Well not “The” end, but there is an end in sight.
24 hours from now a long and painful journey with a screwed up knee comes to an end as I will have a total knee replacement performed by Dr. Shannon.
It began with about 2 years of misdiagnosis in the Army while stationed at Fort Campbell. I was consistently diagnosed with “jumper’s knee” although I knew there was a helluva lot more to it than just tendonitis. The standard treatment was an industrial-sized bottle of “Ranger Candy” (800mg Motrin), an Ace™ Bandage, a set of crutches, and a one week PT profile to rest the knee. After a flight surgeon finally recognized that that had torn 2 ligaments in my knee, I was discharged with medical disability.
I then began my 25-year captivity in the VA medical system with 9 surgeries to correct all of the ligament damage. The first surgery was December 19, 1990. The dates of the rest are lost somewhere in my head, but I’m sure can be found in my medical records after filling out 5 different request forms and waiting the standard 90 days to get anything from the VA.
Having had such terrible experiences with the VA since 1990, I decided to go to my own Ortho Doc. After getting x-rays and MRIs done, we have found that there is a lot more damage in the knee than initially thought. I’ll spare you the gory details, but the incorrect diagnoses and treatment I received in the Army and then the number of surgeries I have had left the knee in pretty bad shape. A lot of bone bruising, no cartilage, arthritis, and bone damage.
I was hoping to get a new knee that would play MP3s and Blu-Rays, with 4G XLTE and 802.11ac connectivity, and Quad HD screen resolution, but I guess I’ll settle for the shininess of the new bling (even though I won’t be able to see it…) and be happy with the fact that after recovery I’ll be pain free for the first time in nearly 10 years. (Wonder where the knee components were made… any bets on China?)
I’ve even come up with an idea for a new tattoo after everything heals! I want to have bio-mechanical gears tattooed on each side of the knee and the scar tattooed to look like a zipper. If my old high school friend Derek was planning a trip back to the states with some of his gear, he’d be my choice to do the work. (How ’bout it Dex, got any travel plans?) The only problem is that if I need future surgeries the tattoos will get messed up, and I can’t have that!
The other tattoo idea I had actually came from a dream where the hospital made me design and build my own new knee to have implanted. But I’m not sure how cool a tattoo of a knee made from an Erector Set would look. Ha!
So, another 23 hours or so of anxiety before the big “TKR14″ show. Gonna be about worthless at work, so it’ll be a lot of Hair Band stuff on Pandora while I try to keep my mind occupied and also try to get something accomplished before I have to take several weeks off of and be a pain in the neck to my wife who will have to take care of my crippled ass for a while.
I’m sure in the very near future you will all be seeing some drug-induced quips and random thoughts. Until then, stay safe!
“My scars remind me that I did indeed survive my deepest wounds. That in itself is an accomplishment. And they bring to mind something else, too. They remind me that the damage life has inflicted on me has, in many places, left me stronger and more resilient. What hurt me in the past has actually made me better equipped to face the present.” ― Steve Goodier