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Sunday, April 3, 2016

Leg 1 of the New Leg is 1 and Done - Preparing for the Next Leg of Life

I know - exceptionally catchy title or titles.

But I gotta tell you yesterday - which was the first leg in a journey for a new left leg - was quite an experience.

In my desire to be as independent as possible until the bitter end and the lack of judgment that resulted from that desire, I put myself in a position that put me at the mercy of the World - a place I don't like to be and try to avoid - but.... Well here's what happened.

Had set my alarm for 2:45 am yesterday morning but woke up at 2:05 am and figured it was for good reason, considering the short amount of sleep.  Perhaps the good reason being that I didn't want to miss my 6:35 am flight from ABQ to Houston Hobby.

Now most people would look at a 4-1/2 hour advance wake-up call as being sufficient for making the flight, but my mobility over the last few days had decreased significantly and was replaced by an exponentially increasing pain level.

Part of my pre-surgery instructions were that I had to stop all of my supplements and most importantly my NSAIDs by Thursday, which I did.

Holy Shit - I didn't realize that the only thing keeping me upright and walking over the past 3 months since my early January Final Blowout of the Left Knee, had been my NSAIDs - Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug.  I had found the most effective of several I had tried was Dicloflenac - 75 mg - 1 in the morning and 1 in the evening.  I knew they were working because I would get up in the morning and basically be unable to walk, would do some light stretching and a few exercises, hobble downstairs, take my morning dosage, drink 2 cups of coffee, and within 45 mins, I was walking again.

Bottom line - Stop the NSAIDs..... Stop walking.

So I peg leg it up the hill of my condo complex to my Enterprise rental car, get it back down to the condo, get my 50# limit Suitcase in the trunk and head to ABQ airport.

The leg is killing me, I can't straighten it, but I'm thinking, as my daughter would say..... "I got this!"

A really smart person that I had talked to suggested that I call ahead and get some assistance to get through the airport and I considered it, but then decided.... "I got this!"

So, drop off the rental car, make the shuttle to the airport, out of the shuttle.... and I'm having some major trouble walking, so I zero in on a Smart Cart, use it as a walker to get to the Southwest ticket counter, get my suitcase checked and then take the walker, I mean Smart Cart, to the Security Check-in where I realize I have to ditch the walker.... and I see the people in the wheelchairs with assistance bypassing the multi-pass cow stock yard lines backed up at Security.... and I think maybe I should've asked for help.

And now I am really hurting.... not able to put any weight on the left leg and basically hobbling forward in the security line.

So I finally get through the "Stand with your legs spread and hands over your head" TSA booth and I step out and the TSA guy does the frisk and decides he needs to "see" my Rocktape KneeCaps - the compression sleeves I wear on my knees that help me be able to walk.

I've worn the loosest jeans I have but with the swollen and distorted knee and the thick neoprene compression sleeve over the knee, I can't for the life of  me get the cuff of my left jean leg up high enough for the TSA guy to "see" the compression sleeves.

I can hardly stand up and the TSA guy is starting to piss me off.  Finally I just decided to pull the compression sleeve down to my ankle through my jeans and then pull the jean leg up which finally worked.

So the TSA guy passes me and now I'm standing there on one leg like a stork with my compression sleeve around my ankle and my pants cuff so tight around my swollen left knee, that I can't pull it down.

It's comical and tragic at the same time.

I finally get all my shit together and back on except the compression sleeve which is still around my ankle and I take off out of the security gate with my small backpack on and holding my heavy laptop bag in one hand and I make about 20 steps and realize....

I ain't gonna be able to make 20 more steps.

And I look down the really long corridor of gates and see that gate A11, my departing gate, is way down at the end..... like another 200 - 250 yards....

Which is no big deal for OJ but might as well be China for a guy who can't walk.

So I sit down in a chair at an outside table of a restaurant and look around thinking "OK, Dumbass, you got yourself into this and you got 25 minutes and 750' to get to the gate... so what's the plan?"

I looked around and spotted an unattended wheel chair at a gate opposite to where I was sitting so I peglegged it over there and sat my crippled ass down in it and got my backpack and laptop back on my lap and, for the first time in my life, started rolling myself down an airport wing in a wheel chair.

I was starting to get the hang of it after about 50' when this lady walked by me and turned and said.....

"Do you need some help?"


And all the pride and independence left me because I realized all the Good Karma I had been trying to project to the world over the last few months was asking me a question....

"Yes Ma'am.... I do need some help.  I'm trying to get to gate A11 and if you could help me, I would really appreciate it".

"I'm going to gate A11 too."

Damn.  There's that Fate thing again.

So long story longer, a Good Samaritan named Sally from Espanola, who was also traveling to Houston out of Gate A11, wheeled me down the long corridor to the Southwest counter at the gate, where I secured a pre-boarding pass and a plan to get the same service when I arrived in Houston.

I got the front row seat in the Southwest 737..... the seat with the extra 3' of leg room so I could stretch out my leg and enjoyed good conversation with my Angel from Espanola and another lady from Santa Fe who was headed for a vacation in Aruba.

I always heard that God looks out for Idiots, Children and Old People..... I guess I qualified for 2 of those so... maybe 3 cause I do think like a child sometimes.

I got to Houston Hobby and got rolled out of the plane and onto one of those electric carts piloted by an Airport attendant, got my checked bag and was delivered to the Rental Car Shuttle loading area.

Made it to the Enterprise Rental Car pickup, got upgraded to a larger car for free (more Good Karma?), made the drive to LJT and met with the delivery guys from Aaron's Rentals to set up my bed in my daughter's house spare bedroom.

After a great Mexican food lunch with my daughter, I returned to the scene of the bed and died for 4 hours, which is be expected considering my short "nap" the night before, got up, ate the leftover Mexican food, watched a little TV and then hit the bed again, waking up to near Santa Fe - like temps - especially considering the higher humidity.  Not bad LJT.... Not bad!

Opened my iHeart app this morning and tuned it to the "Script" station and one of my favorite, inspirational songs came up.... featuring....


My goal was to be at 170 going into my surgery......

Here's my weight this morning..... 170.1..... close enough!

Several people have asked me if I'm scared or anxious about my Total Knee Replacement Surgery scheduled for tomorrow.

My answer is..... No - I'm not scared or anxious.  I'm looking forward to it.  I'm looking forward to a New Kind of Pain.... the Pain of Recovery.... the Pain of Renewal....

I'm looking forward to.....

The Next Leg of LIFE!

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