Third Petal: Skills — Part 2 of 7 Stories: My Knee

My knee hurt and I didn’t know why. It had been hurting for a while and the pain was excruciating whenever the left side of my knee compressed. You could hear it and it sounded crunchy when I bent it.

I have no idea how I hurt it. Maybe it was weightlifting, running, or playing football on the Drillfield at Tech, but it was so bad I stopped getting up to go eat. After the football incident, I was told to see a specialist. I researched what could be wrong and found a sports doctor. I didn’t put as much research into the person as I did into myself. He said that I had a cracked meniscus which is what I had also figured from reading online. He said the only way to fix it was knee surgery. It was expensive but I had it done.

After the surgery, my knee still hurt. Even after months of healing, it felt the same. The doctor said if I just did the physical therapy, which I mostly did, but I didn’t do it very religiously at home, it would be back to normal. I could do everything I did before.

Back in Richmond I researched a new doctor. This time I looked for the best one I could find. On the previous surgery I had an MRI done that showed the cracked meniscus. The operation required cutting some of it out. We did a new MRI and the doctor said there was no way to know what was wrong as there is already some meniscus missing. He recommended that from the symptoms I had and what he felt from my knee, that I would need surgery. First we tried more physical therapy and then a cortisone shot, but neither helped. I elected to have another surgery.

This time, the doctor said he removed over 60% of my remaining meniscus. He said I could NOT do everything I did before. Anything heavily straining on my knee would be bad for it. He said with physical therapy, I would stop feeling pain.

This time I worried a lot more than the previous time. The first surgery was botched, maybe the second one was too? I looked for the first doctor and I could not find him. His office no longer existed and I couldn’t find where he moved to. I kept coming in to see the 2nd doctor and questioning him. He did like that and would get somewhat upset and offended. He always gave me answers that I already knew the answers to. He wouldn’t tell me what I wanted to know. He would say my knee hurt because I didn’t do the physical therapy correctly or enough. I said I did, but I always doubted myself.

Eventually one day he was straight with me. He was angry and told me exactly what was wrong. He said my muscles had weakened on one side of my knee and that had moved my knee cap in such a way that it would hurt all the time. He explained it in technical terms and it made sense to me. After that I redid the physical therapy, and I focused on what I knew I needed to focus on to decrease the pain. After years of pain, one day the pain started leaving. In less than a month my knee barely hurt anymore. I still worry about my knee and, even years later, I try to keep up with physical therapy at home. When I do strain it to hard, I rest it, and I try my best not to worry. So far it hasn’t hurt like it did before and I feel better about it.