Hopalong

It’s surgery season again.

A month ago, while we were on holiday, I slid down out of the car and landed rather hard on my left leg. There was a sting of pain through the joint, and that was it…until that evening, when I looked at my knee again and it was a football. It got stiff and painful, and I strapped it as I’d been taught to do for my eternally wonky, non-tracking kneecaps. Only this time, it didn’t get better in the usual 3 0r 4 days. After a week, I went to a doctor. I explained what had happened, he wiggled my leg and the knee obligingly produced some gross clunking and grinding noises. Yup, that definitely doesn’t sound right. Here are some nice anti-inflammatories, you’ll need an MRI.

Once home, I saw an orthopaedic specialist, had the MRI. O happy day. I have comprehensively torn the meniscus at the back right hand side of my knee. The cartilage on the back of my kneecap is ragged and fluffy and there are floaty bits. Who knew getting out of the car could be so dangerous?

That thin white line in the meniscus is the tear, which runs all the way across

So, I’ve been in a knee brace for a month, the kind with metal bars down either side of the knee to stop it wonking sideways. I’ve been taking the Brufen religiously, but now, I’ve had to stop because surgery’s in 7 days, so the knee’s a football again. It’s going to be an arthroscopy: two small holes, one for a camera, one for the tools. They pump water into the joint space to expand everything, stitch the tear together, trim off the raggedy bits, remove the floaters, drain the water and close you up again.

Then the fun starts. 3-5 days on crutches, 2 weeks of restricted movement and probably no driving (gasp!), and then about a month of physio. It does very slightly increase the likelihood of arthritis in that knee. But I’m wagering real pain now against possible pain in the future, and I think it’s a good bargain. If the net result is a working and non-painful knee, I’m all for it.

The only question is, how long will it take me to get back behind the sewing machine?

Invisible work

I’m sorry about the radio silence just recently.

Suffice to say that there have been family conferences, try to co-ordinate the ongoing care of my 95 year old father across four countries and two hemispheres. I have had my own issues; I’m currently sporting a fetching black neoprene knee brace with side stiffening on my left leg while they decide if my torn cartilage needs physiotherapy or an arthroscopy to repair or remove it. At times like these I wish my house didn’t have stairs… It’s been going on for a while, as I did it on the outward leg of our recent holiday without realising what I’d done. The only good part has been that I get to look at the MRI images, which I really enjoy – I’d have been a doctor in another life, maybe.

I have been hand-quilting Bonnard, which I won’t show again till I reach the end in 7 rows’ time. And I’ve been doing what I consider one of the most boring aspects of QAYG: cutting batting. Cutting 14 inch square after 14 inch square of batting is necessary, but really exceptionally dull. I enjoy cutting fabrics: the mental planning and placing of the colours, the patterns and designs, the little stacks building up.

I like that. But batting is all the same; it’s annoyingly fluffy and fibres get caught in your cutting mat so you have to stop and get rid of them. It’s all the same colour. Worst of all, it forms no part of the personality of the quilt, it’s invisible.

Anyway, I now have 5 tidy stacks of batting squares, ready for sandwiching the remaining rows of ST&D. All the front blocks are ready, all the backing squares are cut and laid out. It’s just a question of more production line work: starching, pressing, spraying, smoothing. In order to prevent screaming boredom, I’ll do a row at a time.

Batting… it’s not exactly photogenic, either, is it?