Friday, April 15, 2011

Oh, Susanna, With a Problem on My Knee

Two weeks ago on an airplane I reached up to put my suitcase in the overhead rack, turned to take my seat, and did something terrible to my left knee. For a while I did nothing about it, not knowing what to do (ice? heat? wrap? rest? walk it through?) The knee got worse. Eventually I went to a doctor, who sent me to a physical therapist.

I didn't tear my meniscus (until this happened I didn't even know I possessed a meniscus. Or, more accurately, two). This is good because it means I don't need surgery. The meniscus is, however, strained and "profoundly irritated," an image I like because I picture the ball of cartilage in there scowling furiously. So now I must do exercises, take anti-inflammatories, refrain from jogging (which I wasn't doing anyway), and take the dog on only very short walks. The dog will not like this. However, her menisci are fine, so she'll have to give way.

Good thing I'm a writer instead of, say, a dancer. Writers have a long shelf-life, even if some of our bits and pieces become battered. In fact, a study I read recently compared when people in various professions on average "peak": do their best and most original work. Writers are the last to peak. Physicists and mathematicians peak earliest; often they have their most original insights in their twenties, and then spend the rest of their careers exploring the implications of those insights. With or without working menisci.


EA Hirsch said...

It's nice to think that my best years are ahead of me. :) Good luck with your knee! Being immobilized, even a little, can be terrifically frustrating.

John D. said...

Yikes! Get well soon, Nancy!

Bryan H. Bell said...

Get well soon!

I can understand your situation somewhat. I just finished six months of physical therapy following surgery for a torn rotator cuff (shoulder). I had a fantastic therapist. I worked my butt off dutifully doing all the stretches and exercises my PT recommended. Now my shoulder works just fine with no pain. Listen to your PT!

The upside is that doing all the exercises got me motivated to begin a regular fitness regimen so I can decrease my chances of other injuries as I age. I've lost weight, significantly lowered my cholesterol, got a bit stronger, and feel much better.