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It ends up in a mortician’s bucket.

March 8, 2017


Photo on 4-9-16 at 10.52 AMWednesday, March 8, 2017 @1415

Gunther is tucked behind my head, sitting on the back of my overstuffed chair.  This morning we heard the honking of Canada geese.  Gunther did not seem impressed.  Nor did he poop, at least while I watched.  He did flush up a rabbit, but to his credit, did not chase it across the street.  Good dog!

I’m getting a knee replaced in about five weeks, so I made an appointment for physical therapy for three days post-op.  My sister said such surgery is quite routine and relatively easy.  She said the secret is to avoid using a cane and to avoid limping.

I know where those metal knees end up.  Well, ultimately where they end up if a person elects cremation.  I saw a bucket full of knees and hips and other metal hardware, discolored from the intense heat of the cremation furnace at a Michilotti-Sawyer’s funeral chapel.  They had a blue-gray patina.  The cadaver bones end up getting cooked, but they are then broken up beyond recognition in a sort of metal blender somewhat smaller than the basket of a clothes washing machine.

The ashes of the loved one one gets are mostly bone fragments after being blended.  I suppose one could get the prostheses from a loved one if one asked the mortician.  I think they are prevented from handing over recognizable bones by regulation.

I thought the horrifying sight at M.S. funeral chapel of the burnt metal knees and hips would keep me from ever wanting a prosthetic hip or knee, but I in the years since I have had more and more trouble with my left knee.  This is the one I hurt in 1964 when I was freshman in high school in track.  I tried out for the triple jump and smashed the cartilage in my knee.  A doctor in Dillon, Montana, manipulated my knee to reduce the fragments of cartilage.  Knee worked great for many years after, although it snapped and popped when I flexed my leg.

This pretty much kept me out of trouble until the past few years when I had a series of misfortunes.  You know, I tripped.  Or rather P. tripped on a brick in Wash. D.C. and I tried to prevent her from falling, but in the process landed on my knee.  Since then I’ve had my internist inject my knee with steroid with pretty good relief.

Most recently I hurt my knee while deer hunting.  Bob went to check out a shot I’d made when I missed a nice buck.  In turn, while he was gone, I dragged his buck by the antlers down a long ridge.  The buck ended up pushing me in the dark when the going got steep, right over a ledge perhaps five feet down.  Hey.  It was dark!  The knee swelled up after that.  I got another steroid shot but the orthopedic doctor recommended a knee replacement because the cartilage was nearly gone.

I think more and more of my aging friends will get prosthetic hips and knees.  Faced with pain, swelling, and an unstable, unreliable knee, a replacement seems like a bargain, even though the hardware may end up in a mortician’s bucket.

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