Sunday, September 24, 2006

News and Notes

First, The News (both good and bad.)

As I have noted in prior posts my old knees have created havoc with my life. I was told by the good folks at the local VA hospital that I needed surgery on my right knee owing to a torn miniscus. They also told me that they had a lengthy waiting list, and it could take upwards of 18 months before I reached the top.

Happily, I got a call a week or so ago from the office of a local orthopedic surgeon that the VA had contacted them, and I was to come in to arrange for a diagnosis and treatment. The VA has arranged for outside physicians to accept some of their patients in need of orthopedic surgery. I made an appointment and went to the clinic last Thursday. That's the good news.

After the doctor looked over my x-rays and my MRI he determined that my miniscus is more or less shredded, some of it missing, and much of my articulate cartilage has worn away. I have moderately advanced osteo-arthritis in both knees and the miniscus in my right knee is a mess. At the very least, I need an arthroscope on the right knee to clean up the miniscus. The doctor also feels that I will eventually need to have both knees replaced owing to the arthritis that will likely continue to progress. That sucks.

I have lived more than 60 years never having spent a night in a hospital (excepting, I presume, at birth.) I still have my tonsils, my appendix, all my appendages for that matter, and most of my teeth. The prospect of the scope doesn't overly concern me. It's likely that I will only be down for a few days at most, perhaps only a couple if all goes well. But knee replacements put you down for weeks, months even. I can't do that as long as I'm working, and I can't see myself retiring anytime in the next 10 years or so unless we hit the Lotto or some such.

I do have the possibility of taking cortizone injections that can ease the pain temporarily. There has been some recent experimental work on injections of a medium which may foster cartilage regrowth, but access to that is very limited and likely years away until it could be widely available, and that's only if it works.

I am taking a Glucosamine/Chondroitin compound, which supposedly encourages new cartilage growth, but the jury is still out on whether it's doing any good. Some recent studies have claimed that it has no detectible positive effects. The surgeon seems to believe that it may be of some help.

All of this is rather depressing. I had started walking in earnest, and as my devoted readers (either or both of you) may know, I walked in the Indy Mini Marathon last spring. Actually, that is likely how I chewed up my miniscus. But I had gotten into a groove of sorts, and I had really come to enjoy distance walking. Unless things change drastically for the better, I will likely not be able to continue strolling about the neighborhood.

I know this is not tragic or earth shaking. I guess it is just a part of moving toward my "golden years." I just hope I don't have to hobble my way into the sunset.

Notes: I find it difficult to fathom with what disdain the Bush administration holds the American people. How cynical can people be? With just a couple of months till the mid-term elections, and a number of congressional republicans in hot water, Bush and his boys bring a dozen or so captured terrorists from various of the secret prisons the CIA maintains around the world to the Guantanamo internment camp (Gitmo) announcing that they are to stand trial for their crimes.

Of course several months ago, when the media made public the allegations that these CIA prisons (or whatever they are) were out there, Bush, etal denied their existence. Now, since it seems that they might make some political hay out of them, they own up. They really hate us. All of us. Political power is their only real concern. What other rabbits might they pull out of their hats? Lower gas prices?

Is Osama dead? We can only wish, I suppose. It seems unlikely that we will ever know. It is just as unlikely that we will ever find him if he still draws breath. In the larger scheme of things, it doesn't really matter. Osama is probably no more than a figurehead with nominal ability to direct any terrorist operations. Dead, he becomes a martyr, giving his minions heart to go win one for the Gipper. The terrorist movement has taken on a life of its own apart from Osama and company, thanks be to our invasion of Iraq. It bolsters terrorist recruitment efforts far better than any "Osama Wants You" posters could accomplish.

Watched a DVD of the film "Capote" last nite. Rather depressing, but an excellent movie.

Stay happy campers.



Zoe said...

Sorry about the knees Terry. :(

If you do go for the joint replacement I highly recommend you buy a glider rocker or borrow one for your recovery. They are great for keeping the joint moving post-surgery.

A way of doing your own physio-therapy at home post-surgery in addition of course to the physio you'll have to do with a professional.

jazzycat said...

Sorry to hear about your knees being worse. I Hope it works out for you and you can keep good mobility.


Dar said...

Hi Terry,
Thanks for visiting my blog. I've enjoyed reading some of your posts, both old and new.

Good luck with your knees. There is an implant device on the market for pain releif from Medtronics. My uncle (age 55) has had several spinal operations and was in pretty bad shape. This remote controlled joint/muscle stimulator works wonders for him. I don't know if it would work on the knees, but it's worth checking out.

Thanks again for stopping by. I look forward to hearing from you again.

Terry S said...


Welcome to my little corner of the blogosphere.

The problem with the knees as I noted is osteo-arthritis which is basically the wearing away of the articulate cartilage - the cartilage which coats the ends of the upper and lower leg bones. As the cartilage wears away there is increasing direct contact between the bones.
(I was really surprised to discover that the articulate cartilage is several times slicker than ice.)

I believe that the Medtronics device works on the nerves. I also don't know if it is applicable to the knees.

I guess we have a mutual blogging friend in Zoe. I've stolen a lot of good material from her.

I will look in at your place from time to time. I like to hear myself type, so I'll probably make a bunch of overly verbose comments.
Just slap my virtual knuckles if I get carried away.

Hope you come back here from time to time as well.