Water on the knee


I’ve got water on the knee and it’s not very pleasant believe you me.
It was known to mainly affect housemaids back in the day when they used to scrub and blacken floors by hand for hours on end.
Carpet fitters too have always suffered due to the fact they also spend a lot of time on their knees.
Athletes and martial artists don’t come off very well either and neither do plumbers who often find themselves kneeling on hard floors.

In my case, it was over a year ago, I was in the UK, it was a warm sunny day and perfect weather for pulling out a few garden weeds.
Now, I’ve always been one for pulling out weeds, but never one for protecting my knees, I’ve always just knelt down wherever I’ve pleased and stayed there for as long as the job at hand takes.
My memories of kneeling down on the hard ground standing up to stretch only when my knees started to ache or if I was forced to take a break to drink the cup of tea and the piece of Victoria sponge cake kindly brought out to me on a plate by my mother will stay with me for the rest of my life.

On the day in question, as I gradually made my way from one flagstone to the next, I unfortunately knelt on a stone, a small sharp one that saw me grimace with pain as the weight I’ve gained over the years allowed the stone to make a deeper impression that it normally would have done.
After the initial shock I took stock of myself and touched my knee to see how it felt, I then knelt back on the ground and thankfully found that no damage had been done, at least that’s what I thought, and I carried on.

It was a couple of weeks later when the run-in I’d had with the stone rolled back to haunt me, as I stood getting wet during my usual quarter of an hour in the shower, I happened to glance down to dispense some shampoo as I normally do and then my knee caught my eye or my eye caught my knee.
And all could see was a red swollen mass that once resembled my knee, I then sat down on the edge of the bath, put my two knees together and compared one with the other, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, so I did neither.

It was like comparing a much younger sister with her very old brother or a very young daughter with her already menopausal mother, the difference was that stark.
I stared at the knee for longer than I care to remember before I finally reached down and I attempted to take it all into the palm of my hand, but it wouldn’t fit, it was too bulbous and round from being full of synovial fluid.

I gingerly pushed my finger into the swollen red soft mass that once resembled a half decent knee cap and the more pressure I applied the deeper my finger went in until the top part of my finger was not visible any more.
I even knelt down on the bathroom floor in the hope the pressure may return the fluid back to where it came, but it just made it worse, together with the poking and prodding my knee felt sore and like it was ready to burst.

I felt stupid and disappointed in myself for not taking better care of my health, my mind wandered back to the UK and that stone on the ground that found its way under my knee.
Oh, how I wished I’d worn knee pads on that ill-fated day, but after the event that’s what most of us tend to say; some of us vow to take necessary measures so it won’t happen again, but such vows generally have short lives, they die waiting to quickly be born again through mishaps and misfortune normally borne through throwing caution to the wind.
If only I’d taken precautions rather than putting myself at risk, I would to this very day still have two good knees instead of the one less I have to rely on.

A poem by Stephen Austwick.