Monday, February 20, 2012


Lately, I’ve been bothered by knee pain.  I didn’t fall, or hurt it in some sort of accident. It just hurts. A lot. When I do a lot of walking, it hurts more. And I like to walk.  I’m not the type of person who can’t deal with pain. I’m a woman, not a man. If my husband doesn’t feel “100%,” he senses that something must be wrong and calls a doctor. I, on the other hand, have no idea what feeling 100% is.  Must be nice, that’s all I know.  I pretty much go at about 84%.  That just works for me.  But after a couple of months of whining about my knee, my family pleaded with me to call a doctor.

So, easy…go see a doctor, you say.  My brother David happens to be a doctor; an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in knees.   The only problem with that is that he lives and practices three thousand miles away in New Jersey.  He’s good, but not that good that he can diagnose my pain from such a distance. My brother David is also a man of great wit.  I knew if I asked him about the pain in my knee, I would also be giving him a fabulous opening line for that great wit.  I approached the subject gingerly, asking him instead, what to look for in a good orthopedist and if he happened to know any out here in California. He was kind, gave me some good recommendations, and I made an appointment.

Off I went to my appointment.  Did you know that they have shorts, made in that same paper material that you have to put on when you get a physical? You know, those “gowns” you have to put on that you don’t know whether to leave open in the front or the back, and invariably you’ll get it wrong and embarrass yourself?  Well, let me tell you, I was rocking these shorts, with one leg wide enough for both to fit in. Even mine.  What would be so wrong with cute yoga shorts? You know, with the tops that fold down in a contrasting color? Would that be so terrible? It’s bad enough that you have to be half undressed in front of someone you don’t know. At least you could look halfway decent with cute shorts.

Anyway, after he poked, prodded, twisted and turned my knee, after a few winces and ouches on my part, he concluded an x-ray was the next step. After a few minutes, we looked at the x-rays, which basically told him nothing. Aside from looking pretty cool, I had no breaks, or spurs or anything in my bones that could be causing my pain. Next step was an MRI.

I thought I had had an MRI before at some point in my life. Can’t remember exactly when or what for, but I think I had one. I certainly saw enough on TV. Maybe that’s what I was remembering.  I’m not claustrophobic and I don’t care about loud noises, so the prospect of an MRI was not bothering me.  Off I went to my next appointment.  Please understand. I get a physical every year. I’ll see a doctor when I have bronchitis and can’t stop coughing and my husband drags me to one. Two appointments in one week is a rarity for me.

I knew the drill.  No metal. So I had to remove my nose stud and belly button ring. Kidding. I rocked some seriously beige scrubs for this test. Really? Why not pink? I’ve even seen doctors in purple scrubs. Jeez.  When I got into the MRI room, I laid down on the platform, and was promptly given a menu of TV shows I could watch while MRI-ing.  This cracked me up.  I couldn’t decide between Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, or the Paul Simon concert. He said I probably could get a whole sitcom in but why chance not finishing Everybody Loves Raymond.  How about music? He suggested a jazz or classic rock radio station. Stupidly, I chose the latter.  Not smart.  When I think of classic rock, I think Eagles, Allman Brothers, even the Stones. Headphones on, I was moved into the tube…and blasted with the loudest, mind numbing guitar solo in history from some live concert of some heavy Led Zeppelin type band, after which the station promptly went to 10 minutes of commercials. And I had to lay perfectly still, thinking longingly about the smooth jazz I SHOULD have requested.  After the commercials, I was treated to some Jethro Tull. Ask anyone who knows me well.  Tull is one of my least favorites bands, despite the flute.  The technician kept telling me how much time I had left and what he was doing…I think.  It was difficult to hear over the dulcet strains of Aqua Lung.  Finally, blissfully, I was done.

I don’t have the results yet…of course it’s a holiday weekend, and I’ll have to wait a few days.  In the meantime, it’s back to icing and Advil. And I changed all of the classic rock stations on my XM radio to Smooth Jazz, and Sinatra.

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