Until now, I haven’t released a post on TDL in nearly a month. That’s out of the norm in itself.
On top of that, there have been some major changes here on TDL, both in design, and in the framework of the blog itself. These changes, both obvious and subtle, and all of which I am extremely happy with … speak for themselves.
Blog aside, where the hell have I been?
Two words : my knee.
An MRI scan of my left knee earlier this year turned up some nasty, yet unsurprising results. Multiple osteophytes, a kneecap that was “way” off track, bone spurs underneath my kneecap, a bone spur on my femur … oh joy.
While I’m usually last in line to participate in conventional medicine, this was a clear case where surgery seemed wise. I scheduled surgery as soon as I could afford it (I refuse to participate in the fascist healthcare system). While this was my first surgery, I wasn’t very concerned, aside from the remote chance that I was deathly allergic to something they were going to shoot me up with.
Fortunately I wasn’t, and the procedure went well. But “well” here is a contextual term. While no major problems arose, the surgery ended up taking 4 times longer than expected (85 minutes instead of 20), and went from a simple arthroscopic knee surgery, to a full blown open knee surgery.
As I understand it, that’s one step away from a knee replacement in surgery world.
I knew that this was a possibility going in, but it was one both the doctor and I had hoped to avoid. Never the less, it proved necessary, and I’m glad it was done in the most effective manner possible (you know, the one where they don’t saw part of my shin bone off).
According to Doug McGuff M.D., such a change in surgery, was only possible because I self-paid in cash. If I had paid with insurance, the doctor would not have been able to modify the procedure so sharply.
Interesting benefit, because supposedly this change in surgery should have cost 300% (in cash), of what I paid (in cash).
I was not billed for the extra work.
More discussion in a second. Here are some pics from the inside.
Yes, you’re eyes are telling you the truth : the doctor pulled an odd shaped chunk of bone out of my knee, nearly an inch long. It’s been floating around in there, free as a bird, for somewhere between 3 and 7 years. Guess that adds a “fear factor” to all of my old workout videos that involve my legs.
The other one was apparently not actually in my knee, and posed no threat to my knee (it was far below it).
Those “icicle” things you see on the under-side of my knee are not ice, but bone. They just shaved it down, like you know, ice.
What you’re not seeing in the pictures is when they actually cut my knee open (compared to small incisions, a camera, etc), and went to town cutting connective tissues, and re-attaching them at different points, in an effort to get my knee tracking properly — which has likely been a major contributor to all of the problems in my knee.
Oh, and apparently a semi-important ligament broke off many years ago in my knee, and since then, it’s been leaking synovial fluid.
Which means I’ve had very little, if any synovial fluid in my left knee, for the majority of nearly 8 years … joy.
I’m 3 weeks out from the surgery, and in spite of wolverine-fast healing on the surface level, I only started hobbling around a day ago. As it “stands”, I’m barely able to walk, and I’m not allowed to bend my knee past 30 degrees, for another week. (Until a few days ago, I could not bend it farther if I tried).
Furthermore, I’m not allowed to start rehabilitating my knee until September 1st. I can do some basic stuff in the meantime — things that don’t involve bending my knee and putting internal pressure on it — but nothing major like a leg press.
I’ve been confined to the couch for the majority of 3 weeks and it really, really sucks (both for elevation purposes and keeping-the-knee-straight purposes).
Naturally, the timing could not have been worse, with the Austin 21 Convention just around the corner. Should I have waited to have surgery?
On hindsight, of course. However the open-knee-surgery bit was only a chance going in. As it was discussed and planned, I was originally supposed to be up, walking around, and rehabbing my knee the next day. Obviously 6.5 weeks is not the next day.
So I took a small risk and I lost. The world is not over, but my productivity over the past 3 weeks has plummeted compared to normal.
Being too hard on myself? Probably. I’m used to “red lining” it 7 days a week, working 15 hours a day, and rarely taking a day off. In the dream world, anything less than 147% effort is too little.
In the end, I should be able to walk pretty well at the Austin 21 Convention, but I won’t be able to lift anything heavier than a laptop, I won’t be able to run, jog, etc. Definitely a pain in the ass, but I’ll live with my army of volunteers this year.
The Blog Going Forward
I’ve barely been able to keep up with convention work, so the blog has been off limits, and will likely remain off limits until the end of the month when the Texas convention (get tickets) is over, when I can walk, etc.
I’ve really missed writing posts and making videos here, but, that’s what being high on pain medication all day and being confined to an excessively comfortable couch will do to you — at least it did to me.
It’s been frustrating for sure. I’ve had the usual itch to write a long post, comment on something, or share a new video … but everything in my head has been hazy. Why anyone takes drugs in an attempt to enhance productivity or creativity is really beyond me at this point.
I like my brain working just the way it normally does — 100% mother fucking awesome.
In the end, I’m excited to have a functioning knee going forward in life. While it is yet to be seen if my knee is actually tracking properly, I am happy that at least for the next few years to come, I won’t have any crushing pain in my knee, or anything to really be frightened of.
Apparently even if the knee is still not tracking properly, there are rehabilitative options for fixing the remaining error in alignment, that I am confident I can pull off with patience and practice.
I’ll likely film some of the rehab work and post it here on the blog.
If anyone is curious, the supplements I have been taking during this time are :
- Vitamin D3 (20,000 iu a day before and after the surgery, 5-10,000 a day since)
- Curcumin (lots)
- Glucosamine + MSM + Chondroitin (the recommended dose of 3 capsules a day, + 1)
- Salmon Oil (lots)
I also performed my last workout 72 hours before surgery, in an attempt to mitigate the atrophy of my left quad. I have little to compare the loss of quad muscle to, however, I will speculate that it played a positive role, however minor, in reducing the amount of muscle loss due to surgery/swelling/immobilization.
At least as compared to the traumatic injury events of my youth with the knee.
A “new” interview of Ayn Rand was uploaded not long ago. It was not available previously anywhere on the internet, as far as I’m aware.
It’s one of her best, definitely worth a watch.