I am sitting down to write this blog post.
There is nothing unusual about sitting to work at my computer. I spend a lot of time with my Eee PC on my lap typing away at the keyboard. What is unusual is that, before I get up from my work this morning, the first thing I will do is reach over to my right and take hold of a three foot grey aluminum stick with a black tip on the bottom and a black bent handle at the top. It is a walking stick, a cane.
For the past two days, I have not stood vertically without supporting my weight on this stick.
A week ago, I began limping with stiffness in my left knee. I felt reluctant to uneasy bearing my full weight on my left side and found that my leg would not straighten completely. On Monday (Dec. 5) I was having difficulty managing stairs.
I called the office of a sports medicine specialist I know but was told he is booking into January now and that I would need a referral from my GP, who has no openings until well into next week.
By Tuesday walking had become difficult.
Wednesday I got a ride to an all-day meeting and in the evening went to sit in the waiting room at my local clinic hoping to see the sports medicine specialist who does clinic hours at the clinic in which my GP works.
After a painful examination, the sports medicine specialist informed me I probably have a meniscus tear in my left knee.
The meniscus is a C-shaped piece of cartilage that provides cushioning between the tibia and the femur. It enables the weight to be evenly distributed in the knee joint and makes possible full range of motion. A tear in the meniscus usually requires arthoscopic surgery.
The doctor I saw on Wednesday ordered x-rays and recommended anit-inflammatories and a visit to a physio. He also encouraged me to resign myself to the idea of surgery.
Thursday morning (Dec. 8) I had x-rays and in the afternoon a physiotherapist confirmed the meniscus tear diagnosis and suggested that any exercise at this point was impossible and ill-advised.
Hindu spiritual teaching speaks of the upaguru, “the guru within.” The upaguru means that whatever is happening in my life at the moment, can be my teacher if I am able to open to the lessons my circumstances have to offer.
In Christian tradition the upaguru is the Holy Spirit. Jesus said,
the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. (John 14:26)
do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you (I Corinthians 6:19)
I confess, I am presently resisting whatever lessons my upaguru is trying to teach me through the pain and instability in my left knee.
It is two weeks before Christmas. This is an unusually inconvenient time for a priest to be immobilized.
I can hobble around but find myself bewildered about what it is reasonable to expect I might be able to do over the next few busy weeks.
I am not sure how I tore my meniscus. It did not happen in one identifiable traumatic event. My best guess is that, when I dismount from my bike, I turn my left leg slightly and that over time this has resulted in the cartilage weakening and gradually tearing.
It is difficult to know how to avoid doing again what I do not fully know how I did in the first place. It is challenging to know how to find my way through the maze of the medical system to the best resolution of my shattered knee. It is hard to imagine what the future holds for the tormented knee of a runner, biker, active person who is accustomed to bouncing up the steep stairs to his office ten times a day.
I am not in control of this process. The future is unclear.
How do I trust the process of this knee journey? How do I open to the wisdom of weakness, pain, and vulnerability? How can I gratefully embrace the lessons of this painful circumstance?