Let’s start by giving you some 2002 statistics about me:
Okay, now that THAT is out of the way
The Friday before Memorial Day weekend, I was walking from class to the bathroom in a very VERY empty hall save for a hallway monitor when something made a seemingly loud popping sound.
I found myself laying on the floor confused for what felt like 1 minute but was really about 5 seconds before the hottest heat that had ever heated began to burn in my right knee. The hallway monitor helped me to stand up – which I was able to do – but I was unable to bend my leg. At all. It was crazy swollen and MAN, DID IT HURT. I hobbled my way to our school nurse who gave me ice, wrapped it and called my mom who came to pick me up.
Mom called her Orthopedic Surgeon (yeah, we have a family Orthopedist. We’re a family of joint problems…) who was out of town for the weekend and would be back on Tuesday, but he suggested I stay off it and ice it all weekend.
So my Memorial Day weekend rocked…
The following Tuesday I went to the hospital where Dr. Hill worked and he gave me an immediate MRI because the swelling didn’t really dissipate much over the weekend.
Diagnosis: My knees are incorrectly formed (joy!) Basically my patella and my other bones at the knee joint (femur, tibia, fibula) all rub against each other and rip slowly away at my cartilage until it’s so thin it finally snaps and then my knee swells and locks in place.
Treatment: Lose weight, take a combo steroid/anti-inflammatory daily, physical therapy to build up the muscles around the joint to try to reduce stress on it.
Prognosis: Permanent. The current plan would work for a while. When the meds no longer keep my knee from swelling, the next step would be arthroscopic surgery to clear out any scarred or ripped cartilage. When my cartilage is finally all gone, become bionic with titanium knees.
Sounds awesome. But wait, there’s more!
I was also given the following list of activities to NEVER do in order to give me the best chance of holding on to my genetically given knees as long as possible: run, bike, jump, lunge, kneel, ski, crawl, crouch, squat, etc.
Oh, and I got the pleasure of being on crutches for 2 full weeks while the swelling subsided and the cartilage healed. My high school graduation fell within those two weeks. Naturally.
So for the next week or so at school I crutched around. I went to all the senior events (some carnival crap thing that I got my parents to pick me up from due to “too much pain,”) and the senior class picture (on the bleachers which proved to be a BITCH to get up and down. When graduation rolled around and we were all cap and gowning it up in the fieldhouse behind the gym, I decided “fuck this shit.”
Oh yeah, I’m stubborn as hell. That’s worth noting.
So I loaded up on pain killers and anti-inflammatory pills and walked in the little alphabetical line to our seats in the gym. I told the people on either side of me (who were walking in front and behind me, respectively) that if I stumbled and leaned into them or fell, they were responsible for me. They agreed. When it was time for our row to walk up to the stage, receive our diplomas and walk across and back to our seats, I sucked in a huge deep breath and said a big “please” to whatever powers that be. Lo and behold I made it all the way up there and back without crutches. And without falling, which really was the bigger feat since it included 3 steps up and 3 steps down.
I spent another few days on the crutches before getting into physical therapy for the summer. Also, a ton of fun. Over the next year and a half I would go on to lose about 40lbs and have basically no knee problems.
And that’s where I’ll leave you for now. But rest assured reader friends, this was not my last knee issue… we still have college crutches and adult life knee concerns to address.
Ever been so stubborn you could very well have injured yourself further? Best crutches story? Mind you, my torn quad from round-house kicking Chuck Norris is hard to beat…