Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Immobility (or "Pop Goes the Knee")

"but there are things that'll knock you down you don't even see coming
and send you crawling like a baby back home"--Bruce, "When You're Alone"

On Friday I did a relatively light workout--20 minutes on the treadmill at a fast walk and low-weight, high-rep lifting to strengthen the quads.

A half hour after I walked home, I joined a friend for a 2-mile hike. That night, I walked downtown for First Friday and met a friend for a beer, then walked home.

The next day my left knee was sore--just sore. I didn't feel up to the gym so I didn't do much aside from cleaning and coding.

Then Sunday it hit me. I could walk but it was painful--something was wrong. And when I got up Monday, well, I couldn't put much weight on my left leg at all. The pain was incredible.

But I had a startup class (soldout!) in NY to lead, and venture meetings Tuesday. In December I had scheduled meetings with the same people, but the train was sold out (unbelievable) and I missed them. There was no way I was going to flake out again.

So I got on the train (a bit late--missed a meeting with a great dev as a result). I walked very slowly to the hotel a block and a half up, afraid of getting bumped on the crowded sidewalks. The hotel clerk offered me a wheelchair, which I considered, but pass on and made it to the room.

Later that day I made it to coffee with Arnold at 5, and was limping along. I had bought a brace right after getting off the train so the knee was a bit more stable, and if I stepped forward just with the right leg, I could manage.

The class went great; only 6 people of 15 showed, but we had a really good conversation about their current challenges. They accommodated me--I plopped down on the couch and put my leg up to relieve the pressure.

And then I had to get back to the hotel. Well. Getting in a cab isn't easy with a leg you're afraid to straighten. But I got in--it took about a minute. The driver was aggressive, with a lot of hard braking. It sucked.

Falling asleep was hard because of the pain; I took some advil but that only goes so far.

Waking up was, of course, worse. My knee had stiffened over night. I'm sitting here in the hotel room with 3 meetings scheduled, and I'm going to ask the hotel to bring a wheelchair.

I'm not equipped to deal with this. See the doc on Wednesday back home, and I'll just have to manage until then. Cabs to the meetings, slow ministeps. Should get a cane. Be like House. Without the oxy.

I've done some research: it's likely a tear of the patellar tendon, which connects the thigh with the top of the bottom of your leg. The tear--I'm hoping it's not a tear, but all signs point to that--is at that connection.
don't hurt this

The recovery period is 6 months; 6 weeks in a cast/immobilizer, and the rest slow recovery with PT. I'm already trying to figure out an exercise routine to keep the progress going--my knees going to need less of me to recover well.

If I have to get surgery, it's open-knee not arthro for this, and a 6-month recovery period.

Needless to say, my NBA career is over. But I can still code. I can still pick up a phone. I can blog at an angle.

Moral of the story? No idea. But nobody can say I didn't show up. (or have the sense to stay home. the investor in my first meeting sprained his ankle last night and cancelled, responsibly.)

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