Category Archives: medical

Knee needs

Tuesday morning at an ungodly hour, I have an appointment in Clifton Park to have my meniscus trimmed and basically tidied up. Or in. Whatever. It’s going to be a little worse for a short time, but then it should get better.

I’ll be able to strengthen my body symmetrically instead of out of whack, as I innately protect my left side from further damage during yoga class. Both butt cheeks should hit the ground together in child’s pose and the bottom of my left foot will once again find the inside of my right thigh. Even more will be right in my world than it is today and that’s saying a lot.

Spending this winter break from school at home having, and recuperating from, knee surgery may not sound like an ideal vacation, but I’m psyched about it. Unless something goes terribly wrong, my discomfort is going to be abated and my flexibility will improve. And I’ll be able to run again.

It’s ok to be home recuperating in February when I’ve got 4 weeks of travel later this year to which I’m looking forward. Unlike my hobble when I initially landed in Athens last summer, I should be feeling stronger and more able to walk without pain or a limp during those upcoming weeks of foreign adventure. I’ll be better – physically and mentally. It’ll be great.

Today was my last walk around Muni pre-surgery and it was spectacular. There was no wind and the sun was bright and strong. Jeter was well behaved and placed his poops really well, near trash cans oddly marked “Inedible.” We walked the front 9, counterclockwise, adding a short loop by the clubhouse.

At one point we overtook a group of three humans and a couple of dogs and, as we passed them, I overheard one of the women talking about running. Judging from her attire of leggings and windbreaker, I concluded she had originally planned to run the course but, when she encountered her friends, changed her mind and decided to walk instead.

Hearing the word “run,” honestly, triggered me. Coincidentally, I was wearing my running shoes for the first time in months on the relatively clear paved path. I couldn’t not run.

Last uncut knee pic! Scars show life lived.

I ran slowly, reveling in how my body felt unleashed. My feet didn’t hurt and my hips felt loose. The sun was on my face as I smiled. I was so damn happy. I imagined being able to run again, without the tenderness I was currently experiencing on the inside of my left knee. That morning date with the orthopedic surgeon couldn’t come soon enough.

I really (k)need to just get this done.

Comments Off on Knee needs

Filed under aging, Albany, Exercise, medical, Observations, running, travel, vacation

Defining luxury

I’m mentally packing for an upcoming weekend in Florida. Carry on only, of course. The weather looks a little dicey, but I’m sure that I’ll enjoy the warm air and my rented summer-esque wardrobe, even if it rains a little.

My plan is no plan – visiting friends and walking on the beach are the only things I really hope to do for the couple of days I’m away. If you have any recommendations for places to eat or drink in the Palm Beach vicinity, let me know.

So, does jetting off to Florida for three nights and two days sound to you like the ultimate indulgence? While it’s definitely a treat to escape New York in February, there’s something else going on in my life that feels a lot more luxurious…

Yesterday, I went to see a surgeon about my torn meniscus. I drove to the appointment in my cute and reasonably safe car, leaving work early using some of my accumulated paid sick time. The doctor reviewed the MRI, for which my HMO paid a negotiated and agreed upon price of $350. Had I not been insured, the out of pocket cost would have been closer to $900.

The orthopedist and I discussed treatment options and quickly agreed that a surgical approach was my best course of action. We picked a date two weeks out, during my official (paid) winter break from school. Prior to that date I will meet with my primary care provider for medical clearance for the procedure. I expect that appointment, like the office visit Monday, will cost me $25, which I will pay from my pre-tax flex spending plan.

After surgery, there will be a follow up visit to have the sutures removed and physical therapy to help me regain strength in my knee. My insurance will pay for all of this.

During these months of discomfort and pain and missing running, my favorite physical activity, I have never once had to consider how I would pay for the necessary medical care to help me get better. There hasn’t been a single moment when I’ve been concerned about not being able to go to work and receive my salary because I did not have paid sick time available.

Not once.

Now that, my friend, is genuine and real luxury.

3 Comments

Filed under aging, Exercise, medical, musings, Observations, running, travel, winter

Medical Monday with mixed results

I’m pretty stingy with my sick days. It’s not like when the kids were younger, and finally all in school, when I would take a sick day just to be in my own house in the quiet. No, these days I get plenty of alone time so I try to hoard my sick days and take care of medical matters at off work hours. So, guess what my Monday holiday looked like?

 

Yes, I opened the day with a 9:00 appointment for an MRI. My knee pain hasn’t really diminished, despite not running, and an X-ray last week revealed nothing remarkable. Have you ever had an MRI? I’ve had at least one before and they’re really not very pleasant, although yesterday’s was far more tolerable than the head/neck one I experienced in the past. On both occasions my coping mechanism was to close my eyes and not open them again until it was over. If you’re remotely claustrophobic, I’d recommend you do the same should you find yourself in the same situation.

Immediately after my appointment, I dashed home to get Jeter to his appointment at the veterinarian. Just before Christmas during a belly rub session, I found a lump on his tummy. My response was panic. Cancer. Once I started breathing again, I calmed myself down by doing some research and considered that his behavior in every way was unchanged. I would keep an eye on it for a couple of weeks.

Last Friday I had a mini panic attack about the lump, despite the fact that there hadn’t been any changes, and scheduled a veterinarian visit for Monday to follow my own appointment. I hustled (on my bad knee!) home to collect Jeter and off we went to the animal clinic. 

Jeter was evaluated and the mass was aspirated with the results confirming the veterinarian’s assessment – a common fatty tumor. I couldn’t have been more relieved with the news and Jeter and I celebrated with a brisk walk around the front nine at Muni.

Well, at least as briskly as I could move with my injured knee. 

While my dog’s diagnosis was all I had hoped for, the findings from my MRI were less welcome.  Apparently I have a tear in my meniscus – and a complex one at that. Shit.


So, next up is an appointment with an ortho guy recommended by a friend who has had some knees issues of his own. I’m not really sure what he’ll recommend but it’s possible PT and a continued moratorium on running may be enough to get me back doing what I miss and love – running. 
Guess I’ll have to take a couple of hours of sick time to find out.

1 Comment

Filed under aging, Exercise, holidays, medical, running, sick, stress, winter

Thoughts I’ve been thinking

  • It sucks that my knee is injured and I can’t fully do the active things I enjoy doing. I see a surgeon in early February and my only question will be: In your experience, what is the most successful plan of treatment for women in my age and activity range who are most interested in being able to resume normal activities (even at a modestly modified level) in the speediest fashion?  That’s my bottom line. I want to run.
  • There were two articles which really spoke to, and for, me recently.  There are things in life which will forever cause me to shake my head, sometimes in a nod and other times in “no.” Both of these NYT pieces made me forget to breathe. I can only link to one because they other one, “I Quit a Seven-Year Affair,” has been removed from the Times’ site.* I’m not sure how I feel about that move, but the piece did remind me of Mrs. Maisel’s choice to share as much about Shy Baldwin as she did in her performance at the Apollo. I knew there would be repercussions.
  • For god’s sake can we leave Megan and Harry alone? They’re entitled to their one precious life, too and Harry’s already seen how an uncivilized society can kill a woman he loves. Who cares how they choose to live?

  • Speaking of caring, there’s so little of that in the world right now. This recent picture of an absolutely beaming Megan Markle walking with her baby and dogs, collected some heated comments about Megan’s son not being safely fastened in his front carrier. Everyone had something critical or nasty or judgmental to say and no one simply offered to help her accomplish the task. We’re moms. We need to be nicer to each other.
  • At a just-turned-green light, I hesitated prior to shifting into first gear and the man in the big truck behind honked his horn and then pulled into the left lane to pass me, giving me the finger as he jerked his vehicle in front of me. I shrugged. Whatever. As we approached Fuller Road, I moved into the right hand turn lane and, again, he aggressively yanked his truck partially in my path. I’d be afraid to witness his response to something beyond a too slow start at a green light.
  • This morning, J, shared a story about some kids pulling a Ding-Dong Ditch which resulted in the deaths of three teenagers. The home owner whose bell was rung, felt the need to pursue these kids at high rates of speed prior to ramming his vehicle into theirs and forcing them off the road and causing them to crash. What is the matter with people? Why are folks overly reactive to minor transgressions, yet numb to the way our government is broken? Is it an assertion of control in a world which feels increasingly unspun. Or maybe it’s actually overspun. 
  • In the last week I was recognized by a reader I had never met (Hi P!) in a really complimentary way and told at an event a few nights later that I looked like Emma Stone.  That’s a good week right there.
  • I read a book this week and can’t stop thinking about, Free Lunch by Rex Ogle. I’m working on a full post.
  • I can’t imagine a better Friday night than a winter one spent at Cafe Capriccio eating eggplant, drinking red wine and hearing a set of quality live jazz.
  • Happy Chinese New Year.  It’s the Year of the Rat, but, honestly, isn’t that what we’ve been living with for the last three years?
Let’s all make the best of it, shall we?
*maybe you can find it in print somewhere?

Leave a comment

Filed under aging, Albany, Books, Eating, Exercise, Food, Librarians, Local, love, medical, moms, musings, News, Observations, politics, relationships, running, secrets, television, winter

DelSo fever

Jeter cuddles help.

I don’t get sick very often, (despite not ever getting a flu shot again after a bad experience back in the 90s), but this week something got me. It started the other afternoon with some achiness and a general sense of feeling unnaturally tired. I initially wrote it off as residual exhaustion from a week that included some fun social events, 26 miles of running and a couple of yoga classes. My symptoms expanded to hot and cold extremes not easily explained by mere menopause, a dry nighttime cough and a complete lack of motivation to do much of anything other than eat and sit on the couch. Yuck, I think I’m sick.

My usual “medicine” – tea with honey, lemon and a glug of bourbon or rum.

Checking in around my sweet neighborhood, I’ve come to learn that at least 4 other DelSo-ites are (or recently have been) feeling the same way. So today, from my perch in the sun on my back deck, I’m warning you to resist the urge to come hang out on our block. Unless, of course, you’re bringing soup and hot toddy fixings. If that’s the case, swing on by. We’re all home from work today.

Do you get a flu shot? What are your tips to stay healthy? What helps you get better?

2 Comments

Filed under Albany, DelSo, Local, medical, sick, soup

Handing things over to you

Despite Monday feeling colder than the thermometer claimed, after school I grabbed Jeter and headed to the golf course for a walk. It is my goal, you know, to give him the best life a dog has ever known and he needed the exercise. We were greeted by a small herd of dogs, with labradors already well represented, and devoted a few minutes to playtime before heading to one of our favorite wooded trails.

As we walked, I was aware of soreness in my legs from the 15K I had run the previous day. My quads particularly felt tight and I was glad I had made the effort to get out and give them a stretch. My hands, warm in cozy gloves, also felt tight. I’ve really been struggling with jar lids, jewelry clasps and tasks which require dexterity and it’s making me kind of nervous. Unlike my legs which only talk to me after a long or aggressive run, the pain in my hands is unpredictable. Some days I struggle to fasten buttons or Jeter’s leash, while other days I have almost no issues. Sometimes, though, I accidentally bang my hand and the discomfort (see how I try to avoid saying “pain?”) takes my breath away. It’s on the list of topics to discuss at my upcoming physical.

What do you do when your body begins complaining about your actions? Do you work harder to keep things moving? Modify your activities? Address the objections with a pill or two? Maybe you use some magical combination of all of the preceding to muscle through? What are the options when slowing down isn’t a choice?

4 Comments

Filed under aging, Exercise, medical, musings, running

I’ll never be mistaken for Florence Nightingale

My bedside manner is seriously lacking. Don’t believe me? Ask my middle child – the one I told to put a Band-Aid on the cut which eventually required 8 stitches. He’ll corroborate my complete fail as a nurse, trust me. The most recent example of my abysmal diagnostic skills occurred last weekend. Let me tell you about it.

CDCAF904-C885-43B5-BD5F-838DBF0A468ASaturday my youngest son was a guest at a birthday party held at Skyzone, a trampoline place in Menands. Sidenote: Waze pronounces Menands “men ands” which cracked us up each time we heard it. Anyway, I arrived to pick him up at the end of the party only to find that he was limping and unable to put any weight on his left leg. I pulled the car up to the door and brought him home where he settled in on the couch. I looked at his leg and noted no swelling or bruising in the area where he said it hurt – the back of calf. He declined Advil or Aleve and seemed fairly comfortable. I diagnosed a “pulled muscle” and figured he’d feel better in the morning.

Sunday morning he woke up and said his leg hurt and rated his pain a 6 on a scale of 1-10. I gave him Aleve and suggested a bath with Epsom salts. Despite my medical care and advice, he continued to hop around the house, something I found more than a little annoying. See? I told you I’m a horrible nurse. He began to soften his stance about not wanting to go to the MD. With his blessing, I called the pediatrician’s office and spoke with the doctor on call asking him how to proceed. He mentioned that the Bone & Joint Center had walk in hours until 3:00 and suggested that as our best move.

We arrived a little after 1:00 and checked in. The waiting room had about a half dozen people in front of us, but we were seen after about 75 minutes, a time span I didn’t find unreasonable. Quinn hobbled to the exam room, pausing to be weighed and measured (he’s a giant, btw) and, after a short wait, a PA came in to examine him. X-rays were obtained and I think we were all surprised to see the fracture in his fibula. The youngest Lilly boy managed to be the first to break a bone.

16C08AA8-E984-4C98-9C29-5A0F7A1E9683One red Christmas stocking-esque cast later and we were on our way. The take away?
• I should have heeded the wisdom of E. Stewart Jones who once said to never allow kids to go to trampoline parks or in bouncy houses.
• Broken bones don’t always reveal themselves with swelling, acute pain or discoloring.
• We’re so lucky to have quality health insurance and medical practices that are open on Sundays.
• While I may never receive a special lamp, I did see the light in this case and do the right thing.  Just like Quinn’s fibula, I’m getting better.

4FD6A039-451C-424B-A497-8D743984AF51

Florence’s Lantern!

3 Comments

Filed under aging, Albany, Boys, Local, medical, moms, Observations, Recommendations, sunday