Fool me once…

knee 8

An actual photograph of my knee, this morning.

I should have known, a couple of weeks ago, when the debaucherous  London Birthday Bash Weekend, didn’t “kill,” me…   Or last week, when I reduced my steroid intake by 5 mg didn’t feel overwhelmed by fatigued, exhaustion and withdrawal symptoms. Or, better yet, this past week, just because I’ve felt so “freakin good” for two whole weeks now…  Seriously, how could I have NOT seen this coming?

Yes, yes, I’m an idiot!

I should have known that “The Universe,” was plotting against me.  That it was off in a corner someplace, cooking up some wicked, diabolical scheme to get me.

Had I listened closely, I may have heard the Universe say, “I’ll just give her a bit of time to instil a strong,  false sense of security,”  “Make her feel all is well, so she’ll let her guard down just a smidge….”  “Ahhhhhhh, there we are!  She really is such a sucker…. LOOK!  She’s buying it, hook, line and sinker!” 

…but I wasn’t listening.

I was too busy partying, drinking wine, eating bread…  “Oh sure,” my knee hurt!  My knee always hurts.  However, I found that, if you drink enough red wine, it doesn’t hurt half as bad; but for some reason your head starts to hurt instead!  “Hmm, go figure.”

So… you may or may not know (you may or may not care) I have a “bad” knee.

I screwed it up a few years ago while on a walking holiday through the hills of Tuscany!  It was an AMAZING holiday, one that I throughly enjoyed, and will never forget…  but waking between 7-15 miles a day (when you’re not used it) up and down, rocky dirt roads, puts a real strain on your old lady knees!  “Who knew?”  

My good ol GP (dick that he was!) thought, at the time, that I had torn my meniscus, but since I was “a woman of a certain age,” and not a professional athlete, I was told the NHS would not consider treatment.  I should ice it, take ibuprofen, do knee exercises and be gone from his sight!

Over the past couple years it got better, than worse, than better and more recently way, way WORSE!  To the point where I find it difficult to walk and when I do walk, I limp and wince in pain with each step.  (Yes, I can hear you now…  “Ooooo, very attractive Melissa!”)

To exacerbate the situation I have also developed a “Bakers Cyst” behind that same knee.  This is quite common, because your body naturally tries to heal the damage by sending a lot of thick, yucky, fluid to the area to cushion and protect it.  Unfortunately this fluid forms into a sack and just sits there, right behind your knee making it difficult to bend/straighten your knee and not really cushioning or protecting  at all! Very helpful.

Anyway, I digress…  sorry.

Today, I went to see an Orthapedic guy…  privately, not on the NHS.  I wanted to know exactly what the issue is and understand what course of treatment and options this “knee expert,” would recommend for this “woman of certain age.”   

I fully expected him to say I had in fact torn my meniscus, and that for several hundred pounds (plus our private insurace coverage), 6-8 weeks of my time and maybe some physio, he could fix me up like new, with keyhole surgery!

Soooooo, after a short discussion I was sent off for an x-ray.   Once back in the Mr Chauhan’s office, I was staring at an x-ray on an oversized desktop monitor.  The image looked very similar to this:

bone on bone

I had no idea what I was looking at, until the good doctor pointed out the obvious space between the two bones on the on the left side of the image; and the not so obvious space between the two bones on the right side of the image.

“Hmmm, that’s curious, “ I thought!

As I slowly drew my attention away from the monitor, I heard words like “degenerative,”  “arthritis,” “torn meniscus,” and “bone on bone.” 

Wait. What?  Did he just say “Degenerative arthritis????”   WTF? 

It got much worse…  I actually stopped hearing the Doctor’s voice coming out of the Doctor’s mouth and instead, heard the Universe laughing and saying, Hahahahaha, gotcha!” 

When I did hear the good doctor’s voice again, it was very serious with no hint of a late April Fool’s joke in the play…  I heard, “You need a total knee replacement.” 

WTF? Are you fucking kidding me?

“But wait…. What about keyhole surgery?  What about options?  What about…  what about something other than this?” 

As he peeled me from the ceiling, he responded to my line of “speeding bullet” questions:

“No, mending the meniscus will not help.”  He would not perform that surgery, if I wanted him to.

“No,” he would not remove the Baker’s Cyst, that will not help.

“Yes,” I can continue to have it drained, but it most likely will not provide a lot of relief from the stabbing, “ice pick” like pain on the side of my knee.

“Yes,” degenerative means that it will get worse over time.

And the nail in the coffin statement went something like this,

“You will most likely have that knee replaced at some point in your life… you do not have to do it now, but the pain will get to the point where it is perhaps unbearable and your quality of life will be impacted more than it is now; and you will at some point have to make this decision.” 

He was informative, not reactionary, honest and very calming.  We talked a little about my having PMR & GCA, the increased risk of infection because I’m on high dose steroids, my taper down schedule, and the fact that he would work closely with my Rheumy,  if this is the road I chose to go down… We also talked a little about the pros/cons, risks/disadvantages of waiting a few years.

HOWEVER, he kept bringing me away from the minutiae (calling them mere logistics) and brought me back to ME!

What did I want?  Did I want to take invasive action.

He kept reiterating that I needed to think, long and hard about this;  do my research, get a second opinion, talk to my husband, and determine if I wanted to take invasive action.

If I do, then we start talking about when, where, how, and the “logistics” of performing knee replacement surgery on a patient like ME!

“It doesn’t have to be now,”  he said.

“I don’t need to be the one to do it,” he reminded.

“You can take all the time you need,” he said.

It appears however…  that in all likelihood {I guess unless I die of maybe a thoracic aortic aneurysm} I will have to have my right knee replaced at some point!

Ahhhhhh, Universe you foxy minx.  You got me again, didn’t you?

Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me!

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3 Comments

  1. Knee replacement surgery is probably one of the most common surgeries over here, however, you have all your “other” health issues to deal with when making this decision! I will share that the friends we have who had the surgery (many) had two results. The ones who did the recommended PT are happy, have no pain and enjoy all activities again. Those that ignored the PT recommendation have continuous problems and are not happy with their surgery, imagine that! This doc sounds very good with his input and recommendations. So, stop, think, discuss and research (which you do so well) and make a decision based on facts and your comfort level.💋

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such an easy Surgery and I know I work in the medical profession. People are up in no time! JUST DO IT!!!!!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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