I’ve been using this body for 58 years. It’s been a perfectly acceptable, entirely serviceable body. Not the physique of an elite athlete, to be sure, but good at sitting and sleeping and generally up to the challenge of performing whatever limited physical demands I might place upon it from time to time.
Last year three of the toes on my left foot suddenly decided to curl into rigid, clawlike hooks that required surgery; they now are frequently numb, much less useful appendages that are home to steel screws that occasionally set off airport metal detectors.
More recently my right knee started to throb, as if the right side of the body has decided it now needs to stand up and be heard. My doctor said it might be just a simple tweak or it might be the first signs of the dreaded A word — arthritis. Ugh. Fortunately, an x-ray (when did x-rays become so ludicrously expensive, by the way?) seems to have ruled out the latter, so now I’m taking anti-inflammatory pills, and the doctor says I might have to wear an Ace bandage, too.
This doesn’t seem fair. I haven’t made this knee run marathons or make sharp cuts on basketball courts. This knee hasn’t held onto trapeze bars or absorbed hits from NFL linebackers. In fact, this knee hasn’t even reached retirement age yet. This knee has no right to start acting up and drawing painful, hot, throbbing attention to itself. And even if the pills work, there is no going back. Having been betrayed by this formerly dependable joint, the trust level will never be the same. The carefree days of casually taking a knee for granted are no more.