Opinion: Kneedy people!

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Commentary by Dick Wolfsie

Before our last vacation, I made an appointment with the orthopedist. My left knee was killing me, a problem that goes back to an old college football injury. I was drunk and fell out of the stands during homecoming.

I asked why my former doctor retired. Apparently, he wanted to devote more time to skiing. Nice for him, but for the patients scheduled for surgery, this is really rubbing it in.

“Dick,” Dr. Estes said, “I hope your vacation is not going to be too strenuous, considering your knee.”

“My wife wants to go to Canada to go hiking.”

“Sounds a bit rocky.”

“Yes, the mountains are pretty rugged terrain.”

“No, I mean your marriage. What wife makes a husband endure that much pain?”

His nurse walked in with the big grin of someone who was going to stick a needle directly in your throbbing kneecap. I’d been through this before.

“Time for a little cortisone. You know the drill,” she said.

I told her “drill” is not the best word choice before administering a shot.

The cortisone helped, but most of the Banff trails were too rugged for me to negotiate, so I waited in the car for my wife and son while they walked along the Hoodoos, waited while they hiked in Johnston Canyon and waited while they explored the Marsh Loop. Brett got some great photos, but I even had to wait to get back to the hotel to see how much fun I missed.

One of the trails had a sign that said: “Handicapped and stroller friendly.” I question the friendliness part. A guy in a wheelchair was griping at me to speed it up, and a toddler in a stroller was shaking his fist and crabbing at me to get over to the right so he could pass. I just turned around and went back to wait for my family.

This week, I called the surgeon’s office and said I was ready for a new knee. “OK,” said Leslie, his assistant, “but the earliest Dr. Estes can fit you in is September. Will you be OK waiting?”

“Of course,” I said, “I’ve gotten really, really good at that.”

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