Adventures in Medicine
So back in April I woke up with my left knee hurting. Since that’s my good knee (I dislocated my right knee in 1984 and chipped the underside of the patella, requiring surgery to reset it. Since no one told me I would need PT to break the resulting adhesions, it’s been borked ever since), I swung directly into treatment mode with ice, ACE bandages and NSAIDS.
It got a little bit better. Then it got worse again. Then it got better, then it got worse, etc. I finally got fed up with hobbling everywhere and waking up in pain every night and made an appointment at an orthopedic specialist on Monday. Whoa. The building looked like a five-star hotel, check-in and payment were all done on a tablet, and my knee x-rays were done in-house and digitized for the doc’s analysis. Orthopedic medicine has come a long way since 1984, let me tell you.
The doctor himself was very nice, addressed me as “young lady” (I didn’t want to disabuse him of his illusions but I suspect we’re the same age), and told me that I had a bit of arthritis under the kneecap which was causing the pain. He also confirmed that there was no need for surgery (YAY!!!) and that meds and PT should be sufficient to resolve the problem. After some discussion I wound up getting a scrip for Celebrex (yes, I know all about the side effects. I’m not taking it every day, and I won’t take it once I get the knee back up and running, but right now it’s damned nice to have nothing hurting for the first time since April) and an appointment with a physical therapist, and will go back in a month for review.
They took x-rays of both knees, I’m assuming for comparison, and he did say, “You know your other knee isn’t normal, right?” I explained about 1984. He said, “Yeah, that would do it.”
Fast forward to today, where I had my first PT appointment. The nice therapist put my through my paces and we discovered that my muscle strength in my left glute/hamstring/hip is, in a word, pathetic. Since impact exercises like walking and jogging are not really a good idea right now, I’m to swim, cycle, do a very moderate amount of elliptical, and perform a series of low impact isometric exercises that will strengthen the surrounding muscles and keep the joint lubricated. I have one PT appointment a week for the next three weeks, and after that we’ll re-evaluate and see if I can discontinue PT and do everything on my own. The therapist couldn’t say whether or not the exercises would actively help my borked knee, but they can’t hurt so I’m to do them on both legs.
In addition to the thirty minutes of cycling and low-impact exercises at PT, I just finished fifteen minutes of gentle lunges, squats, and step ups in the pool as requested by my therapist. I am walking like an orangutan, but by God I did it. Now I just need a Pilates ring and I’m all set. The cats are going to LOVE the floor exercises, I know that already. “Mom’s on the ground? She must want to play with us, yay!”