After several weeks of doing absolutely nothing except watching movies, suffering through increasingly painful physical therapy sessions, and generally just being in a foul mood, I had the opportunity to test out my new knee in Ocean City, MD this past weekend. Having conquered such daunting obstacles as staircases and uneven pavement, I figured it was time to see how my zombie knee would hold up to a night out in the seediest place on Earth. I had gone to see my doctor before leaving for the ocean, and he told me that I could start weaning myself off of my brace. I told him that was terrific news, and decided not to tell him that I hadn’t worn it for over a week. By that point, I really only wore my brace to physical therapy and the doctor’s office so that they wouldn’t yell at me. I’m fully aware that this is not standard protocol, but I figured that if I could get around just fine without my brace in therapy, then wearing it everywhere else was counterproductive. Also, I hated it with a fiery passion.
During my visit to the doctor we also set the date for my next knee surgery, which is going to be August 30th. Unfortunately, I’m going to basically have to start all over again at that point because my left knee needs an ACL too. So it looks like it’s back to sitting down in the shower in a percocet-induced haze come August.
Back to my Ocean City story; my zombie knee held up extremely well, though I got pretty tired walking 30 blocks home from a bar at 2:30 am, and my dancing that night could probably be best described as “wooden.” Now, I’m no Michael Jackson to begin with, but when you take away my ability to bend at the knee, my dancing ability immediately goes from “sub-standard” to “atrocious.” This led to an awkward moment where I felt I owed an explanation/apology to a girl I was “dancing” with. The music was eardrum-burstingly loud, so I had to scream in her face “I JUST HAD SURGERY!!” which, of course, she couldn’t hear. So then I pointed at my nasty purple scar and I saw her mouth the words “that’s gross.”
After a while she scurried off with her friends, who I’m sure were happy to see her escape from the creepy guy on the dance floor barely moving and showing off his gross scar to everyone. And that’s not an exaggeration; I show my scar to literally everybody I know. This is partly because I’ve taken the expression “chicks dig scars” way too much to heart, and also because I actually think mine are pretty badass. I mean, my leg was sliced open, tissue was ripped out of it and replaced with a dead guy’s zombie tissue, and now I’m walking around with it. I’m sorry, but I think that’s pretty amazing.
Speaking of amazing things, I’ve been receiving bills and explanations of benefits from the hospital, my doctor, and my insurance company. After adding up all the bills associated with this surgery, I have calculated that my new knee is worth roughly $25,000. For reference, you can buy a middle-of-the-line automobile for less than that.
In a way, this makes my knee the single most valuable thing that I own. Actually, I doubt all of my other worldly possessions put together are worth 25 grand. Thankfully, I have pretty good healthcare coverage so I’m only paying a very small percentage of those 25 G’s, which is lucky for me because I would have to rob at least 3 banks and several convenience stores to be able to pay off that kind of a hospital bill. And my getaway from those robberies surely wouldn’t be speedy since my current top hobbling velocity is only slightly faster than that of an average nursing home resident.
Actually, I’m progressing pretty quickly with physical therapy and I honestly think that I can get back to playing sports in about 5 more months, as opposed to the 7 more months that my doctor originally predicted for me. Rehab is really just a matter of how hard you’re willing to work and how much pain you can tolerate while doing said hard work. There are obviously other factors to consider, but work ethic and pain tolerance are probably the most important. Knowing that, I think I’ll be just fine after a few more months.