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Monday, 25 January 2016

Pragmatics

I have today phoned and cancelled my forthcoming second knee replacement operation.

Last summer I walked over 700 miles at 16ish miles per day.

Since, I have walked regular distances of 6 miles, often over hilly terrain. I do this without undue discomfort, but I am having fairly bad pain when driving, and in bed, and I know it is not going to get any better. My surgeon has viewed the Xrays, and although I am not criticising, he has advised that it is time for a replacement, BUT:

My walking ambitions are endless.

I am 76. Logic says that walking ability, each month thereafter, becomes decreasingly valuable as age progresses regardless of the existing knee problem.

If I have the operation now I will be laid up for at least 4 months. Looking at the above logic those 4 months are more valuable than the 4 notional months after a notional operation that may take place in nine months time.

In any case there is the worst case scenario where the operation may decrease or curtail potential walking drastically in which case, if taken now, would annul a possible summer's walking which at the moment I see as viable.

Wow! That took a bit of getting across concisely - no doubt brother RR could reduce it to a one-liner, but I wanted to write this as a means of clarifying and rationalising my decision.

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On a lighter note I have been seeing a tv commercial recently for pizzas where they generously, and seriously (not joking) make the following offer.

"If you don't like our pizza we'll send you another one free"

9 comments:

AlanR said...

I agree with you fully. All the best for the summer and beyond.

afootinthehills said...

I feel sure that is the right decision Conrad. All the best for your forthcoming trips wherever they may take you.

Roderick Robinson said...

This is a poignant decision. I could cut the words and poignancy (the quality of evoking a keen sense of sadness or regret; pathos) profits from brevity, but I am not entirely heartless. Your views are much more important than my editing.

Small caution. The above definition is not entirely complete. Context must be taken into account: your decision becomes poignant because of your clear-sightedness, a more human quality than slightly arid "pragmatism". You may say it wasn't your aim to evoke sadness, regret or pathos and I'm sure it wasn't. Poignancy is a judgement we the readers make, not you.

Should I try and dissuade you? Of course not. This was a personal choice and you're adult enough to make it. Who am I to question adult choices having decided, at age eighty, to take singing lessons? The right decision is not necessarily one that arrives at a happy conclusion but it should be the best decision in those circumstances. The right decision is concerned with the journey not the destination. I may die croaking (note the word-play) but croaking on - rather than off - the beat.

And you're well equipped to take the best decision; you've done it before. You have the ability to suppress any tendency towards bitterness, an enormous asset. I wish I had it. You may not be depending on Shackleton as your exemplar, but I'm definitely depending on Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (a baritone like me).

gimmer said...

After our conversation on Sunday and your deft performance with the underlay on Saturday, this was what I thought you'd decide - if it ain't broke etc. . . . or at least, as in your case, not that badly broken. The logic is better than the eponymous plumber's performance. And maybe they'll let you have one if it really does get as bad as the other was.
Pizza - reminds me of the old Intourist joke - 1st prize - a week in our luxury resort; 2nd prize - two weeks: 3rd, a lifetime pass.

Sir Hugh said...

Afoot - thanks for your comment.

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RR - I tend to take things step by step and not worry too much about what may or may not happen in the future so my focus is on doing what I want to do as soon as I can.

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Gommer - There is no question of not having the op. if I want to. The surgeon has made that clear. When I phoned his secretary I was told I would just need to get my gp to re-refer me again if I want to go ahead.

gimmer said...


You'll feel much better about it now , particularly with the fail safe option - both the walking and the decision.
It was actually the Aeroflot holiday competition 'try to make an Aeroflot hostess smile':
how could I have made that simple error. In some iterations, 'she' was promised as part of the prize - few entries, of course.

John J said...

I feel sure you've made the right decision.
When we were young we had a Left knee and a Right knee.
When we're older we have a Good knee and a Bad knee.
When we're older still, they're both knackered....but it doesn't stop us getting out!

Phreerunner said...

That may have been difficult for you to decide, Conrad, but I imagine your surgeon will respect your decision and do his best for you if and when you return.
Enjoy another year of relatively pain free walking (and sleeping tablets!?).

Sir Hugh said...

gimmer - you are right. I am looking forward to the possibility of getting another long distance walk in

John J - That looks like the framework for a verse?

Phreerunner - Thanks for that.