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Not A Leg to Stand On June 15, 2013

Posted by alwaysjan in Health, Personal.
Tags: , , , ,

metalkneejpgI’ve gone and done it again.

When I last wrote about my knee in 28 Days Later, I was four weeks out from Total Knee Replacement (TKR). I’m pleased to say that at six weeks, I no longer wanted to die. And just as my doctor had predicted, by the time I hit that 12-week mark, I was in love with him.

I went back to school after 10 weeks, as I’d exhausted my sick leave and was on Extended Medical Leave  (1/2 pay). I was a little bit nervous about my ability to navigate the stairs, but ultimately I did just fine. And it took me all of 10 minutes to regain control of my classroom after being out for so long. It was all good. Too good?

Okay, my right knee now makes a THUNKing sound  (which is good way to teach about onomatopoeia?). I asked my doctor about this and he said, “Well, your knee is all titanium and plastic, so what do you expect?”  It’s not like it was in Silent Running mode before. Point well taken.

I was floating up and down the stairs at school. Heaven!  Then my LEFT knee began acting up. A shot of Cortisone did the trick. My husband had tickets to go to The Strawberry Festival in Yosemite to meet up with his best friend from kindergarten, Anne. I love Anne because she remembers more about my husband’s childhood than he does. Approximately 20 some odd people were to converge at Camp Calamity. Oh, how aptly named.

Neither my husband or I had ever been to Yosemite. Finally, we were going. Oh what fun we would have.

The first night was great. The camp was set up so that there was a long table for all of us to gather. The women’s restroom wasn’t too far. Who could ask for anything more?  Okay, the ground was uneven, but our hosts had laid out artificial turf and rugs so that it was the ultimate outdoor space. They had this down as they’d been doing this for 31 years. I was in awe of just how organized they were.  We slept the first night on an air mattress. Oh, what a difference it made. This was going to be fun. (I’d never uttered the words “camping” and “fun” in the same sentence before.)

The second day we got in Anne’s car and she drove us to Hetch Hetchy. We walked down the road and across the dam and through the tunnel. I couldn’t believe how easily I could walk. I hadn’t walked this far in years and kept waiting to be in pain – but I was fine.

When we got back to Camp Calamity we dined and then as the sun began to set, we set off to the Music Meadow. The paths are traced with white chalk, so it’s easier to walk. We hadn’t gone far when I stepped off the path. My left knee twisted as I slid into a hole. I would have fallen to the ground if the two guys walking next to me had not grabbed me. The pain was exquisite. So I was carried me back to Camp Calamity. I was laid out on a chaise lounge and someone made me a wicked Margarita. My husband, Richard, soldiered on to the Music Meadow. When he returned, I was immobilized and had to be carried to the tent. Not a good sign.

I’ll cut to the chase. We drove back to Los Angeles the next morning as I had to have people carry me to the restroom. Talk about humility. I was wheeled into the hospital ER where it was determined that I had no broken bones. My entire leg was encased in a knee immobilizer and I was sent home with pain meds.

The hardest thing was writing to my students’ parents that I’d injured my OTHER knee.  I was out for four days while awaiting the results of an MRI. Meanwhile, our collection of crutches was ever expanding.

The MRI showed a torn meniscus, a Baker’s cyst, and some arthritis, but I was given the okay to go back to school. I managed for two days and then everything went south. By the last day of school when I had to clean out my classroom, I was limping and in excruciating pain.

I finally met with my doctor. I now have arthroscopic surgery scheduled, but he couldn’t fit me in before my trip to the UK, which was to be my reward for having the TKR. I had this same surgery on my right knee in 2006 which compared to the TKR was a piece of cake.

So I’m hobbling. I have been ordered NOT to pivot. I ice my knee three times a day and try to keep it elevated. This was not the summer vacation I envisioned. I’ve warned my Lesley/s in the UK that I might not be up to doing the Highland Fling. I might have to just be put in a wheelbarrow and taken to the local pub?

So if my readers wonder why I’ve been errant in posting, it’s because I’ve been waylaid once again. At least this has made it impossible to put my foot in my mouth. I, however, choose to see the glass as half full. Cheers!

Photo Credit: Drawing by Daniel


1. Anne - June 16, 2013

What the hell is a Baker’s cyst?? I’ve never seen you bake anything!!!! Can you get a half baked cyst?
So bummed that you were this spring’s calamity. It’s just not right. A few years ago I stepped in a big hole coming out of Eric’s trailer and I was carrying a big bag of cheese. Cheese flew everywhere and one of the kids went running into the meadow yelling “Anne fell down and all the cheese came out!!” Ah, good times. I didn’t require surgery but on a hot day in camp I can still smell the cheese.

I can bake but I’m afraid Richard has taken over the kitchen. It was so much fun that first night. Sorry we missed the clean-up. hahahahahaha
Always, Jan


2. elissestuart - June 16, 2013

Hey Jan –
So sorry, this has been the year of the knee….not the Chinese New Year you had in mind. I’ve been afraid to google “baker’s cyst.” No hiking the Scottish highlands while you’re gone.

I always thought that the “Baker” in it meant it was job related. I envisioned bakers up early and standing on their feet – like teachers. Come to find out it’s named after someone named…..Baker! It’s all related to osteoarthritis or a torn meniscus. It comes and goes, but should be GONE once I have the surgery. Yes, this has been quite the year. Thank goodness I only have two legs! Jan


3. Lynette d'Arty-Cross - June 16, 2013

So sorry to hear about this, Jan. 😦 Take care!


4. Tracy - June 16, 2013

Omg Jan!

You know the old saying, “When it rains, it pours”? Well, you’ve apparently been caught in a deluge, poor thing!

Try to take it easy & heal up best you can so you can enjoy the most of your trip. Never mind the parents/kids at this juncture. You’re the injured party, atm. Can you request another cortisone injection pre-flight just to help out with the pain?

Speedy recovery & safe journey!

PS- I’m putting in a request that Daniel please do his rendition of you in the wheelbarrow on the way to the pub. 😉

Haha! Actually, the doctor IS giving me another Cortisone injection the day before I leave for the UK. If nothing more, it will perhaps take some of the pain out of sitting in what is referred to as a “seat” for the 10-hour flight? 🙂 Jan


5. Catherine Sherman - June 16, 2013

You sure don’t “knee”d a Baker’s Cyst on your knee. Sorry that you sound like Tinman from Oz with your THUNKing, but it is a great opportunity to use the word onomatopoeia.

I hope you’ll soon be using the words “total recovery,” “having a wild time in the U.K.” and “Watch out world, here I come!” Making a grand entrance in a wheelbarrow does sound kind of fun, though, but I hope you don’t need to.

I’d like to hear more about the Strawberry Festival, too. Amazing coincidence that you and I both saw Sam Bush in the same month!

I’d have seen more of the Strawberry Festival if that hole hadn’t ambushed me. What a mob scene it was with every type of encampment. But,everyone was so polite, and it was incredibly well organized. They have one on Memorial Day weekend and another on Labor Day weekend. After the shows, the musicians give workshops at various sites in the woods. You could hear guitars playing till the wee hours. I did catch Sam Bush on Friday night which was great fun. Here’s the link to the Stawberry Festival site. Always, Jan


6. Lesley - June 17, 2013

Hah! You know they did have these ‘Police Barrows’ in Scotland in Victorian times?
Apparently anyone ‘incapacitated'(and/or inebriated!)was given a free ride home or alas to a waiting cell!
Do you want me phone ahead and book one for your trip lolololol……

As always…loving the artwork to this post….metal knee at jaunty angle and fangs!!!!!
Seriously, hope you not too sore today?

I think this sounds like an ideal way to avoid the pitfalls of cobblestone streets with the caveat that you will do the pushing!
My students each wrote me a letter in December, so I have a “book” of letters accompanied by hilarious drawings. The girls always draw me as young, skinny, and glamorous. The boys tend to stick to the essentials…two eyes, one nose… I laughed at the “fangs” also. Perhaps it’s a “W” for “Waaaaa!” I manage to get through each day. The only pain I feel is when I’m walking and who needs to do that? LOL Jan


7. dogkisses - June 18, 2013

Dear Jan,

I guess it has been way too long since I visited. I’m sorry you had to have a knee replacement. My mother has had two. She calls herself the bionic woman because she has had so much replaced in her body. She is kind of like one at 78 and can still mostly out work me.

I am extra sorry for you that your right knee is also hurting. I thought I had a Baker’s Cyst once, but they never figured out what was wrong and the pain went away. My back went into spasms recently and I’m not such a happy camper these days. I wish I could have a Margarita, but I’ve become allergic to alcohol over the past five years. Boy I used to love those.

It is sad that you won’t get to spend your Summer as planned Jan, but you are amazing in your ability to have a good attitude!!! I wish you well and hopefully before Summer is over?).

Maybe you’ll find something interesting to do with your time and if you can do Aqua-therapy at some point I bet that would help a lot.

Warm Hugs and Many Well Wishes!!!

Fortunately I’m getting lots of dog kisses from my resident canines who kept me entertained when I spent days sitting on the living room couch recovering from knee surgery. I think developing an allergy to margaritas could be the worst thing yet! haha I’m not only going to England, but back to see family in Michigan, so I’m just glad I can walk a straight line (that’s BEFORE the margarita).LOL Sending warm thoughts to your back. Jan


8. Donna - June 19, 2013

Jan, feel you have just had a string of bad things happening in such a short period of time. I truly hope that you will be feeling better soon. Just think you will have to new knees when it is all over. Take Care, Donna

Thanks for you kind thoughts. It could be so much worse. All of my problems CAN be solved, whereas so many people are dealing with problems that are so much more complex and life threatening. It’s great to hear from you. Did you read that I’m going to meet up with Lesley in Scotland in July? I’m SO looking forward to that. She is still in contact with Phil, so all of the wonderful people who had such a lively discussion on my blog last summer are still around. That makes me smile to know people are moving on with their lives. 🙂 All the best. Always, Jan


9. frida - June 20, 2013

jan, oh my..oh dear..sounds awful! hope you will mend soon and i promise i won´t ever smartass about camping coffee again 😉 get well soon and make the very best of your vacay in the UK!!! the lesley ladies will carry you 🙂 luv, frid

Great to hear from you. You should know by now that smartass remarks are always welcome. 🙂 I’m going to start referring to them as the lovely Lesley ladies! Hope with the coming of summer and sun that things are looking brighter? Always, Jan


10. czbz - June 22, 2013

Hi Jan! Sorry to hear about your knee but I LOVED your story! I’m prone to reading your tales out loud to anyone in my family who will listen. Sometimes what’s funny in writing isn’t so funny out loud. That’s not true for your writing, though. (not sure whether telling you that was a good idea but I figure you’re basking in margaritas and won’t mind).

By the way, I’m knee-deep in alligators myself. Seeing your comment on my blog today was reassuring. I’ve been concerned about inciting a cyber war for having “outed” that guy but so far, I haven’t received any insults OR death threats so it’s been a good day. Thank you for your support.

Don’t worry about stirring up a cyber war. One has to take a stand and do the right thing. Your writing is so clear and distinctive that no one could co opt it and claim it as their own. I know that only good will come from this as “The truth will set you free.” FYI: Regarding those third graders. I’m thinking of one in particular who wrote about the “stylistic renderings of Billie Holiday.” We googled that phrase and found half of her report word for report on the Internet. This was a case where mom got involved and wrote the report for her daughter. A year later this same girl told me how horrible that teacher was. I asked if this was in reference to her report and she said yes. I took the time to explain that plagiarism is STEALING. Oh, the look on her face. 🙂 Jan


11. Vivian - June 26, 2013

Jan: So sorry to hear of yet your second ordeal with a knee. OH MY GOSH how painful! Are you still resting your leg? THe whole story is unreal. Rest and relax as much as you can. Vivi

I was so worried about not being able to fully enjoy my trip to the UK, but after almost three weeks of taking it easy (since I’m not at school going up and down the stairs 13 times a day), I’m feeling much better. This week I’ve been out and around. Whew! I’m now excited once again to be traveling and I know both my Lesleys will make sure I have a grand time. I’ll have recovered from the surgery by the time the new school year starts, so the planets have aligned. Thanks for your kind thoughts. Hope your summer is looking good!
Always, Jan


12. Source B - June 29, 2013

Ach! This sounds nasty!

Jan — I really hope things continue to improve for you. Ouch!

Thanks so much. I’m feeling much better after three weeks of not standing all day and going up and down stairs 13 times a day. In less than a week, I’ll be in England….walking. But no hiking for me. I still might need that wheelbarrow for the trip home from the pub though. >wink< Jan


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