When is 2 knees not better than one?

One of the things I decided when Honey died was that I was going to start exercising.  Well actually, I decided that I was going to start exercising long ago, it’s just that I never actually managed to get myself to start.  Nothing like a major change in your life to spur you on to make changes, right?

With what was surprising determination, surprising to me anyway, I actually got up early and started jogging.  I started the Sunday after Honey died.  I got up early and stretched my legs out, then jogged over to the park which is only about a 2 minute walk from my house.  The park has a track which I’d decided would be my jogging spot.  It’s a nice quiet place where I can jog…….well, actually I should preface the whole jogging thing probably.  I’m actually jogging for half (and I’m probably being optimistic with that) the time, and walking for the other half.  Did I mention that I’m out of shape and need to exercise?  So, what it basically came down to was me walking to the park, jogging around half the track, then walking the rest of the way around.  This was followed by one more lap of half jogging, half walking.  Then, depending on how my legs felt, a half jog, half walk home.

It was great too.  I didn’t think I’d like the whole getting up earlier and dragging my ass out to jog.  The truth is I loved it.  I threw on my iPod and my running shoes and went 4 days in a row!  Of course the first day I realized that when I jog my headphones would basically leap out of my ears.  So I made a mental note, “Get new headphones”.  For day 2, since it was still quite cool out in the mornings I just wore my toque which did a great job holding my headphones in.  Problem solved for now.  By day 3 my legs were starting to get a little sore, which came as no great surprise since it had been quite some time since I had exercised.  No problem though, they really only bothered me when I was going up or down stairs.  It was the muscle right behind the knee that had it out for me.  Day 4 I did my best and ended up mostly walking because my legs obviously weren’t going to cooperate with my plan.  No problem though, I could deal with it.

By day 5 I knew there was no way I could jog.  My leg muscles just weren’t ready for all this exercise all at once.  The perfect excuse to take a day off if ever there was one.  Only problem was I didn’t want to.  I mean I really didn’t want to.  So instead of staying in my warm bed for the extra half hour, I figured that since I wanted to keep going and knew there was no chance that I could jog, I’d just go for a walk instead.  It wasn’t quite the same but, it was the best I could do.  Since walking was a little slower than jogging/walking I only went around the track once.  Well, that and I figured my legs could use a bit of a break, so the shorter distance was my compromise.  I proceeded to do the same thing on day 6.  By this point the muscle right behind my knee was making me pay dearly when I went up or down stairs…….or stair for that matter.

I really wanted to jog again though, walking was alright but it wasn’t the goal I had in mind.  So I decided that I needed to take a couple of days off anyway, I figured by doing that I could get back to jogging sooner.  So I did.  By Saturday my legs were starting to feel better and I figured come Monday morning I’d be back to jogging again.  Saturday, like a fool, I decided I would do some gardening, some weeding and dig a small hole for the shed I was going to be putting together.  Oh, how I wish I could go back to that day now.  The digging wasn’t fun for my knees and the weeding was the worst part I think.  Being crouched down or kneeling didn’t seem to agree with my knees.  The didn’t appreciate it one bit.  So they decided that they would punish me.  I thought we were on pretty good terms before that, but I guess they didn’t take kindly to my jogging and the weeding was the last straw.  By late Saturday the insides of my knees were hurting.  Hurting is understating it, there’s no question about that.  Which sucked because the muscle behind my knee was pretty much pain-free by this point.

It was similar to the way the muscle behind my knee felt when I was going up stairs after the jogging.  Only now it hurt that much just from walking.  And, for whatever reason the muscle behind my knee just bothered me less when it was in pain than the one on the inside of my knee.  On Sunday I decided that I needed to do something about it so I went to the drug store and got some ice packs.  I thought about just using frozen peas but, I figured thawing then freezing, thawing and freezing, over and over, eventually they would be peas I wouldn’t want to eat anymore.  And it seemed like such a waste of food.  So I got some ice packs and tensor bandages, figuring they would help keep any swelling down and help me heal quicker.  I also got some Advil…..the extra strength kind.  The pharmacist agreed with all of these things and told me I’d feel better in a couple of days.  Which was music to my ears.

Monday morning comes, with my Blackberry free old-fashioned alarm clock and all it’s annoying beeping.  I go to work and the 3 flights of stairs I had to walk were excruciating.  Needless to say I took them VERY slowly.  At this point it wasn’t just stairs or walking bothering me.  It hurt to just do nothing.  I was in constant pain now.  So much for getting better, it seemed to be getting worse.  I smoke, which I think I’ve mentioned before, and so in order to smoke I have to go back down all those stairs and then come all the way back up when I’m done.  It’s safe to say that I smoked much less than usual on Monday.  Tuesday followed a similar pattern.  Well except for the fact that I couldn’t take it anymore so in the morning I made a doctor’s appointment for 3:00 that day.  I went to the doctors and was more than happy to wait the 5 minutes for the elevator to take me all the way up………to the 2nd floor.  Even the walk across the parking lot into the building was excruciating.  I’m fairly certain I would have been within my rights to take a handicapped parking spot at that point.

After waiting about 20 minutes past when my appointment was supposed to be I finally got in to see my doctor.  At this point I’m going to try not to get too sidetracked by my utter annoyance with them.  I’m sure it was partially just the fact that I was in so much pain, but I’d like to think that they deserved much more grief than I gave them.  A little background.  I’ve been with this doctor for about 2 years now, and I’ve been in to see her about 10 times.  Apparently they have switched their computer systems recently.  Which for any normal company means that there will be some hiccups but, they have thought it through and made sure that all their records made the transfer.  That way things run smoothly…..you know?  Why should the “customer” suffer because you’ve decided to change something?  Well, since this is the health care field I’m not sure why I was surprised when I was asked, “Do you have any allergies?”, and “Do you have any history of disease in your family?”.  “Ummmmmmmm, excuse me?”, was all I could manage while I sat there in pain.  “Oh, we’ve changed our computer system”, that was the answer to why they seemed to know nothing about me.  I’m assuming when they said it that what they actually meant was, “We’ve changed our computer system and never considered that we may actually need to keep the records that we stored in our old one.  Who knew that they were important.  Of course we probably could have planned it better or spent a little money but, it’s not like we can’t get all that info from you, right?”.

I can’t decide what I was feeling more.  Frustration, annoyance, disbelief.  Nope.  It was none of the above.  What I was feeling most was pain.  Which I explained to her after giving my life’s history to her.  You know that way she would have it on file for the next year or two before she erased it all again.  Mental note, look into getting a different doctor.  One that understands the complexities of those fancy, new fangled boxes……what are they called again?  Oh yeah, computers.  She poked my knees while asking me questions about what I had been doing.  As soon as I said I had been kneeling while weeding she stopped and got an “aha!” look on her face.  She paused while she thought about it a minute.  Which would be fine except while she was thinking and then explaining what was wrong with me she was still pushing her finger into my extremely sore tendon/muscle/ligament.  Not gently either.  And she seemed completely oblivious to the fact that I was writhing in pain while she explained my problem to me.  Eventually she got the hint from me that she was hurting me, I think it was when I told her “That hurts!”.  Unfortunately since I was blinded by pain I completely missed most of what she said the problem was.  Most of what I caught boiled down to a strained ligament, the one on the inside of the knee, probably from the kneeling and crouching after all the jogging.  She was going to give me some drops to put on it and some pills to take, all of which was supposed to help the swelling and such.  While she was filling out the prescription I asked her if any of it would help with the pain.  I mean, I wasn’t looking forward to being in too much pain to sleep like I had been the last couple days.  The day before I had actually gotten out of bed and dragged myself downstairs at 4 in the morning in order to get my ice packs to put on my knees.  I think I slept about 3 hours in total on Sunday and Monday night.  “Oh, well I’ll give you some codeine for the pain”, she said.  I don’t like to take drugs…..especially prescription drugs.  But I was in no position to argue about it.  She also told me to stay off of it as much as possible.  I joked that I guess going up and down the stairs at work was probably out of the question, eh.  Ummm, yeah.

Once again I was told that I should feel better in a couple of days.  While still somewhat comforting, it was a little less so since it had now been 4 days since the last time I was told I’d be better in a couple of days.  Although this time I was given medication, so I had a little hope.  I was in so much pain that I went back to work, climbed the three flights of stairs and told my boss that I would be working from home the rest of the week.  I didn’t ask if I could work from home, if it would be okay.  I just told him I would be working from home.  Until someone mentioned it later it never even crossed my mind that I probably should have had a doctor’s note or something.  I blame the pain for my complete and total disregard for protocol.

It has now been 4 days since I saw the doctor and I feel not one iota better.  Well that’s not entirely true.  Since the codeine worked so well in allowing me to sleep, making the pain mostly bearable I’ve begun taking it during the day as well.  I think I would have gone insane had I not.  Which reminds me, if this post is extremely long it’s only because I’m currently on the codeine, although it’s starting to wear off now.  It’s amazing how the words just flow from my fingers when I don’t actually think before writing.  A pleasant side effect of the drugs I guess, ha.  They also help with the pain.  I mean it barely hurts at all to sit perfectly still and it only hurts about a 4/10 to walk.  Going up or down stairs, and by stairs I mean 1 step, is down to a 6/10.  This is compared to pretty much a 10/10 pre-codeine.  Of course when it starts to wear off I’m immediately back to the 10/10 for walking, or for that matter just lifting my foot.

After doing a little reading while I’ve been stuck on my couch for the past 4 days, I’ve discovered a few things.  1) Apparently a strain is just a nice way of saying a slight tear…..who knew?  2)  My problem appears to be with my MCL.  3)  I’m fairly certain I’ve done more than just “strain” it.  If it’s not better in the next day or two I will be going back to my doctor.  Firstly to say that she’s crazy if she thinks I’ve just “strained” it.  Secondly to get some more codeine so that the pain doesn’t make me mad.  I’d say the pain is like a constant throbbing through my legs…..except throbbing indicates a high and a low point of pain.  This is strictly the high point of pain all the time.  So a throbbing pain without the benefit of the whole throbbing thing.  That and the feeling like my knees will buckle with every other step.  I’m no doctor….but if I was, I’d say that I have torn both of my MCL’s.  Which as you can probably imagine is excruciating and annoying all at the same time.  I’ve discovered that there’s not much you can do that doesn’t involve your knees in some way or another.

I will also be getting some crutches after our next visit I think.  Did I mention that this is both of my knees?  So there is no limping to avoid putting my weight on it.  That and telling my work that I will be taking some of next week off and working from home for the rest of it.  Although how much “work” I’ll get done is debatable.  I mean, I’m either in too much pain to concentrate on anything, or I’m too drugged up to concentrate….or care for that matter.  Either way the last thing I want to do, or am capable of doing is writing code.  Well, code that works anyway.

So, I’m sure I’ll post something more about this once I’ve visited the doctor again.  I’d like to get an MRI to know for sure except, I can only imagine that the wait time for an MRI in a situation like mine is.  Maybe I’m wrong though?  We’ll see.  Oddly enough I still can’t wait to get back to jogging, although when that will be is beyond me at this point.  I’m fairly certain it won’t be too soon.  Which is hugely disappointing to me right now.  That’s all for now, my meds are wearing off and I’m having to actually think about what I’m writing, which at the moment is surprisingly….or not I guess….difficult.  Hopefully this post makes sense, I’d read it over but it’s a little too long for me to read in my condition right now.  If you need me I’ll be on my couch with my legs up and ice on my knees.

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5 thoughts on “When is 2 knees not better than one?

  1. There are so many points in your post that I would like to respond to that this comment would be as long as your post. So I will restrain myself because I just twisted my knee (for real) and it pains me to sit it one position for very long. Besides, you are in no condition to read it all.

    So, just a few comments:

    I am not where you are in the pain department right now, but I have been…so, my sympathy and empathy are with you.

    You write very well without thinking consciously about what you are going to say.

    An absolutely great way to learn how to do more of that is to participate in NANOWRIMO. You can google it to find out more about it, but it is a month of writing free form style and the rule is no editing. Just write.

    It was hard as hell for me to get into it, but the practice was so liberating… It is such a wonderful feeling to turn off the internal editors for a while. I was often surprised at what came out. Lots of bad writing…to be expected. Lots of smooth easy writing in between the garbage…this part was pure pleasure.

    Check it out, eh?

    1. I appreciate your restraint Roger, haha.

      I’m thinking that the less I think about it the better my writing is, unfortunately I can’t stop myself from thinking non-stop most of the time. So, unless I stay on pain killers there doesn’t seem to be a way around that for me.

      I’ve heard of the NANOWRIMO, now that’s a mouthful for an acronym isn’t it? Oooohhh no editing, eh? I’m not sure I’m capable of that. I’m a serial editor so that may be pushing it. I mean even on this post where I wasn’t really paying attention or thinking I still managed to run the spell check once. Although this might just be the first post I didn’t really go back and edit….

      Have you tried Write Or Die? It’s an…..interesting little experiment. Now granted most of the time what I end up writing is pretty ridiculous but, occasionally some of it is pretty good too. Anyways, its on my sidebar on the right under Writing Tools if you ever feel like checking it out.

      Thanks Roger.

  2. Oh JM! I am sooooooooooooooo sorry! I feel partly to blame (not sure why, but I do!). Ugggh.

    As a four time marathoner–and somewhat avid runner, I should mention that this similiar situation happened to me as well when I first started out about 10 years ago. I was so excited to be running and working out again that I just over-did it. And unfortunately, you’ve hurt yourself real bad! I was out of commission for about 4 weeks and at my first attempt at running a marathon, I had to stop at mile 8 becuase I was in so much pain…all kept thinking about was all the investment, all the time I had put into training for this event, shattered — I was devastated, not to mention in a lot of pain!

    What I learned, the hard way of course (cuz it seems to be the only way learn anything when it comes to the body) is that slowly and easily is best when taking on a new physical adventure. Whether it’s running, mountain biking, kayaking — or anything at all, you can’t start at the top or as fast — my body needed time to adjust from a life of dancing to a whole knew sort of pounding! And trust me, I was devastated being that I considered myself somewhat of an athlete (a dancer for so many years) and definitely in shape! But it wasn’t enough to prepare me for the pain and aching I’d suffer because my body was using different muscles…it just wasn’t used to it!

    Well, I hope you’re feeling better and real soon. But rest your legs, nurture your knees and when your bodies ready, start slowly and simply. It really is the best way to go — and in no time at all you’ll find yourself running 10 miles easily…

    As far as your doctor is concerned- — I’m not sure what to say. I do have the best doctor on the planet and for that I’m grateful. Hopefully, things will work out slowly from this point on for you!

    Sending you a hug,
    Nadia

    1. Thank you Nadia, and believe me its all my fault, so don’t feel bad.

      I thought I was taking it slowly, but I can see now that when I start again, and I will, that I’ll need to take it even slower. When I get to start again is another question altogether. I will avoid weeding at all costs now though, hahaha, my weed free lawn be damned.

      As far as my doctor, I was thinking about looking for a new one even before this, not necessarily because of anything she’s done but….I can’t put my finger on why exactly, but suffice to say I was. She is better than my last doctor who was about 100 when he retired, or so it seemed. I always had to make sure he knew who I was because he always seemed to think I was someone else towards the end of our doctor patient relationship. Which, when you have allergies is a little worrisome.

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