Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Still Gimpy

Good Lunch

Adjusted Crutches

So here it is mid-week and I'm still nursing this wonky left knee. I was having a bit of cabin fever today so I drove out to Lime Fresh Mexican Grill for lunch with my wife. I ate one of their queso burritos and my wife had their fish tacos. I've come to prefer Lime Fresh over Tijuana Flats. It was great to get outside into the really nice weather.

When last we looked, I'd spent an eight-hour stint in the emergency room Sunday at Florida Hospital South near Winter Park. I managed (via my wife's persistence on the phone) to get into an MRI facility late Monday evening (8:30pm) so they could scan my left knee. I managed to get in after my wife went to a physician's office in the area that knew her, and the nurses at that office called back to the charge nurse at the ER I'd been in on Sunday. So for an hour and a half, 45 minutes of which was spent clamped down and stuck in the noisy-as-hell MRI machine (I was wearing ear plugs), I had my old and busted left knee relentlessly scanned for yet another set of images.

Remember that while at Florida Hospital South I was X-rayed, sonogrammed, and CT scanned. Unbeknownst to either my wife or I, Florida Hospital South had an MRI machine on the premises, but due to a recent policy change they would not conduct an MRI out of the emergency room. So I was sent out of the ER without a complete understanding of what was wrong with my knee. I did get a script for a pain killer and an anti-inflammatory, as well as a script to go somewhere else for the MRI. As well as a pair of crutches that weren't adjusted quite right (they were too low).

The MRI has been read and interpreted and I've got an appointment for November the 29th for an orthopedic surgeon to tell me what's definitively wrong, hopefully in words small enough for me to understand. In the mean time I get to gimp and clomp around town on crutches, living on meds, until I can see this guy.

What is sad about this is the process. The current process reminds me of what I went through in 1972 when I broke my right knee in a gymnastics class while attending Ga. Tech. I broke it on a Friday, was taken to the infirmary where I was told my knee was merely sprained, lived through hell until the following Wednesday when I saw an orthopedic specialist, who put me immediately in a hospital and operated on me the next day. When he was finished I had two pins in my femur and a loop of wire around the kneecap, which had also been fractured. Before that my knee had swollen to the size of a grapefruit and nothing outside of morphine could dampen the pain. I wore a plaster cast from crotch to toes for seven weeks. This problem with my left knee isn't nearly as bad, but the process of trying to find relief is just as Kafkaesque today as it was nearly 40 years ago.

Unofficially it looks like a lot of osteoarthritis in the joint and a couple of tears in the meniscus tendons (i.e. torn cartilage). If that's true it means at a minimum more meds and physical therapy.

Ah. My beloved wife just returned with a copy of the MRI report. Here's what the MRI report has to say:
Technique:
An ultra-high resolution MRI scan of the left knee was performed on the new GE short bore whole body 3-Tesla Excite MRI system with coronal fast spin echo T1, coronal, sagittal, and axial fast spin echo T2 with fat saturation, and sagittal fast spin echo proton density sequences.

Findings:
There is degenerative tearing of virtually the entire body and posterior horn of the medial meniscus touching the superior and inferior articular surfaces as well as a small displaced flap tear from the body of the medial meniscus extending towards the intercondylar notch... There is marked degenerative arthrosis of the medial tibiofemoral joint space.
Lovely. Just lovely. Sounds damned impressive though, doesn't it? Especially the technique part. I just wish I knew how I did that much damage. Now I get to wait for two weeks for an Official Opinion and Recommended Course of Action. Stay tuned!

Technical

Photos taken with the KT Olympus E-1 with the Sigma 30mm 1:1.4 lens. I would have walked in with my camera, but my wife insisted on me using the crutches. She does get that way sometimes. She carried the camera in for me. I took the photos.

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