Oh the joy of the after Christmas lull! I am having a guilt-free morning in bed, giving my badly in need of a cortisone injection left knee a much needed rest. As long as I don't try to walk or stand up I feel fine, so this is really a treat. I'm not even being sarcastic. I have a pile of books, my laptop, a good cup of coffee delivered by room service (Jim), and a view of the woods out the window. The only thing lacking is an upstairs bathroom- we're a few years away from that kind of luxury. Too bad, because stairs are not my friend right now.
Good knees are under appreciated but bad knees are maybe under appreciated too- they can buy you time to write and think. It's nice to be free from my usual responsibilities without actually being sick- a little like during chemotherapy but without the fatigue, malaise, and fear that ruined what otherwise might have been a pretty good vacation.
This knee thing started a couple of years ago- a legacy from my grandmother Estelle, I think. For most of her life after middle age she was plagued by arthritis in her knees. She was a good sport about it too- a really good sport I realize now- as she progressed over the years from limping around to trouble getting up from a chair, then trouble going upstairs, then to using a cane, then to a walker, and finally to a wheelchair when she was in her 80s. Her right knee ended up buckled in toward the other leg, like a broken branch.
I've been thinking about her all week as I've found tasks and activities that I would normally not think twice about, to be painful and consequently burdensome. I've also been having "Estelle moments" when I've felt on the brink of wanting to break something out of frustration after realizing, say, that I'd left my glasses upstairs or forgotten to bring something in from the car, and referring to my knee, not fondly, as "you son of a bitch."
I thought of her as I hobbled around the kitchen on Christmas Eve day, making a banana bread for Jim's daughter Colleen. Estelle made a lot of banana breads in that kitchen, many of them for me. There was no martyrdom in it. She wanted to give and she gave- and continued this right up until her body and mind wouldn't cooperate anymore.
It's not the same without her. Our family thrived in warmth of her love and generosity.
I miss her.