.
I have learned what it means to have a disability. I can’t walk more than a couple of blocks without getting exhausted. I have to build up my quadriceps. I have to build up my strength. I have started traveling again, on a limited basis. I was in Connecticut last month. I will be in Nashville in a few weeks, then in Phoenix. In January, i will be in Waco and Dallas. I won’t travel more than once a month.
Since April, I have not had the intellectual energy to write anything longer than posts on the blog. It took enormous effort to review Yong Zhao’s book, and I was thrilled when I finally completed the review. It was a big step forward for me.
As you can tell, I was feeling sorry for myself for months. Then I heard about Karen Lewis, and I felt like a jerk. All I have is a bum knee, and she’s fighting a brain tumor. That puts things into perspective. I will be fine. Let’s pray for her. I want her to recover fully.
Stuff happens. None of us knows what life has in store for us. Let’s try to be kinder.