What started out as a routine teeth cleaning appointment for Bear will probably turn into his second knee surgery in under seven months.
I asked my vet to evaluate Bear’s knees while she had him under anesthesia for his cleaning on Tuesday morning. The good news is his teeth are healthy and sparkling white. The bad news is the knee that wasn’t operated on in August has gotten worse and is – in her words – “a time bomb waiting to go off.”
So – on Monday afternoon we will load him up and take him down to Daytona to a veterinary orthopedic specialist and see what they have to say.
I confess to having a little cry when I got the news. Dang it! He was doing so well, and I was hoping against hope that the second knee (that we knew was partially torn when the other one went out) was healing, even though all the research states that was highly unlikely. My tummy was already tightening into a knot over what was to come (ignorance was pretty much bliss before the first knee surgery – now I KNOW what lies ahead).
Then last night, as I was trying to read myself to sleep, the words in a chapter of The Gift of Years jumped off the page at me. The chapter was titled “Mystery”, and author Joan Chittister said, “Mystery is what happens to us when we allow life to evolve rather than having to make it happen all the time.” I realized I was already anticipating the first wo weeks of rigid exercise restriction for Bear, the next four weeks of potty walks only, and the next six weeks of slowly working him back into a normal activity level – except NO running or jumping – in other words NO FUN. AND we have the added challenge of being in a two-story house now.
I almost laughed out loud. That same 12-week period will pass whether Bear has the surgery or not, but I already convincing myself how terrible it was going to be. How could I possibly know that? How could I possibly know that the only thing of note in that 12-week period would be Bear’s knee surgery? What about the mornings and afternoons on the beach? What about the spring flowers we’ll be adding soon to the pots in the back yard? What about Matthew’s soccer games and Jordan’s dance recitals? What about bike rides, and walks, and dinners out, and sitting on the third floor deck on breezy afternoons? What about boats rides to Bing’s Landing for barbeque or St. Augustine for seafood? What about the hours volunteering at the Humane Society and at the hospital? None of that stops because Bear may have surgery. Life will go on, but it’s up to me to make sure I don’t let one negative destroy all the positives that will accompany it.
If the surgeon says on Monday he feels Bear needs the surgery, we will probably go ahead and schedule it right away. That way, by spring, he will be – good Lord willing – at the same place in the recovery cycle he is now with the other knee, which is pretty much back to normal. An added positive to that – we can plan our time on Mackinac Island without the worry of the “time bomb” going off and another cancelled trip.
Mystery – letting life evolve rather than having to make it happen.
I like that a lot.