I’ve been taking it easy since the whole ten miler debacle. After the first few days my knee seemed to be improving, but I didn’t want to push it. I went to my weight training class, but did not do lunges. I did ok on the elliptical and the exercise bike, but my knee got tired and sore toward the end, so I didn’t do as much as normally would. I skipped spinning class. And really, laziness seemed like a decent course of action for a couple of weeks. I didn’t want to go to the doctor, and I was hoping everything would just clear up with time. Then last Sunday, a massive rainstorm hit while I was at Target. It had been raining all day, but this storm was nuts. You could hear the rain slamming in to the roof, and the thunder rumbling outside, even way at the back of the store. Naturally, I was parked at the end of the parking lot, and I had left my umbrella in the car. It wasn’t a terribly cold rain though, so I decided to go for it, and ran across the parking lot with my cart full of stuff. It actually felt good to run! But then within five minutes my knee started to throb, and I knew I had a problem.
Monday morning I called the orthopedist, and was able to get an appointment for Friday. The visit was fine, but it encapsulated everything I hate about going to the doctor. I saw the doctor for about seven minutes. I was there for an hour and a half. First came the time in the waiting room. I had to fill out forms, and then I got to wait. They had three magazines in the waiting room. Twenty plus chairs for people to sit in, mostly full, and two issues of Parents and a copy of Highlights to occupy their attention. The perfect selection for an infertile like me, and all the old people getting their hips replaced. I amused myself sending cranky and bored emails and listening to the other people in the waiting room. One woman with her arm in a sling was giving her husband all the information for her form. I had to laugh when she flat out lied about her weight to him at one point. I mean, sure, fudge five pounds or so (who doesn’t?), but she underestimated her weight by a good 30 pounds.
I finally got to go back to wait in the exam room, where they did have a decent magazine supply. The nurse was very friendly and efficient and took me off to get x-rays without wasting any time. Then it was back to the exam room to wait for the doctor. He zipped in, listened to my story, had me stand so he could look at my knees, and then had me lie down on the table so he could check range of motion. And then he pushed on one particular spot and asked, “Does that hurt?” Yep, it sure did. You can bend my knee any which way you want, but don’t push on that spot, and don’t ask me to do weight bearing stuff.
According to the doctor, I either have torn cartilage in my knee, or I have an “irritable kneecap.” Who knew kneecaps could even get irritable? If I have torn cartilage, I have to have surgery. If I have an irritable kneecap, I have to strengthen my quads and avoid certain types of activities. For example, I could still run, but I’d have to avoid hills and run on a treadmill. Oh, darn. Although I will admit that as Becky and I trained for the ten miler, I began to see the appeal of outdoor running. Just not in my neighborhood which is too damn hilly. For now I am forbidden to do lunges and squats and I’m supposed to take it easy on stairs. My knee is still sore, and it spends a lot of time feeling hot inside and getting stiff, but I’m not limping anymore.
The next step is to go get an MRI. I’ve never had an MRI, and I’m not particularly looking forward to it, although at least he said I could get one of the open ones. Being stuck in a tube and not being able to move while a machine makes loud noises at me is not my idea of a good time. I also don’t particularly want to have knee surgery, so let’s all root against torn cartilage. In fact, the notion of having a bitchy kneecap kind of appeals to me. Perhaps I can use it to threaten people. “Don’t cross Bad Penguin,” they’ll say. “She seems really nice, but her kneecap will cut you.”