I start the new year now with my long anticipated (and twice planned) knee replacement surgery behind me— or as those of us in the business like to call it TKR. That’s Total Knee Replacement. Somewhere some doctor rightly concluded that putting the word surgery in the name of a procedure switching out body parts was more than a little redundant. If the finished product is a functioning titanium knee I guess by definition a surgeon must be somewhere nearby. And he was and so it’s a TKR and mine is behind me. Yay.
Actually it’s my second TKR. In the world of replaced joints I’m no longer considered a dabbler. I’m now one of the courageous few who came back for a second go round. There are people who do this once and declare that they will never, ever do the other leg. But as the replaced limb gets stronger and the bad one declines they sing a different tune and some, like me, come crawling back for more. In my case crawling and actually begging.
Not to toot my own horn, but I’m also carrying around a significant slab of metal in my right foot, the result of having twisted my ankle years ago on a child’s shoe left on the basement stairs. That represented eight weeks in a cast and eight weeks without driving a car and a lifetime of getting in the even slower line at airport security. That can get old fast or not so fast but in my particular case it got old really fast. (Anne drove me everywhere.) The shoes continue to pile up on the basement stairs, however. I have politely and impolitely asked that they be removed to little avail.
Although it would be inaccurate to describe my most recent surgery as a day at the beach, this last TKR is already my favorite. To that I credit the simple joy of getting better every day instead of getting worse. Reluctantly, my kids have put the funeral pyre construction on hold and are now asking me if I want to come outside and shoot some hoops. I’m a long way from shooting hoops but I do like that image. But I can’t, I say, I have to put the finishing touches on my latest blog. Mom says you haven’t published a blog since Halloween, they say and Halloween shmalloween is about the best I can come back with as I limp back to the sofa in my office to fake rehab exercises.
At the risk of bragging, my doctor after my first TKR told me that I was a poster child for rehab. It took me a while to figure out the secret, but it’s actually quite simple. Rehab has nothing to do with building muscles and getting stronger and everything to do with your willingness to inflict pain. On yourself. You learn a lot about who you are when crying and throwing up are serious options and instead put more pressure on an already straight knee stretched across an open space. Or maybe less pressure, depending on your mood. In either case, there are valuable lessons to be had.
I’m so good at this that I actually think I might open a rehab clinic. It’s a simple facility with low overhead. No overhead, actually. My clients text me and I ask them if they’ve cried or thrown up from pain today. If they say yes I automatically charge their PayPal account a nominal fee and I send them on their way until tomorrow, when we do it again. If they say no, I tell them to do it over again and get back to me tomorrow. I charge them a nominal fee for this, too. Standard rehab for a TKR is 8 to 12 weeks.
As I write this I am 12 days out from my surgery. Yesterday, I took the bandage off my leg for the first time. I was going to post a high-resolution image of my incision here but decided against it. Oh, for me, it’s unbelievably beautiful, but I can certainly appreciate someone who wouldn’t embrace this slightly Frankensteinian image. (36 staples)
Next to the incision is an almost illegible word written by my doctor on the day of the surgery. YES, he wrote. I was awake when he did this and watched him do it. Then, he looked over at my other leg to see that the word NO already written in bold black sharpie.
“Who did that?” he asked.
“My son, Teddy,” I said.
Without missing a beat and without a hint of a smile he said, “Not a bad idea.”
And on that note the anesthesiologists (there four of them in the room) fired up their witches brew and I was again transcending reality.
All of that is just a long winded way of saying I’m getting back in the How to Photograph Your Life saddle. We are launching a series of webinars over the next couple of weeks. There’s a little something for everyone here, but I try to make all of them informational and inspirational. All of them are “live” as in there will be a live human being presenting, ready to talk to you, and take your questions—a live human being with two fairly good knees.
Also, we have a new round of courses coming up on February 18 that will help you become the photographer you’ve always wanted to be. Please join us for the webinars and maybe a course and have 2019 be the year your take your photography to a new and better place.
Let me know what photography skills you hope to gain this year.