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I decided to name my sorest knee “Harriet”. It’s a nice name and I don’t know any, not a one, Harriet so she’ll know I’m talking to and about her. I like having a name for that aching knee. It makes it feel like I’m not all alone going through this. I know this sounds strange and all that, but I figure a woman has to do what a woman has to do to get through this procedure. I’m now including Harriet in all my decision making — including making her work even harder to strengthen, strengthen, strengthen. “It’s for your own good, Harriet,” I told her this morning as we tried to do the “additional” exercise the Tough-No-Nonsense-Knees-Higher trainer gave me on Thursday. I don’t know if we were doing it right, but we tried our darndest. I haven’t named the other knee. It’s bone-on-bone too but doesn’t hurt…yet.  So, I figure, it doesn’t warrant a name until, hopefully, much much later in this life of mine.

All this is because I made the decision. Yes, I called that most-pleasant secretary in the surgeon’s office back on Monday and said, “I am ready to schedule SURGERY!” I couldn’t believe I was actually doing it. But there I was, talking to her answering machine, making what, for me, is a monumental decision to have this done. But it took some of the drama out of my moment when I got the machine and not her. Especially when her message said she’d get back to me within 48 hours. RATS! When I make a big decision like this, I want immediate action, not wait for two days to find out if there are even any appointments available. But, hey, I know there’s a lot of other folks out there with “Harriets” of their own, so I just have to be patient.

I didn’t want to speak too loudly to the machine because — and this is important — I don’t want the cats to know quite yet that I’m contemplating leaving them for days, weeks? Rose would start immediately to complain about the injustice of being left alone. It doesn’t matter what Harriet and I have to go through, Rose is a very selfish cat who thinks only of her own belly, soft bed and, in this heat, that the air conditioner is put on early, early, early in the morning. I shall postpone telling her and Nick for a little while longer. Anyway, they get the best of care from Uncle Len and Steven and maybe even Finn next door will stop in. So they have nothing to worry about — not like Harriet and me.

The secretary did get back to me but a few hours after the 48 hour deadline. When I answered the phone, she apologized for not getting back to me earlier. Apologized! Do you believe that? This woman who has to deal with aching, demanding people all day — not to mention doctors — apologized to me for being a few hours late. I told her I was very impressed with her care for me. She was quite pleased with my comments.

Then, I could hear her tapping the keys on her computer as she said, “So, you want the surgery soon?” I told her I’d like to recoup as much as possible before the snow falls — which officially can happen anytime after November 15 but then, this is Canada, so it could come in October (god forbid) “Well, there’s some August dates free,” she said. I could feel Harriet tense up at the thought of doing all this in just a few weeks — I was pretty tense myself. Too soon, too soon, I thought. Anyway, I have lots of Excellent Cat Sitting to do this month. Not to mention an unmentionable trip to take later on. “No, thank you. Maybe a little later?” I answered.

More tapping of keys, “Well, he’s back in early September, how about the 16th of September.” The die was cast. I asked Harriet what she thought. “Just do it!” She sounded just like the Frau Doktor who I saw by accident on Thursday. When I told her about seeing Dr. M., she said “Don’t wait! Whenever they give you date, do it.” I think Harriet was listening when she said it. And that was that. I did mention to the secretary about my 22 steps to get to my apartment and another 12 to get to the bathroom and bedroom. “Oh, they won’t let you go home until you can climb stairs.” Was she talking about 4 or 5? Will they keep me somewhere until I can master 22? It’s an important question. I should get a tee shirt made with 22 Steps Or I’m Not Going Anywhere. Harriet agrees.

In early August, I go to see the surgeon, Dr. M., to sign my consent to give him permission to cut Harriet open (she just flinched) and do what he supposedly is so good at doing. I don’t know what the protocol is about when I get to ask all my questions about like drugs, and constipation and blood clots and pain, tra la tra la — and, of course, the ever important 22 stairs one. Harriet just interjected that she wants to know about  the scar. I told her that was the least of our worries at this point.

53 days and counting!