In many towns and cities and parishes across this country, I’m breaking the law each and every night. What can I say, I was born this way.
I’ll explain, but first you need to know that I’m totally ripped. I’m ripped but not in the cool 6 pack kind of way. And not in the uncool but clearly inebriated kind of way. I’m ripped in the old-fashioned dictionary definition kind of way:
to cut or tear apart in a rough or vigorous manner: to rip open a
seamleg; to rip up a sheetknee
to cut or tear away in a rough or vigorous manner: to rip
barkligament from a treebone
First there was that Slip Sliding down the steps back in early February which led to the original tearing my medial meniscus.
Every day for the past 5 1/2 months, I’ve thrown myself down on the floor (literally – there’s no graceful way to land with a torn meniscus), faithfully doing my rehab exercises. After about 3 months, I started getting better. My knee quit throbbing and it didn’t hurt to have the sheet touch it when I went to bed. I was encouraged.
However, one night in late June, while making the hazardous trip from the sofa to the sink, my knee buckled even though I was wearing my 4th (not even from Walmart) knee brace and I was back where I started. Actually I was behind where I started since pain was racing down the inner and now the outer side of my knee.
At that point, things started getting loud. I was thumping a lot when walking and dropping and plopping when attempting sitting. All of this extra commotion put a serious scare into Heidi. She started getting up multiple times every night to see if I’d fallen and become road kill.
It was time to build in some extra safeguards. This is what I’ve come up with.
I dress carefully – often, but not always – wearing my special shirt to send out an advance warning to any who may encounter me upright or prone at the gate.
I always wear my knee brace. This is a picture of the 4th one. I have a 5th one now. I’ll get to that later. Both personal experience and a Google search confirmed that frozen vegetables stay cold longer than more conventional ice packs.
It turns out Sugar Snap Stir Fry stays frozen even longer than peas. Who knew? The biggest draw back (besides the smell when they thaw and leak) was that I didn’t always have time (or remember) to take the bag out of my brace on the way out to the gate. It’s funny how people don’t really know what to say to someone walking around with vegetables dangling from their leg.
Because of Heidi’s fitful sleeping, it seemed prudent to take a few additional precautions. Personally, I don’t think all of these are necessary but she sleeps better this way.
If I fall down the steps again, the long-handled hoe should be within reach. That way, if there are rattlesnakes under the RV, I won’t even have to get up to chop off their heads. (That is SO not happening but I pretend like I would do it to pacify her.)
One of my bosses bought me BLUE pepper spray that he strongly believes I should wear during all the dark hours. To be honest, unless it’s a real breeze-less night, it hangs by the door. The wind here (and there’s almost always wind here) is constantly changing directions. If I’m not real precise, I could be the one streaming blue tears. And no one will let me practice on them so I don’t even know for sure that it works.
In my leg pocket, I’m required to wear my phone so that I can call Heidi and say: Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up! – just like in the commercials. She sleeps with her phone. Of course, she also sleeps with a sound machine rumbling, the air conditioning humming and ear plugs jammed in her ears. Just sayin’.
Anyway, we recently received a package from Swayback Ranch that included a CRKT knife. I wear this on my vest in case I fall and get hungry. I figure I can whip it out and skewer a grasshopper or an over-sized beetle or take a stab at a scorpion if it flips it’s tail at me.
So with my fair warning shirt glowing, my brace full of stir fry, the mace hanging around my neck nice and handy, my phone in my pocket, and the hoe and knife ready to be brandished, I felt pretty prepared for just about anything.
Just about anything except a TROM. Since my knee was still buckling with my hinged brace, I went all bionic and bought some serious hardware.
With this latest brace, I can pretty much just lock my leg in place. I have it set on zero which allows for barely bending at all. This has made navigation interesting.
I’m a very average 5 foot 6 inches tall, but I have remarkably short legs and a long trunk. Until now, the worst part of this has been that my pants sometimes drag. But as you can kind of tell from the photo, this new brace goes almost all the way to my hip.
With short legs and a telescoping brace, even UN-telescoped, there are issues. For one thing, I have to balance myself very precariously on the edge of the toilet seat. At least If I fall off there, odds are, Heidi will hear me and I won’t have to call her on the phone or eat bugs.
I’m re-learning how to walk, making sure I have a clear path to swing my leg. Sometimes I just shout out Look out, leg coming through. No one but Henry is listening to me but I feel better saying it.
I’ve always been a step bounder. Heidi says the RV shakes a lot less now that I have to two-step the steps. That’s a plus, I guess but it’s slowed me down some. When I get to the door, I stick my arm out and start waving right away, so people will know that the rest of me will follow eventually.
The worst part has been the Sag-Factor and this is where I could get into some legal trouble if I lived in, say, Terrebonne Parish, LA or Wildwood, NJ or Houston, TX. This is one heavy brace and it pulls my pants right down when I walk. And I do mean down. I’d be in a world of hurt if it weren’t for my fairly substantial hips.
I’ve tried wearing the TROM under my pants but it’s really not possible. This is a BIG brace and I’d need to buy pants 2 sizes larger which I think would just increase the Sag-Factor. I’ve tried it over my jeans and over my ultra cool black- fabric- that- breaths pants. That’s all I own so that’s all I can try. No luck. So I called the DonJoy Company.
In retrospect, I suppose this should have been an embarrassing conversation but that didn’t occur to me then. Desperate measures for desperate times.
Me: I just got my new DonJoy TROM Brace which is very nice and sturdy but it pulls my pants down and I was wondering if you had any tips?
Beth: I think I’d better transfer you to John.
Me: Thank you.
I repeat my dilemma to John who is the customer fit specialist. John and Beth and I are on a 3 way call – for quite a while. They say they’ve never encountered this problem before.
After a fair amount of brain storming, John decides to send me (at no cost) 6 feet of Velcro that he thinks I can stick on my pants. I tell him I have short legs so 4 feet would probably do. He insists on 6. I say thank you again.
The Velcro hasn’t arrived yet. In the mean time, I hope to find another means of victory over the sag because, well, you know – as the billboard says, RAISE YOUR PANTS RAISE YOUR IMAGE.
I’m considering suspenders…
Howdy, Don’t know where you might find them close to where you are now but Lowes and Home Depot has tool suspenders used for holding up tool belts that you could use. Hope your knee gets better soon.
Hey there, Luke!
Always a treat to hear from you!
Thanks for the tool belt-suspender info! 😀
It’s good that you can find humor in this too Deb! Just don’t laugh when the police pull you over for flying low.
I had no idea it was against the law until I did a Google search. Good Golly Miss Molly, I may have to buy suspenders yet!
Suspenders will definitely complete the ensemble.
I expect to be getting a call from Project Runway any day now! 😀
Probably not Project Runway, I’m thinking “What Not to Wear” will be knocking on your door.
Thank you for your great sense of humor. I laughed until I cried between this one and your next post.
You could put all your blogs together in one book and have a comedy hit book. Thanks for the laughs.
Oh Susan – you are soooo right! I’d be a runway star on What Not to Wear! 😀
Glad to hear you will check with a surgeon. You did your best trying to rehab but probably need surgery then rehab. We got a set of Mossman steps. They sure made an improvement for us going in & out! Prayers and speedy recovery special one!
Lynn – Thanks so much for your prayers and encouragement. Hope to get a surgical referral today. After 6 months, I can almost not remember what it was like to just walk like a regular person. Of course, if I get fixed and can walk again, I owe Heidi about a thousand hours of Texas heat! 😀
Debbie, You might get ahold of Jim Mossman and see if he can build you a set of wooden steps that you can disassemble. http://rufnitii.blogspot.com/2013/01/5th-wheel-steps.html?showComment=1375127925148#c5991132139891590502 This is his blog post about the steps. I hope he can help you out.
Sucie – Thank you for the link!
Jim’s step look really nice (and I met Bobbie and Jim last year) – small world, this, isn’t it?
I think my first step before steps will be a consult with a surgeon. As much as I’ve resisted going that route, it’s been almost 6 months now so I’m thinking my self-rehab isn’t all the rehabilitating. 😀
Thank you for your kindness in offering this suggestion. It’s something I may look into down the road.
I think I’d go with the suspenders as well. Not at all clear what you are supposed to do with the Velcro…
And well, hanging out in Mission, TX and being a fan of skirts myself, I am well acquainted with the hazards inherent in the moomoo option…
In either case, “granny panties” are probably a good back up plan!
Hang in there and don’t wait too long to get it repaired as that will just make the whole process more challenging in the long run.
I’m kind of of my the mindset that the less skin showing, the less that can be as easily bitten or stung or borrowed into by the many creepy crawling things that I share the nights with down here. 😀
Without insurance, I was in hopes of rehabbing myself.
Not only is there the cost of surgery, but the time off work – which as gate guards, means we’d both be off work. Ouch!
However, I think the time has come to get a referral and at least an MRI to see what my options may be.
In the meantime, I’ll give some thought to those “granny pants”. 😀
What a shame you are having so much trouble recovering from the torn meniscus. Did you have surgery? After mine, the pain was gone immediately. I’m sorry yours isn”t.
Carol – Would you mind if I emailed you and asked more about your surgery? I don’t have any insurance, so I’ve been hoping to rehab myself. It doesn’t appear that’s going to happen.
Though it’s surely become redundant, I have to begin with “Oh My Goodness!” God has gifted you with Bionic Endurance, plus that delightful and encouraging survival skill–HUMOR. I dare say I might have given up and sat down in a small lake of tears–as the pants issue (sagging like those kids I just want to holler at till I’m blue in the face) would have put me over the edge, truly. So I continue to send Up power prayers, Down extra large size love. Oh and I so enjoy the photos. I’m also voting for the Suspenders. God bless you BIG–love, Cj
Dear Cj –
I’ve never worn suspenders but then again, I’ve never worn vegetables before either! You might be surprised how well you’d do. I don’t ever have to call the police about my neighbors at 3 in the morning! We have the grace we need. 😀
I have a happy heart – just an unhappy knee (s).
I’m almost able to keep my pants up (jeans – not the black ones – too slick I guess) unless I have to use the restroom. Then I pretty much have to undo the whole thing and start all over. This has seriously put a damper on my coffee and Diet Pepsi drinking! Otherwise, I’m adjusting but I’ve decided it may be time to bite the bullet and see a surgeon.
Your love and prayers are a gift and I send mine back to you!
I’m most glad your heart is happy, Debbie (and I confess I’m voting for the surgery consult). I meant to tell you I was very intrigued by the veggie report–I wondered why peas were less than 100% successful; however, they’re usually cheapest… And I have to say, I’d be sorely tempted to come up with a reason to call the Texas Rangers–they’re just so “western manly”…..sigh, swoon.
The peas went got squishy faster. 😀
I found that out too–plus, they kinda smelled…
My friend, I feel your pain and keep u in my prayers
and send Big Heart hugs to you and Heidi.
I think we’re having pain transferal right now – my knee to your ankle – your ankle to my knee.
You’re in our prayers every day. Hope you’re getting some spring back in your step? Heart Hugs to you, too!
I have discovered you can pray while laughing out loud! Wishing and praying for a well knee, but think the suspenders are a brilliant idea in the meantime!
Love you tons! Sis
My brilliant daughter came up with the suspender idea. Not a bit surprising, huh? 😀
I was trying to tell my story with some humor so thanks for both laughing with me and praying for me!
No one wants to read about someone just complaining, right?
My sense of humor can be a little off sometimes. Must me in the genes (ours) or jeans (mine)!
Much love to you! Keep an eye on Boop – those monsoons sound mighty!
What a trooper you are. No matter what, you just soldier on! Suspenders sounds good to me cause I’m not sure what the Velcro is supposed to accomplish. Wish there was something I could do to help!
Hey there Penny!
John (from DonJoy) suggested I stick (or sew – I’m not sure what kind he’s sending) the Velcro at intervals on the inside and outside hems of my pants and hope some of the Velcro from the brace latches on. We really had QUITE a conversation…
I would be less of a trooper if I won the Lottery – but since I don’t play I guess I’ll just have to soldier on, huh? 😀
You’re so sweet to want to help and I know you mean it. Thank you!
I can not wait for the book. I would prefer hard back edition.
Sent from my iPhone
Hello T –
Yours will be a first edition hb signed by the author! 😀
You really do keep on truckin, don’t you Deb? I love the picture of you in full gear, looking ready to patrol the perimeter! Like an action movie babe. What about trying leggings with the cast? Or you could just live in pajamas – since you’re wearing frozen vegetables already, everybody would give you a lot of latitude. 🙂 Sending healing prayers your way, dear heart! You’re an intrepid inspiration. Take care, Ruth
Hello dear Ruth –
I’ve cast off the frozen veggies now that I have the new brace (no room) so I’m slightly (really very slightly) less conspicuous. 😀
The roughnecks from the oil company we worked with the first year down here used to go to town in their pajamas all the time.
The company we’re with now, tho’, has a slightly stricter dress code.
Of course, most of my working time is at night so as long as I stayed away from daisies or paisley, I might get by with it! 😀
Thank for you tender heart and your prayers. I so appreciate both!
OH, Bless me … LOOK AT THAT LITTLE HENRY! Sometimes the combination of crying some crocodile tears and soaking up that doggie love, there is actual release of seretonin (aka, a slight relief of pain). I’ve learned that I’m not a good Advil candidate, and it makes me nervous; but it IS an anti-inflamatory. Ask Jen if there are herbs or something you can take instead of Advil. Then tell me!!! Love you!
Henry takes his title of Pet Therapy do very seriously! 😀
Oh sweet lady, if this wasn’t so tragic and heart-breaking, I’d stop myself from laughing at your brilliant sense of humor! You haven’t missed a beat by expressing some TERRIBLY distressing life burdens with levity. How else would you be? What a trooper. I’m crying with you, my dear. I’m crying with you indeed. Money or not, the body does some awful things to us that can’t be repaired (at least not right away). I’m not so sure your “ripping” sounds much more “hip”??? as a 6-pack rip. At our age, that would be a supreme pass-out, nap/snooze. BTW, iamnotshe has graphic pictures of a mouth NOT even a mother could love (except maybe mine). “Told you so”.
I’m glad you’re sharing your multi-level attire and weaponry! As much as I hate to be Polllyanna, and never really “got her” Glad Game and all … I’m impressed with all your buddies and their generosity. I mean, nothing really fixes the knee but (I think) a good surgeon (or being “Seventeen Again”), but the pepper spray and knives and hoes! WOW, i’m thinking the hoe could be a great cane until you decide to JUST GO TO AN ER! Let Texas pay.
More later. I want you to be well, and I’ll see how I can go about making this come true. LOL. Love to you, and you are ALWAYS in my prayers when I’m snoozing off at night.
Blessings and praises to you too Heidi Ho! You are a true and wonderful friend to your Debbie and many more! MWAH! xoxoxoxoxo
Sweet Mel –
I believe you should be basking in the glow of Colorado friendship about now! Hurray!
My other knee is starting to really hurt. That did it.
You’ll be glad to know I’m calling the P.A. tomorrow and see about seeing a surgeon. 😀
Thanks for you love and encouragement and for smiling through your pain and mine, with me!
How about a moomoo? Your adventures always entertain. I must say, however, I feel your pain and you have my prayers for that knee.
Oh Darla – I think if I went out in a moo-moo, the cows would come home for sure! 😀
I appreciate your prayers. Thank you!