Wednesday, May 13, 2015

#1436 oh yeah...I remember that feeling

I'm going to take a minute to whine. I'll give you a moment to click over to another site so you won't have to read my gripe. I'll be better tomorrow, so come back, ok?


For those of you that are still here, thank you.

Now I'll whine.

My left knee is really hurting me today. The left knee is the one with the original bones, unlike the right knee which has a totally new metal joint in it. I know about knee pain. I suffered for a lot of years with severe arthritis in my right knee before I finally had the total joint replacement surgery in 2012. I have arthritis in the left knee, but the bone-on-bone action hasn't been too bad. I do have a high pain tolerance, but like I said, I know knee pain and I have only felt it occasionally in my left knee.

Today, though, something triggered the pain and holy cow...I'm miserable. I cannot get into a comfy position. I've taken some pain reliever. I got the blood flowing by going to spinning class. I can just hear my mom saying that I should take it easy, but actually, getting the blood flowing through the joint is a good thing. When I was in physical therapy after the knee surgery, every session started with a ride on the stationary bike.

The class was fine. Whenever I felt the knee tweaking, I backed off and took it easier. The knee felt pretty good as long as it was moving. But by the time I got home after about a seven minute drive from the gym to my house, the knee had stiffened up and I couldn't make it be straight.  It's never really straight anyway; there is always a slight bend to it. That's part of the arthritis thing. One of the exercises you have to do in physical therapy after the replacement surgery is to make it be flat against the floor or table. You should not be able to put your hand under your knee when your legs are flat against the floor. I've got a nice little angle on my left knee all the time now.

Now I have to decide what to do about this situation. Here are my options:
1. I take Aleve and continue on my merry way until well, until I just can't take it anymore and I have the joint replaced.
2. I go see the surgeon and ask him for some cortisone/"chicken grease" injections. The shots work well. In my experience, the first shot lasts the longest, several months usually. The period of time the shots are effective decreases as you have more shots, until the doctor says that he won't give you any more shots. (That happened to me with the right knee.)
3. The surgery. Total knee joint replacement surgery and all that comes after the surgery. The surgery itself is easy for the patient. It's the aftermath that sucks.

The surgery is not going to happen soon. For one thing, I don't have the money yet. My insurance changed last year and my deductible is around $12K and I can tell you, the total joint replacement surgery is pricey.
I need to keep saving up for that.

The injections are my final option leading up to the surgery. Last time I had injections, I was on an HMO health plan and I just paid the specialist a flat fee for a series of three injections. I don't have that plan anymore. I have to pay out-of-pocket. I am slightly obsessed about the money because my end game is to get the surgery, so I'm trying to save as much as I can in my Health Savings Account to cover the deductible. I will pay for the injections when I think it's time for that, of course, but I know about the timing with regard to taking the injections and having the surgery.

So that leaves me with taking Aleve, icing the knee after exercise and maybe pulling on a compression sleeve for support.

The good news is that I have had similar twinges of pain with the left knee before and in the morning, it feels fine - at least by my own definition of fine. If I have days in a row of pain, then I'll have to get the injections, but for now, I'll take care of myself with the OTC pain reliever, keep exercising and keep dropping lbs.

Ok, thanks for hearing me out. I just needed to walk myself through the steps. I feel better already!

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