Friday, September 18, 2015

X-ray Done, MRI Coming Soon...Hopefully

A week ago today, I visited my arm surgery doc to start discussing my left knee issues. In case you haven't followed along at home (if not, I don't blame you!), my left knee has been hurting for about two years now, and has gotten progressively worse. It's usually a sharp pain underneath my kneecap (lower, inner part) that most often shows up when my foot hits the ground when I'm running. Usually, it hurts badly for the first mile or two, then settles down the rest of the way. But if I try to run too often, it seems to last longer and, eventually, I'm forced to take a break from running altogether. Currently, I've been running twice per week, 3-5 miles at a time. Yesterday, during a 5 mile run, the knee hurt for about 3 miles. Getting close to that "take a break" time again, it seems.

Anyway, I had an X-ray last Friday, which showed nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, the doc said there was nice spacing around the joint (meaning I haven't totally destroyed my cartilage yet). He also wiggled my kneecap around and didn't feel much grinding or clicking. At that point, he gave me two choices: start physical therapy or get an MRI. I chose the latter, just because I want to know for sure what's going on in there...assuming an MRI will disclose that information. So now I have to wait for approval from my insurance company. I've met my deductible, but due to slow processing by said insurance company, that's not "official" just yet. So, I may not get approved anytime soon. And I'd rather not pay out-of-pocket for this MRI, especially after all of my recent medical expenses.

As for my broken arm, it's coming along fairly well. I'm still wearing the splint, and when it's off (when I'm showering or changing the sleeve under it), my arm feels very fragile and vulnerable. It hurts to bend my wrist in any direction. The incision is healing quite well, though, so I'm hoping that the scar won't be too ugly in the future. I go in for a checkup at the end of this month (Sept.) to possibly schedule my first session of occupational therapy, to try to get some strength and mobility back. I'm looking forward to having two functional arms once again.

Even though I could probably set up my trainer and do some indoor riding, I haven't done it yet. I'm pretty sure my bike needs some attention. Actually, I could probably get it into rideable condition for the trainer, but I'm sure it's not ready to ride outdoors. It'll need a pretty serious tune-up at the shop first.

So, things certainly haven't been boring here in Resurrected Runnerland.

But, honestly, boring sounds pretty good about now...

Thursday, September 10, 2015

One Final Run...

Today, I got in one last run before FINALLY getting my left knee checked out tomorrow morning.

I ran 4 miles at an 8:39 pace, with each mile getting progressively faster. It was warm (76°f) since summer has decided to return for an encore, at least through the weekend. As usual, my knee hurt for about a mile and a half, then settled down to merely being an annoyance. I was feeling pretty spent by the end of the run.

I'm now just 46 miles shy of 10,000 lifetime running miles. I'd love to eclipse that barrier with the last mile of a BQ time in a marathon, but unfortunately, that won't happen. More than likely, it'll be another semi-painful, anti-climactic short run. But there were some far more exciting miles that got me to this point, so I'll try to dwell on those when I do finally hit that number.

Time permitting, I'll report back tomorrow on the doctor's first impressions of my knee issues.

Friday, September 4, 2015

First Doc Visit, Post-Surgery

On Monday (8/31), I saw my orthopedist for the first time since he cut me open and made me less than an all-natural human.

It was a good visit, even though getting the stitches pulled out of my arm wasn't pleasant.

Courtesy Dr. Frankenstein

Thankfully, after my splint was removed, I was fitted with a new, shorter, REMOVABLE splint!

Don't worry, the flamethrower button is on the "safety" setting.

It also lets me adjust the tension with the handy dial you see in the pic. It better be functional, since they charge $440 for this little beauty (hopefully insurance will foot...or arm...the bill).

Here's an X-ray of my arm after getting the bone set in the ER. It's obvious why surgery was necessary.

"We think you're being a bit picky, sir. What do you mean this isn't close enough?!"

And here's a peek at what lies inside of my left arm now:

"Well, Mr. Hayes, you're screwed."

I'll go back in another 4 weeks to possibly get the go-ahead to try life without the splint, if I'm very careful. I'll also begin some PT to slowly rebuild strength and mobility. In the meantime, I can remove the splint to shower (there's also an arm sock I wear under the sleeve. I have two, so I can wash and alternate them, as they do get a little stinky), but I can't bear much weight with the arm, nor rotate my wrist.

While there for my follow-up, I also got the ball rolling with my knee. I will go in on 9/11 to start the process of figuring out what its problem(s) is (are). The insurance company won't sign off on a surgery for something that doesn't affect normal activity (are they insinuating that running isn't normal?) until all other methods of fixing the issue are tried, such as PT, steroid/cortisone shots, etc. So it could be a long process. If surgery ends up being the solution, I hope it can get done before the end of the year, since I've met my (ridiculously high) deductible this year and don't want to pay it again next year!

In the meantime, I'll be following my friend Adam's progress as he recovers from knee surgery. Hang tough, buddy, and good luck with your recovery. You'll be back out there running and making emergency bathroom stops at the quickie mart in no time!