Thursday, December 3, 2015

Aware of My Knee

I'm always aware of my knee. Even on days where it feels fine, I know that it's not right. I know that that knobby mess of sinew is a time bomb waiting to be replaced.

I feel it mostly in my stride and posture. I sort of kick my injured leg out when I walk. It's usually very slight, but noticeable, especially after walking a lot.

Restaurants, dinner tables, and bars are usually the worst. The chairs are slightly too short for me to comfortably sit for a long period of time. If there's an option, I stand.

I often start stirring toward the end of the meal, longingly looking for the server for the bill. I know it makes other people feel uncomfortable or rushed, but if I were panicking as much as my knee is screaming for me to panic, it would be a much worse situation involving me flipping tables and throwing complimentary bread.

I try not to get frustrated, but when the weather dramatically changes like it has recently is when it's on my mind the most.

Generally, the hot humid summer causes my knee to swell. I feel like I'm walking with a peg leg most the time. Just another reason I can't stand the heat.

Then, when the humidity and temperature drop and we go into my favorite season, the knee swelling goes down. I spend a few weeks feeling really off. My knee cap doesn't track right. My skin feels a little loose. Everything basically has to get used to what a normal knee feels like.

Overall my knee feels great in the winter. Sure I get some arthritic pains when it's below freezing, but generally, it's the most normal my knee feels. That is, unless I try to run.

My normal gym routine involves 3-5 minutes of high intensity cardio on the treadmill in the middle of my workout to get my heart rate back up. This part has been very brief and painful the past few days. It feels as if the knee is just bone on bone.

It's the knee on knee that really bothers me. Although brief and only hitting during high impact cardio, it's a reminder that I will have to probably get my entire knee replaced by the time I'm 40. And for someone who is incredibly active (just ask my Fitbit friends) that bums me out.

I'm not sure how I'll feel with an artificial knee. All the examples I've seen are usually much older men, much heavier, much less in shape than I am. They sort of waddle around and groan when they have to stand up. I never pictured myself that incapable.

Who knows? Maybe it'll be better than what I have now. Maybe there will be robot knees by then and I can break into the NHL at age 40. Maybe my long walks will still be long, but cover much less distance. Maybe it will be the exact same as it is today...

Slightly uncomfortable, always reminding me that it exists, and a good excuse to get out of events I don't like.