Sandhills, Lilly and clumsy me

Left knee with icebag

Given the fact it’s a Saturday and most people want a calm and relaxing — well, maybe some activity — after a hectic week, the last thing a person needs to see is a knee with icebag.   My apologies, readers, but here it is or rather up there is the knee.

I was chasing Sandhill cranes most of the day to photograph them.  It was Wednesday and I divided my time between working on Blackboard (I teach five online classes of history) and going into the field of 53 acres of Flying Hat Ranch (FHR).  As my posts indicate from Wednesday, I was hearing but not seeing the elusive, high-flying bird.  It was a good day and I got work done, issues resolved on Blackboard and shot a number of photos for fieldwork.

I found and marked with an engineer’s flag several lithic tools in the field.  But every time! I heard the Sandhills, the camera was either in the truck or at the house.  Besides, until late afternoon, I didn’t see any.

Brenda comes home from work and I am walking back to the ranch house from the barn and I hear the Sandhills and look above me and what to my wondering eyes should appear but about 300 Sandhills, in at least two V-formations.  Beautiful and they were calling.

So, I broke into a sprint.  On my first or second spring up the lane, something popped or snapped in my leg.  I skipped, not sprinted, to the house and got the camera, but the cranes had their throttles to the wall and I missed the shots with the camera.  But I did see them.

My leg hurt and in the middle of the night, at two o’clock, I woke up in pain and by Thursday morning, I could barely walk.  I went to Fort Worth to the clinic and they sent me to Harris Methodist hospital for x-rays.  The P.A. told me I might be looking at an orthopedic surgeon!  Or rather, he would be looking at me with a scalpel in hand.

As it turned out, Friday I learned (after icebags and pain pills) that nothing was broken or torn, but it was arthritis!  Good news?  Bad news?  How in the dickens can arthritis bring me down to jumping on one leg from bed to bathroom, for crying out loud?  I don’t know, but next Wednesday I have an appointment with my Primary Physician for a yearly checkup and in addition to him invading my body cavity without mercy, he will enlighten me on the knee.

Brenda is taking care of the dogs and Star.  I’m looking at walking canes on the web.  Ever Google “canes”?  Well, live long enough, you will.  There are all sorts of canes.  Canes that fold, canes that have stupid heads on them, curved canes, canes with swords and even canes with risque girls painted along the stem and nose (there’s a whole glossary of cane nomenclature).  I’ve not picked my cane.  I have some nice looking cedar staves down along the barn I may craft upon and develop an Etsy Shop for homemade canes.

Lilly, the good old girl that we had to put down in January, had osteoarthritis too, and in the left knee really bad.  But, you know what?  She got up with a struggle and ate and walked and even pranced in the snow despite her knee.  She’s taught me a lesson about arthritis among many I’ll eventually churn out on Sage to Meadow.  I’m up and I’ll be in class Tuesday.  Star will be fed — I’ll do it slowly.  I’ll continue to contemplate canes.  If my knee continues to be painful, I’ll have to hire a person to do some seasonal work.  I’ll do a jig in the snow.

Frankly, if I had to hurt myself, I’m glad I was chasing Sandhills rather than tripping over the cat.  And, if I had to learn a lesson about dealing with the pain, who better to be my teacher than Lilly?  When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.  She did and doesn’t even know it.

Enough of this!  Now, where’s that pain killer I used to give Lilly?  Oh, yes, it’s in the tack room next to the saddles.


Filed under Adventure, Lilly, Sandhill Crane

38 responses to “Sandhills, Lilly and clumsy me

  1. Caralee

    Dude, arthritis doesn’t pop or snap. I think you’ll find that you *are* looking at an orthopedic surgeon, and for the record, that is good news. Because if you’ve torn the cartilage (my best bet), it can be permanently fixed and the pain will go away. Of course, another option is that you got a bad sprain, if one can actually sprain their knee. Arthritis just gets worse with time, trust me. You definitely need a better doctor than whomever told you this was arthritis–which comes on gradually, not as you described. I actually hope I’m right, because if I am, you will be able to fix it and be good as new! Just ask Jimmy, who years ago heard the same pop/snap while lifting a new tree off the pickup truck and wound up getting it fixed by…an orthopedic surgeon. PS: there are pretty good canes at your nearest pharmacy or WalMart.

    • Yes, you are probably right. The radiologist made the initial diagnosis. I believe you. I’ll be waiting for Wednesday with my Primary. He’s good and he’ll give me the full thing. So sorry to hear about Jimmy. Glad he’s back in form. They also make canes that have containers in them for whiskey. That’s the one I’ll probably get. Thanks, Caralee for the information. You are always so spot on. Say hello to Henpeck for me.

  2. Cranes and Canes! Oh Jack, I’m so sorry you have to deal with this, but what a post it has brought out of you! I think you may have a new calling – handmade canes, and walking sticks, too. One door closes… 🙂 I tease. I do think this is a great post, and three hundred sandhill cranes! “I was chasing sandhill cranes most of the day…” I’m so jealous. But, the deer and the turkeys come twice a day to visit me, so I can’t complain. I trust the swelling is down and your spirits are up!


    • Darn, what a great title! I can’t come up with good ones. A few, but not many. I can be humorous with a title, but only rarely. Yes, I know you tease. Your photos of the deer I have thought about so many times since you posted it. You are so fortunate to have them about. No, you can’t complain with such a beautiful place. Swelling is down and I’m getting around much better today. Course, I took a pain pill in the middle of the afternoon.

  3. Erin R.

    A picture of the cranes would not have been worth you hurting yourself. I want to see you Tuesday; got a story for you. Take good care of that knee, Uncle Jack, you need it!

  4. I tend to agree with Caralee’s comment. Doesn’t sound at all like Arthritis.

    Take care.

  5. Dr Matthews: Nice to see you on the move. I have been in that kind of pain and I know what is like. Methylprendnisolone will take care of it. I will keep you posted in my next adventure. Love to Miss Brenda, and do indulge in limoncello, the best medicine.



    • Alessio: Thank you for your medical advice, particularly the limoncello. We have a bottle of it in the fridge. I shall tell Miss Brenda hello. We miss seeing you. Please keep me posted on your health and what your bistro career is doing. You were always so generous to us when we visited Taverna’s. It is not the same without you. When you manage another restaurant, please tell me and we’ll make a special trip to come over to Dallas. Thanks, Jack.

  6. Wonder what limoncello is? I do know that wormweed boiled and soaked up with a towel really helped my knees two Thanksgivings ago when I tripped over my dog.

    Never know what blessings life brings you … you, the creative sort, will figure out a good way to deal with this.

    Sorry to hear, nevertheless. The elusive cranes that fly towards Red River. Interesting that they are so far over – they wouldn’t be Whoopers, would they????

    • Caralee

      Limoncello is a wonderful (probably Italian) liqueur made by soaking lemons, sugar, and either Everclear or Vodka together for a week or two. It makes a potent but delicious drink either by itself or mixed with other good things for a cocktail. You can buy it at any well-stocked liquor store or make it yourself. I’m sure you can find recipes on line. I have a bottle of it in the freezer right now and it’s pretty darned good at the end of a hot summer day. But this stuff will definitely knock you back if you’re not careful!

      • It is darned good and will knock out the pain. Limoncello is Italian and Alesso (see post below) was the manager of Taverna’s down beside Sundance Square in Fort Worth. Your recipe sounds so good! We’ve done that with oranges at Christmas with vodka and something else, but can’t remember now. We’ve a bottle of it in the frig now.

    • Cirrelda: Now that’s a good remedy — wormwood. I’ll have to try that. They were Sandhills. They were so beautiful and so many of them. They should be over your area too, or maybe they are always around you, given that you have several wildlife refuges about New Mexico. I’ll figure out something to do with this condition. I’m sorry you tripped over your dogs and hurt your knees. To have both of them hurt really must have slowed you down. Guess I will have to spend more time in museums and galleries now — at least until things improve.

  7. Jack,

    Awful sorry to hear about your leg Jack and I can certainly empathize with your pain. Find a good physical therapist and have your doc prescribe a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) for a few weeks. When my back condition first occurred a few years ago I found a great PT that taught me some simple but effective stretching exercises that keeps me limber and my pain under control. I take two NSAIDs each day to keep the joint swelling down and most days the combination of the two works like a charm.

    Joint & muscle pain hurts worse than most folks can imagine but you can get through it with some help Jack. Don’t be like me and “tough it out” for the first few weeks without assistance. Pain does nothing to help your body heal my friend and when you’re in pain you can’t sleep, eat or rest properly.

    Be well!


    • I knew you had back trouble, Jeff, just like Bill, another blogger friend of mine (Wild Ramblings blog). I have been “toughing it out” for awhile, but you say and so does Brenda that I’ve got to manage this better. Wednesday is the day for the doc. Thanks, Jeff. Oh, and I need to lose weight too. I read that losing one pound takes four pounds of stress off the knee.

  8. Sorry to see that you were hurt! I would be out after the Sandhills too, believe me! By the way, for goodness sakes, don’t get a cane: cut yourself a proper staff instead. I always take mine on difficult hikes. It’s 61 inches long and made of Hawthorn. Canes are shorter and make you lose your balance. A good staff lets you stay erect and gives you good control over your balance, especially on un-level ground. I hope you find the problem isn’t too serious and that you will be back to normal quickly!

    • Montucky: Yes, I need a proper staff for the field. For sure. I have an ice axe I use on the trail, but now I’ve got to go to the staff. Hawthorn wood — we have Hawthorn down here. Not a lot where I live, but over in east Texas they have plenty of it. What a life! It’s good to be alive! Thank you for your sentiment.

  9. Ruth Karbach

    This umbrella diagnosis is what the younger doctors use whenever they are not certain what is going on with someone who is a senior. Glad you have an excellent primary care physician and will look for his diagnosis and prognosis. The most interesting cane I ever saw was more of a staff with jewels that a Dallas socialite used when walking short distance from her custom Rolls Royce. Looked like something a medieval Russian czar would carry.

    • Ruth: Now that’s a cane. And, yes a young radiologist gave me the umbrella diagnosis. And that was that. My primary will guide me further, I know. I did not get total care, but who does these days?

  10. Oh no! I hope you feel better soon, whatever the problem turns out to be.

  11. Hello Jack! That’s exactly how “clumsy” I am when something is happening, and I had an operation in my left knee in the late eighties because I tumbled over with my bike. It took a half year to recover, but my knee was completely “crushed.”

    Yours does not sound like arthritis when it happens like that. Just IMHO.

    I walk as fine as ever – only needed canes the first half year after operation. My doctor said: “you need three things: patience- patience- patience!” What do you say about that Jack? With all your energy! Well, your knee might soon be better without operation.

    You should have a cane with a crane on top!

    Please let us hear how it goes.

    Best wishes
    Grethe ´)

    • Grethe: I do need patience. Brenda is telling me the same thing. I have the energy, but not the legs for now. For now! I gotta adapt and will. Am looking for a cane with a crane on top. Might be something there. Thanks, Greta, and I’m glad you are back on your feet.

  12. Yeah, Jack, I have to agree with Caralee–does not sound at all like arthritis, although you may indeed have arthritis. Yes, you can sprain a knee, so anything from that to a tear in soft tissue could be the culprit. Soft tissue damage is nearly impossible to detect on an X-ray, so you may require an MRI if you don’t see some improvement soon.

    As for chasing cranes…. It sounds more like you were chasing your camera! Just carry the dern thing with you! And C.C., I doubt it was Whooping cranes, as there are only about 250 in the wild.

    • Marie: Sounds like I will have to have the MRI. Yet, as all things go these days, I can’t see my Primary Physician until Wednesday. Yeah, chasing the camera to film the flying cranes. Yep, just carry it around my neck. Good advice. Anyway, I getting around better, but the knee swells when I dink around too much. I’ll try not to chase the camera anymore.

  13. Although I was really sorry to hear about your knee, I laughed and laughed when reading your paragraph about canes. It’s really funny how twisted your mind can get when you’re in pain.

    I have arthritis in my right knee. It’s had surgery, and I’ve dislocated the kneecap twice. Osteoarthritis actually builds up large calcium deposits that get tangled on tendons or cartilage.

    When the tendons get caught on the calcification it can make a loud popping noise and it hurts like hell. If it’s bad enough they’ll “scope” your knee and clean it up, a procedure that you will recover from in a week or so. It’s not that bad.

    And now we all have a greater appreciation for your magnificent horse Lilly. That she had to courage to stand on her sore knees and legs without complaint is a testimony to her great character. We humans have a lot to learn from our animal friends.

    Keep us posted on your recovery. We all are wishing you a speedy return to normal life.

    • Thanks, Bill. I glad to hear you don’t think it’s bad. Tangled up sounds about right. Knowing the details really helps. Seriously. Lilly would struggle to get up. She would breathe really hard when I had to halter and walk her to the corral or stable. She would huff and puff, but go on to eat, browse and babysit with the colts and fillies. Thanks for the well wishes.

  14. OUCH! You did it! You moved me! You made me hurt! You poor thing!
    Love your site! Hoped everything comes out OK! xoxo Everyday Cowgirl

    • Everyday Cowgirl: Thanks for your sentiments. I’m glad you like my site. There’s several posts on horses you might find interesting. At this point, I want to be able to halter and groom the horses. Riding may be entirely off the grid. Again, thanks for your comment. –Jack.

  15. Oh Jack, what life has in store for us. I have arthritis in my left arm, and at times to photograph it takes me gritting my teeth to take the photo. I went to an acupuncture, where he proceeded to poke me with pins all over my body, head, hands, and where ever he could find a place to poke. Then the sent me home with White Flower ointment, and ToChung pills.

    Hope the best for you.

    • Evangeline: I did not know you would have arthritis. Yet, you go on and take pictures. The acupuncture sounds painful, but I don’t guess it was. Hope it did the trick for you. Thanks for your concern.

  16. Donnie Reno

    Sorry to hear about your knee. It happens to the best of us no matter the age. We’ve had things happen while away from home on vacations and needed crutches or a cane. We now have an adjustable cane in the auto at all times. Best wishes and a quick healing. Enjoy your postings.

    • Hi, Donnie: Thanks for your sentiments. I know it puts a crimp in yours and Bobbie’s styles when it happens. But, my gosh, on vacation? That would be bad, I know. An adjustable cane to carry along — good idea. I didn’t think this would happen to me. At least, not this serious. I’m glad you like the postings. It’s a hoot sometimes to put down in writing all the things that happen here. Hope all is well where you and Bobbie are.

  17. Hello again Jack! I’ll just refer to you answer to Everyday Cowgirl: You say that you cannot ride now. But Jack, you’ll just have to use a lady’s saddle and have your wife to help you up!! And down!! ´)

    I like what Bill says about Lilly. She was so brave. I have also experienced that I could learn something from the dogs and cats I once had. We never forget the horse, the dog, the cat who won our heart. Good luck with your poor knee.

    Take care,

    • Hi, Grethe: We have learned, haven’t we, from our four-legged companions. And, we don’t forget. Brenda is going to have to help me up and down for sure. Thanks for your comment and humor. I need it right now.

  18. Oopsy, as my grandson says. Isn’t it just the pits. I really hope, since I’m only now catching up on too many postings missed, that you’re doing a lot better by now. This middle age stuff really sucks sometimes. I had a nasty round of arthritis a year ago…about nine months of utter misery in fact. I almost fell off the table when I got the diagnosis…after all, arthritis sounds like something only old people get, right? (Even though I well know that young folks get it as well.) Well…best wishes to you. P.S. I hope you do make those canes and open that Etsy shop…after all, there are a lot of us boomers that will need all the help we can get soon enough!

    • Hi Martie! So good to hear from you! Old friend, you are right, it is the pits. I am doing a lot better. My leg is pretty good now, but I cannot pivot and throw the runner out at second base. I hope your arthritis is muted like mine. You haven’t started your blog up again, have you? Again, so good to hear from an old friend.

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