We conquered Hamilton Mountain yesterday--all eight miles and 2438 feet of it! Despite the wind and rainy weather, the hike up wasn't too tough. But the loose rock and steep slope made the return trip a tad treacherous.
My knees were not as excited about this feat as the rest of me. Even though I used trekking poles--what an amazing invention!--my knees whimpered and whined the whole way down (reminding me to thank God that I can hike at all). My right knee complained the loudest, which is kind of weird, considering it was my left knee that got torn up in our car accident in 1984. And that injury wasn't discovered until weeks after it happened!
I also fractured my left femur in that same accident. A rod was inserted inside of the broken bone to keep it stabilized during the healing process. Unfortunately, the swelling that followed this surgery masked the important fact that my left knee cap had been pretty much detached from the rest of my leg. All the major ligaments that hold the knee in place had been rearranged, leaving my knee cap dangling like a participle.
Since the doctors weren't aware of the knee's condition, they encouraged me to put weight on my left leg and start walking as soon as I felt able. So, with the aid of painkillers and a very strong will, I hobbled up to the front of our church one Sunday, just weeks after our accident, and thanked my fellow believers for their prayers. I could walk!
That night, my entire left leg swelled up like a sausage and I ended up in the emergency room. Xrays revealed the dirty little secret of my detached knee and surgery was promptly scheduled. My knee cap was successfully re-attached.
After four months in a wheelchair, I could finally walk. My left leg looked kind of funny and I walked with a limp--but praise God I could walk!
To avoid further surgeries, my surgeon told me to stay in shape and keep my leg muscles strong. Hiking--especially where hills were involved--would be very good for me. I took his advice and have hiked with a passion ever since.
I've not had any trouble with my knees until this year. I think my right knee is just worn out from bearing the burden of my weaker left leg for nearly 25 years.
Somedays, I still marvel that I can walk at all. And it will totally be a miracle if my knees can manage Jack in two weeks . . .