Eight years ago, I developed a staph infection in my knee that resulted in two surgeries, 8 weeks of antibiotics through a PICC line, and then another year of oral antibiotics to get rid of it. During this time, I was also going to physical therapy, and after several weeks of trying to get the bend back in my knee, my therapist told me he was going to refer me back to my doctor for further evaluation. At that point, he didn’t believe it was a muscle issue, but rather a bone issue. He was right. An MRI revealed permanent bone damage that was keeping me from getting a sufficient bend to even walk downstairs normally. Knee replacement to fix the issue was not an option at the time. The last thing we wanted was to do something to invite the infection back. At this point, I could have easily focused on all the things I could no longer do, but I chose to focus on the positive. I still had my leg, so I felt blessed I didn’t lose that. I felt blessed to have the best orthopedic doctor one could have asked for, as well as a wonderful infectious disease doctor. My focus shifted from what I couldn’t do to figuring out how to do everything I wanted to do.
Sometimes, you just need to figure out an unconventional way to do what you want to accomplish. One of the things I really wanted to do was ziplining in Gatlinburg Tennessee. I called three places, before finding one that could accommodate my physical limitation. Since I can’t get enough of a bend in my knee to run off a platform, or land on a ramp, I had to find a zipline facility that understood this and didn’t have anything in their zipline course that would restrict me from completing it. Wahoo Ziplines was amazing in working with me. There was one platform they hadn’t considered where I needed to take a running jump off it, or I would hit the support portion of the platform. The zipline guide worked with me to swing me out past that. The scenery in the mountains from that perspective was so amazing, not to mention it was lots of fun. Had I placed my focus on what I couldn’t do, rather than how I could do it, I would have missed out on an amazing experience.
“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart