You don’t always get choices about what happens to you in life. Things happen. Sometimes that thing is that you tear your meniscus and it turns into a dragged-out affair in which you take way too much ibuprofen and eventually have to walk with a cane. All because the insurance company seems to prefer that you live with the pain for several months before you are permitted to have the surgery that will fix it. Because that is how they roll.
And some people – I feel kind of bad for these people – might believe that having to use a cane is bad news all around. How old am I, anyway? they might think. Or, oh I just wish this pain would go away and I could walk normally again! This is a shame, because all they really need to do is to realize that there is such a thing as a “Stiletto Rapier Cane.” Then, instead of feeling elderly-ish and sad when they’re walking down the street, they can feel more like a movie villain with a deadly walking stick. The product description of the “Stiletto Rapier Cane” boasts that it makes “walking a pleasure and defending yourself truly possible.” As I hobble down any given street, leaning on my entirely average cane, I project an aura that says, “Go ahead, try to take my purse. Try to even speak to me, because I feel rather introverted today and there is a lethal weapon inside this cane with which I will not hesitate to take your right arm off.”
Actually now I see that the “Stiletto Rapier Cane” has been discontinued. No matter. The website has a whole category called “Sword Canes,” and the fact that such a thing exists is really all you need to know. I was never suggesting you actually buy one. Please don’t. Just adopt the attitude. Like me.
This is what they call the bright side.
Life got even better for me after I finally had the surgery and was released from the hospital with an actual walker. They were going to give me crutches but then they saw my tremendously unstable gait and decided a walker would be much easier. The nurse seemed surprised that I didn’t protest. “People your age generally don’t want the walker,” she said. Apparently when you are 46 like me, you are supposed to want crutches because they give a more youthful appearance. “Oh yeah? Well, whatevs,” I told her, to show how young I really am.
I am considering buying a basket for the front of the walker and using it forever. Imagine having something to lean on, everywhere you go. You’re crossing the parking lot to visit your dad at the nursing home and you feel like you need a break sometimes, am I right? And then, even better, you get to actually go in to the nursing home — with a walker! Now you can feel like one of the gang. No more worries about not fitting in. It’s like being in eighth grade and finally getting your ears pierced when all your friends have had earrings for years. Fabulous.
Today I am going to unwrap the bandage from my knee and I’m telling you, it will be like taking off a painful pair of shoes after a long night at a wedding of people you don’t particularly like. It will be so wonderful that I may actually cry, and then I will take some more of my pain pills and point at things I need my kids to bring to me. “My Kindle,” I’ll say. “It’s right over there… can you get it? Oh, and while you’re up, I could probably use the ice pack too.”
Honestly, though. I mean, if I’m being perfectly honest, I guess I’m not really anxious to tear my other meniscus. I’ll be glad to put this minor injury – because it is truly quite minor, in the grand scheme of things – behind me. But if I do end up in this situation again, I will know how to look on the bright side. Because as I tell people all the time, there is always a goddamned bright side.