Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Ronald Tipton and Patrick Flynn, 2017.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Life in recent times is a four-letter word spelled P-A-I-N. This is the cost of carrying this body none to gently through the years. Age has a way of reminding me that the smooth and sturdy container I gave no concern to in youth is now dinged and dented, wrinkled and wrecked.

In my younger days I was a fast runner, but you can't outrun age. Your sprints and dashes gradually become rapid walks and then you find that four miles an hour pace has slipped by a mile. All those old slowpokes you use to breeze pass on the trails are now going by you. You don't outrace that old geezer with the scythe. He was out of sight and out of mind once upon a time, but now I can catch a glimpse of him over my shoulder.

I suppose at this point I should put up that warning that this blog may contain images some would find disturbing.

I am referring to my knees.

Old Man Time doesn't like knees and elbows. He really warps the skin on those body parts. I have seen elephants with smoother skin than what my kneecaps have become.

In fact, I use to have nice looking legs and as these first pictures from the past summer attest, not so long ago I still had human-looking limbs, but this week not so much. Now admittedly arthritis has played a role in rearranging my landscape. My fingers have developed a curve and I can no longer completely close my hands into a fist. My feet have especially suffered the slings and arrows of uric acid overindulging in their joints like some mean drunk always spoiling for a fight. There are days few and far between I wake up pain free. Mostly it is a twinge in a toe or a stinging about the ankle that is barely noticeable in the daily activity of my life. Sometimes it is a flare-up of angry bees with red-hot fireplace pokers for stingers doing battle here or there. Never have these bouts prevented me from working and very seldom deterred me from my daily walk through the forest, even though such pain never rests, even when you do, and it bites you when touched, latching on like a Pit Bull having roid rage. I have a high pain threshold. I can deal with Mr. Arthritic Pit Bull.

But that Old Man Time hit me low this week. I was thinking perhaps tendonitis, but it looks more and more to me like bursitis, his second cousin. I've had a couple bursitis attacks on my elbows. I was a bit self-conscious about my big freak elbow, but after a couple weeks it went back to normal. It didn't much bother me unless I leaned on my arm or brushed against something. This knee thing is a  bit more obtrusive.  I was wondering if I could get on some weirdo TV show and make a few bucks by claiming I had a grapefruit implanted in my knee.

My daughter and I visited the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia last week, maybe I picked it up there. My knee certainly looks like an exhibit you'd find in that place. Over in this display we have a man with balloon leg! Admittedly my right kneecap ain't no beauty contest winner either, but at least it has some shape to it. My legs look like the before and after pictures of a participant on The Biggest Loser. Besides the pain, I really can't bend the blasted thing. You should see me try to put my pants on (well, maybe you shouldn't) or my shoe and sock. I haven't even been able to tie my own left shoe, although I did manage to do just that this morning. I felt the same sense of accomplishment as I did as a toddler first mastering such a feat. Oh, Larry tied his shoe all by himself, he gets a gold star!

I am doing all one can for such an inflation, keeping off my feet, resting, popping Ibuprofen and getting a healthily understanding why some people get hooked on pain pills. I did notice in this last picture I took this morning that the swelling has decreased ever so slightly. Hopefully in another week I can snap a portrait of matching kneecaps.

It does have me wondering how my dad stands it. I am going stir crazy because I can't do much physically around the house. It is a major task getting in and out of the car. I have to put in my right leg, then push this hulk of body up almost over into the passenger side to drag my left foot into place. But at least I am hobbling about. I took out the trash, took the barrel down to the curve yesterday. I can feed the cats and feed the birds and fetch the newspaper. I also have my writing, which I can sit at the computer to type and it is my lifetime love. Yet my dad can't do anything. He can't go out and get the paper or the mail. He was a long distance trucker until he was 75, then a school bus driver into his late eighties. Driving was his love and passion, but he isn't allow to do that anymore. It pains my knee to drive, but I can do it.

Old Man Time is a mean son of a goat!


Ron said...

Very well written Larry! Poetic in spots. You knee (left) definitely has an inflammation. I'm glad to hear it has gone down. As you know I have a problem with water swelling up my lower legs, knees on down to ankles. I'm wearing industrial strenght support hose now while I'm at work and on my feet a lot. It seems to help and the swelling goes down. But when I'm lounging around home without these support hose, my legs swell up again. What's to be done? As we said, our old "jalopies" (i.e. bodies) are starting to fail. We'll plug as many holes that pop through the dam as we can to keep on going. I hope by the time you read this your knees are back to their normal wrinkled "Willie the Worm" state.

Larry Eugene Meredith said...


My knee is a bit less full today and I have some more flexibility and can bend it just slightly. The pain is still sticking around, although it has changed as well.

I only have the swelling about the kneecap more toward the top. I don't have any numbness or anything in my legs or feet.

Yes, isn't it awful how my kneecaps have taken on that Willie the Worm look!