I have recently found out via MRI that the increasing knee pain I have is due to a torn meniscus. So of course my first thought is “I’ll never walk again, we’ll have to cancel our cruising plans and move back on land to a boring senior home and have to eat meatloaf and watch daytime tv and learn to drool and how are we going to afford that anyway”?
DId you ever see a funny spot on your skin and think “It’s skin cancer and I’m going to die a horrible and expensive* death”. That’s where I am.
(*If I were living in a civilized country I wouldn’t have to throw the expensive in there, but there it is, every American fears dying an expensive death. Death is bad enough, but to have to strip your family’s assets to get there just seems absurd.)
I’m not an alarmist in other ways, but medicine spooks me because I never learned enough. Too much wind? Take down some canvas or steer a milder course. Something breaks? Fix it or do without. Computer issues? I know how to start diagnosis. My own body? ACKKK, I’m gonna die and spend a lot of money on the way. If my body only came with control panels and a debugging screen I would know what to do.
And of course living on a boat is not a great place to be when you can’t walk. The doctor says “just stay off it”. I say the showers are 125 yards away and I live at the bottom of two ladders. If the head keeps working, great, I just have to step down one level, scoot sideways 4 steps, step up, walk the length of the boat then over a 6” threshold and I’m there, otherwise it’s also 125 yards away. Oh, and did I mention the floor is rocking? The doctor looks at me as if I’m slightly deranged and changes the topic. (I can hear his training echoing in his brain – just don’t buy into the patient’s psychosis).
And have you tried walking sideways down a narrow companionway with a cane? I would have been a terrible centipede. Do I move the cane first? Then sort of jump to the side with my good leg? Or do I have to remember to start with the good leg forward and the cane/leg follows behind? Way too confusing.
But we’re at a marina and it’s pretty doable. I’ve now been recuperating for almost a month and the swelling is almost gone, the pain is much reduced and I can take some normal steps. I still have to spend most of my day with my foot raised high, but I’ve found many computer tasks to keep me busy. Downloading manuals to print, backing up our Kindle collection locally, learning spanish, trying to figure out how to connect my laptop to the Raymarine system, getting all our documentation scanned and on the hard drive and to the cloud. And of course trying to make my Netflix account worth the $8 a month with a little binge watching.
Product plug – the Freebag (see above) makes a great support for an injured limb. You can squish it to just the right height and shape but it doesn’t take up as much room as a typical beanbag chair. They’re great on deck but here’s another use, but I hope you don’t need this advice. PS: I have no affiliation with the company. Another great thing is a regular old-fashioned ice bag. Those gel things are great, but they’re expensive, they eventually leak, they’re never in the freezer when you need them, and they don’t always mold to your limb easily. An ice bag doesn’t leak and stores easily. You can get ice most places and you’re probably making it anyway. You can also put water in with the ice and make a kind of slurry – then it molds very nicely to shape. They come in 3 sizes and the 6″ does for most uses.
Poor Jon has been doing the cooking, the washing up and still plugs away on the list of renovations. He’s been wonderful. And despite that I still feel cranky and sorry for myself from time to time. Nothing like injury to wipe out any sense of getting wiser with age.
A week or two ago as I trudged up the dock with my cane, hurting, maybe feeling just a bit sorry for myself, one of our splendid dock neighbors stopped me on his way to play tennis. He just looked straight in my eyes and said “you will be back to normal, it just takes time. I had the same problem and it’s like it never happened now”. Wow. Talk about the right message at the perfect time. Thank you.
Perhaps I’ll cancel the order for that rosewood casket with the pretty ivory handles.
Greetings from North Carolina!
Like a note in a bottle, your ship’s blog arrived with the rising tide bringing exactly the sort of seaman’s humor and life’s perspective this weary sailor needed! I pray God blesses you and Jon with fair winds and following seas.
Peace & Grace,
Karen & Paul
Thanks, Karen, glad it helped! I hope your setbacks are being put in their place. Take care.