Saturday, April 5, 2008

Gettin' Old Is Hard to Do...

I'll be turning 39 soon. The number itself doesn't bother me, but I am opposed to the aches and pains that go with it. I feel like I'm falling apart a little more each year.

At 30 it was a thyroid infection. Thirty-two found me fighting horrible post partum depression. At thirty-four I injured my shoulder while water skiing, and spent over a year rehabilitating my throwing arm. For my thirty-sixth birthday I hobbled about with plantar fascitis. And now as I approach 39, my knee has gone on strike.

I don't know what happened, really. On the last Tuesday in March, I ran around the church building with my Cub Scout Den (and came in second), and three hours later I suddenly couldn't walk right. The left knee had swollen and there was a painful click and pop with every step. Wednesday morning I went to a family practice doctor, who took x-rays, and couldn't see anything wrong. He prescribed ibuprofen, sent me to a physical therapist and made an appointment for me to see an orthopedist the next week. The physical therapist helped reduce the swelling some on Thursday afternoon, but I still had to limp around, dragging my left leg behind me like a zombie.

Against my better judgment, I went to my clogging class Thursday night. My original plan (and what I ensured Tom I would do) was to just sit and watch to learn the new steps. But I took my clogging shoes with me anyway. Why? Because I am not a sit and watch person. I am a highly competitive, impatient, perfectionistic person. I had to know if I could still clog, even a little bit. It went quite a bit better than I thought it would, actually. I did everything I could during class in a clumsy effort not to fall behind, and although my dancing was pretty ugly and there was some pain, I didn't feel any instability in the joint. Jessica had a good laugh watching me hop around like and idiot and got kicked in the patootie for her disrespect. I went home somewhat encouraged, and went to bed with bags of ice.

The ibuprofen seemed to help reduce the swelling, and by Saturday afternoon I was able to walk without that painful popping - which was huge to me. Monday morning I awoke with my leg feeling better than it had yet - and I went to see the orthopedist, feeling like a hypochondriac.

The orthopedist was optimistic; there's nothing structurally wrong, and while he suspects a minor cartilage tear, he thinks there's a really good chance the knee may heal on its own. So I'm to wait for 4 weeks, and if it's still giving me trouble, then he'll do an MRI.

In the meantime I'm supposed to stay off it as much as possible. Hah. I've cut clogging practice to once every other day or so, but I still need to walk around, climb stairs, and stand while cooking every day. This morning I did some light garden work, sat through four hours of conference, and stood for a couple hours while cooking, and tonight my knee is more painful and swollen than it's been in over a week. I was going to practice clogging after the second session of conference, but it was already so stiff and sore that I decided not to.

Maybe it's a two steps forward, one step back kind of deal. But I wonder how am I ever going to keep up in clogging while trying to rest this leg? Thursday's class was really frustrating, because already I'm falling behind and forgetting steps. I was mediocre at best when I had two good legs. Now I'll be the class idiot.

I've still got eight weeks before recital. Will it be enough?


  1. Oh my sweet friend... Is there anything we can do for you?

  2. What kind of advice would you give your child, or your father?

  3. You know what they say, old age is not for sissies. I agree it sucks to get old. That is a hard one about the cloggin though. I will send lots of happy healing thoughts your way. :)

  4. Well, instead of class idiot, you could wear a funny hat and be the class mascot.

    I'm sorry you're getting old and decrepit. And I'm really sorry you came in 2nd to a bunch of kids.

  5. there is no disrespect here. you are made of steel and are one of the toughest people i know. you are no where near being the class idiot. we love you and would be lost without you. I am glad you are a fighter and that you know that i love you. without you ...there would be no clogging class. YOU ROCK!

  6. I hope your knee feels better soon!