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Monthly Archives: March 2011

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Alhamdulillah for Clarity!

In the culmination of a journey that began in November, I finally have an assessment of my knee from Dr. Extremely Awesome of Harvard and pro-sports patients fame.  OB’s have pictures of babies from happy parents.  Pediatricians have thank-you’s posted on their walls that are drawn in crayon.  This man’s entire clinic is cram-jammed with autographed jerseys, posters (and one basketball  signed by Hakeem Olajuwon) from happy, rehabilitated soccer, football, and basketball players, so if he can fix them, he should be able to fix me, right?

Right?  *earnest nodding*

*more nodding*

Right?

Alhamdulillah ‘ala kulli haal.  Praise be to Allah in all circumstances. 🙂  Dr. Awesome and his Head King of Physio collectively concluded:

Surgery Number 1: Unnecessary.  The surgeon says he is fixing a tear, but that’s not a tear.  He melted it back together with laser.  So he melted bits of my knee that never needed poking or melting.

(“You’re saying I have a chop-happy surgeon?”)

(“You said it, not me.  In most hospitals surgeons only get paid when they do a surgery.  In this clinic, they all earn a flat salary.”)

Surgery Number 2: Removal of problem that first surgery caused.  Failed “repair” of meniscus then leads to partial removal of meniscus.

Surgery Number 3: Clean-up of back of knee cap can be warranted following a dashboard injury, though wouldn’t do much to help other problems in knee.  Though it was nice that the crunching and grinding stopped afterwards.

The advice?  If I meet anyone else who says surgery will fix my knee, run (or hobble) the other way.  Apparently I have a combination of flat feet and knock knees that cause my legs to turn in slightly, therefore making my kneecaps rub against my femur lopsidedly.  Instead of the force being distributed evenly between the convex femur and the concave kneecap, I have a 75% destroyed kneecap (grade 3 condramalasia [sp?]) rubbing against a the same side of my knee where the meniscus is no longer present, resulting in 1+1=3.

The solution?  Very specific physio to tighten ligaments and muscles all the way up my leg with the desired outcome of properly re-aligning my kneecap so that the force is evenly distributed, reducing the pin-point wear and tear that is otherwise accumulating between my crooked knee, missing cartilage, and busticated kneecap.

I find this all amazing.  SubhanAllah.  I’m not sure how much of this is medicine and how much of this is physics, and I am even more amazed that it’s taken three surgeries and six years of physio, painkillers, and hyaluron gel injected into my knee to have- not a solution- but for once, an idea of what’s going on inside my knee.   Everything happens for a reason, that much I know for sure, Alhamdulillah.   At the very least, I got to post some cool surgery videos to my blog.  Plus any trial/affliction that a believer faces with sabr and trust in Allah helps expiate sins and increase them in blessings.  That’s a given too.  Alhamdulillah.  I’m still disappointed with the last two surgeons though.  And I can’t help but wonder why they were unable to nail the problem down six years and three surgeries ago.  It’s been six years since I’ve been able to do sajda and I miss it.  I miss my face on the floor, feeling small and vulnerable and at peace, submitting everything that is human ego, “intellect,” and self-serving justification to Rabbi al-‘Alaa, my Lord Most High, before whom I am His servant, most low.

I miss being able to run, to walk any amount of distance, and it was only last year that I realized I wasn’t pressing for Hajj and Umrah because I felt humiliated by the possibility that I would do tawaaf in a wheelchair before I’m even 31.  It stings even now, thinking about it, but who am I to feel stung by what Allah has decreed?  Obviously there’s good in this for me, otherwise He wouldn’t have given me this challenge to overcome.  And I may not be happy with losing what I feel is my physical capability, but I would be an idiot if I did not try to build my spiritual strength in its place.

I’m still human.  Very much so.  And my own frailty is frustrating.  It always has been, but Alhamdulillah, I know it’s a test.  I can’t climb a mountain.  I can barely climb the stairs.  But I have other abilities and Allah has given me the opportunity to do more than many, many other people. Yeah, so one knee doesn’t work so well.  So the floor is far away and I keep my shoelaces knotted because I can’t tie them myself.  Big whoop.  I have my faith, I have my beautiful children, lovely husband and family, and the cognitive abilities to take my time and turn it into an act of service and a sadqa, InshaAllah.  I can renegotiate my surroundings without being able to physically function in them, because I don’t need to climb over obstacles when I can work around them completely.  I have resources, Alhamdulillah.  And above all, I have Allah’s promise of complete justice, equity, and compensation for patience, faith, trust and hard work.

And at least now, Alhamdulillah, I have some clarity.  There is no ‘fix’ for my knee.  There is exercise and a long road of hard work for trying to physically change how the inside of my leg works.  That’s ok.  You know what else there is?  Jannah.  Where everyone has perfect everything.  Perfect bodies and features- lovingly remade by Allah to exclude illness,tiredness, pain, and the impending doom of mortality.  Nothing but perfect everything- not in the monotonous ‘strumming of harps on puffy white clouds’ version of eternity- but perfection in a capacity beyond the best conceivable spouse with the best, most emotionally, sexually, interpersonally fulfilling relationship you could imagine in the best, most amazing abode, with the best company among humankind, with the best food and having earned the best of rewards- Allah’s pleasure.

I want it all- safe, permanent, gorgeous, spacious home- a palace, in fact- the interior decorating of which is done by God Himself, which includes gardens and pavilions in an estate so vast that you’re suddenly the inheritor of an entire world of gardens beneath which rivers flow, where your next-door neighbors happen to be Prophets, companions, beloved family members- the best of mankind in the best form they could ever be remade in, free of pettiness, dishonesty, cruelty and sin, and retaining the personalities, souls, and memories of the lives that earned them Jannah in the first place.

I want all that’s good from this world, magnified and exponentially increased without any of what’s bad.  I want an all-you-can-ea-buffet from Allah’s-Own-Catering that never causes fullness, obesity, indigestion- I want my husband six feet tall and sculpted like a work of art, I want everything that I cannot have here, the silk, the gold, the brocade, the rich carpets, the enormous estate, the wine without intoxication and the contentment without limit or end.  And if I compare all that to wanting a working knee, well then I say nuts to the knee.  I know that we’re supposed to ask Allah for everything we want or need, even a shoelace, but I’m not asking Him to fix my knee.  I want him to replace it with a better one.  A permanent one that never breaks, bruises, buckled, grinds, creaks, or aches.  And I want everything else replaced too- the flabby body, the dry skin, the filled teeth, the indigestion- and in its place, I want Paradise.

InshaAllah.

And I quote:

HF, Iman and I are en route to Abu Dhabi for an appointment with my Orthopedic surgeon.  We take the exit ramp for a gas station and…

Iman: I want special full please.

HF and I have a good chuckle.

Me: Ok sweetie, let’s go inside and get you a drink.

We go inside and stand in line at the cafeteria.

Cashier: Yes Ma’am?

Iman, from two feet below the level of the counter: Special full please!

****

We’re sitting at the dining table having dinner and Khalid suddenly jumps down from his chair, rushes to the front door, opens it and sticks his head outside…

Khalid: Oh, iss dark! I need an umbrella!

***

Banging urgently on the bathroom door, which I am on the other side of:

Iman: Momma!  Momma!

Me: Yes Iman?

Iman: Have you seen my toes?

Me: I think they’re at the end of your feet.

Iman.  Oh. -pause-  Ok!

****

Khalid is reading a book of old nursery rhymes, and comes across The Lion and The Unicorn:

Khalid: Oh, the lion is ow! The lion is hurt! The lion is go to the doctor!

Me: The doctor for animals is called the vet.  The lion needs to go to the vet.

Khalid: No, the lion is go to the pharmacy.

****

Iman is feeding grass to a cow at the Bahiya Kids Park & Zoo, and gets slightly nibbled in the process.

Iman: Ow!  Bad cow!  Time out! No biting!

***

A car cuts in front of us as we’re driving on the highway, and HF honks the horn:

Iman: SubhanAllah!

Khalid: Bad car!

Iman: Time out!

***

As usual, Khalid gets to go into the Ikea play area, and Iman stands beneath the 95 cm mark on the wall, aspiring one day to reach it.

Attendant: I’m sorry, but you’re too small.

Me: I’m sorry Iman, InshaAllah when you’re a little bit bigger you can go inside too.

Iman raises her hands.

Iman: Oh Allah, please make Iman bigger.  Ameen.

***

Khalid wanders through my peripheral vision with something in his hands:

Khalid: Oh, iss hungry!

I’m working on my computer and take little notice.

Khalid: Oh, it’s eating!

Still no blips on the momma-radar.

Khalid: Eating curtains!  Scissors is hungry! Om om om!

And suddenly he has my full attention

CINDY IS BACK!

Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah. 🙂  and w00t

Did I mention w00t?  Even as we speak, Iman is at the park running wild and fancy-free, and I have managed to put an entire two hours of work in, which is, frankly speaking, two more hours than I had done all week.  And the house is clean.  And dinner is made.  And the laundry mountain has been conquered.  We did it.  We survived a month without Cindy, and even brought her home to a clean house with minimal dust-bunnies and a large slice of lemon-cream cake.  And we learned some things about ourselves in the process too.  Like how I’m not good at cleaning because I am just too good at it.  Case in point:

I went to clean my bathroom.

It looked like it could be better organized.

So Iman and I went to Ikea and bought a shelf, as well as some markers to entertain Iman.

In order to make space for the shelf, I had to hang the mirror in the bathroom that had been leaning against the wall for the last eight months.

I needed to drill holes in the tile first. So I went to the storage room to find the drill.

I found the drill, but I couldn’t find the size eight wall plugs.

The storage room was messy.  It looked like it could be better organized.

So I spent two hours cleaning out and reorganizing the storage room.

Then I drilled the holes in the bathroom tile and hung the mirror.

Then I assembled the shelf.

Then, as I was transferring the miscellany of toiletries onto it, I noticed that they looked a little messy.  They needed organized.

So I threw away anything expired, wiped off everything dusty, and made some tough executive decisions on whether or not to keep the tube of facial scrub that gave me an allergic reaction just because it was still full.

(It’s still here.  Apricot scrub, anyone?)

And by that point, five hours had passed since I first decided that I needed to clean my bathroom, and Iman and I were late to pick Khalid and Joy up from school.  And the bathroom was still dirty, but hey, at least it was organized!

I have discovered why Cindy can clean the whole house from top to bottom in four hours and still have time to browse facebook.  It’s because she doesn’t care if the tupperware is alphabetized.  This is a very important skill in a housekeeper, and rather than feel inadequate about not having it (crippling inadequacy about my level of huswifery is so last week) I prefer to see myself in light of other skillsets.  I may not be a very efficient housekeeper, but I’m a very good corporate communications monkey.  I can organize files and create style guides like nobody’s business!  Everything will be fine long as their design specs don’t look messy, lest I should try to organize them or something, in which case I get paid for my nit-picky, hair-splitting tendencies and lauded for my attention to detail.

Now there’s something that doesn’t happen when the tupperware is alphabetized but the sink is still full of dishes and dinner hasn’t progressed farther than the ‘thawing’ stage.

Oops, gtg!  It’s time to go pray and supervise the washing of the sandy savages.  (Translation: It’s Maghrib and the kids are back from the park).  The kids look messy.  Maybe they need organized.