At nearly 75 I’ve never broken a bone. I still have all my body parts. Well, almost all. There’s that foreskin, plus some disposables like hair and nails. And come to think of it, I did have a torn meniscus cleaned up arthroscopically. So there’s that. And then there were those wisdom teeth and another tooth that I didn’t take care of—gone. And some holes in other teeth. Do those count?
So maybe I haven’t done as well as I first thought. But I’ve still got my appendix and my tonsils and my prostate and gall bladder, which is more than some people who I know can say.
Now I’m looking at something a bit more significant: a new knee. The technology (I’m getting a “mass customized” Conformis knee) is interesting. (You can see their “Image to implant” process here.) TL;DW: They did a CAT scan from ankle to knee and will build my knee based on the imaging. Also, they will 3D print a bunch of jigs so that they can do the work quickly, and with precision.
The whole thing is cool when I’m thinking about it conceptually. But then there’s reality. There’s always reality! And the reality does not look quite so cool. I found a video of a total knee replacement online. Not so bad when they’re just talking. OK, when the surgeon pulls out his scalpel and slices through skin and muscle. But then the real stuff happens. Cutting stuff to expose the patella. Slicing bone off the back of the patella. Drilling holes in the femur. With a fucking drill. Slicing bone away. Argh. You probably don’t have time to watch the whole video, but you can jump around and get the idea.
They’re going to do that with my knee. Looks like not fun. Glad I will be feeling no pain. Initially, anyway.
To offset, I’ve watched a few videos done by “patient ambassadors.” They’re all delighted with their new knees. There’s a guy with a double replacement back to playing basketball. I don’t think I’m getting there—not without my second knee, and maybe both hips, and an ankle or two. But it’s something to look forward to.
That’s the thing. I’m looking forward to it. I mean, really, how many choices do I have? I can look backward. Fun sometimes. I can avoid looking. Not my style. Or I can look forward. And there’s my bionic knee. In my future. I look forward, and that’s what I see.
I wrote previously about being a cyborg. Now I’m going to be bionic. What’s next, I wonder?