Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Riddle Of The Sphinx

On rainy days I can feel my left knee. To be more precise, I am more aware of the joint at the middle of my left leg. I can feel my right knee. I can feel my right elbow. I can feel my left foot. I am more intimately familiar with that sinewy lattice on the left because once upon a time I broke it. Then doctors cut me open and put the tangled mess that I had made of it back together. This was back in my twenties, and I spent some time studying up on how all those pieces are supposed to fit together. After medical science had given me back two good legs, I felt a responsibility to take care of them.
That started with rehab. I did exercises focused on making those muscles stronger. I wanted to get back on my feet. Both of them. I became familiar with just how much work the quadriceps do every day. All the time. It was part of an overall body renaissance that got me thinking about all the bones and muscles that I had been taking for granted in my life up until that time. That had been the privilege of youth. All of that flopping about, hither and yon, had become less of a given. If I wanted to run and jump and play, I was going to have to take care of myself if I wanted to be running and jumping and playing.
When I was twelve, I didn't have to think about taking care of myself. That was my parent's job. The food I ate and the exercise I got were primarily a function of what I was told to do. What happened to my body was a matter of the family record. When I fell down, my mom took care of me. When I fell down hard enough, they took me to the doctor. When I got sick, my mom took care of me. When I got sick enough, they took me to the doctor. It never really occurred to me that I might one day have to be responsible for these interactions.
These days, I am completely aware of the interactions and transactions that comprise my health care plan. Having lived in this body for fifty-two years, I am completely aware of what parts are in fine working order and which might need a strict maintenance plan. I am going to have to think about those little aches and pains and wonder if they might be harbingers of bigger aches and pains in the future. Or maybe it's just the rain.

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