The year of "slow forward" began in late February 2022. Dave and I were walking down the driveway, as we do in any ordinary day, when suddenly I stepped on a pinecone and felt my leg go out from under me. Dave caught me under my forearm and I didn’t go down, but I did twist my knee very painfully in the process. Shortly thereafter I ended up in the ER with a brand-new pair of crutches and a whole new world of pain.
It became apparent then that I was finally going to have to do something about my aching right knee, as the gel shots I’d been getting for almost 2 years were no longer working effectively. In the slip I’d torn the meniscii on both sides of my knee. The weird instability was troubling and I found myself unable to do a lot of my regular activities, like hiking, gardening and dancing.
Slow forward through the insurance grind and the task of finding a surgeon, and at last, on November 17, a new bionic knee for me.
Recovery, too, has been slow forward. Friends and family have been wonderful, my dear Dave most of all. We were fed, cared for, and given tons of advice. The best advice I received came from my friend Ginger BL, who had the courage and fortitude to replace both of her knees at the same time. In December, Ginger said to me, "Just rest. Everything else is PT. It's just PT and rest."
That's ridiculously true. Everything, and I mean everything, is PT. And it increased in difficulty as I put down the walker and then the cane and began to climb stairs one leg at a time or got up from a chair without using my arms. For a long time getting up from the floor was a very slow, thoughtful process. Now, three months out, as I go normally and quickly down the stairs it’s hard to believe it was all that difficult that short a time ago.
And rest? Rest, I did. I’m probably better rested than I’ve been in years, which is a good way to start a daily writing challenge.
My New Year's resolution for 2023 is to consciously think of life as "slow forward," not because of medical issues, but because of a deliberate choice to live a little more slowly. To stop and smell the camellias. To be busy by choice, not by necessity. And to be gentle with myself in knowing that I don’t have to do it all.
I never know exactly where the writing challenge will go, but I hope to look at the parts of the long journey of 63 years that my knee and I traveled together and use that as a metaphor for whatever else arises. I’m looking forward to processing what I’ve been through with paper and pen while exploring the idea of gentleness, both as it relates to my physical recovery, aging and whatever else might arise. I hope you’ll continue to join me here.
We start in earnest tomorrow. I look forward to hearing from you as we go along.