Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Life in the Old Girl Yet

My orthopedist, after a physical exam and x-rays (right in his office; how many doctors do that anymore?), reports that my knees are actually in fine shape. "They have at least 100,000 miles on them." I do, however, have misaligned knee caps, evidently common in women. This usually isn't a big problem, but something's irritated my right knee.

So he injected a needle of local-anesthetic-plus-steroid into the knee, and told me to be as active as possible (but to stop if the knee hurts again). I'm going back in two weeks. If the pain's improved or gone, he'll give me exercises to strengthen that knee. If the pain's the same or worse, he'll know that something else is going on and send me for an MRI to check for soft-tissue problems.

Meanwhile, steroids are my new best friends. (He assured me that these injections are very safe, as long as one doesn't have them too often.) The shot wasn't even bad, despite my apprehension: pressure, but no pain, and over very quickly. Immediately afterward, I could walk more easily. I went to work, strolled around campus, did stairs -- yay! -- and generally acted like my old walk-a-lot self. (I'd originally typed "pedestrian self," but realized that could be read the wrong way.) Then I went swimming. After half an hour, the knee started complaining, so I stopped. Oddly, the most painful part of swimming wasn't the knee twinges; the toes of both feet kept cramping terribly. But I wore new shoes today, and I also walked more -- and more normally -- than I have in a month, which means that my muscles were getting forgotten workouts. If the toe cramps continue, I'll call him, but right now, I'm not going to worry about them.

My knee is better again now, after a fairly long grocery shopping expedition, and I hope it will be better yet tomorrow.

What a relief to walk and take stairs without pain again! I so hope that this and the exercises work and that this problem will be fixed, at least for a while. I will say, though, that I'm a little apprehensive about the bill, even though this guy's on my insurance. Office visit, steroid injection and x-rays: what do you suppose all that will cost? Less than in an ER, obviously, but I'm still anticipating having to write a hefty check.

I also saw my therapist today. Despite, or maybe because of, the emotional upheavals of the past week, he's happy with how I'm doing off meds. He says I seem more alive. And we both agreed that if I've navigated the emotional upheavals off meds, I'll probably be able to stay off them.

Stay tuned!


  1. It takes courage to live life unprotected from the bumps in the road. It's a bit like driving a car with no shock absorbers. After a while, though, all that bouncing around makes you stronger.
    Glad to hear that it probably isn't arthritis in your knees. You definitely don't want that.

  2. Anonymous8:33 PM

    Tilted Kneecaps? Then it really IS welcome to my world. The most important thing I've learned: DO NOT let anyone make you do leg lifts lying down with weight on your ankles in order to strengthen your knees. Unless you want a year's worth of back pain. Opt to do the leg lifts standing up using a theraband for resistance instead. Keeping your hamstrings stretched and flexible will help a lot.

    Good luck and keep me posted!




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