My A-Z autobiography in this blog switches from the life overview to peering very specifically at a point on my anatomy – my knee. From the time I was nine, I’ve had an interesting knee. Until I was nine it was pretty standard issue – bony, jointed, occasionally scabbed. One day a pony I was riding went under a low branch in a quite deliberate attempt to sweep me from its back – ponies having a fairly unsophisticated sense of humour – and I ducked down, my knee stuck out, and I was impaled briefly on a snag of tree trunk. Fairly standard stuff for a nine-year-old, and another nice little scab to pick at. Within months, though, it stopped working properly – folding under me at unexpected intervals – and eventually I went into surgery, and emerged several hours later with a refurbished joint, an artificial kneecap, a plaster cast that would be replaced frequently for the next year, and a truly impressive scar. It was one of the first operations of that type ever performed and for a few years I had to resign myself to showing my doctors my knee before whatever ailment had actually brought me into their consulting rooms would be treated. Time and surgical brilliance moved on and the work done became commonplace, then outdated, and finally forgotten by everyone but me.
About five months ago I tripped over the dog and fell, landing squarely on the bad knee, which made quite a fuss about the whole thing. My doctor sent me for x-rays, as excited about seeing the ancient work as an archaeologist would have been about unearthing an artifact. Guess what? The artificial one has been almost totally absorbed by natural bone regrowth. The body’s ability to regenerate is apparently virtually limitless and my lasting claim to fame is no more – still got the scar, though. That’s something.
Yes I know this a boring blog. Considering the general theme is autobiography, and X is quite a challenge, I thought it was at least fractionally more interesting than the x-rays of my teeth, or the time I punched a would-be mugger on the jaw and the hospital nurse insisted I had to open my hand and stretch out my fingers for the x-ray. If I could do that, I tried to explain, I wouldn’t be here for x-rays. Life is a learning curve. Don’t punch bone, whatever the provocation. Don’t ride close to trees. Keep your knees tucked in at all times. And try not to trip over the dog.