Sunday, July 27, 2008

My Bad Knee

My morning at the clinic, yesterday, was not nearly as bad as I had anticipated it would be. Ahhh. Relief, there. Unfortunately I didn't get everything taken care of that I needed to accomplish, so I'll be spending part of the morning there, again, today... They know me, there. Not so sure this is a good thing. Parking was no problem, yesterday. A first! I got to the orthopedic department and one of the women working the reception area [there are two women and four men working at the reception counter!] who has recognized me each time I've been there asked me how my knee was. Yeah. Thanks for asking. "It is much better today, unfortunately." Unfortunately, because I really wanted for the doctor to see it when it swollen and when I am in pain. I made my way to the sea of black - the women only waiting area - where I "blended" because I too, had my black garbage bag on - covering my bike shorts and a tank top - knowing that the doctor was going to want to examine my knee and this way I'd be prepared and not have to worry about disrobing. I'm so smart, sometimes! There were probably twelve to fifteen women there in our waiting section, and twice as many men in the mens waiting area. Busy department.

I took my book, thankfully, because my wait was long. Yes, as I waited, I could feel my blood-pressure rising due to the fact that my scheduled appointment time had long past, and I am easily frustrated - my impatient nature, I suppose - in such instances. I finally got called and went to the examining room where I waited some more... The point of putting someone in an examining room long before a doctor is going to make his or her appearance is???

Dr. M sauntered in and introduced himself. He is young enough to be my son. He is Saudi - he did his training in Canada. His English is impeccable. And, more importantly, there is something wrong with my knee. Dr. M said that he could see the problem from the very first x-ray I had done and that he didn't need my MRI to see it! Oh, really? Then why have I had a half dozen x-rays taken, and no doctor so far has seen that there is a problem?!? Dr. M asked me to describe my pain, which I did, and he said, "Yes. You are telling me exactly what is wrong - and we can see that right here, on this x-ray." I explained how I fell - hard - on my knee in 2000 or 2001 and how it has not been "right" since. Dr. M said that the fall did not cause my knee problem - the fall may have exacerbated the problem - but the fall is not the cause... That I would have a knee problem regardless. Oh, really? What then? "Age." [I hate Dr. M!] Doesn't he realize that I am only 29?!? I don't care what his computer record says about my birth date - the year that is in the computer is obviously wrong!

I have bursitis, arthritis and something - narrowing of the space for... And that IS why my knee is causing me so much distress. I am the "perfect candidate" for a total knee replacement, but not right now. My knee will have to get much worse before they will consider doing the replacement - although I can expect that this will have to happen within the next five years. Well, if that's not something to look forward to, I don't know what is! Dr. M had all my x-rays for me to view - along with the MRI and accompanying report - which says exactly what he said - and he did a very thorough examination of my knee. I explained where it hurt and "how" it hurt [I describe this as two cords being twisted as tight as they can be on the inside of my right knee]; I explained that I can no longer get down on my hands and knees [cleaning, changing The Kids bedding] and that I cannot walk up or down the stairs like a normal person with one foot in front of the other. Yep. "You won't be able to get down on your knees, nor will you run again, and stairs will be a problem until your knee is replaced." Well, gee, thanks. Dr. M started pressing on all the right spots that cause me pain and then tried to bend my knee and push it up - I screamed and at the same time involuntarily kicked him with my good leg! Oops. Sorry 'bout that, Dr. M! I'll make a deal with you - you don't hurt me, and I won't hurt you.

What is Dr. M going to do, right now, to make my knee better? Five weeks of physical therapy. Great. Just what I did NOT want. Then, five weekly treatments of a high-intensity electro-shock [TENS Unit] to the damaged, irreparable, area of my knee which will be done by either him or one of his colleagues and not a physical therapist or physician's assistant. If the pain cannot be controlled, he will consider giving me steroid shots, but he would prefer to not do so until the pain is "unbearable." Plus a knee brace that I need to wear if I am doing anything but sitting or sleeping. Nice. A prescription for anti-inflammatories and something else - and get some Glucosamine at GNC [which we have, here, in the Sandbox]. Even though, as Dr. M says, there are no scientific studies that prove that Glucosamine actually works, many of his patients have seen significant improvement when they take it and it can't hurt me if it doesn't work. Oh, and "no heels." What? You've got to be kidding me. [Not going to happen... I am much too vain. Pain or no pain, I am not ready for orthopedic shoes! I am NOT that old!!!]

Dr. M spent no less than forty-five minutes with me, going over everything, which is, no doubt, why the wait is so long... I left feeling quite confident in him. Yes. I am pleasantly surprised by this. Today I will go back to the clinic to make all of the appointments that I need, to get my prescriptions, and to get "fitted" for my knee brace. Plus, I need to obtain all of the records and x-rays and the MRI, because I still plan to see the orthopedist in the States when we go on vacation. A second opinion will make me feel better about this whole bad knee thing... Anticipating that I need for my knee to get worse doesn't make me feel real good, but somehow I just think that a total knee replacement is not going to be a particularly pleasant experience, either. I need to get on-line and do some "research" about all of this... Which I will do today, after "work."

14 comments:

  1. Well, at least Dr. M identified the problem for ya. Sounds like what my sister had and since her knee replacement, she's a new woman. Her recovery in the beginning was rough, but she noticed a difference pretty soon, Sabra! The scar however is pretty...gnarly.

    If you can purchase a TENS machine from a local pharmacy there, do it. They are great little machines and while they aren't as strong as the ones you'll be using in physical therapy, they do come in handy when you pull a muscle.

    p.s. Doesn't Jimmy Choo have cute flats you can wear for now? :)

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  2. Geez, L_Oman, didn't even consider that there would be a scar. Yeah. Probably, huh? What was your sister's recovery time - from the time she had her knee replaced until she became a new woman? Just curious.

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  3. Hi there, I actually also know a bit about this, as my mother had her hip and knee replaced last year.

    Should tell you to get yourself a cup of tea, as this will be long!!!

    My mother turned 61 years of age in February of this year, so was very young to have both these things done.

    It set off with her knee, just like with you, and she kept going back and forward to the doctor and they said there was nothing wrong. So my mother got discouraged (she's in Britain) and basically stopped going to the doctor's. However it got so bad that she had to go back and what had happened, was that she had been compensating for her bad knee, by putting all her weight on her good side, which resulted in her wrecking her hip and she had one leg longer than the other.

    The recovery time for the knee was around 6 weeks, and it was terrible. Infact she needs her other knee done at some point, and after the knee operation she swore there was no way she was going to have the other knee done, because she was in so much pain. That was last September, and she says now she would consider it. We saw her in February and her knee was still very swollen, and they told her it be a full year before she was fully recovered.

    You name it she tried it. If you need a new knee, you need a new knee. The glucosamine with chondroitin works, to a certain extent. Its the chondroitin though that is important, as it lubricates the knee. You need at least 1000mg of chondroitin a day. Which in dh's case is two pills per day.

    Dh takes this as he has electricians knees, and he hasn't complained about his knees hurting as much. A co-worker swore by EMU oil.........had no experience with this, but if its painful enough you'll try anything.

    Flat shoes will help a bit, and you'll know when its the right time, as it'll be much too painful to wear heels.

    I don't know how young you are, but I know the knees only last 10 to 15 years. So even my mother was very young, but they had no choice with her, as she couldn't walk far, no stairs at all, she crawled up and down the stairs. She couldn't even get into the bath, she has a walk-in shower put in.

    Sorry not great news, but at least you are getting the true facts and not sugar coated.

    Gill

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  4. Gill, thanks much! Don't know much about this whole process. Honestly, was NOT expecting the good Dr. M to tell me that I need a knee replacement. I was expecting - oh, maybe "day surgery" to relieve my pain, and a few pills. All done. Problem solved. Never in my wildest dreams considered that I would be in need of a new knee at some point. And, as Dr. M says, it is too soon. It needs to get worse before they will do it - partially because you are right, they only last - new knees - for so long. Six weeks?!? Just not going to think about this today... Can't. Have much too much to do - and will do it with my current "bad" knee. Damn, Gill - hip AND knee? Your poor mother!

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  5. nice to know you're still blogging... i had wondered a while back if you had stopped.

    i like this blog and have found myself in your shoes, which is a nice change...

    finding a good dr. is amazingly difficult... glad to see there are some out there!

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  6. I did stop for a while, Um Naief - too much going on in "life" that required several trips to the States and blogging was not on my list of things to do.

    I have been amazingly lucky in finding a couple of doctors, here, that I like, including Dr. M.

    How is that BEAUTIFUL boy of yours! Growing fast, I'm sure!!!

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  7. Glucosamine/condroitin/MSM combination works really well but it takes a couple of weeks to kick in and you will need to take at least 1000mg horse tablets every day. Ask your doc about glucosamine injections. They do them here in Dubai and they are bloody amazing, my friend went from "I need a new knee NOW" to dancing after just one shot. Shot hurt like hell by all accounts but she now loads up on painkillers before she gets it and says its not so bad. She gets them done about twice a year and says she feels great.

    If you do need a new knee believe it or not this is the place to get one!! "Islamic" knees are absolutely the best because Muslims need to kneel to pray and with a conventional "western" kneeling is impossible. One of my friends has one of each and says her Dubai knee is so superior she's thinking of getting the old UK replaced!

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  8. Rose, Dr. M said the same thing about knees. Said they use the Zimmer brand / model and that they are far superior to anything else out there. Didn't give much thought to the whole "kneeling" thing, but you have just made "lights go on" with that, for me, in a most brilliant way! Will have to ask about the shots - and thanks for the warning, re: pain. I have a very, very negative pain threshold and will need morphine at the mere thought of pain.

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  9. Sabra - I want to say she was told by the doctors that it would take a good 6-8 weeks, but within a few weeks she was back up and about pretty ok! Then again, her recovery probably sped up by the fact that she's a very active lady and likes to be on the move all the time.

    You're a youngin' - you'll bounce back just as fast! (insha'allaah)

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  10. Umm, yeah. A "youngin" alright. I will celebrate the 20th anniversary of my 29th birthday this coming October. Can I ask how old your sister is, L_Oman?

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  11. naief is growing fast! he's almost running now and will give chase if he gets ahold of something he shouldn't! :)

    found out today that my SIL is pregnant - 1 mth, and i find myself wrestling w/ that issue... having another baby.... but hubby says no to the idea :(

    anyway.. i'm glad you're blogging again.

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  12. Thanks, Um Naief. Give it some time. You and your DH are still young! At some point Naief is GOING to want a baby sister, though, don't you think?

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  13. There's some intereting videos on modern knee replacement surgeries you can watch
    knee replacement videos
    Very enlightening. Especially the one by the doctor who demonstrates how the surgeries are done.

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  14. Thanks, Hamster! My gosh. Is there anything that isn't on the internet?!?

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