On 25 January 2012, my left knee seized. That's right .... it locked up.
No accident. No injury. Didn't fall off a step-ladder or a mountain. The
leg just locked up with incredible pain. Couldn't move the knee in either
direction until the ortho guy shot it up with steroids.
The MRI showed that the cartilage had worn away and the miniscus (pad
between the bones) was torn. The principal villian here is arthritis which
runs in my family. Lots of biathlons, triathlons, marathons, obstacle
courses, squats, mountains and 321 parachute jumps also contributed. I've
probably put 10 million miles on that knee. During the previous 2 months,
I had done a lot of climbing on steep mountains like Koko Crater, Koko
Head and the Koolaus plus a ten mile hike with our son and his bride.
There were a few clues when my knee started "nibbling" at me
with pain, but I thought I could walk my way through it as I have often
done before, but when it locked, I knew I was in for a different experience.
That's the problem. So far, my solution has been 3 shots of an artificial
synovial fluid called "Supartz" directly into the knee ... which
didn't work. Many hours on the stationary bike and nordic elliptical to
maintain cardio-vascular fitness plus lots of weight training and swimming,
but walking has not been in my agenda for almost 5 months. I have arthroscopic
surgery scheduled tomorrow and the doc is giving me a 50/50 chance of
"status que ante", ie, being able to walk again without canes
If this operation doesn't work, the next and final option is a knee replacement
which probably won't happen soon. I'm going into the surgery with a positive
and optimistic attitude because I've had 8 other surgeries on conditions
that would not have healed without the surgery: ganglions in both feet,
a seized "trigger thumb", a bone spur in my right shoulder,
plus a few other little nasties like plantar facscitis and lower back
pain that needed the knife and/or therapy. All 8 of those surgeries and
all the therapies were successful, so I'm cautiously optimistic on this
I'm sharing this with you and Tim, so that other classmates, who might
experience the same problem will realize that this condition is not as
uncommon as people might think. Since my knee went out, I have met a LOT
of people, particularly paratroopers and other infantry soldiers who have
the same condition. Some of them have been suffering from this since their
late 40's. I didn't get hit until I was almost 66, so I should be counting
my blessings ... and I am. I'm also grateful that I'm not living in a
place like Nigeria or Bangladesh because when those folks get hit with
an injury or sickness, prayer is often their ONLY solution.
One way or another, I hope to fight my way out of this, but just wanted
to let our fellow old folks know that life sometimes has surprises that
we don't think about ... until it hits us. If you have any spare prayers,
I could use a few.