Friday, September 21, 2012

Knee Jerk Reactions

Nine days ago I wrote about my bowling mishap [see Wounded Knee from Sept 12]—where I wrenched the bejesus out of my right knee and had an excruciating time negotiating two airports 18 hours after the injury, when the swelling and muscle pain were at their peak.

Today I'm happy to report that I'm much better. This blog features oddments about my nonlinear journey toward recovery.

o  When I first went down I was nauseous and broke out in a cold sweat. I knew right away that it was bad, but I had no frame of reference (excepting that I was in the fifth frame of my first game at the Red Rock Casino). My daughter, Jo, reported that I'd literally turned white. Not good.

o  After surviving the death marches to and from my departure and arrival gates (with carry-on luggage of course), I was thankfully collected at the Sacramento airport by Marty Maskall (one of my facilitation students). We rented a Smarte Carte (which was clearly a smart idea, even if they have a thing about extraneous e's) and it was definitely an improvement negotiating my way to Marty's car with the aid of a rolling walker.

o  By the time we got to Marty's house my knee was the size of a grapefruit, and I dreaded even the trip from the dining room table (where I was ensconced with my laptop) to the bathroom. I suddenly got very conscious about my liquid intake.

o  Amazingly, Marty had just received in that day's mail a pair of collapsible walking sticks from REI. She only wanted one but they wouldn't sell her less than two. Did I want one? Things were starting to look up.

o  Continuing the theme of Marty as Angel, it happened that her husband had recently had a double knee replacement and they had some potent surplus prescription sleep aids (codeine-based) in the medicine chest. Yeehah!  

o  During my 19 hours at Marty's I enjoyed the anti-swelling benefits of regular applications of ice packs, and then it was time for a three-hour drive to Boonvlle and the start of a weekend facilitation training at Emerald Earth. The car ride was no problem, but people were wondering who that hobbling old geezer was when I gingerly unfolded myself from the front passenger seat and tried to unlimber my stiff knee.

o  Fortunately, facilitation training is not aerobic, and the outright pain had diminished enough that I could pretty much ignore my disability while immersed in the training. It was only a challenge when I wanted a cup of coffee or needed to pee. (With the former I was touched by how many people were willing to help manifest java for me; with that latter I was the only one doing the touching and I was appropriately on my own.)

o  The main hurdle at Emerald Earth was walking to my sleeping cabin in the dark. While the path was mostly level, that's not the same as paved, and each minor dip or stray stick created a potential misadventure. Still, I got around and didn't go down. It just took longer.

o  After the training weekend ended (Sunday afternoon—five days post-injury) Sean (another of my facilitation students) drove me down to the East Bay where I holed up for three days with Susan Frank, Molly Reed, and Don Lambert (the core of the dynamic organizing team for FIC's Art of Community event happening this weekend) in a lovely house sitting situation in the Oakland Hills. The accommodations were plush, but the operative word in my location was "hills." The house featured many stories and lots of stairs. I tried to think of it as built-in physical therapy.

o  By Wednesday I was feeling frisky enough that I tried getting around without my walking stick. I figured that if I could stand it (literally) that the more work I made my right leg do, the quicker I'd heal by virtue of the increased blood flow—so long as I didn't overdo it and wind up with a puffier knee at night that I started with that morning.

o  When the day went fine, I felt frisky enough to attempt walking to a restaurant for dinner after relocating to Mariposa Grove for my final day in the East Bay. Mind you, walking the streets of Oakland and Berkeley is typically a recreational pastime for me—something I do for enjoyment when my legs are both fully functional. So I was aching to get out and recapture a taste of my old mobility. Pushing it, I walked to Kirala, one of my all-time favorite sushi restaurants at Shattuck & Ward. After a lovely repast, I limped home and was startled to learn that I'd asked my tender knee to go 2.4 miles. No wonder I was sore! I went to bed fervently hoping I hadn't machoed myself into a relapse.

o  In the morning (yesterday) I was relieved to find that my knee was better still. Hurray! In the first days after the injury it was brutal putting on my shoes and quite tricky getting in and out of a car. Now I'm semi-good at those ordinarily mundane tasks.  

Fortunately, I have a generally strong constitution and am a fast healer. It has helped me both physically and psychically that my knee is noticeably better every day. No matter how bad an injury is at its worst, there's a mood elevating quality to being on the way up. Thus, when people see me now (nine days into recovery) and wince at what I'm going through, I laugh and tell them this is nothing; they should have seen me three days ago.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Laird - with this brief glimpse into the disabled life (and with your familiarity with Lyme via people close to you) - can you envision an IC that includes and is framed to support people with chronic health issues such as RA, Lyme, fibromyalgia etc? This is a resource I've wished existed. I've looked into ICs in my region (N. Calif) but haven't found any that appear suitable for me (older, with Lyme and Babesia). How would such a group begin to create itself? {Chispa}