Here we go again. No not another knee. This is the first. In January of 2003 I woke from a Sunday afternoon nap with paralyzing pain in my neck and shoulders. After a few days I attempted playing basketball with my normal gang on Friday mornings. Not the best idea. I could not grip with my left hand.
Dr. O’Brien is part of our morning crew. I told him of my symptoms. He suggested I see him that morning. An x-ray revealed a damaged cervical disc. March 1 of that year I underwent a cervical fusion with success thanks to Dr. Smith. The pain was gone. Three months later I was back to playing basketball and golf.
Several months ago my right knee began bothering me. It hurt whether playing basketball or not. So, I played. After Christmas it got worse. Rest did not help. I contacted Dr. O’Brien again. An x-ray and then an MRI. I sat in his office on Wednesday afternoon to hear the news. “You have a big tear in your medial meniscus. I can scope it and fix it.” I expected as much. I did not expect what came next. “But, you have other issues.” He went on to describe a fairly severe case of arthritis. He could not promise my current symptoms would go away with the scope but that it was still necessary. I looked at Dr. O’Brien and suggested I would exit the exam room and re-enter and entertain another diagnosis. He laughed. I did too. The encouraging word? I am still too young for knee replacement. Now that is good news. I think. As I reflect on that exchange, it does seem he means one day I will no longer be young enough to “not” need a knee replacement.
So, in a couple of weeks I will have the cartilage repaired and hope the symptoms go away or at least abate a bit. The few hours I can sleep without pain are not near enough.
And, there is still the matter of more basketball and more golf to consider . . .