As I sit at our kitchen table a couple of days after Thanksgiving, my how much I have to be thankful for! I have been running for over 35 years now, not once have I ever taken my running for granted, I’ve always felt I’ve been given this incredible gift and I thank the good Lord every day for it! As planned, I headed in for surgery on my right knee (the 10th on that knee) on November 17, I hurt my knee not from running but from getting hit by a wave in the Atlantic Ocean back in September.
I had my surgery; the surgery itself went very well. November 18, Jill and I celebrated our one year anniversary. Life is good. The next day I went back to the doctor and things looked great! I had my first meeting with my physical therapist and that went great, was even able to pedal the stationary bike all the way around without much of a problem. As each day went by I felt better and better, I was biking more, walking a couple of miles a day, I could bend the knee almost as much as my left one. I was beginning to think that it won’t be but two or three more weeks and I will be back out running again, life was good!......And then came Saturday.
My best friend of thirty years, Mike Dunlap and his wife Karen flew down to Austin to visit my wife Jill and I. They had never been here before and Mike who at one time was a 2:18 marathoner, was now a big time cyclist, needless to say he was excited to be here out of the cold of Sioux Falls, South Dakota to get a few good miles on the bike!
By Saturday afternoon I noticed my right knee getting sore and puffy, I just figured I’d been up on it too much the past couple of days. Saturday night I barely could sleep as my knee kept getting swelled up and more painful by the minute! Sunday I spent most of the day on the couch, Sunday night was brutal! I could not get comfortable at all, I could hardly wait until morning so I could call the doctor and get in to see him. My wife Jill left early that morning for work, and I tried not to let her see the agony I was in, she has always said she is the worrier of the family, but my knee was the last thing I wanted to have her worrying about!
Monday morning I could barely move, I could put absolutely no weight on my right leg at all, my knee was swollen up like a large softball. When I had my farm accident back in 1989, I went through something similar, this time though the pain was even worse! Mike and Karen got me to the doctor’s clinic on their way to the airport, Jill met us at the clinic. By this point I was hurting so bad, I was crying! If you know me, you know I can cry about most anything sentimental, but not over pain. They wheeled me right into a room and my PA, checked things out and immediately numbed up the knee as best she could and withdrew 60cc’s of some nasty looking stuff from my knee. They had to do that same procedure three days in a row, 60 cc’s each day. They put me on some heavy duty anti-inflammatory, but that did nothing, each day it would swell all back up and the pain was excruciating!
The lab results were not showing any type of infection, but with no relief from the anti-inflammatory meds, on Wednesday they injected a cortisone shot directly into the knee, no relief from that either.
Thanksgiving night we got a text from my doctorand he had talked about taking me back into surgery but wanted more confirmation from the lab, that would be available Friday morning.
Jill received a phone call from my doctor Friday morning, and it wasn’t the best of news, yes I had an infection growing in my knee! Friday afternoon they wheeled me back into surgery (now the 11th on that knee, for anyone that is counting besides me) to clean out the infected knee and they put heavy duty antibiotics right into the joint. Now for three weeks I will have the antibiotics delivered right into my body via a Picc Line, kinda like an IV in your arm.
Infections are never a good thing but especially ones you get inside your joints, can problems arise from such a thing, yes they can and it can be very serious, do I worry about what might happen? Nope, I will cross that bridge if and when the time comes, if we were to sit and worry about all the possible things that could happen to us each and every day, what kind of life would that be?
What am I thinking about during this trying time? I think about how fortunate I am to be able to wake up each morning and see the sunrise, to enjoy our pet finches sing to their hearts content like today is the best day ever, to have our dog Sophie give me her loving nudge or our cat Tigger sit on my chest purring like she’s in heaven, I think about the wonderful friends and people I don’t even know who have me in their thoughts and prayers, to my son Andrew who is serving our country in the United States Army, I think about how its going to feel back out on another run down on Lady Bird Trail, and I think about how fortunate I am to have my loving wife Jill by my side 24/7, she is my light at the end of the tunnel.