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Getting to the bare bones of the problem

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This issue has orthopedics as the main focus, a specialty with which I have had some recent experience!|

A few weeks ago, I had what I thought was an inconsequential minor fall, more of a slip really when climbing some steps. “Ouch” and that was it and I continued climbing. The next morning my knee was aching and a little stiff, but you ignore these minor problems as you get older.

Only problem was the next morning it was worse and I couldn’t bend my knee enough to put my sock on. You feel a right proper nerd asking your wife to help you put your socks on!

However, since I have always worked on the principal that it (insert ailment here) will be better tomorrow, I swallowed a couple of anti-inflammatory pills and waited for the magic to happen. Unfortunately the magic didn’t!

In my long career in medicine I have never specialized in orthopedics, and since this was developing into a full-blown bone problem I took myself off to see Dr. Suradej in my hospital’s orthopedic department. It did not take him long to diagnose my problem. A tear in the meniscus cartilage, with odd bits of debris floating around limiting the range of movement in the knee.

By this stage the knee was exquisitely painful and I was getting close to begging for the knife but remembering Rule 1, I would wait to see if it were better in the morning. It wasn’t.

Dr Suradej put up with my foibles, but suggested that it really was time for an MRI scan of the knee, and by the way, a walking stick can help. The MRI showed that the meniscus cartilage was indeed torn.

So I soldiered on, using the stick and grimacing when climbing stairs, while muttering the mantra “It will be better in the morning”. Of course as a doctor you get all the guffaws when you have anything wrong with you and calls of “Doctors don’t get sick,” and “Heal yourself doctor.” It does get a bit tiresome.

Eventually, as the pain got worse and I couldn’t even get a decent night’s rest, I wearily made my way to Dr Suradej’s consulting room. I was by now pleading “Operate!”

And so, operate it was and I am now walking without pain, and wishing (in retrospect) that I had listened to Dr Suradej’s advice earlier.


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