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*
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.