Very early on Tuesday morning, I am going to have my right knee replaced. I'm as surprised as anybody. I've had trouble walking for a while now, but a total knee replacement? Really?
(I can hear Linda's brain ticking through the list of surprises she didn't realize she was saying "I do" to on November 1, 1991. And here's the miracle of growing old(er) with someone ~ "the hits just keep coming...love you, honey.)
13 years ago I was playing on a women's softball team (what was the name of it, Bets? All you ever remind me is that I talked you into playing for "sister time," and I went on the D.L. during the first game). Don't remember the score, but do remember there were two outs and runners on 2nd and 3rd. "Just drive it to right field and outrun the ball to first base and two runs ought to cross the plate." And sure enough (memory has it that) a pitch came on the outside part of the place and I shifted my feet just a bit to punch it into right. To do that I brought my right leg back and shifted my front leg forward. And wham! [To this day, not sure if it was the ball sailing out to right EXACTLY where'd I'd planned, and the meniscus in my right knee popping.] I limped on down to first - "safe" and then limped on over to the dug-out. And with that my softball days were done.
We didn't know until the surgery that my meniscus had popped and taken a bit of my kneecap with it (I remember in the recovery room, the doc holding what looked like the state of Iowa in my face...turned out it wasn't Iowa, it was a part of me...). "You'll have some arthritis in that knee and eventually it'll probably need to be replaced, but for now you're good to go."
Fast forward: over the past 5 years I've had some trouble with my lungs and infections (someday, I'll tell you about the damn hospice rabbit, but that's another story) and I've been on steroids off and on most of that time. It turns out steroids are the magic bullet for my lungs AND my right knee. After the sinus surgery in March (thank you, God and Dr. Chin) I've been healthier (read: less steroids). And with that came more walking, and now (wait for it) my right knee is killing me. Trip to the knee folks (thank you Peachtree Orthaepedic Clinic) and it brings me to this tender good-bye.
Very early on Tuesday morning, I am going to have my right knee replaced. [7:30 am EST for all who would offer a prayer or two with my deep thanks]. Hospital for 3 or 4 or 5 days, home health for a week or so and then rehab for 2-8 weeks.
All these days of wondering and wandering in my head as I play this out, has made me very nostalgic and thankful.
From my first steps until this day, I've led with my right. This knee has walked on hikes at Girl Scout camps in Indiana, California, and Arkansas. It's walked the dogs with Dad and our boys. It's walked beaches from coast to coast and then some. It's rambled Granddaddy's orange groves playing hide and seek with Claud and Bets. It's played some pretty good tennis, and guided me toward my lifeguarding certification. It's squatted more times than I want to remember as I caught softball and motored around the bases with a grand slam or two. It's walked me down the aisle with Linda. It walked the floors with each of our baby boys on those early mornings when they would have rather cried than slept. It's walked many a Saturday morning to sit at Booth 25 and on weekend afternoons walking around the neighborhood listening to the Braves on the radio. It's knelt with me for my ordination and at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. It's brought me from there to here.
I want to say something profound and meaningful. It's served me well, even when / especially when it hurt to do so. And so, old friend I am mindful today and into tomorrow that we are fearfully and wonderfully part. As Mom said so beautifully, "The fearfully part (about the surgery and recovery and rehab) ~ I got. I'm interested," she said, "in the wonderfully part."
So thank you, and here's to all that's waiting ~ just around the bend.
Working as a Hospice Chaplain, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.