Scarface vs. Smiley Face

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I have no idea why this happened but the other day in the shower (…and those of you who follow this blog know I usually have epiphanies of some sort in the shower…I’m the Martin Luther of Cleanliness) I started to count the number of scars I have. I stopped at eight. I didn’t include the “minor” ones I have like from chicken pox and mosquito bites (yes, mosquito bites) and anything requiring less than five stitches. Only the ones that were very visible…well, visible to me. Some you’d never see unless I was undressed. That would be your worst nightmare as well as mine.

My favorite scars are on my left knee. I know it seems odd to have “favorites scars” but that started in my childhood.  At age 5, within a week, I went knee-first through the glass panel of a French door leaving a big gash and that wasn’t even remotely close to being healed when I attempted to fly off the “stoop” a la my hero, Superman (remember I lived in Queens; we had “stoops”) and landed on that same knee, fracturing my patella. The result was surgery to remove part of my knee cap which left a very large scar just above the smaller “door” scar.

When I was little and would put my leg up in the air it looked like a one-eyed smiling face. Sometimes I would put a knee sock on, which then looked like a stocking cap and I’d have the scar “talk” to me. It was a crooked sort of grin but I was very imaginative and we would tell each other stories: “Knee” and I. I’m sure that doesn’t surprise anyone that I would talk to a joint and have it answer. The famous Al Pacino movie was only a glint in the eye of Brian De Palma then so I never made my knee growl “Say hello to my leetle friend.”

Fast forward many years and you may remember the blog I wrote about falling through the fence and lopping off the skin on that same knee cap two weeks before Christmas. (Here’s the link in case you missed it: http://ocactiveseniors.com/2010/09/30/hospital-ity-not/)  Thankfully, I had stopped having conversations with my leg at that point because now my poor “smiley face knee” had yet another really ugly, huge gash making it appear like a body double for Al Pacino in the aforementioned Scarface.

Fast forward yet again and I am now at the orthopedic surgeon’s office. I decided that the fact that I was in excruciating pain for several weeks and was actually dragging that same leg around with an ice pack strapped to it (an “attractive” look, as you might imagine) perhaps merited a trip to have the knee looked at by a medical professional. Turned out it was a torn meniscus.  A badly torn meniscus.

My Harvard-educated, very excellent doc looked at the MRI but never looked at my actual knee. He put his hand on my shoulder and in his very best bedside manner said,  ”I’m afraid you’ll have a small scar there after we go in with the instruments.” I looked at him in disbelief, which he apparently perceived as my being upset about this. He started to say something comforting. I rolled up my pants leg at the same time I blurted out “Have you looked at this knee, Doctor? Believe me, it will not be noticed.” I wish I had thought to snap a photo of his face. This is the same doctor who later on looked at an x-ray of my knee that extended up to my thigh, put it up on the light board, looked at the film and said “What the heck is that?”

Now, there are two things you don’t ever wish to hear come from the mouth of your doctor (especially not your obstetrician)…the first is “Uh oh!” and the second is, you guessed it, “What the heck is that?“ 

I apparently have some sort of a congenital conglomeration of bone and tissue up in my thigh that is sort of a tumor on the bone. I never knew I had it and apparently neither did anyone else. It’s never bothered me and as long as it never does I don’t need to add that to the list of things that keep me up at night.

So, I’ve made it my personal goal to not add any more scars to any parts of my body. At least not visible ones. There’s always the hope that I’ll win the lottery and be able to use that coupon for the “Mommy Makeover” with a plastic surgeon and have everything put back where it used to be. I understand you do get a few scars from that kind of procedure, but then, for sure, they would be “smiley face” scars, right?

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4 Responses to Scarface vs. Smiley Face

  1. Bonnie says:

    Hey Jude.. after great success in boot camp maybe they can take some of the left over skin, patchwork it over your knees/legs and anyplace that has scars, add a little color and enter it in a quilting contest..just a thought !!

  2. joan says:

    you limited the blog of just your knee/leg. what about your hand/fingers? that required some interesting doctor visits.

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