Ligaments, Cartilage, Careers…Oh My!

I think I must lead a charmed life or something.  Because I’ve had my share of knee injuries, all requiring surgery.  And they’ve always happened shortly before or after a major job change. 

Case in point:  

March 1989 
Finishing off my Masters.   One of the profs asks me to see him in his office.

Out of the blue, he offers me a sweet three-year contract as a full-time researcher (with salary and benefits).  I’m stunned, and I go home for the weekend to tell my folks the good news.

This was Friday.   Sunday I’m in a fun ski-race.  I wipe out, tear my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).  As a bonus, I tear some cartilage as well.    

Long story short:  major surgery, and months of physio.   I continue my Masters on crutches and my new job’s starting date is delayed by several months.

Spring 1997 
Fast forward to when I just finished my PhD and started working full-time.   I’ve only been with my new company for six weeks. 

I join the company soccer team.  Play the first exhibition game.   Someone kicks me. 

I tear my other ACL.   More major surgery and physio.   I eventually miss 5 weeks of work.

Winter 2001
I’m on a ski vacation visiting my parents out West.  On the first morning of the first day, I seriously wipe out.    

I tear my ACL again…for the third time.    (Seriously…you have GOT to be shitting me!)

Coincidentally I’m laid off three months later.

Winter 2002 
I finally get the surgery to fix my knee from 11 months ago.   It’s the repair of the repair.    

My recovery and physio delays the starting date of my new brand-new job by several weeks.

Déja vu all over again.  

Fall 2003.
My job contract is ending and it won’t be renewed.  Looks like I’ll be out of work at the end of next month. 

I happen to be walking in the woods with my friend and his kids.  My knee bends the wrong way, and goes POP!   

I tore cartilage.  Just like that.

Why doesn’t this surprise me? 

Winter 2005
I finally get the surgery to fix my knee from 15 months ago.

Oh, and my surgery delays the starting date of my second brand-new job by several weeks.

Definitely there’s a pattern here…

Present day
Sharp pains in my knee for the past 5 weeks.   I think I might have pulled it somehow…God, I hope it’s not cartilage.  I might have to go see my doctor.

Hmmmm…does this mean I need to go polish up my c.v.? 

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20 Comments on “Ligaments, Cartilage, Careers…Oh My!”

  1. That’s a pretty weird string of coincidences Friar. I wonder if there are any other commonalities in these events? You might as well clean up your c.v. Couldn’t hurt 😉

  2. Friar Says:

    The jury is still out right now. I’m not sure if I just pulled my knee (but I’m starting to worry that I did something to it).

    And, there have been recent on-going rumors that they might sell off parts of the Widget Factory to another company. I have no idea what this means in terms of my job.

    I just hope I change my job because I choose to…not because I’m forced to!

    I hear Tim Horton’s is hiring! (Your equivalent to Dunkin’ Donuts!) 🙂

  3. Brett Legree Says:

    You could also be a greeter at Wal-Mart… (that sounds strangely appealing at times)

  4. Friar Says:


    I think according to Wal-Mart bylaw [Section A (iii) ] you must be over 75 to qualify as a greeter.

    But actually, that job does look more interesting that what I’m doing now. 🙂

  5. Kelly Says:


    I do not want to go too metaphysical on you but there is a possibility you are making these choices… in a subconscious sort of way, you know.

    Having had my share of surgeries I hate to say that, but mine don’t have any pattern to them. That’s a lot of coincidence. I don’t mean it in a “law of attraction” sort of way. Maybe nerves wrack you, you walk funny, kaboom.

    Oh yeah and medically, with your history, why are you waiting to go to the doctor? That’s tempting fate.

    If it wasn’t real, and painful-sounding, that would be a funny story. Unbelievable!

    Regards (and be careful),


  6. Karen JL Says:

    Kelly’s got a point there. I was kind of thinking the same thing. I’ll bet if you were (as in, had been) a ski instructor or outdoorsie-tour-guide kind of thing, *nothing* would happen to you.

    (Cue Twilight Zone music)

    Anyway, your stories made me wince the whole way through. Go see a doctor, man! 🙂

  7. Friar Says:

    @Kelly and Karen

    Well, the skiing accidents were my own doing..I was the one in the drivers seat. I’ve since learned to be more careful.

    And soccer…I quit playing that because I can’t control when someone else wants to hit me.

    It was the follow up afterwards that amazes me, thoug.h

    Canada’ Health Care system is free, but it means you’re not allowed to pay for your own doctor. So it’s totally random when they schedule your appointment with a specialist …and when they decide to finally schedule your surgery.

    Plus, it’s totally random when I got laid off, and applied for jobs, interviewed, and finally got a new job offer.

    Yet those two random events seem tied together somehow, several times in sequence. That is just WEIRD.

    (Insert Twilight Zone Music here) 🙂

  8. Karen JL Says:

    @ Friar

    I hear ya about the health care system. It’s great (we actually pay monthly in BC) but there are some long ass waits for specialists and surgery. The only down side…but I’ll still take it. 🙂

    And it is all weird…maybe you better tweak the CV.

  9. Friar Says:


    Nobody realized how bad the health care system is until they get sick or hurt. I was lucky, in that it was a knee injury, which while annoying was not life-threatening.

    But people who have cancer and heart problems who have to wait..that’s who I feel sorry for!

    My Mom was going through chemo and radiation and almost DIED because there was a back-log for appointments for blood transfusions!

    (Dont worry, the story has a happy ending: my Mom got better and she’s healthy as an ox!)

    PS. There are also enough rumors flying around here…I might still tweak my c.v….bum knee or not!

  10. What would you rather be doing?

  11. Friar Says:


    Oboy, that’s a loaded question if I ever heard one! 🙂

  12. visionpoints Says:


    Not “what would you rather be doing with Claire,” but what would you rather be doing for a living?

    Do you want to be a nuclear engineer elsewhere, use that brain and be happy, too? Do you want to teach (though I’ve heard you say you think it’s passed you by, that might depend on lots of things… if you do, prepare for the politics to blow away all you know in Widgetville)? Do you want to chuck all the education and do something else? Be a dirt-poor painter in your Mom’s garret?

    What’s your knee trying to tell you?

    (Is that a less loaded question?)

    Until later,


  13. Friar Says:


    I’m still trying to figure that one out!

    I’m smack-damn in the middle of my mid-life crisis. (Well, I guess me and every other 40-something person!)

    Until I’m really sure what I want to do…I figure I’ll stay put Believe me…I have been doing LOTS of self-examination and re-thinking my life in the past year (like I said…me and every other 40-something!) I don’t think I’ll come up with the right answer in the next few weeks.

    I think I’m safe for a year or so. Beyond that..who knows if Widgetville will self-implode? But I think it’s time to put out feelers just in case.

  14. Kelly Says:


    Do. Not. Purchase a small red convertible.

    Claire and every other sensible woman will know you are trying to compensate.

    That’s one of the ugliest bits about men and their mid-life crises. The little expensive auto no one can fit in.

    Put out feelers, and call and orthopedist. 🙂

    & keep on writing great stuff. It’s got to be helping you sort something out…



  15. Kelly Says:

    AN orthopedist.

    Sneaky typos!

  16. Karen Swim Says:

    Friar, I think it means get out of Corporate. 🙂

  17. Brett Legree Says:

    As Kelly says, don’t get a red convertible. Get a black GTI like me 🙂 it seats 5, gets 42 mpg, holds almost as much as your CR-V and is faster than the red convertible to boot.

    (Plus everyone won’t think you’re compensating…)

    We’ll work on our “project” tomorrow night, and I’ll show you some of the feelers I’ve already put out if you like… as Karen Swim says, time to get out of Corporate!

  18. Friar Says:

    In Canada, getting an appointment to see an orthopedist is like getting an audience with the pope. They’re so back-logged, it typically takes 3-4 months, before they’ll even talk to you. First thing to do is see my family doctor to start the whole process…

    Hmmm…mabye I should stop thinking about women like Claire, and go after a woman who’s a sports doctor. Given my propensity for knee injury, at least I’d have someone on the ‘inside’ who could get me to see a specialist sooner.

    PS. I have no interest in a stupid red sports car. (But a fishing boat…now THAT’S another story!). 🙂

    Old folks have their trick knee act up when it’s gonna rain. Mabye mine acts up when it’s time to change careers.

    The only problem is with a black GTI, you can’t really put a canoe on the roof, and I need something with high ground-clearance to drive those bush roads.

    Looking forward to our “Project” tomorrow.

  19. Kelly Says:


    If it takes that long, queue up already! You’ll either need it badly or be cured by then, and you cancel the appt. Seems like an easy call.

    You find yourself a sports doctor. Sounds like a wise investment of your dating dollars.


    Are you thinking about a woman like Claire? Ho ho ho!



  20. Friar Says:

    Yeah, I’m going to make an appoinmtent this week.

    I’m feeling more encouraged, because I golfed yesterday and actually I dont’ feel so bad. The pain seems to be going away..very slowly.

    Maybe that means my job security is improving!

    PS. I deliberatetly threw in the reference to Claire (I knew one of you would pick up on that!) 🙂

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