When I was sixteen I lied about my age and became a certified scuba diving
instructor. I could swim ten miles in the ocean if the sea was calm. I was
a small teenager, but the managers of scuba resorts and clubs believed I was
in my twenties because my skill level was very high. I've also climbed mountains
and lived in deep wilderness preserves without visiting a town. Ironically, I was
just awful at "normal" sports like baseball, football, etc.
Before the age of thirty all my joints started to hurt. Other family members have
(or had) arthritis, so I knew what was happening to me. The pain would occasionally
flare-up, but it never stopped me from being an extremely active person.
About three months ago my right knee felt like something exploded inside. An
MRI showed a burst Baker's cyst, arthritis, and bone spurs. An orthopedist wants
to perform arthroscopic surgery to remove the spurs. (I apologize if I fail to use
the correct technical terminology.)
My primary care doctor gave me Meloxicam and Tramadol. Using the 1-to-10 pain
scale, my knee was a "9" before visiting the doctor. I was in agony! As the weeks
have gone by, the pain has dramatically declined. Except for bending my knee
sharply, I can do anything I want. Yesterday, I was cutting apart a big and heavy
rotten fence in my backyard. I was wearing a knee brace with no pain at all.
I've got about one month before the surgery. They tell me I won't be able to drive
for several days after the surgery. I live alone. All my relatives are dead or lost
after decades of no contact. I have one sister who has agreed to drive me the
day of the surgery. If I'm in terrible pain after the surgery, or need some kind of
help I'll be forced to hire someone or call the emergency rescue squad.
Frankly, I'm just plain scared! I've experienced disabling pain growing up, because
I had some colon problems. Hercules and Samson become helpless sheep when
that heavy pain hits their brains. I've never been completely alone when I was
sick or in pain. After this surgery, my sister will drive me home. That's it. I will
be completely alone.
Right now, my right knee is almost pain free. The orthopedist says the pain will return
with a vengance if I don't have the surgery. Maybe I'll take down a few more rotten
fence sections, just to see if my knee can tolerate the stress. I'm going crazy trying
to decide what to do. Tomorrow, I'll probably cancel the surgery. If my knee continues
to feel good, should I have the surgery anyway?