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Two Working Knees Are Overrated

Sooooo... I tore the meniscus in my knee. It's my left knee, and it's a pretty bad tear. I've been hobbling around with a cane and a knee brace on, trying to stay off my leg as much as possible. It ranges from sore to painful, it's especially hard to "watch" (all parents know that translates into "chase after") the kids, and I feel old--especially with my "old woman cane."

I'm having surgery on Friday, then I will be laid up in bed for a couple days, on crutches for a week or two and going through physical therapy for about 4 weeks. As frustrating as all that sounds, it's going to be WAY better than how it feels now and how limited I am now.

And doesn't it sound serious? Surely, you are thinking that I had some major accident, like a sports incident like Keri Strug. Or that I was fighting off criminals using some choice Krav Maga moves. Or simply that I was doing my own stunts, when I know there are people who are paid to do them!

Nope. In fact, I didn't even realize what I had done at first.

In the beginning of May, my knee started feeling like it was popping in and out of alignment when I'd try to stand up without first straitening my leg. So imagine you are sitting criss-cross-applesauce on the floor with your kids. Then you go to stand up. Your legs kind of unfold as you are standing, right? Not so much with mine. My left leg wouldn't unfold completely, and I couldn't put any weight on it at all. I had to sit back down, straighten in out, and then stand up keeping my left leg aligned straight.

Yeah, I know that doesn't sound right. But this is the knee I've had problems with since I as a young teenager. The cartiledge around my kneecap started wearing away back then, and I just assumed it was related to that issue. Once I had straightened my leg, it was as if there was never a problem. So no, I didn't go to the doctor then or really think much about it.

A couple weeks later, we went down to my inlaws. They live out in the mountains, with lots of beautiful woods, and it's very much the country. There is a long involved story (which ends with the fact that I am not to go walking around on my own down there), but the pertinent part is that I decided to hike up the steep hill from the bottom where I was to the top where my inlaws house is.

It was a lovely, though very hot, Saturday afternoon. It was so hot, that I realized I needed to walk in the shade. I turned as I was taking a step on the uneven ground to head to the shade over the path. My foot kind of slid or something, I'm not even sure. All I know is that my knee popped out while I was taking a step, and I couldn't take another step.

I don't think I've adequately gotten across what happened. YEOWZA!!! My knee just popped out of alignment! The STABBING PAIN!!! The inability to stand on my leg! I had to sit down, at the edge of the shade, still at the bottom of the hill, in a lot of pain, with NO ONE AROUND!

Fortunately, I was able to kind of massage it a bit and get it aligned right. Once aligned, I stood up no problem and hiked the whole way up the hill without any issues. Weird, yes. But then it was fine.

Until the next morning, when I tried to get up from the floor. It popped out, and did not go back in. I could not realign it again. I could not massage it away. I could not walk on it, and it was painful constantly. There was no more shrugging this knee issue away. Thankfully, my inlaws had a cane that they were able to lend me, which has been invaluable ever since.

Two doctor's appointments, one x-ray and one MRI later, we knew for sure it was a torn meniscus. An appointment with the orthopedic surgeon, another doctor's appointment, a blood draw and lots of paperwork later, I'm set to go for surgery on Friday. After lots of googling, talking with others who had torn meniscuses (menisci?), and conferring with the doctors, and I'm pretty sure I've figured out what happened.

In the early days of May, I was getting the kids set in the car to go to school. I was stretched across the Pumpkin's carseat in order to hand something to the Pookie in his carseat. I was stretched and turned and precarious, and then... the car door shut on my leg.

HOLY SMOKES! It hurt a lot!!! It was a big, heavy door, and my driveway is an uphill one, so there was lots of gravity added to the weight of the door. I had big bruises on both sides of my leg: shin and calf. In fact, I still have the bruise on my shin over 6 weeks later. I thought that was all it was, though, just bad bruises. I did not connect this incident with the issue about my knee popping in and out when I stood up until much later when I realized that the knee issue started about the same time as that.

The popping in and out was because part of the torn meniscus was getting into the knee joint, causing the "popping" feeling and preventing the knee from aligning correctly unless I realigned it first.

When I was hiking and did that funny thing to my knee, it actually made the tear in the meniscus worse and caused swelling and inflamation. I got it aligned and okay before the swelling and inflamation got too bad, so I was fine the rest of that day. But the next morning, when I didn't align my leg before getting up, the torn meniscus slipped into the knee joint and all that swelling and inflamation kept it from being fixed easily.

I've done my best to stay off my leg as much as possible since, but that is hard to do with two young children. Londo has taken on so much, and my family has really been amazing help. In addition, the Pumpkin has been pretty great help too. We call her "Helpie Girl" and she just lights up when she gets to help!

But I've had to cut back on all my plans for weekends, the family beach vacation, household projects, and the birthday party plans for the Pookie (whose birthday is tomorrow!). Luckily, I've been able to work from home. But I'm sick of sitting around the house and staring at all the things that I have to do but can't.

Not much longer until the surgery and hopefully a relatively quick recovery. Then I can jump back into enjoying summer with two working knees and two kiddos full of energy!


Lisa F. said…
Yowch! good luck with the surgery & recovery! I recently had a bout of severe foot pain that turned out to be plugged sweat glands on the sole of my foot...who knew?! you will feel great when it's over with and you are pain-free. enjoy the birthday festivities & try to enjoy the enforced leisure time.
hush said…
Oh my goodness! I hope your surgery goes well, and you make a quick recovery, too.

I can't believe Pookie is turning 2!!
Becoming Mommy said…
Ugh! dislocations hurt horribly!
I hope you have a quick recovery.
Cloud said…
Oh, ouch! I hope it gets better quickly. And it is sweet that Pumpkin is helping you so much.
mom2boy said…
That sounds painful indeed! Hope the surgery and recovery go well and you are back to full speed ahead in no time.

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