I’ve had better days and nights

To be specific, last Thursday and Thursnight.

For a week, I’ve been sidelined by my right knee and ankle. Both are swollen and attacking my pain center every time I blink.

I have work to do. Waiting around for the swelling to go down is frustrating, especially this week since the joints continue to swell.

Michele talked me into going to the doctor. My attitude was getting pretty toxic so in order to keep her happy, I grudgingly agreed. I gingerly crawled into our van, laid my crutches on the floor and we headed to the medical center, Tri-City Orthopedic to be exact. I crutched my way into the fancy palace that I was about to start making payments on. I hadn’t been to this establishment for a while but I’ve been to it plenty over the long run.

You see, Tri-City Orthopedic was owned by Dr. Pettee and Dr Fields back in the Sixties. On June 1, 1968, I began doing business with them. All the fingers and toes that you own would not tally up to all the broken bones I threw down on their table after walking through their door. I consider myself to be a legitimate contender to the title of their biggest and best customer.

The girl at the counter handed me a clipboard and said “Since you’re a new patient, could you fill this out?”

Since I felt like I had seniority and was not a new patient, this bugged me. The fact that they wanted me to write a 110+ page novelette concerning my complete medical experience from A to Z bugged me a little more. When I got to the politically correct page, I scribbled in some bogus info that might slow them down for a bit in their quest to mine their patients for more and more information. I told them I’d like to be called Barbara.


Finally, I got to talk to the doc. He must be a big fan of Dean Martin by all the albums and pictures he had scattered around on the walls.

I think he thought I was packing a few too many pounds around so he cured that by sticking a huge needle in my knee and drawing out 15 or 20 lbs of excess weight.


When one of my daughter-in-laws saw this picture, she thought the doctor was asking me to cough. Actually, I was chewing one of my fingers off so I could forget about the knee.

I was then told to go to get my prescription at Walmart and he would see me next week. He also set up a rough date in January for me to come in and get a new knee.

We headed to Pasco Walmart. It was about 6:00 pm. It wasn’t slick but there were a lot of idiots driving around. We passed at least 5 rear-end collisions on our way to Walmart. Red and blue lights, wreckers, cops, bent-up cars. I remember feeling two emotions as we passed all these wrecks.

  1. I was so glad I wasn’t in one of them. What a downer when you get in a wreck.
  2. I remember feeling superior as we sailed past each accident site. I was very aware that if not for my excellent driving skills, we might have been in one of those wrecks.

It was right about then that Michele said “Ben, watch out!”

I was still a little busy congratulating myself so I wasn’t all that aware of her voice. Then I heard a “BEN!!

It was right about then that I snapped back to reality. In a grandiose sweeping motion, I moved my crutches out of the way of the brake pedal with my good foot and jammed on the brakes with my swollen bad foot, powered by my soon-to-be-replaced knee.

Granted, my bad foot was a little slower and not nearly as aggressive as my good foot would have been but I think I looked less panicky and like I was more in control. Admittedly, it took far too long.

Unfortunately, we didn’t seem to have quite the stopping power I thought we did. We slid into a nice and new Cadillac with our 265,000 mile van. The rest is kind of a daze. We made it to the Walmart parking lot where I got a ticket for following too close.


As the cop walked up to talk to me, I realized my crutches were in plain sight and if I didn’t get them moved immediately out of sight, I might also be getting a ticket for impaired driving or driving under the influence of a buggered limb.

But not to worry! Because of my excellent crutch-moving skills, I deftly slid them under the seat and drove away with just one ticket.

I’m feeling pretty lucky that neither car deployed their air bags. It was a fairly bodacious collision!

2 responses to “I’ve had better days and nights”

  1. Kathleen Nielson Avatar
    Kathleen Nielson

    Michele deserves the Lifetime Angel Award, Ben. And you need to spend more time on the “Recovering” part and less on the “Idiot” part. Love you in spite of yourself……

  2. Kati Avatar

    You have had a rough few days. Knee pain is some of the worst I have ever experienced. Good luck with the surgery, Barbara!

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