• Life

    Men of a Certain Age

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    Knee painful – skeleton x-ray, 3D Illustration medical concept.

    So, post visit to the orthopedic specialist, and the verdict is essentially the same as the prognosis I had for the last run of imaging when I was forty-ish, although little more advanced. I have generalized arthritis spread through that knee, more advanced than his average for my age, but I think I’d probably known that for quite a while, and that’s just a bonus. The right knee, of course, is currently healthy, and not even really a trace of arthritis as yet. So there’s that.

    There are also definitely the floaty bits that were there before, they haven’t really ground down, although they may or may not have migrated. It often happens with arthritis, and to the nature of the original injury, they’re completely expected. A little flair up here and there should be expected, but if I have another major event like this past one within the next couple of years, we will probably be doing a scope where we slice open the side of my knee and go fishing for some of those bits. Oh, joy.

    In the meantime the essential plan is to treat it properly. Don’t take up any high-impact sports. No running ever again unless I’m being chased by something dangerous. Low-impact activity is an excellent idea. Ice as required for minor flare ups, and stretching, lots of stretching. Most of which I should’ve been able to figure out on my own, I would think, without an extra set of doctor’s appointments. And yet, that doesn’t seem to have been the case. Middle aged stubbornness paired with youthful stupidity, I’ve been saying. The first one of those probably applies in a bigger way.

    So, a proper stretching regime, a proper exercise regime. It leaves me karate but avoids any high-impact stuff. So, fewer jumps, more intelligent kicks, and focus on the striking art. I’m not quite willing to let the kicks go away, of course, because I do still very much want several the more advanced kicks in my repertoire: hook, butterfly, axe. But, those are going to have to mostly be with my right leg. Which functions very well. My left will be good for a stable base 99% of time. And I can work hard to keep that number the high 90s for as long as possible.

    But getting back to running again is seriously no longer in my future.

    More walking, or cycling, both of which I can do indoors, maybe even some swimming. Elliptical is fine. But the marathons I was hoping to get back to someday, the triathlons I was hoping would be my next physical milestones, well, those are gone. And that had a sucks.

    But that’s getting older for you.

    I’m not that old yet, a mere 48, and expect, if I take care of myself, to get past a hundred. Looking at the advances of medical science and taking proper care of myself, maybe much longer. I might be more than half done, I might not, and I might even be just getting started. But, the older I do get, the more work is going to take to keep myself in a reasonable shape to continue doing things I want to do. So be it.

    I do keep coming back to that old poem. Do not go gently into that good night. Rage, rage at the dying of the light.

    Or, put in a more modern, social media context, because fuck aging, that’s why.

    Be well, everyone

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  • Life

    Taking Things for Granted

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    Knee painful – skeleton x-ray, 3D Illustration medical concept.

    Human beings tend to take a lot of things for granted.

    It’s not a matter of faith or knowledge or hope or anything, but an underlying assumption that what is right now will always be. How we reconcile that in our own heads with another well-known axiom that change is constant is a question somebody far smarter than me is going to have to answer. I can make guesses on things based on my experience, but what it really needs is a whole lot of experts on human psychology, biology, and probably at least one or two other fields.

    But the fact remains that we take a ton of stuff for granted.

    Case in point: me, right now.

    When I was 16 or so, and in those days there was still a bit of roughhousing considered appropriate even at that age, I got thrown harder than my attacker intended and landed badly, knocking my left knee out of joint in a bad way. Being a 16-year-old boy, I ground my teeth, got two friends to help me mostly stand up, and slammed it back into place with my fist. Right, thank you, carry on, gentlemen.

    It was certainly tender for a while, but healed quickly since I was young after all. And the idea that there might’ve been long-term damage didn’t setting until much, much later. In my 20s, was the occasional irritation, in my 30s, it was more than irritation, and that carried into my 40s. But not far my 40s, not far at all.

    At its worst in my 30s, I actually had some imaging done, and they were able to tell me that there were some free-floating cartilaginous bodies behind my kneecap that every so often got stuck someplace and had to work itself losing. They would, one hoped, grind down over time until they were no longer an issue. Alternately, there was the possibility of some relatively minor surgery to crack open my knee, take the offending bits out, and let it heal. This so long as it didn’t get any worse, was not really considered an option of time.

    And then, a year or so later, I stopped having the every few months flare up. And it’s probably been six or even seven years since I had my last issue. I was in the clear, but, a couple of weeks ago, when the twinges started, I knew exactly what they were and so started to baby it a little bit. A little heat, a little ice, you know the drill. Except it didn’t go away, and actually got worse, until it drove me to the bench in a karate class, which has never happened before and made me kind of angry.

    Since the incident, my left knee has never been fully mobile compared to my right, and my lack of flexibility on top of that probably didn’t help much, although the tight tendons typically would help the kneecap in place better, but it was functional and let me do whatever I wanted to do.

    See, right there, taking current normal for granted and assuming that it will continue to be normal for the indefinite future. And it was, for a while, until it stopped.

    My current normal is that I don’t enjoy stand when both legs are involved, and walking for more than a few steps is not recommended. I’m in considerable pain most of the time, and since I’m most of the time too stubborn to take painkillers, that’s not really changing. The thing is, I have done painkillers couple of times, and I think they’ve made me careless. It doesn’t hurt, so I can do more. Except, even without the painkillers, I’m doing too much, because I’m stubborn.

    Youthful stupidity combined with middle-aged stubbornness. Good mixture for making an old injury worse, which I’m certain is what I’m doing at this point. Luckily, I have a doctor’s appointment the middle of next week, which was supposed to be a sort of semiregular blood pressure checkup, and now is going to be all about the knee. Well, the checkup will probably still happen, but to my mind it will be quick and cursory to make sure I have no other major issues and then we’ll move on to my real problem.

    The fact that has gone on for three weeks now and has not only not gotten better, but it’s gotten worse, the whole not being able to walk very well thing is about a week old, and is leading me down the mental path that’s that surgery that was not recommended in my late 30s is probably almost a guarantee now in my late 40s.

    I saw what really wasn’t an entertaining meme a while back: “Welcome to your 40s. If you do not have a mysterious ailment, one will be assigned to you.” Except, mine is not so mysterious and I already had it. I don’t know if that makes me ahead of the meme or not.

    Be well, everyone.

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