Growing pains are the pits.  When I hit puberty I would lie awake at night and writhe in pain and moan as the relentless ache in my legs would march on through the night with no relief in sight.  Sleep was limited. It was all consuming. 

     When the doctor said I had Osgood-Schlatter Disease {it’s not a disease at all} and my left knee had to be immobilized in a cast for 8 weeks {they did things differently back then} I was all over it if the pain went away. Plus the novelty of a full leg cast was ‘pretty cool’. The novelty wore off within days and for the next 7+ weeks it cramped my style. Up and down stairs, walking, sitting, running, with one unbendable straight leg. 

     “Curse you left knee,” became my mantra. If only you weren’t so BAD my life would be better. Little did I realize that my knee and I would have a tumultuous relationship for the next 5 years. Navigating through multiple bouts with crutches, another cast, and finally surgery leaving me reeling and devastated when the surgeon told me in 1967 “kid, you have the knee of an 80 year old man.  “Someday, in the far off future they will perfect knee replacement and you will be a prime candidate”. 

     BAD knee, Bad knee.  Bad knee was how I referred to my left knee. Unconscious. Over and over again, even though that knee assisted me in scaling mountains throughout the American and Canadian Rockies, over glaciers and alpine valleys in Alaska, supported me for 2 decades as a commercial fisherman, it was stalwart day in and out without knee replacement surgery. 

     Then one day I stopped in mid thought and asked myself, “Why do I insist on referring to my knee as………….BAD?………….REALLY?………….BAD?”

This knee is anything but BAD. It is GLORIOUS…. WONDERFUL…. FANTASTIC….. AMAZING!

It has served me well time and again. It has been put to the test more than most left knees and still it performed at the highest  level. It’s not as strong as it used to be nor as flexible. But then again neither is the rest of me.

     Every day now I have gratitude for this knee and my whole body no matter what shape it’s in. The scars, the separations, the bruised and the battered. Bless all these functioning parts. Now that I’m in my 70s, it won’t be long until the rest of me catches up with that 80 year old knee.