Replacing a Worn Hinge…

As many of you know, LLC is a one-person-plus operation where we rescue, restore and rejuvenate cars, mostly Series I 944’s and our favorite 924S.  Our shop is at home in the back yard, and almost every day is spent out there toiling with these great cars.  Other than the occasional vacation trip and frequent weekend shows and events, we can almost always be found in the shop.

Today’s topic has to do with replacing a bad hinge.  This isn’t a normal hinge replacement out in the shop, though – this one is a little more difficult and requires specialized personnel and facilities to do it right and make it last a long time.  The hinge in question? My right knee…

I started riding motorcycles when I was fifteen years old – on the street, on trails, in the woods, on sand dunes or wherever two wheels would go.  One fine day a group of us were riding in a friend’s pasture with various drainage ditches, dirt mounds and such and having a great time.  I had just acquired a Yamaha 360 single cylinder dirt bike that weighed nothing and had a ton a power and torque, giving is a good workout.  On this particular outing, the pasture was dry but the ditches had mud in the bottom.  Powering across one of the ditches, I gave it a lot of throttle at the bottom.  The knobby rear tire spun up with a glorious rooster tail of mud, but…

The tire then hit the dry stuff on the way up out of the ditch.  That wonderful knobby tire grabbed the solid dirt and…have you ever seen a rocket launch?  Kinda like that – up in the air, bike and rider.  I made the decision to get away from it in the air, and while it was a sound decision based on sound analysis, it didn’t really work out well.  I came down on my right side, with the bike still between my legs, and the tank hit the inside of my right knee, hyperextending it out into the mud.  Yes, it hurt.

So doing what any 23-year-old male would do, I got up, picked up the bike, and decided to keep riding.  One problem, though…the kickstarter required my right leg to work, and it was a bit sore.  So I stood next to the bike and kicked it over with my left leg, climbed on and rode for another two hours.  We had a blast.

At the end of the day, we loaded up, I drove home and unloaded the bike from the truck.  My knee was a bit swollen, and my nurse wife checked it over and decided that it was sprained at best, advising me to soak it in a hot tub for a while and get some sleep.  She went to work at the hospital for midnight shift to take care of people who were really sick and injured.

By about two in the morning the pain had gotten really bad.  I hobbled out to my truck using  a chair as a walker, drove to my workplace – the local police department – where one of my coworkers loaded me up in a patrol car and took me the rest of the way to the hospital emergency department.

The verdict?  Not sprained.  Broken.

Subsequent treatment healed it back to operational status in about three months.  Full leg casts, crutches, etc.  But healed up, and until a couple of years ago gave me no problems whatsoever.

But now I am approaching seventy years old, and the hinge isn’t working very well.  For longer walking I use a cane.  Getting out of Sparky, my 924S, is difficult since I have little strength in that leg any more.  The old injury coupled with arthritis (and the x-rays found a fracture!), and it is time to get a new one.

So Wednesday morning, September 13, I go to Advent Hospital DeLand for a total knee replacement.  The procedure is only forty minutes.  Metal and plastic, sew it up, and physical therapy (PT) for the rehab.  I will be home the next day, and PT starts almost immediately.  With some luck and hard work, I will be up and around in a few weeks, totally recovered in less than three months.  With a brand new hinge.

So two things are happening in the next 21-45 days.  !) I get to spend time with our new online store, 924S944.STORE, refining it and adding product and 2) I will not be in the shop climbing around cars.

During rehab, feel free to email me with questions and comments about your cars – I won’t be too far from the internet.  My health otherwise is good, so there is no expectation that anything bad will happen as a result of the surgery.  I fully expect to recover and be back to work very soon.

You may, though, feel a little sorry for me.  My wife of 48 years is still a health care professional with lots of experience in home health, intensive car, therapy, etc., and will turn into a Physical TERRORIST (PT) during my recovery.  I will have plenty of reason to speed my recovery.

See you in a few weeks!

Author: 924s944

After retiring from a career in Law Enforcement, Kevin Duffy turned his attention to one of his passions, Porsche 944's and 924S's. He owns LLC in DeLand, FL, rescuing and restoring forgotten Porsches, bringing them back to a useful life. He is especially interested in the rare-but-beautiful 924S Special Edition. He can be found at Porsche Club events, local Deland Area Cruisers events, and other car-related things including track days, tours and shows around the southeastern United States.

2 thoughts

  1. Good luck Kevin. Many of us are at the age where fewer replacement parts go into our Porsche and more into our body. Stick to the PT and we look forward to your online store.

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