06 October 2015

Dreamer's World October 6 2015 - Bad Knees


Tuesday is here. I slept much better last night after the disaster that was Sunday night, so I feel much better this morning. The only problem was my knee was extremely sore, but I slept with the knee brace on it and there is no more pain this morning. I will monitor it before I start to walk later today. I hate walking with the brace on for any long distances, but I will if I have to in order to get as close to possible to my 10k step goal for today.
The knee injury came a long time ago. When I was in the Navy I was stationed in Alaska at a shore command. I was doing some maintenance on equipment outside and had one of the ladders specifically designed for those conditions which has long spikes to hammer into snow and ice to prevent the ladder from sliding away. I am happy to report that those ladders work UNTIL the entire block of snow and ice that it is nailed into decides to shift when you are on the ladder!
That is what happened to me. The block of snow and ice shifted. This caused the ladder to move away from the building where I was working. As the ladder suddenly moved, I was thrown off balance and my left leg went through the rungs of the ladder. The movement caused my upper body to move in a manner that pulled my knee through the rung at a sideways angle with my upper body weight bending it sideways. Luckily, the ice and snow block stopped before the ladder completely lost contact with the building, but I was hanging suspended with my knee bent sideways through the ladder rung.
My shipmates immediately got me down from the ladder and by that time my knee was screaming in pain. Although I was wearing BDUs (camouflage) my knee was swelling to the point of nearly bursting through the fabric. After the paramedics were called, I was nearly passing out from the pain. When the paramedics arrived, they had to cut the BDU pants from around my knee due to the swelling. By the time I got to the hospital, my knee looked like some type of hybrid cauliflower with the kneecap in the middle!
I was diagnosed with multiple ruptured tendons. I was told that it was a miracle that I had not completely torn the tendons completely, and that if the ladder had fallen all the way to the ground that I would have broken my leg right at the knee.
I was on crutches and pain medication for a month after that. Surgery was not necessary, but I was told that there would probably be times throughout the rest of my life that I would experience real pain in that knee. They were right. Last night was one of those times. There are no scars on my knee to indicate what happened, but when the pain returns at times, it doesn’t really matter.
Of course, a few years later I had almost the exact same injury to the other knee after I left the Navy. I was driving in Virginia Beach and saw an accident about to happen in front of me. It was the slow-motion train wreck that we cannot look away from. I was stopped at a light and as the accident proceeded in slow-motion (form my point of view) in front of me I instantly tensed up as most people would.
One of the cars involved was thrown in my direction and narrowly missed my car. I had instinctively put my foot on the brake even though I was already stopped. However I did this with such force that the tendons in my RIGHT knee ruptured! This time the injury wasn’t as obvious. After the police and medics had completed their work and the intersection was cleared and I had been interviewed about what I saw, I went on my way.
When I got home, I found that I could barely get out of the car and could put no weight on my right knee. I went to the ER and then found that I had sustained almost the identical injury to my right knee that I had suffered years earlier in Alaska on my left knee. The recover was the same, and so was the warning. So to this day, I have the chance of extreme pain in either or both knees without a lot of warning.
I have kept my knee braces through the years, and replaced them we necessary. At times like last night, I will get them out and put them on whichever knee if offending me at the time. When the pain strikes, it can be anything from an annoying twinge to a pain that makes me want to punch a building! Last night was a sharp stabbing pain in the back of my right knee that wouldn’t go away until I put the brace on and it finally warmed and stabilized the knee for a few hours.
We all get older. We all will have aches and pains that we deal with. I only hope that no one else has the trouble with their knees that I have had for 20 years now. It is no fun. I am glad that this didn’t happen when Hal was in his own recovery last week. It would have been awful to have me hobbling around to help him if he needed anything.
At any rate, the workday is over and I will get some walking in. I hope that the pain doesn’t flare up while I am out, it it does, I will just hobble home and put the brace on again.