A Painful Story


Middle English (as a verb meaning ‘clasp, fasten tightly’): from Old French bracier ‘embrace,’ from brace ‘two arms,’ from Latin bracchia, plural of bracchium ‘arm,’ from Greek brakhiōn .


Image result for brace

My knee problems started a long time ago.  I think I was in my mind-30’s. Maybe a little older, not sure.  Anyway, we were in the first week of our school year, which we spent at a camp in north-central Minnesota.  Beautiful lake, lots of sports, a little rustic.  Most of the kids loved it.  Some, not so much. Not everyone loves camp, and that’s ok. Most of us had a great time.

There was a tetherball  game.  I loved tetherball when I was a kid, and it may have been the only sport in which I really excelled. I won 99% of the time.  After all, nobody’s perfect 🙂

There was a kid in the 7th grade who felt the need to challenge me.  Silly kid.  He was tall, but I had experience and, most importantly, rhythm.  I won the first game with very little effort, but of course the kid couldn’t stand it, accused me of cheating, etc.  Wanted another game.

So I agreed to the best two out of three.  About midway through the second game, I jumped to smack the ball and came down on my left foot.  The next thing I remember is another teacher holding my head and wanting to know if I was hurt.  Oh, yeah.  I was definitely hurt.  My left knee felt like it had been crushed, taken out, and replaced with a sponge that was full of extremely sensitive nerves.  It was quite awful.

They took me to a local doctor who took an x-ray.  Nothing was broken, so he assumed lots of soft-tissue damage, gave me pain meds, wrapped my knee up and told me to use crutches, and see my own doc when we got home.

That was the beginning of a long slide that ended in bilateral complete knee replacements when I was 56-57.  What we didn’t know was that arthritic deterioration had already set in, and would ultimately show up in my lower back. I’ve worn knee braces, ankle braces,  supports for my wrists.  I got used to having some sort of pain somewhere, all the time.  You do learn to just live with it.  Everybody has a pain story, and we all like to bore you with our stories 🙂

I’ve reached the point now at which there is no real “cure,” only injections that relieve the pain for several months, but will need to be repeated.  I’m very thankful for these shots. They work quite well for me, and have extended my ability to continue working. I like what I do, and I’m not ready to retire just yet.

It’s been a while since I’ve used a brace for anything.  I guess I’ve gone beyond braces. Sure am glad they were available when I needed them, though.

RDP: Brace



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