New Word: Meniscus

I learned a new word today: meniscus. It turns out that it is a word that I wish I had gone much longer without knowing. Here’s the story of how I came to learn a new word today and why it is worthy of a blog post.

Going back to the hike on Sunday, I had some sort of knee pain. It was pretty severe during the hike and the pain continued all week. I didn’t sleep much, I hobbled through the halls at school, weakly descending the stairs with my students, I felt sick to my stomach every day because the pain was so intense. I typically don’t go to the doctor unless it is absolutely necessary, cause who the heck has time for that!? But, the pain was awful, so I called first thing on Monday morning and couldn’t get in until Tuesday evening. Throughout these two days I realized that I’ve had rheumatoid arthritis for 25 years and just assumed that it caught up to me. I was prepared to receive a cortizone shot and get on with life for the next six months until I would need the next one. I could handle that plan.

My doctor certainly noticed the arthritis, but was certain that I had in fact injured it. I took that as good news since I wouldn’t be entering the cycle of shots. She suggested I not get x-rays, as they probably wouldn’t change the treatment, and prescribed physical therapy. And lots and lots of ibuprofen. I also brought up the ankle that has been bothering me for about two months and she immediately noticed that it is sprained. Jeez! Left knee, right ankle. I was ready to leave with prosthetic legs.

Then we spent the next 30 minutes chatting and laughing about our kids, balancing work and home, and catching up. I just adore her, and might even bring a bottle of wine next time so I can take advantage of evening time away from house. (Creepy??)

I limped and winced in pain the rest of the week and finally went to a physical therapy evaluation this evening. My awesome therapist thinks I have a meniscus tear. There’s that new word. Surgery is often the treatment, but given we only have 96 days until we leave I don’t have time to recover completely. So, we will cross our fingers that it will heal on its own as I attend physical therapy three times a week to strengthen the nearby muscles. We will give it two weeks and if it isn’t at all better I’ll have an x-ray and MRI and we’ll go from there regarding surgery.

I have to say this sucks. And mostly just because I feel so badly for Zak. I can see in his eyes how scared and worried he is. Not only for my knee, but for the trip. We’ll head into the upcoming weeks with our fingers crazy crossed.

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