Wednesday, 3 November 2010

An Unexpected Letter

Before I explain the unexpected letter, I think a brief explanation is necessary.

Mid December 2009

While playing golf, my left foot slipped backwards and my knee twisted underneath me. I knew immediately something was wrong. Intense sharp pain and my knee buckling as I tried to walk never mind run. The pain gradually got less but I tried running every 2-3 weeks and even as late as May I was struggling to go any further than half a mile and the sharp pain and buckling would return.

So a decision was made at end of May, no more messing about with a run here and there it was needing a longer recovery period so complete rest from running.

No running at all in June and July and by mid August I decided to try some walking and jogging. The pain wasn't too bad and I gradually increased the distance and number of runs.
Just prior to starting back in August, I went to my doctor and he wanted me to see an orthopaedic doctor as he wasn't happy with the knee. A number of weeks later an x ray and meeting with the Consultant resulted in him saying he was concerned and he wanted an MRI scan to be booked. I was in two minds whether to bother as I was now running 3-5 miles a few times a week and telling myself it was okay.

At the beginning of October I went off for my MRI scan thinking this is a waste of time and I nearly never went. I had the scan and continued to run up to 5 times a week now and a few runs up to 8 miles. The knee was not 100% but most of the runs were not too bad and afterwards I had no real discomfort, but sometimes playing golf resulted in me limping as it would start to ache. I was out running 5 miles last Wednesday and over the last 3 miles my knee was locking and quite sore. This was the first time since mid August that this had happened.

After the run it was fine and then the post arrived with a letter confirming I was booked in for an operation on the 15th of November. There was also a second letter advising me that I had to attend for a pre-op assessment on 3 November. First reaction was what the **** was the operation for as there was not a word in the letter saying what I was going in for! I had no idea what was wrong and I had yet to receive any results from the MRI.

I phoned the Consultant's secretary and she said I was sent out a letter a few weeks earlier telling me that I have a tear in my cartilage (meniscus) and I would require keyhole surgery to repair it. Well the letter must have got lost and I received another one the next day. I was asked to come in and speak to the Consultant and he would discuss the surgery and recovery period.
I was not expecting the results from the scan to result in me needing surgery and I have swayed back and forth all week about what to do, but I am only 46 years old and after talking to the doctor today I have decided to get it done. He said to continue running if I wanted as long as I was not in pain - which I am not, but sometimes if I turn or twist the wrong way I can end up limping around with my knee throbbing like toothache. The thing is running has not been too bad and my knee has improved so much since January, but that might be it as cartilage doesn't repair itself very easily. So November the 15th at 7.45am key hole surgery to my left knee.

The recovery period is not too bad and I was told today that I can drive in 2-3 days and start jogging in 2-3 weeks. Golf is going to be 2 months due to the strain and twisting motion. So that is not what I planned but that is the way things go and on the other hand I now know what has been causing all the pain for months. Today I attended a pre-op assessment clinic which I passed with flying colours. Pulse was mid 50s, very good blood pressure, good results for an ECG. The Consultant also said that the scan showed no other damage and all other parts of the knee looked good. He said that due to my fitness and muscle bulk around the knee that my recovery would be quick. So I am going to continue with a few runs a week up to the 15th and get on with it.

When I left the hospital today I went to the Marie Curie Hospice to visit my friend who is terminally ill. He was drugged into a sleep with pain relief and it was very sad to watch him lying there looking so ill.

That visit brought home just how insignificant a sore knee is and that sometimes we all get too wrapped up in our own world and lose sight of other things and people about you.

For those who are not too squeamish, below is the procedure to fix a tear in a meniscus.

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