Saturday, May 01, 2010


It’s May 1st, decision time. If you were with me in January when I made my bold yet ill-fated decision to run in the Minneapolis Autism 5K on May 15, then you were probably also with me when I reported on my knee failure in March. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, count yourself lucky. You can skip this entry and spare yourself hearing about one more old-lady ailment.

After injuring my knee, I decided to hold off making a decision about running in the 5K until May 1. I figured by then, I would know—one way or another—if my knee would miraculously heal or whether I would have a weak link in my otherwise goddess-like, jock-machine of a 61-year-old body.

Well, it’s May 1, and I have a weak link. But I have decided that my knee is recovered enough to walk the 5K. I just will not be running it.

After this experience, I will no longer take any well-performing body parts for granted. For years, I just assumed that my left knee would always be there, doing what it was supposed to be doing: bend, straighten, bend, straighten, day after day, ad infinitum. No more. I’ve learned my lesson. Every day that the knee feels like it’s improving, I heap on the praises: “Wow, left knee! Way to go!! You are really coming along.” And on the days I feel it slipping backwards a little, I say encouragingly, “Come on, left knee! You can do it! You’re a champ. Think positively.”

I’ve also tried to pay more attention to body parts that in the past I would have ignored because they weren’t causing me any problems. When was the last time you thought of your elbows, for instance? Yet, they’re hard-working hinges that don’t get any credit. “Yea, elbows!” I’ll shout in a random, Turrets-style moment, startling fellow Target shoppers. “You guys are the best!”

And when was the last time you gave any credit to your liver? Or your spleen? Or any number of other internal organs that just do their jobs, day after day, without complaining? For example, I’ve decided that May 13 is going to be Gallbladder Day, and I’m going to go out of my way to thank my gallbladder for its many years of faithful, uninterrupted bile-secretion service. "Go, gallbladder! You rock my world!"

So the decision has been made. My left knee injury scared me. It made me realize that even though I’ve been walking 2 to 4 miles a day for ten years, that privilege could be taken away from me overnight. I’m only one injury away from an idle life on my faux-leather couch clutching the TV remote control. It made me re-appreciate an important life activity that I had begun to take for granted.

So, here’s to May 15 and appreciating that I will be able to at least walk those 3.1 miles!

You’ll have to excuse me now. I’m on my way to Hallmark to buy a thank you card. It’s Vertebrae Day, and I’ve got about 33 extremely special vertebrae that I need to thank for their years of faithful spinal service.


Anonymous said...

Condolences on the knee . . . sorry. jjk

Dana @ Bungalow'56 said...

You make me laugh. I've had a bum knee for ten years and appreciate walking very much, even as I am being passed by all the runners.