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One shouldn’t rush into buying new body parts

One shouldn’t rush into buying new body parts One shouldn’t rush into buying new body parts

I'm gonna need a new car pretty soon. Or maybe a knee. The ones I have right now are fallin' apart, and well, I probably don't have the cash to get both. Hmm. How to choose?

Both my car and my knee have been good to me, been with me quite a while, and I'm sort of fond of both of them. I got the knee when it was brand new; the car I bought used. I've been keepin' my eyes open for used knee lots, but it's lookin' like the market for secondary body parts is not real strong right now. Must be the tariffs on China.

It's difficult to measure the mileage on my knee. It's my left one -- just in case you want to kick me where it hurts next time you see me -- and it's an original factory part. I came with two of them, but oddly enough, the right one gives me no trouble at all while the left one hurts every time I kneel, bend, stand, walk, crouch, hop, stumble, polka, or crack it on the coffee table when I walk through the house in the dark. I mean, geez, that table's been in the exact same spot for four years, you'd think I'd have figured that out by now.

I haven't kept an exact count, but I'm figurin' I must have taken about the same number of steps with each knee since the doctor first looked at my parents 57 years ago in the birth room and said, 'Do you want me to put it back?' I'm right-handed, and perhaps that means I always start my walks with my left leg, and that could account for some discrepancy in steps, but not enough, I wouldn't think, to have created such uneven wear. I mean, every time I say 'You stupid idiot' to myself when I mess something up, I smack myself in the forehead with my right hand, and I'm not seeing any undue wear in that wrist, elbow or shoulder. Yeah, well, the right side of my forehead has a significant dent, but I'm not that pretty that anyone's paying attention anyway.

Part of my left knee problems may be the result of past abuse. When I was in my teens, I did a lot of deer hunting from trees, and back then, we didn't have these fancy ladder platform stands like we do now. My preferred method was to shinny up a red oak, find a comfortable crotch, and pinch in my left foot for stability. Thus, my left knee absorbed all the strain of holding myself steady, and the ligaments or tendons or bungee cords or whatever is in there were likely injured. Now I'm paying for it. Or will be soon, when I call an orthopedist and ask for a change, alignment and balance. Think I'll go Firestone. American made, ya know.

According to some online research I've done, the average cost of a full knee replacement these days is $57,000, at which price I'm presuming you get a solid gold joint and polished platinum socket and a bouquet of red roses and some champagne from your surgical team in the recovery room. Given that my health insurance policy's annual deductible is high enough that I'll have to sell one of my kidneys to pay for the knee, I'm figuring I'll have the bill paid off about the time I break all the bones in my right knee on that *^%& *) coffee table. Dang, I swear my cat's moving it on me when I go to bed.

Given that I'm equally frightened of high medical bills and bone saws, I'm gonna' wait as long as possible to get that new knee. Yeah, well, I may limp a bit and postpone entering any triathlons, but I'll get by. Meanwhile, if you hear of any good used left knees somebody's trying to get rid of, let me know. I'd swap 'em for that bicycle I've had in my yard shed since I discovered that riding it takes physical exertion.

Yeah. Who knew?

About my car, well, it has more than 183,000 miles on it now, and just about every time I take it somewhere, it makes a new groan or a buzz or a moan or a whine or my favorite, a clunk. My son is a mechanic and he's made a list of things on it I should fix if I intend to drive it a while longer -- sort of like my doctor does for me at my annual check-ups -- but I'm thinking I've reached that point where the value of the vehicle is not worth the price of replacing the rear front exhaust transmission water pump transducer. If I just continue to push it until it dies, I risk the chance of becoming stranded somewhere, and worse yet, I'm then at the mercy of any unscrupulous car dealer who knows that I absolutely need a new vehicle so he can jack up the price of a replacement for me and tell me I need the 200,000-mile extended warranty package because it will pay for a new glove compartment in case a bullfrog explodes in it. Hey, it happens. I happen to like my car. I've driven it for almost five years and it's given me very few problems (wish I could say that about my ex-wives), and I'm tempted to see how many miles I can squeeze out of it. I know the front-end joints are iffy, and the suspension's been shot since I decided to play Evel Knievel over a washed out culvert a few years back, but I think the engine's still good and my cupholders are showing hardly no signs of wear at all. Of course, I take good care of them. It definitely pays off in the long run.

Well, by now you ought to realize that I'm one those folks who does not make hasty decisions on large purchases. Whether it's a new leg joint or a vehicle, even though I have troubles with both, I'm hesitant to spend large sums of money mostly because, you know, what if it's the wrong move? I mean, what if I buy a new knee, and it hurts worse than the old one, or I buy a new car, and the motor dies in a month? At least with what one already has, one knows the weaknesses, but with something new, who knows?

Could be why I still watch TV in a 20-year old recliner with a broken support brace and cook my pizzas on a blackened bent pan that dates back to pre-stuffed crust days. What? Huh? Rush into change? Let me think about that for a while.