I have been in pain—no, I didn't say I have been a pain—for a very long time. I've spent decades ignoring pain, knowing it would always be with me, especially if I moved the wrong way or did something the knee didn't like. The doctor asked if I'd had any noticeable pain of late. I said no. Now that I've seen the awful truth in black and white, now that I've felt bone rubbing on bone, I realize there was an escalation in pain over the last year. The knee would sometimes catch and then stick. The pain was intense, but I'd learned to shift the joint back into place . . . even in the water. I guess I thought this was normal for someone with a bum knee. It never occurred to me that this was the beginning of the end of the joint.
And so I wonder: what is it like to live without pain? I have no concept of a life without leg pain. I was of the belief that having reached a certain age, pain was to be expected, especially after a lifetime of athletics. I think perhaps I was mistaken in that assumption. If you're relatively young, fit and stoked, your body easily adapts to the physical stresses you put on it while at play.
Now I'm giving into the pain. That does not mean I'm suffering every day. I'm simply listening to the pain now. This is as good a time as any for us to say our good-byes.