You might remember that I spent some time serving our country in the Marine Corps. You might further remember that I mentioned that I was in the Infantry in those days. I am certain that you know that my service is a point of great pride for me.
Well, being a member of an elite band of unstoppable killers has a price, ladies and gentlemen. That price, when not the ultimate price, is often the early decrepitude, if not destruction of the major joints.
Old infantrymen like myself frequently have back, shoulder, ankle, neck, and knee injuries because of the things that we used to do with great frequency.
From Fast-Roping out of helicopters...
...to forced marches of distances greater than 25 miles carrying nearly my own body- weight in equipment...
...to frequent sessions of distance running on paved roads... wearing boots.
(Like this... but wearing combat boots)
Of course, back in those days, I was quite studly and fit...
But it has been quite some time since my Marine Corps days... and I don't really look like that any more.
As a matter of fact yours truly is just to darned old to do these things now... not that I would if I could, that crap is for the young 'uns.
I have been enduring problematic knees (and back) since I got out of the service those many years ago. On good days my knees hurt. On bad days my knees REALLY hurt. Last weekend, it got even worse.
There I was, in church, I was serving as worship assistant for the day (which means I help with communion, read some of the prayers, etc...) and was sitting at the front of the church. During one part of the service, I had to stand and read and boy oh boy, did I get that stabbing ice-pick-under-the-kneecap sort of pain that has never hurt that badly before.
I bit down on the expletive that almost came out of my mouth and manfully did my part. When the service ended, we went out to lunch as we normally do. When I got up from the table, it happened again. It was getting rapidly worse... it even hurt to drive.
I went to the doctor on Monday, who proceeded to manipulate my knee to the point where I was about to punch him in his Canadian head! Naturally, he sent me to the orthopaedist... That's where I went today.
The Ortho Doc was pretty good... this guy treats a lot of local college athletes, as well as competitive ice-skaters. He did a series of x-rays, which revealed.... knees that are in pretty good shape... for a guy my size... and my age. The problem was that there is a major bone spur on my kneecap.
I need surgery.
OK. Fine. I'm not a chicken. "How soon can we make this happen?" I asked directly. "Tuesday" he shot back, equally directly. I like this guy. He doesn't bullshit around (look Heather, no ass-ter-isk).
I then asked him how long I would limp about after surgery before I began some semblance of normalcy. He said six weeks. In my head, I was counting the weeks to our vacation... arriving at.... six weeks. I told him as much, and he said... "well, if you are going to Disney world (his wife and seven year old adopted-from-China daughter just returned last week), we had better wait until you get back, and do this in September" See why I like this guy?
In order to address my pain, I got a Cortisone shot in the knee. I'll get another one a few days before vacation, to keep the edge off, and that is when I'll schedule the surgery.
In the waiting room, I spent some time talking to a fellow old warrior, this guy was an old Navy Seal and was in his mid fifties. We laughed, while we tried to refrain from wincing in pain from time to time, about our military exploits... and how they were likely to be responsible for our current condition. We talked of where we had been , and what ships we had served on. It was pleasant. I was finished first, and we parted with a handshake and a "see you in the fleet, shipmate!" And that was that.
I thought the Cortisone shot would have hurt more... but I think that I am impervious to most low-grade pain now.