Kneed Attention
The true story of a knee gone bad. With commentary.

Thursday, April 23, 2009 • 9:15 pm
Volleyball at the YMCA. They play in the multipurpose gym. Basketball, gymnastics, parties. If this were a grade school, the kids would eat lunch here, too. I stretch my legs, wait for the current game to finish, and speak with W., the woman who’s keeping score, blowing a whistle to signal the next serve, keeping riots from breaking out. She asks if I’m a member (yep) and if I’ve played before (yep) and where. Kansas, I say. And Missouri, Atlanta, Tel Aviv and Berkeley and New York and Aruba. W. says, “You’ve certainly played in a lot of places.” Playing volleyball in the sand was the second best workout I had on my honeymoon.

This group is pretty good. There’s a handful of aggressive, polished players. Nice placement, nice spikes. I’m a competent volleyball player. Not great, but I enjoy the teamwork, the coordination, the dexterity. The workout. I can handle this group. I can hold my own. Game ends. I’m in.

• 9:25 pm
I’m up at the net. First ball comes my way. I get my palms under it, and it veers out of bounds. S’alright, I tell myself. Haven’t played in three years. Two minutes later, the other team sets up for a punch across the net. Volleyball, you know: it’s all about the timing. I wait, gauge, jump, and block the shot perfectly. The ball falls on their side, untouched.

I land and collide with the guy whose shot I just blocked. I hear a snap in my right knee, feel pain shoot simultaneously up my thigh and down to my toes, out the door and down the street to the Hudson River. I go down.

• 9:29 pm
I’m sitting on the floor. Knee’s throbbing. Pain shoots out, regenerates, stabs back in. Everybody’s looking at me. I’m looking at my knee like it’s an appendage that just got added to inventory, and someone shipped the wrong part. For ten seconds, it’s very quiet in the YMCA’s multipurpose gym. And then the guy who collided with me speaks. He says, “I didn’t cross my side of the net.”

• 9:30 pm
I’m sitting on the floor against the wall. The game continues. W. asks if I’m okay. “No,” I say. “My knee hurts.” She says she’ll be right back, leaves the gym, returns with a piece of paper on a clipboard. The Incident Report. I say, “Wait a minute. Maybe I can stand up and walk on it.” I get up on my good leg and take a step on my bad leg and the knee hyperextends backward in a way I’ve only seen in sci-fi alien movies, and it hurts even worse, and I sit back down.

W. wants to call an ambulance. I say, “Please don’t call an ambulance. Methodist Hospital is four blocks away. I can crawl there…or you could give me a ride. Or I’ll get a car service.”

The Emergency Room

Thursday, April 23, 2009 • 9:55 pm
I have the car service driver stop by the apartment. Carole brings me a bag with sweatpants, my wallet, insurance card, some fruit (we’re on a diet), a couple magazines. I suspect it’s going to be a long night. Max is sleeping; no sense in waking him up. At Methodist Hospital’s emergency room entrance, the driver asks if I need any help. I say, “I’ll let you know.” I get myself awkwardly out of the car and shut the door. He drives away.

• 10:20 pm
They fetched me a wheelchair. It’s the most uncomfortable chair in the history of seating, two bolts prodding my butt, and I really don’t recommend it. B. is the triage guy. Takes my temperature, pulse, blood pressure. When he starts to type my information on the computer, I stop him. “Realistically,” I say, “how long before I see a doctor?”

He says, “Realistically, about four hours.”

“And, just to play out the scenario, the doctor’s going to push on me knee and ask if that hurts and then give me a Motrin and an Ace bandage and tell me to go see an orthopedic specialist as soon as possible?”

B. says, “That’s just about right.”

So, I ask for—and receive—an Ace bandage and a Motrin. No charge. There’s a car service at the entrance waiting for a pickup. I tell him he can make ten bucks with me and be back here in three minutes. I go home.

• 11:20 pm
I’m on the couch. Carole brings me a bottle of water and an apple (we’re on a diet), the phone (“Call me,” she says), and Tupperware with a lid “in case you have to pee.”


A Brief History


Ancient Sicilian city that various BCE invaders campaigned to conquer, not always with success. Today, Aetna is an insurance company that subscribers try to negotiate, not always with success.
Latin poem, written circa first century AD, describing how strong winds fuel subterranean fire (i.e., a volcano blowing its top). Poem ends with a story of finding justice in such events which, translated into the subject at hand, would not include that first comment—“I didn’t cross my side of the net”—after my knee snapped.
A Sicilian nymph who quelled real estate squabbles. Mount Aetna, probably named after her, was where Zeus had thunderbolts were produced so that one day he could launch them into my right knee.

The Orthopedist

Friday, April 24, 2009 • 7:00 am
The Tupperware container remains empty.

There’s Carole, making all her usual motions to get ready for work, but now with an eye on my knee. Beside the pain still shooting through me, I don’t want to be a burden but suspect I didn’t pull a muscle that’s going to heal on its own. Because I heard a snap. So, I get off the couch with my good leg and take a step on my bad leg, and the thing hyperextends again—backward, sci-fi space alien-like—and it hurts like hell. I sit back down. Carole won’t go to work today.

Crutches borrowed from my landlord, whose back goes out on occasion; I hope it doesn’t go out today because I don’t feel like hopping. Last night in front of the emergency room I hopped from the car to the curb. And there was the curb, looming like Mount Everest. I sat down and pivoted and scooted a bit. Just then a middle-aged couple walked by, and one said, “Oh, my god. Are you okay?” When you see a guy sitting on the sidewalk in front of an emergency room, something must be wrong. The woman held my bag and the man held the door for me, and they wished me well. I’m not going to take out an ad on the back page of the Village Voice or a spot on “Missed Connections” in craigslist. Still: I’m grateful for the inherent kindness of strangers.

• 10:00 am
The first question of all receptionists in the medical profession throughout the land: “What insurance do you have?” You have to negotiate the insurance company’s web site to find a doctor who takes your insurance. Within Aetna’s insurance rubric are subsets of coverage categories. The web search for a medical professional—including choices for hospital affiliation, speciality, languages spoken, and gender—is a Rube Goldberg matrix that’s absolutely awful if, say, your knee is throbbing. And then you have to hope that the closest doctor who matches your criteria is in that particular office on that particular day; most of them have multiple offices they circulate to during the week. Like safe houses for spies.

Dr. Issack’s office is within crutch-walk distance of our apartment in Park Slope. It’s a nice walk if you’re not on crutches. Carole’s OBGYN is in the same building. We’ve been there many times. Doc Issack matches all my criteria. His people made time for me. Carole’s got Max in the stroller. I fill out five pages of paperwork. Set loose, Max weaves around all these people and their crutches in the waiting room. I see the look in their eyes: gratitude for his outgoing cuteness, for his ability to take them away from their orthopedic ailments until the cuteness returns to a state that only his parents continue to love.

They have trays of chocolate chip cookies in the waiting room. We don’t touch them. We’re on a diet.

• 1:00 pm
Max has been consistently cute for three hours. They took x-rays, and now I’m in an exam room, on a table with a 60-degree incline—not sitting up, not fully reclined; it’s like Passover Seder seating for orthopedic patients. There’s Doc Issack. Skin tone of southern India, voice of southern Bronx. Unflappably professional. He spends half an hour with us, detailing the probabilities, the options. He answers all my questions.

My x-ray shows no broken bones. That’s the good news, he says. I say, “Well, the other good news is that I won the point for my volleyball team just before I went down.” He allows himself a smile. It’s a quick, professional smile, and maybe we’re wasting precious billable hours but my constitution needs to gauge both his expertise and his humanity. You can’t exactly gauge humanity with a self-deprecating joke, but it’s all I’ve got right now.

I try to absorb the flurry of new vocabulary. His best guess: a torn ACL and meniscus damage, maybe MCL, maybe LCL. Autograft vs. allograft. I take notes. He’s recommending one or two surgeries.

His staff sets me up with a brace, aluminum crutches, and prescriptions for Vicodin, an MRI, and six weeks of physical therapy. We go home. I muddle back into the Aetna web matrix to find an MRI office.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Waiting room of Gramercy MRI. There’s the Asian woman with her wrist in an Ace bandage, the Hispanic woman with a scarf on her head, the black mother-daughter team. Asian woman is closest to the water cooler; I ask if she’ll pour me a glass. She asks if I want hot or cold, and everyone in the room says “cold.”

Friday, May 1, 2009
A four-hour wait for Dr. Issack. My babysitter bill racks up like a taxi meter. No doubt more damage is being exacted on my injury from the wait than from the original injury. I eat a handful of chocolate chip cookies. Not great cookies but (we’re on a diet) deceptively delicious.

A woman who arrived when I did is highly offended by the lost time. She’s riding a go-cart wheelchair, the mini version Target offers its handicapped shoppers. All she wants is someone in the office to tell us the doctor isn’t here yet and why he isn’t here yet and that he’ll probably be here soon. The longer this desire is not addressed, the more offended she becomes, the more she shares her complaint with us in the waiting room until a handful of people are speculating about the doctor’s absence: He’s sick. He’s not coming in. He’s operating on somebody. They should tell us something. Why doesn’t anybody tell us anything? That’s all I want: the information.

Our wheelchaired representative rolls out and then back and declares she’s learned the truth: he’s across the street at Methodist, performing an emergency knee reconstruction. So now, even with the information, she still needs—and still does not receive—a public explanation or apology from the office staff. At the four-hour mark she makes to skip her appointment and begins a slow-rolling huff toward the exit, until her four compatriots convince her to stay. And then Dr. Issack arrives.

• 1:00 pm
“Complete tear, proximal anterior cruciate ligament with anterior translation of the tibia and subchondral fractures, posterior medial and posterior lateral tibia with marrow edema. Partial tear, lateral collateral ligament. Medial meniscal tear.”

I’ve got what they call “The Terrible Triad.” Good news: it’s a textbook injury and there seems to be no mystery to my situation. Bad news: my injury is “severe and substantial.” Summary: If the guy I collided with had said “I’m sorry” instead of “I didn’t cross my side of the net,” I’d still be in the same condition.

Doc Issack spends quality time. Looks into his crystal ball of a cellphone and gives me June 8 for surgery, tells me to decide between autograft and allograft, gives me a prescription for more Vicodin and a Bledsoe knee brace that’ll provide more support and confidence and eliminate war and poverty and hatred.

Waiting II

Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Bledsoe knee brace fitting. I tried to get them to make a house call, but one of the guys is mortally afraid of dogs, and, though I assured them we don’t have a dog, their insurance protocol—and maybe the idea that we might have a framed photograph of a dog on the wall—sends me to Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn Heights. I love Brooklyn Heights. We aspire to Brooklyn Heights, but this hospital is something out of Lars Von Trier’s “The Kingdom.” I get the guy who’s not afraid of dogs.

First physical therapy session. Ten doors down the street, and she’ll even fetch and return Max because I can’t negotiate my crutches and the stairs with him in tow. Operates out of her brownstone. 1960s space-age Jetson-like equipment. Classical music. She’s more excited about this adventure than I am, calls me “fresh meat.” Places four electrodes on my leg and surges electricity through it for 20 minutes, followed by a laser gun for ten minutes. Max is fussy in his stroller until we take him out and we all enjoy him rolling around on me as I’m on the floor learning my exercises.

Monday, May 18, 2009
Email from Dr. Issack’s nurse. He’ll be out of town on June 8th; can I reschedule surgery for June 1st? As I’m reading the message, Dr. Issack phones, says June 1st won’t work because my knee needs a good six weeks to gain range of motion and prevent scarring. Says he’s going to conference in Boston to learn a new surgical technique, I have a couple of orthopedic surgeons to recommend to you.

Well, good god, man. The knee bone’s connected to the leg bone, to the hip bone, to the person himself. That’s me. And yet, in context, I’m the sum total of a body part? That is my mood here. He apologizes, says he didn’t think the conference would actually happen, but it’s actually on; he agrees that it’s an awkward situation, agrees to pick up my consult cost with any new surgeon. “My nurse will phone you shortly with information about these surgeons.:

Nurse doesn’t phone. I leave two messages for her. I’m back in the Aetna matrix, seeing which surgeons take my insurance. Four hours later I call once again. She says, “Oh, I heard about the rescheduling.” So now my veneer cracks; I feel like that wheelchaired woman did during our four-hour wait. An apology goes a long way, really it does. But that would render her below her professional decorum. The impersonal nature of this phone exchange is infuriating. It’s just so much hooey, an unnecessary unpleasantness that easily could have been prevented.

That’s what I tell Dr. Issack late in the afternoon. I’d *69’d his cell phone, left a message, and he calls back. He’s apologetic yet defensively so. I’m not apoplectic, just trying to arch toward Elvis Costello’s “Oh, I used to be disgusted/And now I try to be amused.”

Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Consult with Dr. Joseph Stein, Boro Park, Brooklyn. Books of the Talmud line shelves in the waiting room. Dr. Stein confirms my Terrible Triad. He mentions an alternative surgery: go in, clean out the busted ACL, patch the meniscus if it needs patching. I thank him but choose the reconstruction; I don’t want to go around for the next year with a wait and see if it snaps again trepidation. He’s okay with that. Same surgery, scheduled for the same day at the same hospital. Only now my surgeon wears a yarmulke.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Methodist Hospital for pre-surgery testing. I say good morning to the woman behind the counter. She’s in her mid-50s, stocky, stoic. Pack of Marlboro cigarettes in the pocket of her white smock. She glances at my chest, looks back at her manilla folders, says, “I’m not registering. Somebody else will be here in a minute.” I say, “All I said was, ‘Good morning.’” That’s what I’m talking about. This is not a new religion I’m recruiting for.

In the exam room. Nurse is mid-50s, thin, with short Julie Andrews hair and round, thoughtful eyes. Name tag says, “Marci.” I say, “Good morning, Marci. I’m Hal.” She finds that very interesting. I tell her I need her to know there’s a person connected to this busted knee. Marci is my buddy. Maybe there is room for another religion. Faith-based. Revolutionary.


Random notes on my physical therapist

  • She moonlights as an animal rescuer.
  • She once rescued a spider. Actually, she was sweeping and maybe injured its leg. So, she damaged the spider in order to save it. This information makes me wonder whether she’s 100% into the whole healing thing with humans.
  • Three days before my surgery, she gives me a photocopy of the article “21 Amazing Facts You Didn’t Know About Pigeons.”
  • She’s very chatty. Most of it is very interesting. When I wasn’t interested in listening on any given day, I’d pop a Vicodin before the session. Vicodin: you may feel the pain, but it doesn’t matter.
  • She once either dated my landlord (his story) or rebuffed his advances (her story).
  • During our first phone conversation she asked, “What insurance do you have?” Aetna, I said. “Do you take Aetna?” She said, “I love Aetna.”
  • She loves Aetna, I will learn, because she receives a larger payment for not being in Aetna’s network. To date they’ve cut her a check for some $3,700 (about $308 for each of our dozen 90-minute sessions), and she may bill me for an additional $3,900…because I’m out-of-network. It’s eviscerated my out-of-network deductible.
  • Note to file: Health system is broken. Fix that.
  • Once while administering laser treatment on my knee, she suddenly remembered something she’d forgotten in the other room, handed me the laser gun, and said, “Here. Hold this on your knee. When the light goes off, move it to a new spot and push this button again.” Ten minutes of that.
  • I once installed her new printer, no charge.
  • A former patient claims on his blog that she stole his watch. She refutes that.
  • She once confronted a gaggle of burka-wearing Muslim women to ask why they wore the outfit. One woman said that they had no problem with the outfit. My physical therapist had a problem with the outfit.
  • At my second post-op visit with Dr. Stein, I asked if PT was necessary. He was pleased with my progress and thought if I continued like this then it wasn’t vital. So, I stopped going to her.
  • “Feeding pigeons is well recognized by the medical community as a good means of relaxation.”


Monday, June 8, 2009 • 6:00 am
They’ve named the wing “Ambulatory Surgery,” which must be a hospital joke because ten of us are standing in a line, all a-hobbled or leaning against a wall, waiting for our pre-op experience. Carole’s with me; Mom’s home with Max, chomping at the bit to get to the hospital in a couple hours. Mom’s come from Kansas City for two weeks—in a great, grand act of selflessness. I know she hates that I’ve busted my knee, but this has got to be a mother’s dream come true, taking care of her two babies like this.

I get a room and change into a groovy dressing gown with ventilator holes designed to receive reverse-vacuum warm air into it so I don’t chill and shiver. I tell the nurse how great that is. She says, “Yeah, you get those instead of us getting a raise.” Good thing she’s not my surgeon.

My anesthesiologist is large tzitzitted-and-yarmulke’ed man named Yarmush. I tell him that if he pages Dr. Stein now we can have our morning minyan before my surgery starts. He tries to raise an eyebrow to show me how funny he thinks that is. Also: he’s written a romance/sci-fi novel that he showed to his friend who writes military history; friend didn’t think much of it. Carole gently suggests that a military historian may not be the best critic of a romantic sci-fi book. Gently because you don’t want to upset your anesthesiologist prior to surgery.

Carole asks him why some hospital staff are wearing gauze footies over their shoes and some aren’t. Yarmush glances at some feet stepping past us, says, “They sweep up regularly here.” So it goes. Carole and I are interested in our surroundings.

Dr. Stein says good morning. He takes a red Sharpie to my left knee and writes a big “NO” on it. He tells me he’ll be flying to Chicago for a funeral, gives me his cell phone number and the number of a colleague should anything happen. I offer my condolences and ask if he’s flying before or after my surgery. After. Okay. Good on me. Not gonna get a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the 9th.

• 7:30 or so am
A big, strapping Jamaican wheels me all the way across the hospital, Carole keeping pace with my go-cart. You’d think they’d put the ambulatory surgery theatre right next to pre-op. It’s like operating on a knee through the elbow. I put it on my list of things to think about, and then I forget because—oh—I’m about to have surgery.

I give Carole my wedding ring. This ring has been off my finger exactly four times since we’ve been married: slipped off while reaching for bar of soap in shower; flew off while reaching for paper towels at Costco; handed over to Carole in 2006, just before Dr. Dogopolov removed my gallbladder and a gallstone (huge; I go bowling with it); and here, now, as Yarmush is preparing to put me to sleep.

A kiss. With Carole, not Yarmush. Carole hates hospitals, yet her lips are soft and full and warm and inviting, and I almost ask everybody to wait in the other room. But I know Dr. Stein’s gotta catch a flight to Chicago, so Carole leaves. I move off my go-cart and limp to my table in the operating theater. Lots of bright light and crisp oxygen. Five, six people quietly, efficiently going about their work.

I’m cool and shivering and somebody says they’ll take care of that in a moment. They hook the reverse vacuum cleaner hoses to my gown portals, but I don’t feel any warmth. A protest because nobody got a raise? And then the shivers don’t matter. The thought that seven complete strangers are about to put me under and replace something in my knee that’s been there 46 years with a similar part harvested from a dead guy—a thought that’s given me great pause for weeks—doesn’t matter. The war, the economy, job troubles, which one of them will catheterize my johnson, did I turn off the coffee pot at home, did I even make coffee: doesn’t matter. Yarmush sends me into the ether and

• noon or so
I fade in. I see a light blue curtain in front of me, a chain of ringlets holding it to a horizontal bar. Muffled, professional sounds. Sounds like an office. Why am I in an office? Did surgery net me a job? Recovery room. Across a wide center filled with desks and people and bins and computers and—what’s that?—a half-eaten sandwich from Subway: more blue curtains.

Woman approaches me. She’s matronly, calm. “Hi,” she says with no smile, but her reassuring, humanizing tone makes me smile. Or maybe it’s the anesthesia. I say hello to her. My throat hurts. I ask her what time it is. Noon or so, she says without looking at a watch or a clock. I tell her my throat hurts. I need to shake the anesthesia a bit more and then she’ll give me some ice chips. I smile. My life’s ambition right now is an ice chip. I fade out.

I fade in. There’s Carole and my mother and Max, hovering over me like the end of “The Wizard of Oz.” I tell Carole I want to make babies with her. She smiles. It’s not the end of “The Wizard of Oz.” My proposal is serious—right here, right now, close the curtain and maybe get Mom and Max out of the room; that would be prudent—but then I feel the Thing on my right leg, and the nurse kicks them out, get that baby out of the recovery room, and they leave and I fade out.

• 1:00 or so pm
I fade in. The Thing on my leg. Can’t see it because of the blanket but I feel it, covering ankle to thigh. Not a hard paper mâché cast, though solid enough. The anesthesia has worn off enough for me to know that I’m not bending this leg anytime soon. I have to pee. Like a racehorse. Tell the nurse. She brings me a container. I’m on the bed half an hour, holding my container like Oliver Twist—”Please, sir, I want some more”—before the heavenly, rewarding flow flows forth. Anesthesia. Among other things, it stalls communication between will and function.

I fade out, fade in. There’s Carole, and then there’s a traveling salesman, fitting me with a low-tech and tres cool picnic cooler that holds ice and water and flows it through tubes connected to the Thing on my leg. I’m a conduit for a cold water recycling river, a water fountain that never breaks the surface, a shy theme park ride.

Guy says, “How’d you mess up your knee?” I’ve shaken off enough morphine and Yarmush’s anesthesia to tell him that, couple months back, en route to Coney Island, I saw an elephant break loose from Barnum & Bailey’s Circus, and a bunch of us had it cornered—he looks incredulously at Carole who nods at him the faux truth of the story—but it turned suddenly and crashed into my knee and busted my ACL. Guy’s got a huge grin on his face. He says, “Really?” I say, “Naw. I was playing volleyball at the Y.” He’s a good sport, realizes he’s been had, laughs hard and loud. Also, he’s got no competition in this recovery room. I’d be laughing, too.

We’re home by three or so.

• 6:00 pm
I’m propped up on the couch, high on Percocet and the undertow of Yarmush’s anesthesia. Neal comes to visit, enters the front door, sees me smiling big, and lets out a belly laugh. I smile at him drinking vodka with my mother. They’ll never catch up. I smile at everyone eating pizza. I can’t eat pizza. I can’t eat until the drugs wear off. Doctor’s orders. Doesn’t matter. I smile. I’m smiling through the haze of drugs and the beginning of the end of my ordeal.

• 10:30 pm
Oh. The beginning of the end is premature. My ordeal gets worse before it gets better. Every time I stand up, gravity sends my blood flow directly to my right knee, and no amount of Percocet will lessen the intensity of this pressure and pain. And I need to stand up every two hours this long night to walk with crutches to the bathroom—ten strides or so—to pee. My bladder is a full lagoon. It’s ridiculous how much and how often I pee over the next 24 hours. Every two hours I curse Newton and gravity.

Plus: Carole’s lunch was a turkey sandwich she’d made that morning, and the mayonnaise went bad, and at one point during the night she’s doubled up in pain on the floor. I can’t do anything for her. Of all the things that have happened since that other guy didn’t cross his side of the line on April 23rd, this is the worst, this not being able to do anything for Carole.

I fade out. I fade in. I fade in and out…

The Afterburn

• Sunday, December 6, 2009
We’re on the far end of 7th Avenue, Park Slope. It’s cold. There’s a bus, coming to its stop, half a block ahead. Let’s catch it. Carole jogs ahead with Max in the stroller. I start running.

I’ve gauged my recovery these past six months by my stretching in bed. Each morning, I stretch out the sleep—arms, body, toes—and start my day. And each morning I’ve felt slow progress in the knee, some subtle acclimation of simultaneously shaking off the invasive procedure and incorporating someone else’s DNA into my system. Got to the point in late October where I didn’t think about my leg first thing each morning. Got better and better.

Dr. Stein wants me to wear another $800 brace, and maybe I’ll get it if I don’t trust myself on the ice this winter. Stairs are still a bitch. But here I am: walking through the world with Carole and Max. That’s been my goal all along. That guy at the Y can stay on his side of the line.

I start running for the bus. But I can’t run. My legs have forgotten how. So I run with my left leg and drag-walk my right leg to catch up to the rest of me. It’s ugly, but I get there.

I sit next to Carole. She says, “You look like something out of Benny Hill.”

She likes that show.

• The Afterburn
I went with the allograft—harvested cadaver tissue—for my procedure and not an autograft, which would’ve borrowed from my own parts. Recovery is quicker, residual pain is lessened. They said. Of course, I’ve maintained a keen interest in my unwitting donor. Here’s what I know to date (December, 2009): The donor was black male, 24 years old. Most likely killed in a car crash.

From: Joseph Stein
Date: December 3, 2009
To: Hal Klopper

The graft came from the Miami Tissue Bank.

From: Hal Klopper
Date: December 10, 2009
To: Joseph Stein

Dr. Stein,
My knee feels better and better. I’m up to two miles on the bike at the gym, minimal resistance, and 20-pound leg lifts, both legs, three sets of 20. No problems. Occasional aches and pains, nothing out of the ordinary. Going down the stairs remains my most guarded activity—mostly anticipatory as opposed to actual discomfort.

Many thanks for following up on my allograft donor. I’ve visited the web site for the Miami Tissue Bank and cannot find a means to track the donor. Couple of questions:

  • The implant label you sent me on 11/24: Do I also have this label in my knee? (If the grocery clerk scanned my knee, would she call the manager for a price check?)
  • Any other means you know of to find my donor and his family? Again, with utmost discretion, my intent is to send an anonymous donation to the family.

Happy Hanukah,
Hal Klopper

From: Joseph Stein
Date: December 10, 2009
To: Hal Klopper

Glad to hear from you.
The graft is not barcoded.
Perhaps you could run ads in the Miami Herald.