Sunday, March 21, 2021



Yesterday, I wrote about my expectation to hike today. Why am I not hiking but writing instead? “Any excuse is a good excuse.”

My Excuses

First, I know that the recent rain has left the usual muddy areas. My last three hikes involved mud. I decided to skip another muddy hike, being the “coward” that I am.

Second, the weather is too warm. If I had started early this morning, the temperature would have been cooler. That's my fault. There's nothing like a too-hot and muddy afternoon hike, even on a clear and sunny day! (That's a joke, folks.) Today would have been another one of those hikes, when I wear and hike in one T-shirt and then change into the other T-shirt after the hike. Never let them see you sweat!

Finally, my “bionics” decided to indicate that they are still present, more so than usual today. Every now and then, I get an electrical shock, as I call it, in my right foot. The shocks indicate that the still-recovering nerve trauma is improving, ever so slowly. My right foot was shocked this morning. It hasn't shocked me yet while hiking. I did not want today to be the first time, especially in one of the several steep and somewhat dangerous areas.

Have I ever shown some of the X-rays of my “bionic” joints? I did not think so. If you have a weak stomach, please stop reading now. Remember that I warned you!

I have a total of 25 surgically installed metal items (i.e., rods, pins, and screws) in my left shoulder, right knee, and right foot. Let's start at the top and work down, shall we? Each X-ray was taken on 6/27/2016. They are the last ones taken. The surgeon stated, as he examined his work and my recovery, that I would not have arthritis, due to the trauma, his surgery, and my healing. To this date, I do not have arthritis in the three repaired joints. That, at least, has been a very good result. Okay, I'll stop talking and show three X-rays. I warned you!


Can you count the ten metal items (nine screws on one rod) in my left shoulder? They are still there. I know every day. Over the past almost five years (since 3/29/2016), the left shoulder has come along well enough. The soft tissue (i.e., muscles, ligaments, etc.) has been the work in progress for the last several years. I had started out by being barely able to make a small circle with my left hand on a table. Now, I can almost lift a little 15-pound weight straight up, as easily with my left arm as I can with my “weaker” right arm. I'm left-handed. My left side has always been stronger. I'm still working on it.


The above is one view of my right knee. I have another X-ray that shows the screws more clearly. There are four screws, metal mesh, and wires. (I do not count the mesh and wires.) The mesh replaced my knee cap. The wires secured the mesh to the screws that held it all in place. I took my first “baby” steps on 6/16/2016. (I have written about it.) At first, I could not put weight on my right leg. The muscles had shrunk. My right leg looked like a toothpick. I could not bend my knee at first. Now, I can kick my backside with my right foot, as I can with my left foot. The knee regained all its motion. The interior left side of my right knee is still work in progress (i.e., muscle, ligaments, etc.), as it connects to my right foot. I have learned to study my recovery holistically. (Every joint, muscle, etc., is related to the whole.) The last two times, as I hiked down House Mountain, my right knee did not “talk to me” much at all. I'm still working on it.

The above is one view of my right foot. Another view shows what I call the “piece of bicycle chain,” which I count as one piece. The “piece of bicycle chain” is not as visible in the image above. There are ten screws that secure the “piece of bicycle chain.” All that reconstructed my shattered heel (or calcaneus). The bone to my big toe broke. It healed fine without metal. The nerve damage is not visible. The nerve damage causes the electric shocks, such as earlier today. I've felt the shocks while driving. It's no danger. I endure them. I would rather not have an electric shock, while on a relatively dangerous spot on House Mountain. My right foot cannot move in a forward position, as my left foot does. I can't move my toes down, without helping them, like I can do with my left toes. I still have a spot on the back of my heel that is healing. I still have a red dot between my big toe and the one next to it. The red dot goes away at times. It is smaller and more pink than red now. (No, I did not say that I wear pink on my foot! Real men do not wear pink. It's God's law!)


Am I counting correctly? Let's see. Ten metal items are in the left shoulder, plus four metal items in the right knee (not counting the mesh and wires), plus eleven metal items in the right foot. That totals twenty-five. I still recount at times, to see if I am still correct. It could be twenty-six or twenty-seven, depending on how you count the mesh and wires in my right knee, which I do not count.

I started calling it a sympathetic reaction, before I learned that the medical term is a crossover reaction. The body, joints, and muscles, are a complex set of levers and pulleys. (Do not say that we evolved that way. Anyone with any sense knows better.) Damage to areas (called “multi-trauma”) reacts in opposite areas (i.e., sympathetic reaction or crossover reaction). I feel sympathetic reactions in my left knee, left side and hip, both elbows, right neck, and so forth. It has much improved over these almost five years. I'm still working on it.

Well, as I had stated earlier, “any excuse is a good excuse.” I could have hiked, if I had not been such a “weakling.”

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