I am having a nervous night. Tomorrow I will be seeing my orthopedic doctor, and I need to beg him to fix my knee. I am unaccustomed to requiring medical treatment, and I have never spent a night in the hospital that did not involve childbirth. I have had numerous Xrays, two MRI’s and an arthroscopy. The diagnosis is certain: severe deterioration of the knee, no cartilage whatsoever. I believe it is related to my severe pigeon-toed leg, but cause does not concern an orthopedic surgeon. They only treat the present mess. I have rehabbed to no effect. I have gained 20 pounds in my enforced indolence. Watching my younger brother get 3 grafts in his heart drove home the fact that I need to get moving. I find myself going upstairs like a monkey- with weight on my hands and feet to spread the pressure. That is a regression that spells “enough” for me. It is not a good look.
There are hoops that insurance and doctors make you go through, and I have been seal-like in my compliance. But now the rest of me is deteriorating with the lack of weight bearing exercise, and the ridiculous compensations that I make. My tail bone is always bruised from the action of getting up from a chair. My left leg- the affected one- has become a peg leg, always locked at the knee. My new gait is affecting every part of my spine and hips. I have to wake up and stabilize my knee to roll over. I really think it is time.
The worst part of this mess is that I am getting housebound. The prospect of walking any distance deters me from leaving the house. I have not been to a mall since before Christmas- I guess Steve would think that is a good thing. But grocery shopping finds me using the cart as a walker- and that is not my supermarket sweep style.
I have invested in every kind of brace, and some of them help. Steve’s bathroom counter now hosts my mini microwave, where I heat my gel packs. I think that accommodation will end when he returns from Florida. So I have no choice but to get this silly thing fixed.
This is the year that my sister and friends schedule a trip, and I refuse to stay home. So on April 1, I will pack every supportive device into a bag and sally forth to a river cruise in Amsterdam and Holland. We will glide past windmills and tulips- but I also intend to keep up with the girls when they hit museums and shops. It will take a fine cocktail of elastic and anti-inflammatories, with a nightly dose of wine- but I plan to give my old knee a workout. When I return, I am hopeful that a titanium replacement will have my name on it. I have too much road in front of me to hobble and crawl. Plus, the sensible shoes are getting me down. I would like to dance at Mike’s wedding in something non-orthopedic.
If my doctor does not wish to sharpen his scalpel, I will have to get a new doctor. Because God help me- I am getting a new knee. I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow.