Hunkering Down Defined and Illustrated; Idiom Explained: X-rays Reveal Massive Damage to Left Knee Requiring Surgery; An Example of the Early Bird Getting the Worm; Timing Is Everything; Quell Defined; Fearlessly Facing Surgery But Date Unknown at the Present Time; Activity Not Inactivity Caused the Damage; A Partially Remembered Limerick

The phrase Hunker Down suddenly came to mind and does describe what I intend on doing during the upcoming weeks. I was not exactly sure what it meant but did absolutely know that it was the best description of activity (or lack of activity) So off I went to look it up. Perfecto (as I often say in real life). Meaning: to stay in a place for a period of time. Used in a sentence: The leaders hunkered down at a country estate for difficult peace negotiations. (As an aside, perhaps Israel and Hamas should find a country estate somewhere – not such a bad idea come to think of it.) Another definition: When you hunker down, you settle into a safe, sheltered position. For example: Some people evacuate their homes during a big hurricane, while others hunker down and wait for the storm to pass. By the way, “Hunker down is a literal phrase that has taken on a figurative meaning, which makes it an idiom. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition.” Often I thought that reading this blog would be helpful to those attempting to master the complicated English language – it is hard enough under the best of circumstances, but the idioms must make it almost impossible to master what people are saying. I am so grateful that English is my first (and actually only) language. Tried to learn other languages, particularly when contemplating travel to foreign lands, but it was such a waste of time. My time better spent learning the history and customs of the lands I visited. Now, of course, there are Apps to help one along. I have an App that allows me to translate and speak Arabic – it is useless, either that or I am inept. No Arabic for me but my knowledge of the history and customs of the Middle East knows no bounds. Well, some bounds but I am overcoming them.

This is a diversion, as the real question is this:
Alter Ego: Why are you thinking about hunkering down?
Me: I had an appointment with the surgeon yesterday. An x-ray of my left knee revealed that it is a total wreck, a horrible mess. Surgery is an absolute necessity.

I have been waiting for months for the appointment, and moreover, a year and a half for left knee replacement. Covid, lock down, pandemic, whatever you want to call it, got in the way. My pre-op was scheduled for March 15, 2020, the very day that California shut down.
Alter Ego: That was unfortunate.
Me: Yes, timing is everything.
Alter Ego: You are making a joke.
Me: Well trying to anyway. Nothing was or could be done, so one might as well laugh.
Alter Ego: True! An added bonus is that laughter is great for the immune system and actually lessens pain.

I was most anxious, when appointment day dawned. Got dressed in my finest finery wearing a huge broad rimmed hat, speaking to the many of the wonderful people who live and/or work here.
Me: I am all dressed up. I am going to see my surgeon, this is the closest thing to a date that I have had in years.
They: Good luck with it.
Me: Thanks. I just hope I remember how to behave on a date.

Decided to travel to the appointment early, to quell my anxiety. Quell is an interesting word. One definition is to calm; soothe, pacify, settle, put at rest, lull, silence, put behind one, rise above, allay, appease, stay, assuage, abate, deaden, dull, tranquillize, mitigate, moderate, palliate. An antonym: succumb to. I spoke to a neighbor about my plan to pacify, appease and palliate my anxiety by arriving early for the appointment.
He: Perhaps they can fit you in and you can be seen earlier.
Me: Aren’t you the optimist!!
I reported back this morning.
Me: It worked! I was seen early. The early bird did get the worm. The scheduled prior appointment showed up late, I would have had to wait if I showed up on time. But the news is not good – my left knee is an utter mess.
He: But it will be all better with surgery!
Me: You are an optimist! Optimism good! Pessimism bad!

It does sound unbelievable but those conversations actually did take place. I was hoping for a ‘date’ – a surgical date but one was not forthcoming at that time. The surgical scheduling nurse will be calling within the next few days.
She: No one gets a date at this initial appointment.
Me: I did so earnestly want one but do understand that there are many factors which must be considered. While in the doctor’s office (and with permission) took a picture of the screen showing the x-ray.

Came home and posted the x-ray on Instagram with the following caption. “My knees as x-rayed today. Needless to say it is surgery again, I have no idea how I could have endured the pain for so long because of Covid delay. I am tuff.
One dear UK friend: Let’s hope that you get the op soon and the pain goes away.
Me: Thanks! And then maybe I can come back and visit you and Flower Girl.

Modzy, ‘my’ Ozzie texted:
He: You Pure Strength & A True Fighter.
Me: Apparently! What a mess that knee. But look at the good one – the after surgery one. I loved the unicorn emoji you sent, by the way!

Also send x-ray photo to those close at hand, members of the Pham Fantastic Family and received so much support, encouragement and good wishes. I am going to hunker down however, gather up my strength and not dissipate it on those who, quite frankly, do not deserve it. Not sure how my life will look at the end of all this. Planning to wait and see.

I am proceeding in fearless fashion. I have great confidence in my surgeon who seems to be a compassionate and rather humble man. The team working with him are most able, efficient and encouraging (and laugh at my jokes and stories). The very worse thing (I suppose) that could happen is that I die on the operating table. That does not fill me with fear as I have been a good girl ever since my conversion to the Islamic faith. I do not fear Judgment Day but, in a sense, welcome it. The faith teaches earthly existence is a test, something you have to go through, endured so one’s afterlife can be determined. If one follows the dictates to the faith – it is a premiere to Paradise. There are great advantages to becoming a Muslim at the ripe old age of 77, because,(to be honest) I have not been a ‘good girl’ all of my life . However the pre-Muslim years and relationships do not count, they mean nothing, they are obviated.

The attached photo is the x-ray of both knees. The surgically improved one is beautiful, a gift to behold. Soon I shall having two matching knees and since I have only two knees – this will be over with. I spoke to my wonderful neighbor. She had two hip replacements about six years ago.
She: I had the hip replacements because I was active – exercise had ground down the ligaments.


Me: That is my story as well. Too much exercise imposed by personal trainer Richard Poole (aka Hottie, aka Sir Richard of Hot) of the Equinox gym in Vancouver was responsible for the bone on bone. An experienced physical therapist saw him imposing exercises on me as some were videoed on Instagram It was her professional opinion that the exercises caused damage not strengthening, even though Hottie said that he was trained as a physical therapist in the UK. I confronted Liz Jacobs, the then boss of the Georgia Street Equinox but she denied all responsibility and refused to grant a refund. I am positive that Covid exacted a heavy blow on their careers. DNEFWMMcB.

To prove that it is a small world, this tidbit. During my stay at a London hotel I met a couple from Swindon, the home town of Hottie. Their son had him as a tennis instructor – he was most destructive to the little boy, humiliating him and causing him to loose interest in tennis. But the Swindon couple and Alexis moved onto bigger and better things – making up limericks. One began:
There once was a man from Dubai
Who really was a nice guy
There were some forgotten lines in the middle but it ended with:
It was off to the UAE she did fly
I am positive that it is quoted somewhere in this massive blog. Perhaps I shall try and find it.

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