“Your middle name must be Grace,” she surmised, placing bandages on my scraped-up knees.
“No, it’s Catherine,” I replied, unwrapping the lollipop she placed in my skinned-up hands.
It took me a few decades to realize that my friend’s mother wasn’t really trying to guess my middle name.
My knees have taken a beating over the years, and they are now reaping what I have sown.
In 1980, I had surgery to remove the inflamed lining in my right knee, in the hopes that it would re-grow and be normal. It worked – until I decided to try aerobics in the mid-1980s.
Entering midlife, it was evident that my left knee would be referred to as the “good knee.” The three of us – left knee, right knee and me – had an understanding. Lefty and I would work to keep Righty from sustaining any further damage. It was a great arrangement, until the lovely varicose veins around Lefty put the three of us into a dilemma as to which was going to be the strong one.
We agreed to no longer wear heels, and that slacks or long skirts would be our go-to fashions, sparing the world from seeing the evidence of my aging knees.
We also agreed that when standing for a long-time period, Righty would take the weight. When bending was critical, Lefty would be the go-to-knee. It was the perfect arrangement for keeping the balance in our relationship.
However, we didn’t plan on future circumstances curtailing our arrangement. Such as, which knee will bear the brunt of the weight when the right hip would occasionally pop out of place? And joint competition wasn’t in the plan.
Sometimes Righty wants all the attention, especially when it comes to predicting the future. A few years back, Lefty and I were applauding Righty on being able to give us a 24-hour notice before rain or snow – better than our local weather anchor. I would tell people to take an umbrella, even if the forecast was sunshine. Righty was always correct.My knees predict weather more accurately than a meteorologist. Click To Tweet
However, Lefty started getting jealous of the attention Righty was getting, and decided to prove its weather-forecasting abilities as well, leaving me smack in the middle of these two warring, wearing joints.
Righty is not as bendable as we would like, on many levels. That usually irritates Lefty – literally and figuratively. So as of late, and possibly due to seasonal changes – Righty has decided to become even less flexible, leading to more pressure on Lefty.
This ego trip has become the Bain of my existence. One rainy day, Righty wouldn’t bend well, throwing off my gait, which slammed the edge of Lefty’s knee cap into a 6,000-pound desk. Seeing stars, I immediately bit my tongue, lest any foul language embarrass me further. I was mad at Righty, and wondered how we’d get out of this situation. Lefty was fuming mad, and showed it with a bruise that would rival anything on Web MD. After extensive icing, Lefty was feeling better, forgave Righty, and the three of us hobbled forward.
We decided to exercise and get stronger, which worked, as we planned our dream trip to Italy. Lefty and Righty made it through airports like champs; standing in long lines, enduring miles of walking, hiking numerous stairwells, and sitting on a long flight to France.
In their defense, both knees were getting tired, and when we got squeezed into very last row of the connecting flight to our destination, Naples, exhaustion was setting in. Poor Lefty met a seat divider via collision to the edge of the knee cap. Tears rolled out of my eyes, and curse words rolled off my tongue. And, no ice bag for me, as the flight attendant called it “a dangerous projectile during take-off.”
Lefty and Righty worked great together, thus the injury to the kneecap didn’t derail our trip.
Lately, Righty hasn’t been its usual self. Too much seasonal rain, humidity and dampness has made bending difficult. Lefty and I are being gentle with Righty, trying to get back on track.
All was well, until we decided to get the mail. With Righty leading the way, we weren’t paying attention to the cement door jamb that has existed since 1950 – the one that I have passed through for well over a decade.
Poor Lefty took it on the knee cap, again. We were immobilized momentarily as neither knee could bend. Howling in pain, I gained the unwanted attention of our new neighbors as I stumbled through the door.
Cozying up with an ice bag, I stared over at our neighbor’s house, wondering what they were saying.
“Did you see what she did?” asked Neighbor One.
“Yeah – right into the door. Poor thing. What was her name again?” Neighbor Two responded.
“I’m not sure. But her middle name must be Grace.”
© Lynne Cobb – 2017
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