You know what they say about opinions….right?

They’re like–you can fill in the blank–and everybody’s got one.

I certainly don’t mind opinions from loved ones or close friends for that matter.  I’m always open to learning something new….hearing a different point of view or mulling on variations of a theme about anything.

But sometimes….opinions can be of the downright annoying sort….like the tag on the back of a shirt that’s itching the back of my neck ….I’ll get to the point where it’s driving me crazy…then I’ll rip it out.  Forget using scissors when it’s that annoying!

So I’m in the gym yesterday and a complete stranger offers …no…practically forces, her opinion… not once, but multiple times.  OK….she wasn’t a complete stranger.  I’d known her all of 20 seconds.  “Hi, I’m Cindy,” she offers when we found ourselves at the triceps pull-down station at the same time.

Perfectly Perky (and perfectly slender) Cindy went on to ask whether I was the ultra-runner another woman had spoken to her about awhile back (like this small town, it’s a small gym. Word gets around apparently).   “You have those runner’s calves,” she added.

“Yes,” I replied.  “I used to run ultra-marathons but It’s been a good four years since I’ve put in any long runs.  My knees are bad.”

“Oh, so you don’t run?  Hmm… I thought I’d get your opinion on trail shoes because I love trail running,” she went on to say.

I know it’s sophomoric, but I dislike her already, and I swear, it wasn’t because of the diamond the size of a boulder on her wedding ring finger.  She didn’t have to say she loved trail running.

The green-eyed monster within me begins to stir.

“No more running for me I’m afraid; I’m a candidate for total replacements on both knees.  I loved trail running too; it’s the best kind of running,” I said.

“Wow.  So, what to you do now….don’t you really miss running,” she asked, batting her absurdly long eyelashes.

Grrrrrrr.  Now I’m thinking of inflicting bodily harm.  What a s-t-u-p-i-d question!

“Well, gosh yes,” I sweetly reply.  Where is a punching bag when I need it?   “I get by with cycling, lots of walking, some yoga and of course weight-training (and I’d be swimming too if I could only find a decent pool in this town).  I try to concentrate on my legs during weight training since eventually I’ll need total replacements; I’m trying to put off the surgery as long as possible.

Well, with that Perfectly Perky Cindy was off and running.  She was on a mission to pepper me with her opinions.

“Why on earth wait?  Just get ‘em done!” she enthusiastically drawled.  She went on to add, in painful detail, that her papa had both knees replaced over twenty years ago.

“Was he athletic?” I asked.   I tried to tell her that I was holding on for a couple of more years, if possible, given that I’m active and four years shy of sixty (ergo, young).

She avoided the question.

“My papa still has his original knee replacements.  You shouldn’t wait!  Get them done at the same time too. Papa had both knees done at once. He knew he wouldn’t want to go back to get the other one done.  It’s really the only way to do it.”  This wonderfully sage advice coming from someone who has all her cartilage and hasn’t been on the receiving end of a scalpel.

Grrrrr.  For God’s sake woman…opine somewhere else!

I’m trying hard to get back to my workout but Perfectly Perky Cindy was oblivious and charged on with more talk about her papa.

I’m finally able to get a word in….

“Both knees at the same time,” I said while performing a triceps pull down ….”well not really advisable; It’s not for everyone, that’s for sure and most doctors are against it.”

“Whose your doctor anyway” She asks in a tone as if my doctor’s degree is from Papua New Guinea or far-flung Uzbekistan.

I tried to convey that not only did I trust my California orthopedic knee doctor’s opinion but also my current (“middle earth”) knee doctor…both of whom have advised to put the surgery off as long as I can stand it and both of whom advised against having both knees done at the same time, as in Bilateral Knee Replacement.  After all knee replacement surgery, as in any surgery is not without risk and bilateral Knee replacement is inadvisable unless absolutely necessary (i.e. severe knee arthritis in both knees) and even then, often the procedure is scheduled some days apart as in staged bilateral replacement, therefore not on the same day.

Knee Replacement surgery carries the risk of infection, blood clots, nerve damage, and excessive scar tissue buildup, not to mention the rare premature artificial joint failure.  And sure, while I don’t have heart problems, the risk of requiring a blood transfusion is greater if you have Bilateral knee replacement since the surgery is longer and more taxing to the body.  Recovery from bilateral knee replacement surgery can (not always) be longer and early rehab/physical therapy is certainly more challenging since you cannot rely on the “better” leg.

“I can give you the name of my papa’s doctor,” Cindy offered.

Aw… (bless your heart) that is so kind of you but I think I’m OK with the doc I’ve found,” I say.  “Thanks though….”

And in an effort to quell that green-eyed monster inside me I went on to tell her that my favorite trail shoe was the Inov-8 brand.  “They got me through my last two ultra-marathons, “ I said.

“Thank-EWE so much,” she gushed.  I’ll look for them!”  And with that Perfectly Perky Cindy finally moved to another station.

Opinions.  Everybody’s got one….

Harrumph.  Not feeling particularly blissful now.

Saturday’s punch bag class can’t get here soon enough.