Knee replacement…..Never (part 2 of 3)


Look at the rose, not the thorns

My slot at the Bone and Body Clinic in Goa was secured, now I needed a house. Checking through the Facebook sites, I saw my friend Yoko needed a cat/ house sitter for one month, this was purrrrfect. It was a lovely, big furnished house with enough space and rooms to move around in and a little back garden. Being shut in due to the monsoon rains and not being able to walk I was definitely not going to get claustrophobic and start climbing the walls here.

The black cat was called Jalli and greeted me with mucus dropping out of his open mouth that was gasping for air, with a very strange noisy cough, scruffy fur and he smelt very bad. Oh no!! My only instructions were not to burn the place down or kill the cat and here I am in agony and exhausted from all the travel with a half-dead ragamuffin smelly cat on his last breath. I quickly sent a video to all the vets I knew, then went to ask the neighbour if he knew anything about this cat’s condition. “He’s been like that for a week or more,” he told me. So, it’s not serious if he is still alive I thought, the vets got back to me very concerned telling me to take him to a veterinary clinic. While I was organising all that Yoko replied to my message “That’s just Jalli, he’s always like that, he’s a rescue cat!” A heads-up would have been nice!! Now, to settle down in my new home with my ragamuffin smelly cat, but first, he needed grooming, which he loved. His beautiful green eyes and purring smelly mouth smiled at me with delight as I brushed his fur – I started falling in love with him.  It wasn’t long before I was at the shops buying him all sorts of treats so we could cuddle up and watch movies while I rested from the vigorous stretch class at the clinic with the rain pelting down outside. He also fell in love with me and most mornings I would wake up with a present of a dead rat, mouse, bird, or lizard outside my bedroom door.

When I went for my assessment at the bone and body clinic and was told I needed three months not one, a house hunt was on for when Yoko returned. I quickly found a newly built house at the beach in Colum Bay, my favourite village – I was very excited. The house still needed a few things sorting out and Raj, my landlord assured me it would be ready for my arrival in three weeks. “A new house, a new body, and a new life,” I thought as I made my way back to Jaali. My moving day came and I was itching with happiness to move closer to the beach, especially now it had stopped raining and I was strong enough to swim. Upon arrival, I was disappointed to see the house was still covered in monsoon plastic and construction tools outside “Oh you are coming now?” Spilled out from Raj’s mother, Rita’s mouth as I arrived in my rickshaw. “Yes!! I thought you knew?” I had been in constant contact with Raj, so I was surprised she didn’t know. Clambering over all the shit outside, I entered the house and was so disappointed to see the floors and windows were still covered in brick dust. “I will clean in a few days,” she told me. “But I’m here now,” I told her in disbelief “But I’ve no time now,” she said as she walked back into her house, which was directly next door. No point in complaining I thought and quickly started cleaning up the place, so I could at least bring my luggage in and unpack. Four hours later it was livable, but no furniture except a fridge, electric hot plate, and a bed – lucky I live a simple life!!! I called Raj to ask him about the rest of the furniture and was told in a few days, “A few days in which month?” My disappointment increased, especially when I noticed the laundry sign hanging in front of my house and the rusty old washing machine next to my balcony clanked away loudly as it swirled around other people’s laundry and wet clothes were hanging everywhere blocking my ocean view. After a discussion, we moved the washing line and agreed that the machine would be off before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m.  Feeling I’d made a mistake moving here, but no energy to find another place, I went for a swim to relax. After watching a beautiful sunset, I went home to settle into my new bed for a good night’s sleep.

I stopped in my tracks as I noticed about 5 scooters and a car in front of my house – it was a car park for the three families surrounding me, which I didn’t realise when I moved in. Next to me was Raj and Rita, behind them was another family with 2 screaming kids, and a bongo man with his wife and kid behind me.  Another discussion was had as I tried to get into my house maneuvering my way through the parked vehicles and drying laundry. Eventually, after days of discussion, the owner of the car started parking away from my steps and the scooter to the side of my house.

 My first morning in my new house I woke up in shock at 5 am by this loud cock-a-doodle-doo going off every few seconds, it sounded as if someone was being strangled. Then came the clanging of kitchen utensils as the night before dishes were getting washed from the tap next to my bedroom window with the background sound of the two screaming kids. “What the F is going on!!!” My already shattered body was shaking. Then Rita was up cleaning her teeth and throat clearing, a nasty choking sound almost like vomiting, just outside my front door next to the clanking rusty ole washing machine, that was in full rattle. My dream of waking up to the sounds of the waves disappeared in an instant and my sea view was replaced with drying laundry, parked scooters, and a car. With everything that was going on with my body at the clinic and all this disruption at home, my nerves were gone and I became tired, miserable and disappointed. I started looking for another house but no one in this village would take me because they were all family and didn’t want to take their relative’s guest. I looked further afield but there was nothing, I had no choice but to stay in this noisy house.

For my own sanity, I decided to look at the rose and not the thorns, that was the only way I was going to find any happiness in this house – My house was beautiful, brand new and at the beach, my landlord tried to fulfil all my wishes, Aloe vera grew on my balcony and I was at the clinic all day Monday to Friday…. It was a start.

Every Saturday I would cook several healthy meals and freeze them for the next week’s lunches so I didn’t have to stand over the cooker after an intense stretch class – just warm it up and eat. As I sat down to my lentil dish, I noticed rice in it, I didn’t put rice I thought. But on close inspection, I realised they were maggots!!! I looked at the jar of lentils on the window seal and it was alive with them, I couldn’t believe it and had to throw everything out hence no lunch. “What are you doing?” Raj asked when he saw me throwing all my food and jar of lentils on the side of the road. “It’s full of maggots, now I have no lunch,” I told him trying to keep the memory of how much I had already eaten out of my head. “Oh, you wanted protein?” he laughed “I can make you a protein pancake.” It was the most delicious pancake I had ever had, made with protein powder, egg’s, nuts and slices of fruit on the side accompanied by a beetroot juice. No thorns there.

The only thorn I could not discuss anything with was my daily 5 am alarm clock that went all morning nonstop. I think he knew I secretly wanted to kill him because he loved sitting outside my window taunting me.

BOOM BOOM BOOM went the drum late one night outside my bedroom window, Bongo man who lived behind me was playing his drum. Stuffing more earplugs into my ears, I tried to sleep, praying for no more surprises. But in the morning, as I was lying on my bed exhausted, I heard a loud banging noise in front of my house and went to see what was happening now in this circus, I was trying to make my home. A lady was instructing a man where to erect a bamboo pole, to make a structure in front of my house – she was making a shop. “Oh no! I’m sorry this is not happening,” I shouted as I went over to the worker. “I’m just doing my job,” he told me and continued to erect the pole. “Not here,” I told them, but he continued to work. I got so angry I kicked the pole, not expecting it to fly across the road. The shop lady started shouting at me and I started shouting back at her. Raj and Rita came running out to see what was going on. “Protein pancake,” he said to me as he pulled me away, “Fish thali,” followed Rita as she started pushing me back to my house. “I don’t want food; I just don’t want that shop in front of my house” I was completely frustrated with the whole situation of this house and was near to tears. After some discussion, we agreed it would go in front of Raj’s house, so I put four rocks down in a square and told them “This is the boundary, do not cross it!!” Then went to the beach for a swim to try and find some peace. As I started to calm down, I realised what my leg had just done and couldn’t believe it – It was strong again. I was so happy walking back down the little road to my house, but I noticed all the neighbours looking at me nervously and stepping back into their houses, I felt like Clint Eastwood walking towards a shot out. “What’s going on? “I asked Raj “Everyone is scared of you,” he told me laughing. Not the reputation I wanted!!

After 2 weeks my sofa arrived, I could not believe the size of it, it was the smallest 2-seater sofa I had ever seen. ”Let’s send it back,” Raj said. “No way, I’ll never get another one.” I was just so fed up with everything being a drama. Rita, Raj and I took turns sitting on it in fits of laughter – Finally a happy moment.

There were more happy moments with lots of protein pancakes and fish thali’s, and I tried my best to settle down and accept all the constant noise that surrounded me and cock-a doodle-doo alarm clock. But I was only getting 4 hours or less sleep at night, and sleep deprivation started creeping in – I was becoming miserable. The only thing that cheered me up and kept me going was the massive improvement in my body and knowing everything was impermanent. When that glorious day came and I was in my taxi to the airport I could hardly think or talk I was so tired, but my heart was singing knowing that it was all over and a good night’s sleep was coming soon and my new leg would be dancing again.

Thank you for reading my article, check out part 3 to learn to say NO.!!! Coming soon.

With love,

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