About three weeks ago, I lugged some groceries into the house and noticed, not long after, pain in both knees, though much worse in the left. I thought it wasn’t so bad, a little swelling maybe but not enough to deter me from my daily exercise. That was a mistake because right about in there I began to experience that old dull ache almost constantly. I could walk ok, albeit with a hobble, and I took to getting to school early to make sure I wouldn’t rush and inadvertently hurt myself. I trudged along on the far right, with everybody, even little people with short legs, leaving me in the dust.
The pain from that little humiliation was slight compared to the fact that the damn knees began to disturb my sleep. I couldn’t find a place–as I tossed this way and that–that it didn’t hurt, just enough to keep me from lapsing into my usual torporous sleep. So I was wide away and just had to wait for utter fatigue to carry me off–and that knowing that tomorrow as going to be an extra busy day. Or I would wake at three am and the leg aching and nothing I could do about it but pound more Advil, hoping I didn’t blow a hole in my stomach.
So finally Carol did it for me and got me an appointment with a knee doctor, though I had to wait a week to see a real knee doctor and not a PA.
I go in yesterday and walk up to the doctor desk and am told by the receptionist to truck over to X-ray. So I trudge over there and am taken to a little room and told to go into this little closet and take off my pants and put on my smock and lock my clothes and belongings in the closet and when I have done that go sit in the waiting area–which I do in my smock, with my white thin legs sticking out, and holding in one hand the key to the closet. Then they do the X-rays. First stand here, then stand there, then lie down, the roll over. And after that I re-clothe and go back to the reception area and wait for the doctor and about this time Carol shows up to keep me company.
Finally I get to tell the doctor guy what’s up and he just sits there and then points at the X-ray and says, "Your right knee there’s got bone on bone and early onset arthritis." This panics me because I am sure I am aging prematurely because of evil things I have done and ask, "Do you mean it’s early for a person like me to get arthritis." No, he just means it’s arthritis in the early stages of a progressive degeneration.
Great! And what are my options?
Not many actually. Evidence is now in that arthroscopic for this kind of thing frequently doesn’t work at all and may make things worse. He has seen that he says in his own practice (he is filling in for a doctor who hurt his foot). But he can give he a cortisone shot–which he sets about doing immediately. The needle looks really long and goes in a long way but only into the empty cavity behind the knee.
So now I am on steroids. I may get relief for up to a couple of months and then the knee may ache again. But I can come in for another cortisone shot–and so on.
I am being set up for the Cadillac of knee surgeries: knee replacement.
Getting old is a crock. I don’t want to boldly go where this is taking me.