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I’ve had knees on the mind a lot this weekend. My social media and all things technical friend, Sarah, said, “That’s a pretty funny place to keep your knees.” I appreciated her attempt at humor, even though it did not make my knees feel one bit better. This all started on Friday at high noon — an appropriate time — when I had a second appointment with the Surgeon. That is a word, a title, a person who puts dread and trepidation in my little soul. Visions of Sweeney Todd and other butchers come to mind. I do exaggerate. But the thought of someone dedicating their life to cutting people up is too much.

Well, anyway, after I had fallen for the second time a year and some ago, my Frau Doktor sent me down the street to the bone specialist to talk about surgery. “It’s the best place in Toronto to go for bones,” she said. It sounded like she was recommending a rib joint. I just dutifully took the referral. But, as I walked out of her office, I murmured, “No! I’m not ready for that. I’m not that bad! Really. Am I?” It turned out that the Mighty Surgeon, Dr. M., agreed with me that I wasn’t ready, but, he added, and here’s the key word, yet. He sent me forth from his office to STRENGTHEN.

One thing I’ll say about me is that when I get orders like that I do follow through, eventually. I sat down and weighed the cost of a trainer vs. walking. I told myself that I couldn’t afford a personal trainer. It sounded too expensive and exclusive for someone like me — isn’t that what people like Oprah have? And, in reality, I can’t afford it. But, hey, what choice did I have?  I knew in my heart-of-hearts, that I wouldn’t do what I needed to do all by myself. And, in the end, I could have more money in the bank and not be able to walk anywhere to use the bloody stuff!  So, there was no choice at all.

That’s when I remembered the Tough-No-Nonsense-Knees-Higher trainer, Christina. I confess that I had as much trepidation emailing her as I had meeting the surgeon. But she came highly, highly, highest recommended by someone I knew from the locker room who sang her praises for getting her back on her feet after knee surgery. I sent the email.

So every day for this year and a half since we started,  I march and lift weights and squat and balance and do whatever else the Mighty Trainer puts on that little piece of paper every month. I know I’m better, since at the beginning I couldn’t do anything and now I can get through an hour a day and only curse at herself occasionally.

So that brings me back to Friday and sitting in the waiting room at the surgeon’s where, I must say, I sat for a very, very, very long time. (I must remember to eat before I go the next time and have a better book to read.) However, this gave me ample opportunity to check out other limping folks and a full selection of walkers, canes, crutches and shuffling techniques.

Once called into the inner sanctum of the office, I waited some more, until a very pregnant resident showed up to get my details. As soon as she sat down, her buzzer went off and she said, “Oh, we’ll have to hurry I have to answer that.” Hurry? After sitting waiting for over an hour and now I have to hurry? Then her “other device” went off. She looked at me and I shrugged, “Answer it.” The buzzer and the phone were the same person so it meant now she could concentrate on moi.

I took out my list so I didn’t forget anything. I had the definite feeling that my time was limited. I told of my grand fetes of strengthening — exercising every day, walking, intense aquafit three or four times a week. I wanted the biggest gold star ever. Then she asked me if I drank alcohol. Oh, rats, why did that have to come? It’s my knees, doctor, not everything else. I was honest. Then she went in search of the almighty, missing, Dr. M.

I waited some more. People came and went in the hallway. The Pregnant Resident slipped by and I called out to her, “I’m starving!” She answered, “I’m sorry. I ate all my food.” It was nice of her to want to offer me something. [Note to Self: Bring snack next time.] Then he was there — Dr. M. He had on the whitest-of-white shirts and a blue tie. He looked good. I remembered that about him from the last time. He shook my hand and sat down. Then, as the resident read off my details, he watched her intensely, twirling glasses in his hand tucked under his chin. I concurred with what she reported and told him I had been most diligent about his orders to strengthen. No gold stars only a polite request for me to walk back and forth, holding up my pants legs so he could check out my gait — not my gams. Then, when I sat down again, he pulled my leg this way and that and said, “Your arthritis is worse. There will be more pain. You have to decide when you are going to have surgery.” The word “if” did not exist anywhere in that sentence. He concluded by saying, “If you do it now, it will last you for the rest of your life.” Is that like a warranty, or something? It made me gasp thinking that I’d be taking this to my grave!

So here I am thinking about this surgery stuff all weekend. Once I say, “Yeah,” they’ll schedule me in sometime in the next two or three months! Imagine. I was walking around yesterday thinking about not feeling pain with every teeny tiny step I take. And that is something to look forward to. I have to make the decision soon so I can recoup before the first snows fly.