Cooking With Confidence
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Musings

To Take For Granted

by Nick

If you’ve been reading Macheesmo over the last week, you know that I hurt my knee pretty badly last week playing basketball.

I had an MRI on Friday and get the results today actually (the MRI on the right isn’t actually mine).  The doctor was pretty convinced that I tore something major in my knee, like my ACL or MCL, and it’ll probably require surgery.

While I’m actually able to hobble around okay today, I know that I’m in for a long road ahead before I’m even close to back to normal.

Ironically, the one thing this injury has caused me to do is realize how lucky I am.

The Importance of Health

I’m not the first person in the world to make this revelation, but it’s pretty easy to take your health for granted until something happens to it!

Almost everything I do now requires extra effort and extra time.  Going to the grocery store, driving, taking the dog out, and even sleeping requires more effort than it did a week ago.

The crazy thing is that, as annoying as my injury is, it’s pretty small in the grand scheme of things.  I’m not bedridden.  I’m not on any crazy medications.  It will eventually heal.

When I think about it that way, I tell myself immediately to SUCK IT UP!

If you happen to have some sort of health issue, it could almost assuredly be worse.

If you happen to be healthy and happy, do everything you can to stay that way!

 Things I Took for Granted

It’s easy for me to get into a daily routine and forget about all the tiny pieces that must click together for my life to be as good as it is.

Then when a wrench got through into that routine, it made me start realizing how lucky I am for all the other pieces!

In other words, instead of thinking, “Crap.  I’m in for 6-8 months of pain and inconvenience,”  I started thinking about all of the other areas of my life that I have been taking for granted.

Here’s just a short list of some of the things I take for granted.

My Loving Wife – This injury is going to affect Betsy’s next few months almost as much as it will affect mine.  From small things like giving me the primo couch spot to larger things like possibly altering some travel plans we had later in the year, she will be affected by it.  At the same time, I obviously would have a much tougher time getting through it without her.

Having someone who loves you that you can lean on (literally) is really amazing.

Insurance – I’m so lucky to have good insurance.  Unfortunately, in America, it’s the only way you can get exceptional care without going bankrupt.  Obviously, we will have to pay some expense for the surgery and physical therapy, but without insurance I might not even be able to get the surgery.

Easy Access to Everything – We live in a pretty amazing time.  If I need almost anything, I can have it within a few minutes.  Even though I bitch about how my trip to the store now takes twice as long, I can still be there and back within the hour.  There are people throughout the world that travel for hours just to get clean water.

Technology I Don’t Understand – As as I was laying in the MRI tube last Friday, listening to piped-in classic rock music, I had this moment of crazy realization.  I was going to lay there for 30 minutes, with no pain experienced, and they were then going to be able to see a crystal clear image inside my knee.

That’s absolutely insane to me.  I had to immediately hobble home and research how MRIs work!

Not only do I take for granted my access to such technology, but I take for granted that it even exists.

The Internet – I could lump the Internet in with “Tech I don’t understand”, but I thought it deserved its own line.  Obviously the Internet will make my time on the couch much more entertaining (and allow for streaming Netflix), but more importantly, it allows me to work from home.  I take this for granted, but I’m pretty lucky to be able to just hobble into my home office and still work a full day.

Always the Optimist

When I look at that list and think about the dozens of smaller things that I didn’t include, I’m pretty freakin’ lucky.

Even if it means that my hopes of a NBA career are now officially dashed, this knee thing isn’t going to get me down.

I’m going to keep doing the things I love and keep working hard to advance my goals.

Are there things that you take for granted?  Leave a comment!

Funny MRI scan comic from asirap.

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27 comments on “To Take For Granted

  1. I’ve taken my health and family for granted. Not to get toooo Personal; up until 3 yrs. ago, I thought I was the healthiest I could be, and felt amazing. I worked out obsessively, had 6.5 % Body Fat and weighed 95lbs (5’0ft.) at 27yrs. old and was ready to do a fitness show. I even did a few shots for fitness mags, but I NEVER spent time with my family, and in my free time besides working out I was working (Job) or eating (Seriously) I ate (Small Meals) 6-8 times a day depending on how active I was that day. I never ate “out”. Then I found out something that changed my life forever – I was born with a rare (1 in a Million Cases) disease I never knew I had, that eats away at you inside, overtime you can’t eat solids (which is where I’m at now since 3 yrs ago), Fatigue, and numerous other syptoms. I now try to take care of my parents, cook for them and make them healthier because I want them healthy and to never experience any health problems. I thought at 30yrs old I would be somewhere (Married, Set in career, etc), but, you never know what life throws at you. You just have to keep positive.
    You’ll get through this, and when you do, you can make it up to Betsy if you feel bad….But, being there for eachother is what marriage is about =)

  2. My workout partner tore her ACL 3 weeks ago snowboarding and it’s only been 2 weeks since the surgery and she’s walking around really well! Of course everyone heals differently, but her strong body and good health have definitely helped her! You may still have hope of not being a total cripple-bum for the next 3 months! :)
    I think health and my body are two things I constantly take for granted. I think it’s ingrained in our minds to always want to be better and to improve, but when I see someone in a wheelchair or disabled otherwise, I am immediately humbled.

    1. Ha! Thanks Roni. Yea… these days I think the recovery time can be quick depending on how your body recovers. Two weeks is amazing!

  3. That’s nasty news, Nick. And for what it’s worth, I’ve always thought “It could be worse” was one of the dumbest sentiments ever. So what? Each of us deals with whatever happens to US.

    I had a total knee replacement three months ago, and while it’s very nasty surgery, it’s amazing it can be done at all. And in three weeks I’m going to Mexico for a month. Yeay! Real tortillas!

    So rest and heal. I’ll bet you’re living with someone who can make chicken soup in a pinch.

    1. Thanks Jean! A total knee replacement is intense. My dad has had that also. I agree that it’s amazing it can even be done!

      Feel better and have fun down South!

  4. Ouch, sorry about that ol’pesky aging body thing! I had my own knee issue when out jogging about 2 years ago at the ripe old age of 31 and did a radical crazy move – I stepped off a curb. Who knew knees were so delicate? In the resulting few weeks I really started to appriciate things too, like how easy getting in the shower normally is or getting in and out of cars, I really do take a lot for granted. Lovely post to remind us all to really see the good we have in our lives!
    On a different note, I’m also very glad to hear that you have insurance and more importantly, that your insurance actually covers what you need. I’m Canadian and after watching Sicko it really made me grateful for our system where I just flash my card to the receptionist to get all my health care. Even though I’d have to wait a week or two for that MRI that you got pretty darn fast (my injury was minor and it wasn’t needed), there’d never be the thought of money being an issue in my treatment/surgery/rehab. Giving birth last year only cost me the price of a latte from Starbucks as a post-labour treat. Hope that all you Americans get universal care one day, it’s crazy to me that someone could go broke getting health care or have to choose to go untreated. Makes me VERY grateful!

  5. I took my freedom for granted. At 53 my husband and I expected we could do as we please, until my daughter has found herself divorced with a 3 year old to support. I have given up everything I did to babysit my Grandson 4 days each week. Now at 3 he finds himself visiting colleges his 18 yr old Uncle might attend. Traveling with us to visit his Aunt who is in college and eating food he never expected to eat at 3.
    I recently broke my ankle and if it was not for him I would have sat with my foot up. But I had to push myself and came back quicker. Now I’m back to chasing him!

  6. Usually after an illness we learn to take nothing for granted, and to be in a state of appreciation and gratitude for each day. All we have is now…so we make the most of each moment no matter what, and in so many cases the “what” is big, especially when it comes to health, as evidenced by the stories here and of course, by THE KNEE.

    Best of luck with your journey through the process and how about incorporating some healthy healing elements into the recipes?
    I know that surgery is very demanding on the body, even the most minor procedures have an impact, so the emphasis on Vitamin C and helpful herbs appearing in the recipes would be good for all of us.

  7. Nice post. Totally inspiring. I think I def take my health for granted. I probably don’t use all the potential that I have and well I sometimes complain about having to work all the time. In the end, I am lucky to have the job that I have and the health that I have. It’s so easy to forget that :)

  8. I really needed to read this today to get my butt out of my self induced slump I’ve been having. Just a case of the blahs but it was still just getting me down, which is silly.

    A friend of mine tore her acl last year, did the surgery and hoopla, and is now back on skates playing in a roller derby legue. It was a hard few months of healing but she is as good as new now. Hopefully your recovery will be as smooth as hers was.

  9. ME TOO! Last summer I tore my ACL, meniscus AND chipped a bone in my knee (all while jumping rope onstage in front of a bunch of people). Even though I am still in PT and recovering and have bad days and want to scream I am so so grateful for the abilities I still have and insurance etc. It is a great excuse to not clean my apartment though : )

  10. Wow, this was a thoughtful, well written post. Ain’t it the truth, though? All the amazing, awesome things we all have in our lives, each minute of every lovely day and night. Even in the midst of our daily joys and miseries. Ah, life, I am grateful to be living such a wonderful one. Thank you for leaving me with this feeling from reading your excellent blog! Best wishes for a full recovery.

  11. Thanks for all the kind comments everyone! Just to confirm… just got back from the doc and it is a torn ACL! So I have some surgery and physical therapy in my future. I’m ready to take it on though!

  12. That sucks man. I hope you get back on your feet soon. On a side note, I had an MRI this week too and they did not offer music. I never realized that I might be a tad bit claustrophobic until I slid into that MRI tube. Wow. I would not ever want to have to do that again. Hopefully this will not stop you from cooking.

  13. Sorry to hear about your ACL! That’s no fun even if it’s not as severe as other health issues. I’m in PT school and I am constantly thankful for my health and able body as I learn more about both common and less common ortho problems/diseases that many people live with. Good luck with the surgery and recovery! Hope you like your PT!

  14. Nick, I’m so sorry to hear you have to undergo surgery — but man you’re an inspiration, keeping it positive and taking this time to reflect and remember all the great stuff that surrounds us.

    It sounds like you’ve got a great support system with your lady and your pup, and all of us out here in the ether are definitely rooting for you. Are you accepting care packages??

  15. MUST HAVE A GOOD ATTITUDE , SOME THINGS WE CAN NOT CONTROL ,SO DOES NOT HELP BEING ANXIOUS OR ANGRY, ME i PRAY ,,PLEASE SEND ME A GOOD DOCTOR , , i WISH YOU THE BEST.

  16. It’s not a horrible surgery. I am lying on the couch recuperating, as I type. I had mine done 2 weeks and 2 days ago. I can walk fine (with a brace on, of course). I do have to go to physical therapy 3 times a week but it actually makes my knee feel so much better afterwards that any pain during therapy, which isn’t that bad really, totally worth it. I also do exercises at home 2 to 3 times a day everyday. I tore mine a few years ago and just now had the surgery (I’m 32). My ACL was completely detached from my femur and I had another small tear in my LCL. The doc put a cadaver tendon in to replace it. I have 3 small scars. The worst thing was the after effects of anesthesia and the first 2 to 3 days. A tip for after anesthesia – brush your teeth asap. I was vomiting for a few hours after I woke up. I had already been given zofran before and after surgery for nausea, but I just couldn’t get that nasty taste of the gas out of my mouth. After I brushed my teeth, I didn’t vomit anymore. I had a femoral nerve block, so for the first day I had no use of or feeling in my leg at all, it was literally like a chunk of lead attached to my body. As the block started to wear off, I realized having a “chunk of lead leg” wasn’t as bad as I thought but the worst pain was over by about the 3rd or 4th day. Just keep on top of the drugs, I tried to not take my on time around the fourth day (because I felt so much better ) and about 2.5 hours after I should have taken it I was very sorry that I had skipped it. I take no pain meds at all now. Having the surgery made me really think about how good I have it, too. My mother has been wonderful. I do not work and my husband could not take off work so she has taken care of everything. I also realize how much I love to do all of the chores that I gripe about on a regular basis. I couldn’t do much of anything for about a week. Feel free to email me if you want to know anything else about my experience.

    I love your site, thank you so much for the work you do. I wish you good luck and a speedy recovery.

    1. THanks for the tips Rachel. I go in next week for the surgery. Frankly, I just can’t wait to be done with it and on the way to recovery!

      Thanks for the tips and good luck healing!

  17. I am so sorry about your injury, Nick. I love that you are looking on the bright side, though! I hope your surgery goes smoothly and wish you a speedy recovery.

  18. l think we take Macheesmo for granted. What if it had been your FCL (or whatever ligaments are in your fingers) and you couldn’t post for 6-8 months? Don’t you ever think about US, your readers, when you engage in these dangerous activities, Nick?

    Just kidding. Love your attitude, dude.

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