I am feeling much better, although it IS 3:34am as I start this post. Today, I spent some time thinking about the future. About the things I want to do next summer. As a teacher, I have the entire summer off, and other than a compulsory trip to New York to see my mom and friends, I haven't done anything special in the past several years. Well, about five summers ago, I DID have an amazing opportunity to take a class in England at Oxford University. It was the most incredible week, but I was limited to what I could do because of the terrible pain in my knees. I was on time-released morphine at the time, which made ANY activity possible. Toward the end of the trip, I took a train from London to Paris. I was in too much pain from overdoing in Oxford to walk through Paris, but I bought a ticket for those wonderfully tacky tour buses and saw ALL the monuments of Paris--the Louvre, the Arc du Triumph, Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower (of course) and had the best chicken sandwich of my life at a sidewalk cafe.
My knee pain motivated this surgery in the first place and has a long history; when I was a senior in high school in the fall of 1974, I had cartilage surgery. They didn't think ahead back then, nor did they have the technology of today, of course, and they removed the cartilage. I have been walking bone-on-bone for the past 37 years. My left knee has worn COMPLETELY, and the right knee, while better than the left, is in poor shape, too. Carrying extra weight all these years hasn't helped, but I would have needed at least one knee replaced regardless of my size. The only reason I hadn't had a replacement before now was because doctors wanted me to wait until I was at least in my mid-fifties as replacements don't last forever.
When all of this is over, I'm still going to need that left knee (and possibly the right) replaced. But my days being in so much pain that I have to be on morphine are over. Next summer, I'm going to have options. First on my list? Harry Potter World in Orlando. After that, to California to see my favorite brother. A return to Paris sometime in the future...now that I'm not going to be spending all my money on junk food, getting back to Paris is definitely in the cards. And then? Who knows? I just know that I'm not going to spend my summers in my air-conditioned bedroom in my little cottage in the woods like I have in previous years. Next summer, I'm LIVING.