Jens is so tough color photos of him come out in black and white.
I visited the ortho specialist this week. Those moments of solitude sitting in an exam room waiting for the doctor are a fertile ground for self doubt. The silence, the memories of past injuries; the magazines with obnoxiously happy people on the covers all conspire to depress me. Soon I will get to explain how riding exceptionally fast at night, with headlamps, on loose gravel trails covered with wet leaves whilst wearing spandex wasn’t stupid. To be honest, I’ve done crazy things to win bets that were more logical than that ride.
The medical charts on the wall, the plastic knee joint sitting on the counter as a visual aid; I’d seen them all before. I should know better. I do know better. Yet here I am.
In a few minutes the Doctor arrived and poked, prodded, pushed, pulled, twisted and bent my leg. Before long his experienced touch had yielded the “money spot” on the inside of my left knee.
At this point my appointment resembled an eye exam.
“Does it hurt here?” he asked.
“But not here?”
“Not so much”
“Right here?” He queried.
“Yes, yes.” I confirmed.
“Nope.” It was getting repetitious.
“This is the spot?” He asked one final time pushing hard with his index finger.
I am not sure if my butt actually lifted off the exam table, but I do believe I did jump.
“Shit…..Yeah!” I answered, my voice cracking.
He confirmed the initial diagnosis of an injured MCL which was not a surprise. What I came for was to discover what the next steps would be. I had my calendar ready to schedule the MRI.
He then said I should continue my current treatment of not doing much, icing and anti-inflammatory medication. He told me MCL injuries heal slowly, usually four to eight weeks. He continued and instructed me that in two to three more weeks if I’m not seeing improvement, then schedule a MRI and amp up the dread. Okay the dread part was my poetic license, which by the way, I need to renew that license before the end of the year… thanks for the reminder.
Once he floated the no surgery option my mind set off on its own mission of perpetual motion. I really have no idea what else he said. I would like to think I heard everything else, but in reality I would fail if you tested me. In my daydreaming state I didn’t ask the questions I should have, such as what would surgery entail and what would the recovery be, or how about a PRP injection to help me along ?
I left his office with a spring in my step and had a pretty good night.
The next morning I woke up and the knee was hurting more than it had been in a week which kept the worry fires burning. I started doing the math and making guesses about recovery time that had no basis in fact whatsoever.
Just to keep the pendulum swinging, the day after that, my knee felt pretty good.
In the end, “wait and see” is far better news than, “you’re screwed,” but it lacked the finality I was seeking. My profession is connecting the dots and mapping the path from today to success. As such, I hate unknowns. Right now, the future of my knee is unknown. When the path is uncertain, I get a little antsy. In my work I like to say bad news is far better than no news. While I didn’t get a final answer, and I didn't get bad news, what I did get is better than no news.
For now, I'll take it.