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My resting place
Back on the first warm and sunny day back of April, I decided to pack about 30lbs of photography equipment in a backpack, take my bike and tour some of the weird or abandoned places I knew – during the day, for once (nighttime is usually more my thing). I left my house and headed towards the usual starting point for our adventures, the Canal and the Old Port. Passing cars at a more cautious version of my usual high speed, due to the sobering effects of an accident this past September, I cycled my way through the streets on a lovely and promising day.
With about a fifth of the way left to go and in heavy traffic, a traffic light located half way down a sloping hill decided to stop me. I did as it commanded and when it turned green once more I started pedaling as hard as I could to match the speed of the heavy traffic. I got three stokes in when the tension in my pedals gave way to absolute freedom of movement, both my feet left the spinning pedals and landed flat on the moving ground with my knees in a straight, locked position. I still had the heavy backpack on. I was able to use my grip on the handle bars to bounce back on to the seat and swerve away from the cars towards the sidewalk. I got off my bicycle and noticed that the chain had left the front sprocket* and noticed a sharp pain in my left knee. I put the chain back on and decided to get back on the bike since walking back home would be too painful. Being the stubborn person that I am, and given that my knee didn’t really hurt (that much) when pedaling normally, I decided taking a break to assess the damage could be postponed until I reached a better vantage point than the sidewalk. I elected to rest my knee at the very top of the Redpath silos located nearby. I got to the Redpath, used the stairs leading up 100+ feet, noticed that unbending my knee was NOT a good idea and stayed there with a bottle of wine for 6 hours, waiting for my knee to feel better. It did not. I left at sunset and carefully made my way back home.
My knee didn’t feel any better the next day.
I called a cab, went to the emergency department at the Jewish General Hospital, a nurse got a wheelchair for me when she saw me limping heavily, met the doctor, was told that my meniscus was most likely torn, was put in a splint, and given a referral to see one of the resident orthopedists as soon as possible. Two weeks later an impatient looking orthopedist examined an X-Ray of the injury, pushed, pulled and twisted my knee briefly and told me that I had a bruised meniscus. She was on her way out of the room when she stopped and asked me to walk for her. I did, and as I had explained to her earlier, couldn’t unbend my knee while putting weight so I limped.
– Why aren’t you walking straight Mr. Harrison?!
-Uhhh, I told you, if I do I will fall down because I will have a stabbing pain in my knee.
-Oh. Ok, that’ll go away in a week or two. Here’s a referral to see the Physiotherapist.
I had to stop her two times from rushing out of the room to get a referral to go see another Orthopedist and to get a medical note covering the days I had missed work.
What followed was three weeks of private Physiotherapy, thank god for insurance, and worsening pain leading to the therapist telling me that something was definitely not OK with my knee. She insisted that I get an MRI and stop all exercises until I see another orthopedist. I was able to get a rush MRI thanks to my mother who works with an MRI machine in Ottawa and got an appointment promptly with one of the physiotherapy clinic’s semi-private orthopedists.
I met with him on Monday. It turns out that a piece of bone measuring 2cm, by 1.8cm, by 7mm thick broke off inside my joint and was being loosely held in place by a ligament. An operation will be needed.
The operation will consist of the following:
The large piece of bone will have to be removed but will have to be replaced since it is load-bearing.
“Bone plugs, which look a lot like Popeye’s cigarettes”, will be fractured off the left and right sides of my knee and grafted on to the load-bearing portion of my joint in order to replace the bone that was removed.
The cartilage will be sown back and attached to the grafted bone.
The success rate is 80% for a person my age.
My leg will be completely immobilized for 3 weeks. I will be off my leg for 6 weeks and will only be allowed to put my full weight on it 12 weeks after the operation.
Unfortunately, I cannot use crutches to get around due to the injury related to the previous briefly mentioned accident - a torn the TFC in my right wrist. I‘m still awaiting final treatment. I’ve been pretty much house-bound since April and I am slowly going crazy.
I will hopefully be posting more photos of stuff I did before April and a new version of my personal website will be up in a week or two. I might also be able to push my photography more, do more freelance stuff for magazines, most likely Business Week again but probably others also and cont
The perfect society?
A year ago, I was sitting in another Hyatt hotel bar at the top of a skyscraper in Shanghai, China. There are many similarities between these two Asian capitals of commerce, surprisingly many considering the fact that Japan is an established industrial nation - one of the richest in the world - and the fact that China is still considered a developing country.
I like Tokyo, I like the order, I like the politeness and I like the peace and quiet. Yes, really. People reserve seats in cafeterias by putting their bags on the chair and then walking to the counter. When people park their bikes they don't lock them because they don't need to. And when people enter shops there are special "umbrella wrappers" that wraps wet umbrellas in plastic to prevent you from accidentally rubbing your wet umbrella against someone.
This is one of the biggest cities in the world with all the services you would expect in such a city, but there are almost non of the problems usually associated with large cities. This is what a society with a virtually 100% employment rate looks like.
The view is from the Peak Lounge & Bar at the top of the Park Hyatt Tokyo in the Shinjuku Park Tower skyscraper - as central as it gets in Tokyo.
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