Knees Up Mrs E

creative partner and reader Lana Citron

This is the story of a knee
Which, like a worn out spouse,
Was replaced.

This right knee (attached to a fine, lean leg, foot size 8, reaching 5 foot 7 inches body height, of Mrs Elizabeth of Polygon Road, London Town), bent its last on the surgical table, October 9th, 2020.
As the pandemic raged, an incision was made and her skin drawn apart as opening-night curtains. 

Ladies and gentlemen
Boys and girls
Let us race back to the previous century,
The year, 1998.

After a shopping trip
To Sainsbury’s Camden
Mrs E boarded a bus.
Orange plastic bags
Laden with value
3 for 2 on the 253.
Not far now
Her stop next.
And upon alighting
The driver, trigger button happy,
Shut the doors too early
Causing a forward jolt. 
Her shopping scattered
She took a tumble
Knee met pavement
Something gave way.
‘I’m fine.’ she said
On the homeward hobble. 

Days later a nagging began.
A slow pull of irksome irritation and tissue swell.
From a niggle to a gnaw, to a deep red burn. 

A GP appointment made, hospital X-ray, consultant’s diagnosis.
Damaged ligaments declared
Keyhole Surgery performed
‘Lean-on-me’ crutches given
Along with a warning; this is not the end;

And so it was
Time conspired with age and use.
The knee wore down
Pain rooted deep
Fresh shoots seeded.

In 2018, Elizabeth stopped running, mad dashing, rushing. Conscious of movement, the thought occurred she might damage the left knee and then what?
If the bus was three paces away, she wouldn’t run for it, couldn’t.
Movement was curtailed.
Work exemptions sought and issued.
By 2019 her pace slowed to a limp.
Painkillers, taken, lacked intent
Turmeric remedies
Somewhat better
Until 2020
When the world went into lockdown
And Mrs E came to a complete standstill.

Amidst the crisis 
A space in the system
Found and testing Covid free
Mrs E was delivered
Back to theatre.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Boys and girls,
Please give it up
For the mighty, miraculous, most marvellous

Lights dim
A hush descends.
Under anesthetic, under the spotlight, the dexterous surgeon slices the skin. The knee revealed in gory glory, the patella moved to the side, and the joint flexed (one last time). Scalpel and saw make short shrift of the damaged femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone). The respective ends replaced; a flat metal plate and plastic spacer for the tibia and curved piece of metal for the femur. 
Hey presto an artificial hinge joint created.
The skin stapled together.
33 metal clips in all.

She woke woozy,
Heavy legs, sedated.
‘Arise,’ Nurse Merlin ordered and…

Mrs Elizabeth of Polygon Road rubs the ridge of fused scar tissue
Recuperating, reactivated,
Mobility returned.
Life is taken in her stride. And triumphant, the audience sing:
‘Knees Up Mrs E
Knees Up Mrs E
Up and down the stairs with glee
Jumping on the 253
The Can-Can
Yes she can
Easy in her stride
Walking, running to and fro
Bending, kicking, watch her go
Ei Ei Ei OH
Knees up Mrs E’


Giving Voice

Find out more about Giving Voice