Immobility (or "Pop Goes the Knee")

“but there are things that’ll knock you down you don’t even see coming
and send you crawling like a baby back home”–Bruce, “When You’re Alone

On Friday I did a relatively light workout–20 minutes on the treadmill at a fast walk and low-weight, high-rep lifting to strengthen the quads.

A half hour after I walked home, I joined a friend for a 2-mile hike. That night, I walked downtown for First Friday and met a friend for a beer, then walked home.

The next day my left knee was sore–just sore. I didn’t feel up to the gym so I didn’t do much aside from cleaning and coding.

Then Sunday it hit me. I could walk but it was painful–something was wrong. And when I got up Monday, well, I couldn’t put much weight on my left leg at all. The pain was incredible.

But I had a startup class (soldout!) in NY to lead, and venture meetings Tuesday. In December I had scheduled meetings with the same people, but the train was sold out (unbelievable) and I missed them. There was no way I was going to flake out again.

So I got on the train (a bit late–missed a meeting with a great dev as a result). I walked very slowly to the hotel a block and a half up, afraid of getting bumped on the crowded sidewalks. The hotel clerk offered me a wheelchair, which I considered, but pass on and made it to the room.

Later that day I made it to coffee with Arnold at 5, and was limping along. I had bought a brace right after getting off the train so the knee was a bit more stable, and if I stepped forward just with the right leg, I could manage.

The class went great; only 6 people of 15 showed, but we had a really good conversation about their current challenges. They accommodated me–I plopped down on the couch and put my leg up to relieve the pressure.

And then I had to get back to the hotel. Well. Getting in a cab isn’t easy with a leg you’re afraid to straighten. But I got in–it took about a minute. The driver was aggressive, with a lot of hard braking. It sucked.

Falling asleep was hard because of the pain; I took some advil but that only goes so far.

Waking up was, of course, worse. My knee had stiffened over night. I’m sitting here in the hotel room with 3 meetings scheduled, and I’m going to ask the hotel to bring a wheelchair.

I’m not equipped to deal with this. See the doc on Wednesday back home, and I’ll just have to manage until then. Cabs to the meetings, slow ministeps. Should get a cane. Be like House. Without the oxy.

I’ve done some research: it’s likely a tear of the patellar tendon, which connects the thigh with the top of the bottom of your leg. The tear–I’m hoping it’s not a tear, but all signs point to that–is at that connection.

don’t hurt this

The recovery period is 6 months; 6 weeks in a cast/immobilizer, and the rest slow recovery with PT. I’m already trying to figure out an exercise routine to keep the progress going–my knees going to need less of me to recover well.

If I have to get surgery, it’s open-knee not arthro for this, and a 6-month recovery period.

Needless to say, my NBA career is over. But I can still code. I can still pick up a phone. I can blog at an angle.

Moral of the story? No idea. But nobody can say I didn’t show up. (or have the sense to stay home. the investor in my first meeting sprained his ankle last night and cancelled, responsibly.)

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