I took a nasty spill at work on Saturday. One of the guys started to build a little cabinet, but didn’t have enough time to finish it. No big deal. I figured I tackle it later. Well…later never came, so I went to move the cabinet out of my way, only to discover that it was less far along than I thought. Apparently, it was only being held together with the best of intentions. It collapsed when I moved it. I wasn’t prepared for it, and fell on top of it. My right hand came down on a cam bolt, a strong metal peg about an inch and a half long. My right knee came down on the edge of the genuine wood-like material (particle board) that made up the sides of the cabinet. Luckily, I had on my work gloves when this happened. Of the two injuries, the hand was complaining more. I was in a lot of pain, but I figured I’d probably be OK. Even still, I called in the injuries to workman’s comp.
Sunday, I gimped along. The hand had a nice bruise on it, but was feeling better. The swelling had gone down on the knee, but it was complaining quite a bit more than it had on Saturday.
Monday rolled around. It was clear that the hand was making a rapid recovery, but it couldn’t touch my knee below the kneecap, not even lightly. It felt as though something sharp and pointy was poking back at me from the inside, almost like broken glass. Not good. The knee supported my weight just fine, however I couldn’t bend it to kneel down, or squat down to pick anything up. If I did, on a scale of one to ten, ten being the worse, my pain was like a twenty-five. I have a high pain tolerance, but this sharp pain took my breath away. I don’t like going to the doctor, but I was fairly sure that I chipped the bone in my kneecap.
I called workman’s comp again. They sent me to the local clinic. I sat around for almost two hours. A nice, grandfatherly looking doctor poked and prodded at my leg, then sent me to get three x-rays of my knee.
At the end of this saga, the doctor sits me down and says, “I have some bad news.”
This is never a good thing, but even worse when you’re sitting in a doctor’s office. He sits down in front of me, allowing me to brace myself for whatever horrible discovery he’s found on my x-ray.
“You have…” he says with a long pause and a grave expression on his face, “arthritis.”
I think I must have looked confused, because he felt the need to clarify his findings.
“I’ve looked at your x-rays. You have arthritis in several places around the knee joint.”
This is where I’m sure I gave him my best, “Are you stupid?” look.
“I’m so sorry,” the doctor continues. “This isn’t a result of your injury, but from a lifetime of use.” His tone of voice suggests that I only have days left to live.
“Uh…huh…” I said, still sporting the classic, “Are you stupid?” expression. “OK. But I came in here because I got hurt at work. Is the kneecap broken or not?”
“Oh! No. It’s not broken, but it’s obvious you’re in extreme pain. You bruised a nerve when you landed on your knee. That nerve is interpreting the pain as if something sharp were touching it.”
“So, it’s not broken?”
“No. But you do have arthritis. In several locations.”
“But…it’s not broken.”
“It’s not broken.”
This is where I let out a sigh of relief. Even though it feels as though there’s something crunchy going on underneath my skin, I guess that’s just my body trying to throw some logical explanation to the nerve that got bruised. When I broke my arm, my nerves did something similar. The nerves in my arm interpreted the pain as “wetness.” My arm would randomly feel as though the skin on my arm was wet. This went on for weeks afterwards. I’d have the feel my arm to make sure the sensation wasn’t real. I kept thinking I’d popped my stitches.
The doctor told me to ice my knee and wants me to periodically rub the area with lotion, to help desensitize it. Did I mention that even the lightest touch sends me through the roof? I think that kind, gentle, elderly doctor might be working for Satan, but I could be wrong. Every time I think of “rubbing lotion” on the skin, I think of Silence of the Lambs. If it were any other bruise, I’d leave it alone and give it time heal up on it’s own. To me, that seems like the most logical course of action, but I’m not a “medical expert.”
I probably should have asked more questions about whole arthritis thing, because the doctor kept bringing it up, as if I have a fatal case of it. He looked really worried for me. That can’t be good, right? He asked me if I take anything for the “extreme pain” I’m in. I thought he was referring to my injury, but he seems to think I’m always in “extreme pain.” I had to tell him that when I’m not falling over broken pieces of furniture, or doing something slightly stupid, I usually feel pretty good.
My body’s no longer brand-new or anything, but I’m not showing that much mileage on it, not yet at least. Generally, I consider myself in good health! I stay really active. Once in a while, I take some Ibuprofen, but not every day. I don’t believe in filling my body with a bunch of chemicals, besides coffee. Most prescription drugs are too strong for me. I’m allergic to some, and a good chunk of them irritate my stomach.
I had to convince the doctor that I’m fine, otherwise. I was afraid that he wouldn’t let me leave and I had stuff to do! The kind, elderly dude seemed almost…disappointed, like he thinks I’m in denial. Seriously! I suppose they get a LOT of people looking to scam the system, looking for drugs or time off of work. I just wanted to be sure that I didn’t do anything really dumb, push myself too hard, and hurt my knee even worse. Two surgeries, in one lifetime, were more than plenty! Thank you! As long as the knee isn’t broken, I’m sure I’ll eventually be OK. Everyone has a few aches and pains! That’s just life. 😉
So…while I should be OK in about a week, somewhere, in the universe, there is now a doctor’s chart listing me as having arthritis. ARTHRITIS! Fan-freaking-tastic! Stupid chart! For some reason, this really bothers me. I HATE medical labels. I find them limiting. Hubby says that means I’m getting old, maybe older than him. He can be such a brat! Bah! In my mind, I’m still twenty-five, even if the calendar says otherwise.
OK. Ouchy knee wants some ice. Yeah, yeah…I hear you whining. If it’s not one body part demanding attention, it’s another. 🙂
Have a great day!