Sunday, June 28, 2009

medial collateral damage

it was inevitable, i suppose.

years of wear and tear and hyperactive activities greatly increased the odds that one day i'd wind up with a bad wheel.

last wednesday i was playing lunchtime pick-up basketball at the ymca. one of the knuckleheads jumped out to defend as i came around a pick, and stuck his knee into the side of my right knee. he was no worse for the wear, but my knee kinda caved in, and i dropped like a rock.

i'm not a quitter, so eventually i got up, tested it out, and thought i could continue. that lasted one trip down the court, when the knee shifted under me in a painful, disconcerting way. i dropped a few f-bombs and hobbled to the sideline.

the game went on without me.

the next, obvious thing to do would've been to seek medical attention--but i had tickets to the mariners game that night, and a video shoot in edmonton, alberta, thursday and friday. i had no time for a debilitating knee injury.

a quick google search of my symptoms led me to diagnose a grade II medial collateral ligament tear.

"...the MCL is usually injured when the outside of the knee joint is struck. This action causes the outside of the knee to buckle, and the inside to widen. When the medial collateral ligament is stretched too far, it is susceptible to tearing and injury."

yes, that sounds familiar. reading further, in addition to pain and pressure on the mcl...

"Grade II injuries are considered incomplete tears of the MCL. These patients may complain of instability when attempting to cut or pivot. The pain and swelling is more significant, and usually a period of 3-4 weeks of rest is necessary."

oh, yeah. i got all of that. the most disturbing thing is the instability. every so often, walking up stairs or just turning to go a different direction, the knee feels like it's going to buckle out from under me. i can't have that. a buckling leg is inconvenient and unacceptable.

with lots of ice and anti-inflammatories, i got through the baseball game, the travel, and the video shoot. now, four days post-injury, my body is craving some aerobic exercise...but i'm not sure what it'll tolerate. something no-impact, requiring zero lateral movement. jai alai, bull fighting and acrobatic sex are out, i guess.

much as i dislike the idea of giving up lunchtime hoops, perhaps it's time to switch to less-debilitating workouts. like yoga. and tai chi. and cycling the burke-gilman trail.

it's inevitable, i suppose. at some point i have to reconcile the hard fact that i'm not quite as indestructable as i used to be.

and that, much as i hate the thought of it -- the game will go on without me.


Anonymous said...

God bless you my friend. You are experiencing things at your age, that I've gone through at 20 years your junior. This is no consolation you care for, but I'm amazed you've made it this long.


spaceneedl said...

i appreciate the concern. i was hoping to make it to 60 without any major complications. in retrospect, that may have been an unrealistic goal.

but it's not fatal, so i can deal with it.