“Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale/Her infinite variety. . . .” So says Shakespeare about Cleopatra in Anthony and Cleopatra. Now I don’t know about the Serpent of the Nile, but as for me, age has certainly withered me. Or more specifically, my withers. Or even more specifically, my knees. It started about 25 years ago. After having run-walked the annual Honolulu Marathon for the second time in a row—I went on to do it four more times!—I became aware of a gnawing pain in my left knee.
A typical male, I sucked it up and continued my practice of running. I could no longer play tennis, however. It was just too painful. I didn’t talk about my situation and certainly didn’t consult a doctor. Maybe the pain would go away, I thought. It didn’t. Denial, Twelve Steppers like to say, is not a river in Egypt. Soon my “good” leg was starting to hurt too, though never as bad as the other. Still, I could walk, sleep, get into and out of cars fairly quickly, and basically live my life. That was then. Back in May of 2011 on the second day of our honeymoon, Cedar and I raced to make a Barcelona Metro. A man exiting the train all but ran into me. We both stopped short. In pain I hobbled onto the train, the doors closed, and it proved to be the wrong train. For the next six weeks I limped my way around mosques, ancient ruins, cities and villages in Turkey, Morocco, and Spain.
On our return to Boulder, I did some online research, found the Colorado Center for Arthritis, and five weeks later its head, Dr. Jeffry Perkins, was examining my legs. Soon he had drained them of fluid and injected Synvisc into both. The next day the pain had already subsided. What a gift! Alas, the miracle didn’t last. Finally, I made my way to Dr. Blackwood, a Boulder-based orthopedic surgeon whose practice, as he liked to say, was limited to “kneedies and hippies.” After surgery, my left leg was finally cured. I could even manage walking 120 miles of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain in 2017. My right leg was fine as far as osteoarthritis went, Dr. Blackwood told me. He couldn’t help me, he added, with the sciatica there. That would require back surgery. Had I only dealt with my kneediness sooner. Oy!