Sometimes, getting old sucks.
But I suppose it beats the alternative…
The image above is my left knee, in the middle of getting a cortisone/lidocaine injection yesterday morning.
Yeah, it hurt.
Why would one willingly let a complete stranger shove a foot-long needle as big around as a pencil into their knee?
OK, so the needle only felt that big, but still, why?
Call it a desperate attempt to relieve chronic knee pain, pain that’s exacerbated by my new-found love of running.
Should you really care, the technical problem is called Chondromalacia patellae, the fancy-pants medical term for damaged and softened cartilage behind the kneecap.
In layman’s terms, the stuff behind the kneecap that is supposed to glide freely across your thigh bone is trashed, causing bone-on-bone contact that quite frankly, hurts like hell.
Running makes it worse.
So I whine to the orthopedic surgeon that my knee is swollen and hurts. He looks over at the MRI, looks back at me and says, “how much do you run a week?”
“20 – 30 miles. More if I’m training for a race.”
He looks me in the eye and says, “Yeah, unfortunately, there’s not much we can do for this. You’ve got a genetic issue with the way your knee joint is aligned, blah blah, you’re over 50, blah blah blah.” Then he drops this bomb…
You really should stop running.
Decades of slothdom (I just made that word up) that in no small part led to a heart attack at the ripe old age of 51, years spent hauling around 70+ extra pounds of flab, all of that mostly-cured by taking up running and now some guy with a needle in his hand is telling me I should stop doing the activity I’ve grown to love, and need.
“You really should stop running.”
BITE ME! I don’t want to stop running.
“So… what if I don’t stop?” I ask the doc.
“The pain will likely force you to. If you insist on running through it, you’ll destroy what little is left of the cartilage and you’ll need a knee replacement.”
“Well, f**k it then, just replace it now and let’s get it over with. I’ve had ortho’s telling me for three decades I’ll need a knee-replacement some day, let’s just get it done.”
“It doesn’t work that way. Your insurance will never cover the procedure until you’re basically incapacitated.”
“Fine, I’ll pay for it myself. What’s a new knee cost?”
Well, shit. Never mind…
I want to run, damnit. I need to run. It helps my body, and my head.
Apparently though, it’s hell on my knees.
The doc could sense my frustration, denial and yep, anger.
“There are other things you can do for exercise…” he says, somewhat tentatively.
Yeah, yeah. Walking, ride a bike, swim. I get that.
I want to run. Not walk, ride or glide. Run. Right down 4th avenue, past the crack-heads at 3rd & Pike, down to the waterfront, over the river and through the woods. I want to run until I’m exhausted, then run just a little bit more. I like waking up in the morning, tying on my shoes and hitting the road.
I want to run, but that’s becoming more and more difficult with each passing day.
It sucks. It’s frustrating, it makes me want to cry, hit something, curse and snuggle with my mommy while she pats my head and tells me everything will be OK.
Sure, being told you shouldn’t run isn’t the end of the world. Heck, someone is reading this and probably thinking, “A medical excuse not to run? Hallelujah! Score!”
But that’s not me.
Wah wah, life just isn’t fair sometimes, is it.
Note that’s a statement, not a question.
It’s not fair, and I’ll get over this. Just spending 15 minutes writing this has proved somewhat cathartic, as writing often does (and as is often the point in said writings).
There’s a big world out there, if I can’t run through it, I’ll find another way to explore, get healthy and clear my brain.
Unless someone wants to drop $60K to sponsor a knee replacement… 😉