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Here I Come!

From the BookShelf Writers

The BookShelf Writers consist of four Estero Bay women who have been writing and critiquing together for over five years. For more samples of their work, please visit www.the

Each issue, this column will feature one of the BookShelf Writers: Debbie Black, Catherine “Kiki” Kornreich, Judy Salamacha and Susan Vasquez.

April 19, 2024

By Catherine “Kiki” Kornreich

The oft admonished “don’t wait for illness, to value wellness” hits us all at some point. 

About a month ago, my brain reminded me that I’d let that lil’ suggestion fade, when my knee gave out. I’d injured it 25 years ago on a wildly fun ski trip. I’ve had ups and downs with the pain that entire time, but my knee finally threw in the towel. 

I know that in the scheme of things, a knee replacement is low on the list of life-altering diagnoses, but it was sure a wake up call on how much my limbs have been taken for granted. Well, really, all of the gazillion functions that a body serves.

I was camping in Avila Beach and was just beginning to pack up and head home when the knee simply buckled. For a few minutes, I couldn’t move. 

Somehow, I managed to load everything, empty the tanks, and mosey on. Granted, the thirty-minute task took about three hours, but I succeeded.

As we all know, it takes a bit of a wait to schedule non-emergency surgeries, and the wait is dreadful. I had a transatlantic cruise scheduled a month after the collapse, and immediately thought I’d have to cancel. But then I realized that I’d be in pain at home, why not be in pain while having a good time? 

It was a fun, if not exhausting and agonizing trip. I took a collapsible cane and rented a scooter for the ship. I wore a knee brace night and day and started each day with the cane. When the pain became unbearable, I’d slide onto the scooter. 

It was a geriatric clientele (maybe because of all the sea days?), so I fit right in with the knee braces, walking sticks, canes, walkers, scooters and wheelchairs. Many of us formed a tribe and compared our equipment and abilities. 

With my cane, I raced a couple of old men (the ladies didn’t seem to be into racing), and I’d often let them win. 

With the scooter, however, there was a bit of a learning curve. 

On my first outing, I discovered that you do not turn around in an elevator. I’d driven into an almost-empty car and tried to flip a U-ie. I crashed into one wall and broke the little attached basket. I backed up to continue with the turn and ran over a tiny Asian woman’s foot. (She was very sweet and said I only got her shoe, but then she hobbled out on the next floor). Then as I backed out of the elevator on my floor, (gave up on the U-ie) a kindly older gentleman held the door open for me. He yelled, “STOP! You’re gonna go over my foot!!!!” He quit on me, walked away, and the elevator doors crashed into me.

But I got much better with my maneuvers and was on fire. Needless to say, the scooter ladies also refused races.

But here’s the big lesson. During the past 25 years, with the off and on pain, I could usually do regular things without thinking about it. Get up and get a glass of water, say. Walk across the room. Just the simplest of things took no forethought. No effort. 

 Now, every step requires analysis. Do I really need it? Can I wait until I have to get up for something else? 

So, I have been appreciating my worn and abused body every day. Maybe every few hours. The list of reliable functions is endless. I am grateful for all.

The full knee replacement is scheduled for next month, and I’m beyond excited. 

 Black Hill, here I come!

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