Noilly Prattle: The mobility challenged leading the visually diminished...

Monday, May 7, 2012

The mobility challenged leading the visually diminished...

 ...or, less politically correctly, the crippled leading the blind

I had a knee injury issue last year and road buddy has chronic eye impairment. Not wanting to be a crotchety old fart who is always complaining about the slings and arrows of outrageous aging I tend to either ignore the inevitability and symptoms of physical deterioration as I get closer to the ending than the beginning or make bad jokes about them. In keeping with the spirit of this blog, I'll proceed with the latter and save the enigma of the title for later.

First, the knee thing. We spent the winter in Vienna last year. I started feeling an aching in my left knee and tried to ignore it, but bought a knee support as a precaution. One night in late January, returning from the opera, I was in serious pain and limping despite the knee support. Our credit card carries travel insurance and there was a doctor on their list in Vienna, so we called and made an appointment.

We didn't know the tram system very well yet, messed up, and were late for the appointment with me hobbling along on foot and she in a state of nervous anxiety. We were also new to cell phones and she couldn't make it work to call the doctor's office to apologize for the delay and was getting extremely frustrated and agitated. Meanwhile, we were in front of a post office and I went inside to ask directions. We were actually quite close to our destination, but when I exited the post office it looked like she was about to smash the damned cell phone on the sidewalk. Approaching cautiously and keeping out of range of flying cellphones I told her that the doctor's office was just up ahead and to the left; slowly she put the phone in her backpack and we proceeded to the doctor's.

The Austrian doctor and his Japanese wife were very understanding of our new-kid-on-the-block situation and we both calmed down and proceeded with the examination. I dropped my jeans and, while examining the knee, the doctor suddenly and without warning pressed on a spot on the inside just under the kneecap and I let out a yell. “Did that hurt?”, says he. “Uh-huh”, says I. “You appear to have a lesion on the cartilage that cushions the bones.” “How can you tell that?” “Because you yelled when I pressed on your knee.”

He wrapped the knee in an ace bandage—which I covered with my knee brace—and prescribed an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammation drug) called Seractyl, and recommended I get an MRI and see a specialist. I did, but not before going to Spain for a week—the flight and hotels had already been arranged—and continuing to walk on the heavily braced and NSAIDed knee which seemed to be improving. Back from Spain and the MRI. It confirmed the doc's diagnosis of a lesion and some deterioration in the cartilage cushion. And so to the specialist.

He and my doctor were friends and we both had an appointment on the same day. It turned out, ironically, that my doctor also had a bum knee. Well, to make a rather too lengthening story short, the specialist examined, pressed and prodded the knee and was encouraged to see that I was experiencing no pain but recommended crutches. I was a bit startled and asked why crutches since I had been walking all this time without them and the knee was improving? He thought it was better to keep weight off the knee until it was repaired. I asked him if I could expect a complete recovery and he said yes, but that the damage to the cartilage couldn't be replaced. But the body produces a substitute cushion that is almost as good if you take care of it.

I used the crutches, first two, then one, then none for a couple months or so. So far so good. I take one with me when I travel just in case. It also comes in handy for priority boarding on airplanes.

Next, the eye thing...


Knee Pain said...

Sorry to hear it from you, just don't give up and continue striving for your life. Hope you everything runs in a smooth way. God Bless.

Noilly Prattle said...

Thanks for your concern. Not to worry, though, I've decided to drop dead in the street of some exotic land of extreme old age. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I like your response, my friend. At least you have a visually impaired person by your side. I have knee and eye problems. When will they shoot me?

Onwards and upwards.