Just Right

The Story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears Debbie and the Four Stairs

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Goldilocks.  She  went for a walk in the forest . Pretty soon, she came upon a house. She knocked and, when no one answered, she walked right in.

You know the rest of the story, Goldilocks eats the bear’s food, breaks their furniture and takes a nap. She was, however, pretty hard to please.

The first bowl of porridge was too hot,the second was too cold. The the third bowl was just right. so she ate it all up.

The first chair was too big, the second was too big too, the third was just right but when she sat in it she broke it all to pieces.

And,finally there were the beds. The first  bed was too hard, the second, too soft but the last was  just right. She fell asleep in the just right one. When she woke up, she saw the bears, screamed and ran away.

So, here’s my parallel story.

Once upon a time, there was me. I took a tumble and then a twist. There wasn’t any forest – just caliche and cacti. Eventually (after 6 months), I came upon the office of an Orthopedic Surgeon. He took a look, ordered an MRI, told me to call him in the morning – just like the song: Put the Lime in the Coconut !

And now, the rest of the story:

When I was 19, a drunk driver slammed into me going 65 mph. After the Jaws-of-Life peeled open my door, the EMTs had to remove the steel rod that had once held the steering wheel of my Dodge Dart, but was now buried deep in my knee.

If your tire is flat, you may be able to patch it and air it up. But if you have a blow out, you need a new tire. My knee was patched up with 48 stitches and a cast back then, but this time, I had a total blow out. Dr Elmer said my meniscus looks like a shredded tire not a flat one.

I’m too old for a meniscus repair (by about 10 years). He said I need a total knee replacement.

But, I’m too young for a total knee (by about 10 years).

So I’m too old and too young which means I must be just right!

Thank you all for your emails and well wishes and prayers. That’s the story. Whenever I write again, whatever I write about, it won’t be about my joints. (It’s like going to a nice restaurant and listening to people beside you talk about their gallbladder all through dinner!)

Dr Elmer suggested Cortisone shots or Rooster Comb shots. We’ll see. For now, I’m getting by and keeping my pants on. Life is very good!

Life comes from physical survival; but the good life comes from what we care about. ~Rollo May

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Slip Sliding Away

I’m not clumsy. It’s just the floor hates me, the tables and chairs are bullies and the walls get in the way. ~ unknown author but it could have been me

Three months ago, on a dark and stormy night, much like this one, I took an embarrassing tumble – more of a slipping sliding landing on my seat stumble, down my RV steps. I was pretty sure this fall was a little more complicated than the last or 20 or so I’d taken. Usually I fall over and bounce right back up like a Bozo the Clown punching bag.

Maybe my problem is that I still cling to the imagine of an entire P.E. history of A+’s and I haven’t come to terms with my past mid-life clumsiness. Truth is, I tip over a lot. In this instance, however, the steps were wet, I was in a hurry so the guys at the gate wouldn’t have to wait, I went down and I didn’t bounce back.

My not so subtle landing on the last step (there are only 4) shook the RV like an explosion (always a possibility in our business). Heidi woke up, got dressed and was out the door in about 57 seconds. I’m pretty far past stoic when it comes to pain but this time I just sat there. It’s hard to describe. It felt like someone had just rammed a fiery poker through my knee.

I wrote about this back when it happened. I fell the first week of February which was fortuitous, if a fall can be fortuitous, since 10 days later we had a week off between the stacking of our old rig and our Company Man calling us to follow him at his new rig.

During the week off I did all the things you do with a bum knee. I sat – a lot – with my leg elevated and wrapped in ice.

I tried Ibuprofen and Aleve and Aspercreme.

When it was time to get back to work, Heidi bought every kind of knee brace Walmart carries. I have 1 that I can wear under my black pants which are loose and 1 that I wear over my jeans which aren’t and 1 that I sleep in so the other 2 can air out.

After 3 months of being afraid to exercise or move really, our rig came back to the area where my PA is located. I went in this week and it took her about 2 minutes to determine that I have a torn meniscus – a common injury of athletes and old people.

My PA referred me to an Orthopedic surgeon who would do an MRI and then would prescribe surgery or PT. Self employment has it’s benefits but medical insurance isn’t one of them.

For some reason, the diagnosis discouraged me. I don’t know why? After 3 months of quite a lot of pain, what was I hoping she would say? I already knew it hurt – a lot – so why I thought a torn meniscus was bad news, I’m not sure.

Here’s what happened that night. The gate was quiet at my TSL.  I watched 3 old episodes of Glee and 2 of Jeopardy. Pathetic, I know. It’s was during the “Think music” that I got over myself and started thinking.

I made the uncharacteristic decision to be ‘pro-active’ – a word I’ve never even used in a sentence, let alone applied. I Googled torn meniscus, read about 20 articles and looked at 5 or 6 sites with rehab exercises. I picked the WebMD exercises because they have a good reputation and pictures. I need pictures. I get confused without pictures.

I wrote every  exercise out in detail. Then I got the great idea of putting the computer on the floor (so I could study the pictures) and I plopped myself down beside it. The first exercise was called a Quad set. The exercise required a towel under the ‘injured leg’. I started to get up to get a towel and found out that, well, no, getting up wasn’t really an option.

I know me. I was pretty sure that once I managed to get up, I wouldn’t get back down again so I scooted over to the chair and grabbed the yarn, needles and all – stuck the yarn under my leg, prayed for no traffic and began my rehab.

During those 30 minutes, the bell didn’t ring even once. I eventually rolled myself over to the sofa and dragged myself up. I felt entirely better. My leg hurt maybe just a little worse but my attitude changed completely.

I was very impressed with myself. When Heidi got up I shared my new rehab plan with her. Ever the practical one, she thought probably it would be better to carry out this choreography while she’s up and can get the gate. True.

Yesterday was rehab day two!