Stop here if you are bored with hearing people of a certain age talking about their health. That’s what I’m going to do.

In April 2014, I tripped coming down the steps outside my house and landed on a flagstone on my left knee. I had a ripping sensation and knew it was bad. The surgeon said I had torn my miniscus and ACL and needed a total knee replacement.

Two weeks later, I went to the University of Louisville to receive the Grawemeyer Award. I used a walker but managed to hobble to the podium without it.

On May 9, I had the surgery. Surgery is especially complex for me because I am on blood thinner and always at risk of bleeding too much or (without the blood thinner) clotting. Before the surgery, they took me off the blood thinner and started it as soon as the surgery was over.

The rehabilitation and physical therapy were intense over the summer, but no matter how hard I worked, I couldn’t straighten my leg. I switched physical therapists, and the new one–Karen Yanelli of M.Y.P.T.–was spectacular. She told me that my knee was encased in scar tissue. It is a condition called arthrofibrosis. She told me I had to go to Dr. Frank Noyes in Cincinnatti, at Mercy Hospital. He literally wrote the book on this condition.

I was fairly desperate. I was afraid I would be permanently disabled, and I was deeply depressed, feeling hopeless. I was willing to go anywhere, try anything. My neighbor on Long Island, Dr. Roxana Mehran, a reenowned cardiac researcher, spent an hour giving me a pep talk. She was my guardian angel. She persuaded me that I had to take any path that would help. She gave me the strength to persevere.

I flew to Cincinnatti with Mary, my partner, and met Dr. Noyes. He opposed further surgery, as I might get more scar tissue. Instead, his staff forced my leg straight with strong (excruciating) physical pressure and built a fiberglass cast while my leg was forced straight. They cut the cast open, lined it with cotton, and told me to wear it for 12 hours a day, wrapped tight with a giant Ace bandage.

After seven weeks, I did not need the cast anymore. My leg was straight and I could walk! I was so happy!

Just a few limitations. Often, it is difficult to get out of a car or rise from a chair or walk up or down stairs. Not painful, just difficult and uncomfortable. I feel like I am walking on stilts. In other words, I am fragile. I am frightened of stumbling, tripping, or having a little kid on a bike run into me on the sidewalk. I would topple over. I fell once. I was walking Mitzi, our dog, about 10 pm in a small city park, and a rodent ran in front of us. Mitzi took off in hot pursuit, and I was determined not to let go of her (she weighs 70 pounds). I went sprawling on the ground, but it was soft, I didn’t let go of Mitzi. I managed to fall flat without injuring the knee.

I am feeling much, much better. I am not depressed anymore. I know that I have a permanent disability, and I can deal with that. I can’t run, I can’t walk fast, I can’t walk long distances. But I can walk. I have recovered from an ordeal, and I am grateful to all those who helped me along the way.

The lessons I learned: Walk slowly, watch where you are going, always hold the handrail. And be very grateful to your caregivers.