The mountain lion of disability

I am of better cheer today, three days post-op. I had little pain until Peggy removed the ace bandage on Tuesday to change my bloody dressing. The bandage had done an admirable job of keeping the swelling down, and having it removed for even a few minutes caused significant pain. Until the dressing change, I had taken only one Darvocet—and it at Peggy’s urging rather than because I thought I needed it. The dressing removal changed all that, although I only drug myself when I am in such pain that I would feel silly not to.

I prefer some pain, otherwise, I would be apt to go back to work, specifically on the bathroom exhaust fan. I spent much of last week doing everything I could to get everything ready for this week, only to have the louver in the bathroom fan become stuck the night before surgery.

I slept with my bed tilted downhill last night so the knee could drain, and I found the position far superior to having my knee on pillows. I observe the disgustingly misshapen thing without recognition, and hope fervently that I never have to go through another surgery. If I do, perhaps, I will have learned to cope better.

I lay in bed yesterday looking at the walls and ceiling that I so recently painted; then out the window at the trees I so recently pruned; and I thought about how difficult it is now simply to make it to the bathroom. I reminded myself that all will be better in a few days, but the thought came to me that, if I live long enough, all my days will find me helpless. Then what? I will have no family to care for me (Peggy either being dead or in poor shape herself). I will have my savings, but how long will they last if I become as vulnerable to con men as many old people?

When I was younger, I could scarcely imagine my body disintegrating; my mind, not at all. Last night, I could not remember how to turn on the light over my bed. I stood on my crutches in the dark for thirty seconds before I recalled that it has a pull chain, the same pull chain that I installed years ago. I have many such lapses, and they tell me that the one thing I had trusted to last, the one thing that I had thought of AS ME, is as perishable as an arthritic knee.

Today, I am getting my strength back, and such thoughts don’t strike me as any new or great revelation, but it is one thing to contemplate my dissolution when I feel strong, and quite another when I need help putting my socks on. The difference is like that of going into the woods knowing that I might catch a glimpse of a mountain lion, versus going into the woods and seeing a mountain lion stalking me.