Ten Things I Learned in School Today

Ok, not in school, but at the doctor's office.  Yesterday I had a consultation with a knee specialist from Hong Kong. I learned a lot:

1. Having an MRI in hand whey you visit the knee doctor saves tons of time.  Without them he would have given me his best guess about the problem.  Then he would have told me to get an MRI and make another appointment for the next time he's in town.

2.  My knees are a mess.  The doctor was polite and tried to talk in terms I could understand when describing what he saw in the MRI, but the gist of it all was "man, these knees are a mess!"

3.  The mess includes very little cartilage left, jagged bone spurs and tendonitis surrounding the knee.

4.  The underlying cause of the mess is a kneecap that is out of alignment (since birth).  For 50 years this rebel kneecap has been chewing away at the cartilage and causing bones to scrape and generally making the mess described above.

5.  Both kneecaps are out of line, but the right one is the real troublemaker.

6.  Simple arthroscopic surgery will not help. There's not enough cartilage to 'clean up.'

7.  Knee replacement is overkill.

8.  There is a middle way, namely a 3-step surgery.  Step 1:  clean up what little cartilage is there and smooth off the jagged bones.  Step 2:  poke the bones with a sharp instrument, thereby causing them to bleed into the joint cavity.  when the blood (and other gunk) hardens they form a cartilage-like cushion.  Step 3:  move the kneecap to where it should have been in the first place.  When I asked the doctor what would prevent it from wandering off again, he said "3 screws." Then he showed me a picture of recent similar surgery he'd done and I almost fainted.

9.  This would require me to be on crutches for 3 weeks, followed by 3 months of physical therapy.

10.  Massage is a good immedate therapy for the tendonitis aspect of the mess.  This means I will now be making more regular visits to the neighbhorhood foot massage place for knee massages.

So there you have it.  I learned lots of stuff today.  As you can imagine, I've got some decisions to make in the coming weeks.

I'm glad I don't have to make them today.  It's too hot.