Wednesday, April 10, 2013

My new friend, The Cane

Allow me to introduce you all to my newest companion. The first image is to thank my late grandma for having acquired The Cane after her fall in about 1980, after she fell and broke her hip while at a afternoon party at a friend's home. Over the years that followed, right up to her passing at age 94 in late 1996, she "progressed" to a walker, before becoming bed-bound. During one of my recent rounds of donations to various organizations, such as the Convalescent Aid Society, I very nearly gave this away. I'm so glad I didn't.

My latest misadventure began a week ago, while doing some very light housekeeping on my day off. I bent over to pick up some article of clothing that had fallen on the floor. As I straightened up and tried to move away from this spot, my knee cap and I seemed to go in opposite directions. Funny (?) thing is, I both heard and felt it. Pampering my insulted body part did no good; I was in more pain the next day. Off to my primary MD I went.

I've had x-rays, and my primary MD has now referred me to an orthopedic surgeon, as he says there's fluid on my knee. Mobic keeps the inflammation and pain bearable for short periods of time. Until my appointment rolls around 12 days from now (unless there's an earlier cancellation), I am left to consider some of the meanings of this turn of events.

First, I was embarrassed when one of my family members pointed out that I was using The Cane on the wrong side! An injured right knee calls for the cane to be on the left. Okay, one lesson learned.

In addition to an awareness of my body, I'm looking closer at my environment. Bless you, curb cuts; I never appreciated you before. Ditto stores that keep their checkout lanes moving, and offer assist out to the cars. Near-by parking spaces that are wide enough for me to ease in and out of my car seat are awfully nice, too. I don't yet know if I will be able to have a handicapped parking plaque; the fate of my knee will determine that.

As rough as it is on my pride, it's also interesting to experience the reactions of people around me, especially those who are younger and more mobile. Damn, I used to be one of those people! How quickly and suddenly that changed. As The Cane and I hobble along, I notice that many people are either kind and patient with my slow pace, or I will hear exasperated sighs as others swiftly circle around me to get past.

And, yes, I must admit I have often been in the latter group. Karma has given me a thump on the head.

I used to be amused when I'd observe "older folks" rock back and forth before getting off a chair, and listen to the grunts accompanying their movements. Well, now I'm acutely aware of how much I'm doing this. I have my own "pre-launch sequence": one...two...three...UP (UGHH!).

Pain sure has a way of siphoning off one's focus, and impacting one's mood. When the pill wears off, I turn into a proverbial crabby old lady. And last Friday, I got my first parking ticket in a long time, because I parked on the "wrong side" of the street, getting in the way of the street sweepers...on a street I've frequently parked on for the past three years. AGHH!!

Every two months, I look forward to my AARP Magazine, with its wealth of articles geared to our generation. Last night, I was suddenly aware of how drawn I am to articles about managing arthritis, and foods to foster longevity. I remember when I was 50, and began getting my issues. At that time, I'd give this magazine a quick skim, and pass it along. I wasn't ready to acknowledge that the articles were written for me, and that not considering their advice might actually hasten what I've been avoiding...aging.

There...I admitted it. Aging isn't something I've wanted to face. But then, facing it doesn't have to mean surrender. No, siree. Once I get my knee treated, I want to resume the battle for a long, vibrant life, with a projected cut off of 102 years. As I get toward that "expiration date," I might just decide to renegotiate the terms.

I finally have to give up my illusions of invincibility. It would also be useful to get my head out of...wherever it's been. Somehow, things are going to work out, so long as I can settle for being a human being of 58. In the meantime, The Cane will be good company.
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