Archive for January, 2008

Another knee update

I visited the orthopedist again on Tuesday to asses my other knee. They took a slew of x-rays which will no doubt get me started on this year’s insurance deductible. I’m happy to say the right knee is in considerably better shape than the left (the one I hurt in the fall). It’s not perfect though, which led to a lot of questions about why my knees are so messed up in the first place.

The doctor and I looked at the x-rays together. He pointed out the differences between my bad knee and the better one (since I really don’t have “good” knees). My left kneecap has a nasty looking bone spur growing out of it as does the right, but the right is not partially dislocated like the left. However, there are issues with patellar maltracking on the right. The doctor said he wouldn’t recommend surgery now, but said I can’t ignore the problem on the right and may need surgery eventually. Basically, I have to be aware of my physical limitations and work within them.

The thing that really sucks about this whole thing is my bones aren’t screwed up because I’m fat. It would be so easy to blame it on the weight and attempt to lose the weight in order to prevent further damage. But no, this is just the way I grew. The doctor said the deformities probably started some 25 years ago in adolescence and we had no idea.

I talked to my dad last night about this and he reminded me of a couple bone issues I had when I was young. When I was a infant, the pediatrician said my hips weren’t developing correctly and my mother had to put me in two diapers for awhile to help correct the problem. I don’t exactly remember this, but I do remember my father telling me the story shortly after Autumn was born. I also had issues with being pigeon toed when I was a kid. I remember that well because I was told I had to stay off my bicycle for a full year.

So it would seem I’ve been a mess from the waist down since birth. It’s all kind of fitting together now, like some unfortunate physiological puzzle. From here, I will be visiting the orthopedist on a regular basis for steroid injections to ease some of the pain I’m still feeling. Hopefully it will help.

I still have a lot of questions about this, like are these bone problems precursors to osteoporosis and can I screen Autumn for these problems so she won’t be in the same place I am some day?


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Out of nowhere

Heath Ledger. Wow.

A co-worker and I had just talked about him last week. We agreed he was great in “Ten Things I Hate About You” and I said I was really looking forward to seeing him as The Joker in the new Batman movie.

I can’t remember the last time a celebrity death shocked me so much, and as soon as I heard the news I thought of his little girl. She’s the same age as Autumn and now without a daddy.

Very tragic.

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Mistress of the arts

I found out yesterday I was accepted into the graduate English program at the university. Yay me! I work in the admissions office and found out the happy news as soon as it arrived. The woman who receives the paperwork came over to congratulate me and later in the evening Nathan and I celebrated with a cheap bottle of Asti we had meant to drink on New Year’s Eve.

I called my parents yesterday and told them the good news. Being parents, they both expressed their excitement for me and then asked what I could or would do with the degree once I was finished. I tried to explain this wasn’t really an endeavor meant to help advance me in the stellar career I’ve forged in data entry. “So, this is learning for the sake of learning?” asked my dad. Um…pretty much. Also, that zero dollar price tag for pursuing this degree is pretty sweet and something both my parents can comprehend. These are the people who know all the places in town to take Autumn for a free meal on certain days of the week, so yeah, they get it.

Since I applied, I’ve questioned my reasons for wanting to keep going to school. Since I hurt my knee, I’ve really questioned whether I should just concentrate on healing and taking better care of myself. I’ve been taking college courses on and off for nearly half my life now, and the thought has crossed my mind that perhaps I should call it good and be there for Nathan while he works his way through college.

As I was talking to my dad, though, I could feel the excitement start to bubble up as I explained how I haven’t had any real focus since I started taking all these free classes at the university and how good it will feel to actually be working towards something again. I also said it would be great to have something to show for my time working here. You know, other than all that gray hair and the extra pounds from the constant influx of snacks and baked goods from my co-workers.

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Yesterday I ran into an old friend from my days at the factory. We used to carpool together until his wife became pregnant with their first child and he wound up getting a job on first shift. He was a great guy, one of those people who’s so unassuming and open that you can’t help but become friends with him instantly.

Every time I run into him it’s at the supermarket. The first time we figured out we lived close enough to each other to ride share was during a chance meeting at a supermarket after work one evening. The last time I saw him was in the produce section of the market near my house. Same store, different location and we both lived close. It was the summer I was pregnant with Autumn. I took his phone number and thought perhaps we could invite him and his family over for a swim. But I never did.

Fast forward two and a half years and there we were in the produce section again, except this time I had a toddler sitting in the seat sucking down a Capri Sun while his son wandered around the store with his own cart and list. We fell into easy conversation and it felt as though those two and a half years were just two and a half weeks ago.

The funny thing is he had just entered my mind the day before. Just out of the blue, there he was and I mentioned him to Nathan. It was a silly thing, but I had to ask Nathan how we had worked out that carpooling thing. Did we alternate days or weeks with Eric, I asked. He couldn’t remember, but he thought it was weeks. I don’t know how or why I thought of that, but there it was and then there Eric was.

Shortly before we left the market, I ran into Eric and his son once more and Eric told me how ironic it was that we ran into each other. He and his son had just passed the street where my parents live, which also happens to bear the same name as Eric’s son. The boy thought it was cool and Eric went on to say he knew someone whose parents live on that street. Lo and behold, who should appear but the very person he was talking about. Me.

Sometimes I think fate kind of nudges you in a certain direction and sometimes it practically screams in your face. After I left the market, I couldn’t help but feel a little sad for never having kept in touch with Eric and his wife. Later that evening, I asked Nathan why we’ve never called them up for dinner or just to hang out. He didn’t know why.

I guess life gets in the way sometimes. They had kids, she went to school, we had a kid and now Nathan’s in school. We’re all busy, but I guess people come into and move out of your life for a reason.

So how do we do it? How is it we can get so hung up on selfish people and friendships that meant nothing to begin with and forget about the really great folks hanging out there in the produce section?

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Girl #1: So we stayed with this family of priests. Well, I guess they weren’t a family of priests. Wait, can priests get married?

Girl #2. No.

Girl #1: Which is really a shame because, like, some of the guys there who were studying to be priests were, like, really attractive.

College students. You gotta love ’em.

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Yesterday’s visit to the orthopedist went well and I think I may be able to do without physical therapy. The doctor read me the radiology report and helped explain the findings. There wasn’t too much new information. We already knew about the problem with my kneecap, which I have since found out is called “patellar maltracking.” It also looks like the extra weight I carry is causing undue stress on my knee. Well, duh. I didn’t need an hour in an MRI machine to figure that one out.

The doctor promised to view the films himself and call me if he saw anything irregular that wasn’t addressed in the report. As for surgery, it doesn’t look like I need to book an OR immediately, but he advised me to wait no more than six months to correct the patellar maltracking. At this point it’s kind of a crap shoot and my knee could give out before then or six years from now, but he warned how painful it would be to visit the ER with a completely dislocated kneecap. I guess there’s no better way to talk someone into having surgery than to scare the shit out of her.

Six months is a lot sooner than I had expected. I was hoping to lose at least a hundred pounds before going through surgery, but right now the thought of another knee injury just freaks me out. The doctor said summer is the best time to recover though.  I hope he’s right.

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It’s going swimmingly

I don’t really want to turn this blog into an extended whine-fest about my knee, but the injury has kind of marked a turning point for me and I’m slowly realizing I have to make some life changes before my body completely breaks down. One of those changes, which I mentioned shortly after the accident, is that I can no longer engage in any aerobic or strength training exercises that put strain on my knees if I hope to avoid total knee replacement. Seeing as I spend most of my free time on my ass in the vicinity of the computer or television, this might not seem like such a hardship. However, as someone who’s looking towards a future filled with healthier habits and increased activity, the idea of swimming being the only activity available to me seems rather blah.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy swimming in the lounging on a raft with a paperback kind of way, but I’ve never been one to really get into swimming laps, which apparently I must now do if I have any hope of taking off some weight. In the past, I enjoyed working out at the university on an elliptical, where I had access to either cable television or an MP3 player. What will I have with a pool? Lots and lots of water.

So last week I finally faced reality and bought a new swimsuit online at Junonia. For the past three summers I’ve worn my maternity swimsuit, which was okay when I was actually pregnant and just sad the following summers when I was not. But hey, I still had the belly to hold up the bottoms and in my book frugality trumps pride so I stuck with it. I should probably add that while the maternity suit continued to fit, it wasn’t a good fit and I came close to losing those bottoms on more than one occasion.

For my future workouts, I chose this modest, brown one-piece sans skirt because, really, who are we kidding with the skirt? Unless that skirt extends past my knees, there’s really no point, and aerodynamically a suit without a skirt works well for laps.

Yesterday the suit was delivered and I eagerly tore open the package when I got home. When I held it up though, I stared in awe at its massiveness and exclaimed to Nathan, “My God, this thing is huge!” We looked at each other for a beat and I shrugged and said, “But so am I, I guess.”

Yes, the suit is huge, but you know what? It fits beautifully. It’s the best fitting suit I’ve had in years. It’s as flattering as any swimsuit suit can be and contains everything that needs to be contained. Granted there are some peekaboo issues in the front when I bend over, but I’ve never been able to find a suit that doesn’t spill the girls out a little bit. That’s just the cross I have to bear, I guess.

So now I’m kind of excited to start swimming. I’m excited to get back into an exercise routine again and to start eating healthy. Now all I need to do is find a waterproof case for my iPod and I’ll be all set!

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