Problem Solving with the Rule of Three

I am making great strides (har har) in my knee replacement recovery. I have full extension and full flexion in my knee, just six weeks from my surgery. I still walk with a cane, for two reasons: my vertigo and my quads are only at about 75-80% full strength.

Now, I have a vanity problem. I’ve been wearing shorts for the past six weeks, because I’ve been home or working out at physical therapy or the gym. Shorts are perfect. But in about 10 days, I’m going to the Agile conference, where, at least for me, shorts are not appropriate. They are not warm enough nor are they sufficiently business-appropriate. Nor do I have pretty-enough knees, even at a distance.

So what’s the problem? My scar bisects my knee vertically. The skin on the inside of my knee feels fine. The skin on the outside of my knee feels “funny.” The nerve endings are still raw and easily disturbed. Some pillows feel funny if I put them on my lap. I have not tried on any of my pants. I am not looking forward to it.

What am I going to wear to the conference? Let’s see what the Rule of Three says. Remember the Rule of Three says that if I have just one solution it’s a trap, two solutions is a dilemma, and three solutions breaks logjam thinking and helps me think of more possible solutions. Here are some solutions:

  1. Wear shorts. I could wear a sweater with the shorts to stay warm. I am worried about looking sufficiently business-like.
  2. Wear a long skirt with tights. When I wore the prevent-blood-clot tights, I did not have funny feelings on my skin.
  3. Wear soft cotton pants such as I wear to dance practice. They don’t have pockets and they do have elastic waist, but I suspect I can manage my food intake for a week.
  4. Try on my regular dress pants. I have no data about what they feel like. I only have conjecture.
  5. Give my knee a few more days and see what the skin feels like, since I’m getting stronger every day. I bet the nerves feel different every day.

So, now I have five options where before I didn’t see any. This is a real problem for me, even though it might seem vain or fanciful to you.

I find this kind of directed problem solving quite helpful. I hope you do, too.

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