Second knee surgery in year and two months. Though this surgery is more involved than the last. Three months of recovery time and about nine months to have a fully healed ACL graft.
Spring has sprung and I’m chained to crutches indoors. Unable to do steps, I’ve been stuck on the first floor- that does not consist of a full bath or bedroom. The living room was starting to feel like a tomb. Everyday I waited with heavy anticipation for my husband to come home from work, like the loyal dog meeting him at the door- only a couple feet taller, slightly less smelly and bearing crutches.
Over a recent weekend that had exceedingly beautiful weather, the hubby suggested I venture out on the front porch. I guess he felt his hot mess of a wife was pitiful leaning on her support sticks while looking longingly outside. Again, kinda like the dog but with less barking at the squirrels.
There was only a stoop to get onto the porch, so I agreed. You know that scene in “ The Wizard of Oz”, where Dorothy steps out of black and white into Technicolor awesomeness known as Oz? That’s exactly what this felt like. Beautiful colors, sounds and smells welcoming me like Oz did Dorothy. All that was missing were the munchkins (unless I count as one) and the friendly witch in the floating pink bubble- one more Oxycotin could have probably fixed that.
It was warm, but not hot. There was a slow breeze to accompany the slowly sinking sun. I decided I was there for the duration and had to figure out how to lower myself to the porch steps. It looked and seemed as difficult as parallel parking, but with my husband as a safety net, I managed to sit down and rest against the house. With my crutches by my side and brace on my knee, hubby felt safe to go inside and watch a special on Wrigley field (he’s seen the outdoors recently and was less impressed). Although like a parent to a five year old would do, he left the door slightly ajar. As long as no sounds of crashing or crying could be heard, assumed all was fine.
I felt my skin drinking in the sun. I removed my brace and let my beat up, swollen knee get some rays as well. I figured if the sun could heal superman, why not me. I closed my eyes and listened to the breezes play in the leaves; birds swapping stories tree to tree; kids playing with their dad in the back yard as their mother vacuumed inside (typical). I started twirling my hair, not like a bubble gum popping valley girl, but as if I could some how infuse my strands with the life and shine of that moment.
My focus shifted as I the listened to the symphony of birds. One song echoed close. I opened my eyes in search of the warbler to find the elusive house wren. There has been a bird nest, or condo more like it, on the corner of our porch but I had yet to see the tenant. Slowly leaning back, I attempted to see it in action. Moving bits of grass and straw around to its liking, as if gaining some feng shui. Then another wren arrived and chirped more of a cooing sound. I assumed the interior designer was the female and this was the male saying “ Wow, love what you did to the place, sweets. What’s for dinner?”, because the assumed female started chirping a sound that could only be described as irritated. I got cocky and leaned too far back, and I knew I had been made. My appearance interrupted the disgruntled couple and they flew off. Whoops! It’s like bad reality TV, hard not to watch.
As I watched them fly away, a dreadful sound pierced my ears, the type of sound that scares the bejeezus out of every prissy non-outdoorsy girl. It was the terrifying buzzing of a wasp. Normally, this would be my cue to jump up, flap my hands and run away. There was no running for this gimp. It would have surely taken me a week to get up. The very action of just flapping my hands would have just pissed the evil vermin off. No, I had to sit still and try to act calm. Smelling my fear, it toyed with me for a good ten minutes. Okay, two minutes, but it felt like ten. It would bob and weave closer and closer. It saw my crutches and knew I was an easy target. I imagined this was some punk wasp from the other side of the tracks, who had a rap sheet as long as the fire ant in the insect community. He got dangerously close to my forehead, where beads of sweat were forming. Then, as I felt the need to spaz, he just flew on his merry waspy way. Maybe my smell, from only being able to sponge bathe from a sink, got to him. Score! Stinky gimpy girl: 1 Thug wasp: 0
With my sissy girl crisis diverted, I peered out over our luscious green grass that was littered with pink cherry blossoms. The night before, we had a terrible storm that brought torrential nickel sized hail. It battered all the blooms on the trees, not to mention my porch flower pots. The trees were so vibrant the day before. All the statuesque flowers I planted, were now bent over and crushed. I looked down at my knee and couldn’t help but feel the cherry blossoms pain. Unlike the tree, my knee was actually burdened with color, not bright and pink, but more of the dark side of the Crayola spectrum. As a friend eloquently stated, “Its like Tanya Harding times ten!”.
It has been so easy to feel melancholy over this surgery. Though my knee was cut up, beat up and felt like extra baggage to cart around, I knew in the grand scheme of things, this was super minor. However, it never ceases to surprise me, how quickly we make small problems into large ones. The simple act of going outside on a gorgeous day helped pull me out of my funk. Like the miserable storm from the previous night paving the way for the exquisite tomorrow, it’s the small reminders that God brings us out of the “storms” of life. Life’s challenges breed innovation and lessons learned. We just have to be present and mindful of all the blessings surrounding us. For this gimp, it took sitting on a porch with a quiet appreciative mind to find my smile again. I gained perspective and it felt better than a dose of narcotics.