My Place at the Hip Joint

Funny how when we are in our 20s and 30s we never give a thought to our bones, muscles, skin tone, etc.. There we are; beautiful specimens of youth and health, with strong bones, muscles, joints, etc. All of our parts are in great working order, and we simply take it for granted that we will always be young and strong and healthy. If we get an injury, we heal fairly quickly. If we wake up with a hangover, then hot coffee, some aspirin and a good breakfast clears that right up. Bumps and bruises don’t phase us; they heal in no time.

Then fast-forward 30 years later, and we notice how, when we get out of bed, our bodies make ‘popcorn’ sounds. When we walk, we hear ourselves saying, ‘ow, ow, ow!’ as hips and knees and backbone and feet protest being used so soon after sleep.

For a while now, my right knee has been bone-on-bone; I can hear it grind at certain times. At night it wakes me with its deep aches, as if to say, ‘hey—I’m up! Let’s talk!’ So I made an appointment with the knee doctor, and he suggested I attend a a two-hour informational seminar on joint replacement so I can get an idea of how the process goes. The seminar included all kinds of information you need to know before embarking on the road to painless knees and hips.

I walked into a crowded conference room at the local hospital, and sat down beside a nice couple; the wife immediately told me that she was here for her husband, who needed a new hip. The three of us talked about how age does a number on your bones, and how lucky we were to live in a time where there were such miracles as knee and hip replacements!

The couple to the other side of me said that the wife needed a new knee. We talked about how funny/but sad/but funny it was to have your knee poop out on you. We laughed together about what that nasty old S.O.B., Age, does to a person. Then one of us said, ‘oh well, as long as I’m on this side of the grass, I’m good!’ We all had a good laugh.

At this point, a nurse started the seminar. She explained the process clearly, and asked who needed knees and hips replaced; we were about evenly divided. The information was helpful, questions were answered, and we all seemed to get what we needed out of it.

What’s funny about all this: even though I just turned 65, I still feel young. I still consider myself a young person (funny how your eyes conveniently glaze over in looking at saggy muscles, facial lines, dark spots, cellulite, etc.), even with a bad knee, worn out from years of use. Inside we feel as young as ever, and sometimes it’s a shock to see an older version of the face I knew in the mirror. More shocking still (to me, anyway) is wondering if everyone around me thinks I look old!

But be that as it may, I too am happy to be here on this side of the grass. I’m thankful that I live in a time where I can get my worn-out old knee replaced. After all, I have two granddaughters I’d like to keep running around with; it’s too much fun not to. So whether or not I see you at the old hip (or knee) joint any time soon, I’m grateful for the gift of a still-useful body and mind, for family, friends, good (and bad) jokes, for hobbies that intrigue me, for ever more books to read, for good movies, for four beautiful seasons, a roof over my head, love in my heart and soon, a shiny new knee!

If you’re looking for me in the next month or two, I’ll be at the knee joint.

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