He danced to beats that banged like bullets,
Electronic staccato and his Chucks barely touched the asphalt,
His feet floated like a helicopter above the fenced in terrace he called home,
The chains around his neck swang like hula hoops around waists of prepubescent girls in a land not too far away.
The sun set behind the terra cotta colored condos and kings palms,
Power lines where shoes dried for decades in the swift Santa Ana winds were the edges of his dance floor,
John Coltrane and J Dilla were his fathers,
His mama never loved him,
So he danced to keep his demons at bay…
Scratches, horns and high hats kept him coming back week after week,
After his homework was complete,
And his sisters he’d feed,
He’d go to compete,
Spinning uncontrollably, with the mastery of Alvin Haley, he hallucinated with homages to his ancestry,
His curls bounced to the beat and the tears on his cheeks were as real as those of the OGs who put hundreds on young Keith’s feat; young Keith’s feet kept him alive on those mean streets,
Now he’s on scholarship at Howard University.
Dance young brotha, dance.
Day 24 Post Op
Perhaps the worst part of the ACL post op, was the first week and the fiery feeling upon my shin below the repaired knee. I remember telling my wife that it felt like “stepping into a fire pit” and “an attack by red ants” with the first step from being bed bound. Wow. The pain my knee feels today, 24 days after surgery, pails in comparison to those memories. Today, recently the pain is in the lower left part of the front of my knee, and still more than anything else, the lingering pain continues to be greatest on the inside bone of the right knee.
Mentally this was a good week. I returned to work which was huge. Personally, it was good to be able to get the pedals all the way around at PT. Wednesday saw the full revolution of pedals, Friday was actually pedaling for six minutes straight. Not much, some may say. However, from a guy who has loved riding a bike, or pedaling stationary bikes since age 4, it was a big deal to pedal around. Keep grinding. If you’re reading this and going through a knee surgery of some type- keep grinding. Each day each week is a small step within the bigger marathon that we must run to return to health. You can do it! Sí se puede!
Day 18 Post Op
Today was my first day back to work since the surgery. I was a bit nervous last night, I’ll admit. Why? I don’t know. I teach. I oversee other teachers. I love kids. Being back to work today was awesome! The kids were glad to see me, and my coworkers were joyful in their old man jokes. Truth be told, they were happy to see me too. I was happy to be out of the house and have a sense of giving back come upon me. I realize that I had become caught up in the routine of my family helping me out, and bringing me this, and asking if I needed that. So it was great to be the giver of needs to the children and adolescents I shared space and time with today.
My knee was stiff throughout most of the day, but as recommended, I had a small soccer ball under my desk to roll back in forth underfoot as needed. I got up to hobble around and to enjoy (as much as possible) not being confined to my bed or my recliner. Granted, there were times today when I could hear the sirens that swim beneath my sheets calling me home. I ignored them, but they were singing loud. After work I went to PT. My knee was definitely tight and tender, but after massage and manipulation the numbers increased and greater flexibility was noted. The exercises are getting easier and my body seems more responsive after a week. The stationary bike is my biggest challenge. As much as I’d like to pedal all the way around, I know that I must be patient and that too, will soon be accomplished. Of course physical therapy always ends with “ice and stim” which all patients applaud.
I remember mornings on a bed, on the floor, cigarettes and coffee and her presence,
She alone, made me feel happy and healthy, oh the irony,
Some mornings, I’d awaken to her just staring at me, smiling, saying she loved the way I sleep,
Many mornings I’d wake up to a hot cup of coffee from our favorite coffee shop across the street,
Often we’d wake up and put music on, Slum Village, De La Soul, DJ Rob Swift or DJ Cam,
Not always loud, but always on,
We had little planned, just to make it through the day, to make it home to one another’s embrace,
Dinner was often from the taco shop, and I’d wash it down with The Champagne of Beers and laughter with friends who’d stop by just to say hi,
Once upon a time, I thought this was the life.
Now she’s my wife,
She takes good care of me,
We still laugh a lot, and that’s what’s most important to me.
Our babies laugh a lot too.
That’s divinity to me.
We couldn’t have made it this far, without laughter and prayers.
That’s the God honest truth.
Day 14 Post Op
Two weeks from ACL Reconstruction Surgery
Today was a productive day. Busy, challenging, yet productive. As written before, I started driving yesterday. My goal was to drive for at least 15 mins and on busier thoroughfares. Bank breakfast and coffee with my Big Lil Sidekick. My 9 year old deserved a special treat for all that she’s done to help me during this process. According to her, “You’re driving pretty normal to me.” I rode with my mother in law to my 3 year old’s swim lesson, and to the library. Lots of walking, and only used one crutch throughout the day. That was at the suggestion of my PT on Monday. She suggested that it would help to develop the strength in my weakened leg.
After swim lessons and the library, I came home, ate fruit, drank water and Body Armor. I wanna stay hydrated through these hot days. It’s amazing how quickly my body temperature seems to rise since the surgery. After 40mins of ice, Netflix and reading work emails. I went to the grocery store. That took longer than usual, of course. But again, the sense of normalcy outweighs all of the soreness, and slowness.
Upon returning home, unloading the car, putting groceries away and folding laundry; I decided to get my thrice a day exercises in before spending time with my little ones and enjoying a bomb dinner!
Day 13 Post Op
Drove around the neighborhood for 10 mins. Although I was nervous like a teenager, it felt like a small victory to get a bit of dependence back. I’ve not gone out much, besides a dr’s appt on Day 8 and PT this week. I went to my daughter’s soccer game on Sunday. It was the same field where my injury occurred; that was not too bad at all.
Nonetheless, driving has given me a sense of normalcy and independence that I recognize was dearly missed.
I took it easy and I only drive residential streets today.
It’s always easier when they say goodbye in late November,
There’s less tears than in July or January,
In fact, in late November they save the goodbyes,
They trade them for see-you-laters,
They trade turkey sandwiches for the thought of toys in a few weeks,
They trade tacos for tamales,
They trade fresh fruit for their auntie’s Hello Dolly bars,
They trade memories of the World Series for dreams of a fresh spring training,
They’ll trade trips to the beach for movies beneath the sheets,
They’re growing up, but never apart,
They’ll travel many miles, but stay in each other’s hearts,
They’re cousins and they love each other despite their differences,
Because that’s what families do.