Running Up to the Net

Me, Facing Surgery

Tick, tick, tick. Do you think you’ll be able to do it – stay home for six weeks while your knee recovers from surgery? What will you do with yourself? Are you scared?

Inquiring minds want to know. I don’t know for sure yet, but I’ll find out shortly. Tomorrow morning, actually. In the meantime, I can hang back in fear and dread it, or I can run up to the net, position myself to return the volley, and get on to the next serve.

My as of yet unreplaced knee is swollen to the size of a salad plate, kneecap directly under the gold wrapper. My lower leg goes off the knee at a 20 degree angle.

It won’t be fun, but total knee replacement surgery isn’t exactly open-heart surgery, you know.

I haven’t been unacquainted with dread. When I got my first real job, one of the things I hated most was introducing myself at a meeting where I didn’t already know everyone. As introductions began, I silently rehearsed over and over:

“Teri Murrison, intern at the Merced County Association of Governments. I’m working with Jesse Brown on a Long Term Funding Mechanism Study for Fire, Parks, Roads, and Libraries for the Merced County Board of Supervisors.”

It was an impossible mouthful. It was. I rarely got it all out without stammering. I wanted to impress them, impress Jesse. How I dreaded introductions until one day I envisioned introductions as a tennis match. I realized it would never get easier as long as I was hanging back in the corner of the court: crossing my arms, averting my eyes, and muttering “Don’t hit me. Please don’t hit me.”

So I thought up a new vision to face my fear: me running up to the net to smash a tennis ball to wherever my opponent wasn’t. It helped. And though I don’t love them, I’ve conquered my fear and dread of introductions. I still sometimes go to the net.

Surgery? Same principle applies. Tomorrow at 7:00 MT when you are about to start work or have another cup of coffee, I’ll go to the net, the Professor by my side, and check in for surgery. I’ll run to that net because I know it won’t last forever. I’ll sleep through the bone and tissue cutting part.

For a day and night – maybe more – I’ll be medicated. I’ll deal with the aftermath later when I can’t do anything about it anyway… except return to the net to get past physical therapy next.

But will I be able to handle six weeks off work? People seem to have their doubts, as do I, but I think I will. I’ll write a little more than I have bandwidth for when I work full-time. You’ll see me on Facebook more frequently. (You lucky dogs!)

I’m already embroidering my next new vision. After running to the net I’ll have a lengthy vacation (6 weeks of sick leave) during which I won’t have to focus on administering anything. My pen can follow my mind wherever it leads though, Lord knows, the knee can’t follow.

Tick, tick, tick. It will be over before I know it. Won’t it?

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