HOWARD WARD: Bad Knees, Bad Vibes, Bad Swing
Anybody else out there have bad knees?
I've forgotten how it feels to walk without a limp. Arthritic knees have plagued me for almost half a century and, although I have had periods when they were pain free, those periods grew shorter each year.
Now it's time to do something about it. The doctors tell me so, and there are three kinds of people I've learned to listen to over the years -- editors, doctors and wives.
I'm approaching this momentous occasion in my life with the same caution and misgivings that I've experienced before other life-altering decisions, such as getting married, changing jobs and deciding whether to hit a 7-iron or a 6-iron to the green.
Fortunately, I've pulled the right club most times, but when I've made mistakes, they've been dillies. (See alimony checks.)
The past couple of years have seen a steady worsening of the knees, especially the left one. The last X-ray I saw looked like -- well, it was ugly.
The date for replacement surgery hasn't been set yet. Let's say I'm hedging. But this coming Thursday is D-Day, and let's say the anticipation isn't quite the same as, say, a tee-time on Pinehurst No. 2.
The only surgery I've ever had was a tonsillectomy, and I barely remember that. Knives are for cutting steaks and spreading butter and I am not looking forward to spending weeks rehabbing and missing tee-times with the Gates Four Gangsome.
I've heard some horror stories about knee replacement surgery. I personally know a guy who had both knees operated on about 20 years ago and he hasn't been able to walk normally since. But for every horror story, there are dozens of happy endings.
Hardly a day goes by that someone doesn't show me their scars and tell me how they wish they had had the replacement years earlier.
I don't know if it's the deterioration of my knees or the deterioration of my golf swing, but something bad has happened to my golf game over the past couple of years. Heck, maybe it even has something to do with aging.
Whatever the cause, the thing that used to make the other guy in the foursome laugh is now making me curse a lot. OK, not really curse, but dadgummit, you know what I mean.
Truth is, I'm praying for a miracle here. I'm thinking, OK, doc, while you're messing with joint, I'm messing with my head. I'm going to take the BW's advice and try thinking positive for a change.
I'm going to use those five or six weeks of rehab time to work on my mind. I'm not just rehabbing the knee, I'm rehabbing the mind. Yes, I can hit an iron again. Yes, I can make a putt. Yes, I can break 80 one more time.
Well it sounds like a good idea as I sit here trying to coerce this new Toshiba laptop into making sense of more gibberish.
Never having faced a knife before, except for a couple of unforgettable instances in high school with guys named Jerome and Garland, I must admit to some trepidation. Everybody tells me I'll be walking, with aids, of course, the same day of the surgery.
I don't know. But I'm listening.
The BW says if this thing works, I should consider a brain replacement. She's probably right. I think that's the only thing that could help my woebegone golf swing. My biggest decision at the moment is deciding which golf outing I prefer to miss. Should I go to Rock Barn or to River Landing? Jeez, this life is nothing but tough decisions.
Well, maybe I can talk the doc into putting it off until December. Or maybe even January. Hey it's so cold in January that nobody plays golf anyway. Yeah, January sounds good.
So what's a few more weeks of hurting and limping? I've become pretty adept at both. You know, I think the key here may be whether or not my doctor plays golf. If he's a golfer, he'll understand.
Sure, the knee hurts, but so does missing a tee time. Heck, I played a round with a broken ankle once. I can handle the pain.
It's the putting that I'm worried about.
Contact Howard Ward at 867-6493 or 690-2211 or by e-mail at
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