My Knee Warranty is Up

I had been told both my knees had tendonitis. It could get better in 2 weeks or 2 years. It didn’t.

I tried tons of icy-hot, Advil, Tylenol, anti-inflammatory paste, supplements, copper-fit braces, tendon straps, KT-tape, more cycling, less cycling, leg extensions, leg presses, new shoes, shoe inserts, massages, stretching, yoga poses… If somebody told me voodoo worked, I would have made a doll and strangled a chicken.

I took enough anti-inflammatories every night and every morning until shaving was “dangerous.” Cuts usually bled for 30 minutes.

Like a gambling addiction, those treatment would “win” just long enough to keep me coming back. But in reality the house was kicking my ass. I could do less and less cycling and less and less tennis. I gave up completely on singles this past spring.

Earlier this summer, I realized it has been 3 years of this shit. I had seen a physical therapist. Finally, I went to see a doctor. (Yeah, I know, I know. Don’t wait 3 years, dumbass.)

He sent me for X-rays. Unlike my fellow old farts there was no bone-on-bone, no joint issues, hardly a trace of arthritis.

I answered 50 essay questions for the first volume of “history of my knees 2010-2018.” It’s about a 10-page report in my medical record.

First visit, the doc points at the outside of my knees and traces the scars with his index fingers. “What’s this?”

I had double knee surgery as a kid in 1974. The goal was to keep the patellas from rubbing against the bones. I didn’t even include in my history because it worked great. No issues for more than 40 years.

Apparently, the warranty ran out.

“The patella is not in it’s groove,” the doctor said. “So it’s stretching your MCL and all it’s connections.” That’s right, my knee surgery in the 70’s didn’t “quite” work.

He did an ultra-sound.

“See those black spaces between the tendon and the bone? That’s a gap. Your tendons and ligaments are being pulled off the bones.”

hang in there tendons

There’s just 2 little strands on the outside of the ligaments holding onto the bone like that fucking kitten in that “hang in there” poster.

You know when you take a bite of a chicken wing near the joint and the tendon “snaps”… I used to love that sound — I was tearing that chicken apart like a goddamn lion. Now it makes me wince. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still eating the wings. I’m just leaving the tendons alone.

First fix is bigger and better braces that let the patellas get their groove back. Helped, didn’t fix.

Then $400 for prolotherapy. Shoot dextrose (sugar water and bacteria) into the knee to make the immune system attack the infection and reattach the tendon. That’s a fucked-up idea – like shooting botox (botulism) into your face to get rid of wrinkles.

Helped the left knee. I moved better and that made the right knee worse.

Skipped the annual trip to Newks (tennis camp), spent the $1500 I saved on airfare, hotel, food (and mostly booze) on platelet therapy. 6 shots of my own blood back into each knee.

On the 3rd shot, the doc said: “This is going to be more inflammation and soreness than the prolo.” Ohh good. Only 9 more shots to go.

He wasn’t fucking kidding. Each shot felt like he was stapling a sack of potatoes to the knee. When he was done, it felt like I had 6 sacks packed around each knee.

I’ve been swollen and stiff for more than a week and hardly able to walk. By week 3 it’s supposed to get better. We’ll see if this gamble pays off.

Ohh shit. I just realized, after he did these shots, I forgot to ask him about the warranty. I’ll bet I’m not getting 40 years out of this shit.

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