I wrote the letter, sealed it with red wax and a kiss and sent it off to the North Pole. It goes like this:
All I want for Christmas is a new knee. I’ve seen three specialists, my general practitioner, and have gotten five diagnoses: arthritis, a possible fracture, bursitis, edema, and a bruised tibia. Not one of them has offered me a fix, and I’ve been broken for over a year.
I’ve had three M.R.I.’s, countless X-rays and, as a result, now glow in the dark, so it will be real easy to find me out here at the tip of Montauk. I used to be very active and was once compared to a hummingbird, always buzzing around. But now, I’m more like a slug. C’mon Santa, enough is enough! I need some otherworldly help.
After I recently braved the hill leading up to the Montauk Lighthouse with my grandson to visit with you and take holiday pictures, my knee swelled up to the size of a coconut. Which means it’s partly your fault. But I’m not blaming you, Santa, I’m just asking for help or a doctor who can fix me. I don’t want to be shipped off to the Island of Misfit Toys where Rudolph went because of his red nose.
I’m not having any fun this holiday season, Santa, as I cannot handle the hustle and bustle of shopping. Ten minutes in, and the stabbing pain starts to throb.
When I initially had pain I underwent surgery in April 2010 for a displaced kneecap, or patella, as the professionals call it, a torn meniscus, and worn cartilage. In recovery a new pain developed, one worse than any other pain I experienced in the knee. I was told I had bursitis, probably from trying too hard to recover, one doctor said.
After reading my M.R.I.’s, each of the three knee doctors asked if I had been in an accident or suffered a blunt force trauma. Except for the initial surgery, I had not. I think I would remember if someone whacked me in the knee or I were in an accident. In treatment I had several knee injections, did physical therapy, acupuncture, and finally fired my main knee doctor, who might still be hearing from my medical malpractice lawyer when I hire one.
Next I went to a noted orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery, and another highly regarded orthopedic surgeon at a Manhattan office. He said I had a severely bruised tibia, and only rest would heal it.
I took two weeks off to rest, which was kind of a joke, because in my life, there is no rest. It meant I couldn’t watch my beloved little grandson and missed him terribly. So, c’mon Santa, you can’t say I haven’t tried to fix it. I now walk with a limp and have gained some weight. I won’t say how much but let’s say I now weigh a hundred and plenty!
One medication really messed up my stomach and I haven’t been able to eat normally since. You would think that would make me lose weight but when I stopped eating healthy I started drinking sugary colas for some very odd reason. The only food that I crave is covered with dark chocolate or is peanut butter flavored, so you can forget giving me any oranges in my stocking, which I never really cared for anyway.
I want to get better, Santa, so I can resume my daily hikes through the woods in Montauk. I want to get better, Santa, so I can spend more time with my little guy, Sullivan Peter Matthews. I want to walk on the beach with my dog, Brodie. I want to ride a bike and watch with glee as my hair frizzes to twice its size. I want to be a fun person again, Santa, like I used to be. And no offense, but I don’t need my belly to look like a bowl full of jelly!
I’ve been a very good girl and deserve to climb stairs or stroll in the sand without pain. I want to start eating normal foods again without my stomach roiling. I want to be able to enjoy a juicy burger or a good batch of shrimp scampi, heavy on the garlic. So what do you say, Santa, is it a deal?
Love from your friend,
Janis (the blonde with the greenish tinge).
And what will I be giving to all of you reading this today? A promise — never to write about my arthritic, fractured, fluid-filled, bruised, bursitised knee again, whether Santa delivers or not.
Janis Hewitt is a senior writer for The East Hampton Star.