The Bee’s Knees

I’ve turned into one of those cranky old guys who complain about their health, in particular, their knees. I’m surprised how universal the problem of “bad knees” is. I’m happy to report I’m not the only person complaining about them.

As we age, our bodies suffer wear and tear, some more so than others. Our bodies are only made to last a finite amount of time depending on a combination of diet and genetics. Nobody tells you these sobering facts when you’re young and invincible. You probably wouldn’t listen anyway.

Aging and exercising is a Catch-22. I’ve found as I age, the harder it is to exercise for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, now is the time I should be exercising the most, and I’m physically least able t.

My knee problems began gradually. The medical community for some reason chooses to dismiss minor knee aches and pains. They chalk it up to the beginnings of arthritis or normal age progression in hinged joints.

After a long stretch of off-and-on physical therapy, the removal of fluid build-up in my knees, and temporary Cortisone shots, I kept complaining to my doctor that I needed to accelerate my treatment. My health insurance company at the time wouldn’t cover a treatment involving injecting a gel made from “turkey snoods”. (Google it.) Introducing the rubbery fluid into the knee  cushions the worn-out joints. For once I was lucky I wasn’t covered for the process. I found out later that patients were having problems because one of the ingredients was formaldehyde. I’m not ready for the formaldehyde treatment yet.

As time passed I couldn’t wait for treatment any longer. Walking up flights of stairs was becoming the equivalent of scaling Mount Everest, only more of a challenge. When you literally can’t get off the sofa, you know there’s a problem. Finally my doctor agreed to send me to an orthopedic specialist. He told me I was a candidate for a new gel injection treatment (with no formaldehyde). And thanks to my new health insurance plan, I was approved for the treatment as I met their pain-threshold criteria.

After my new doctor looked at my new x-rays, he asked if the condition of my knees could be the result of an old athletic injury. I assured him that was not possible. I told him I did a lot of dancing in the 1980s. The music was really fast back then so that might have something to do with it. My treatment began with a three week series of injections in my knees of Supartz FX. I am optimistic the medication will do its job and coat the inside of my knee-caps. Hopefully I’ll be moving around easier in no time. I’d cross my fingers but the arthritis in my hands prevents me from doing so. That’s another story.

I asked the doctor what my final diagnosis was. I wanted a detailed explanation of exactly what was causing my condition.

“You have TMB,” the doctor said.

“TMB? What’s that?” I asked.

“Too many birthdays,” the doctor said with a wry smile.

Most patients start to feel relief by the fifth week after the treatment. I’m hoping with some positive thinking, I’ll be dancing to DEVO in no time. “Whip it good!”

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