Wednesday, May 10, 2006


I am so frustrated.

Those of you worried about my knees will be happy to hear that I visited the doctor yesterday (nurse practioner, actually, the same woman I've seen the last few time's I've been to the "doctor"). I heard what I expected to hear: rest, take heavy duty anti-inflammatories, ice and do physical therapy exercises as long as they don't hurt.

I know the drill. I devoted this kind of TLC to my knees (mostly the right) for the entire last year of my rowing career. I was in PT once or twice a week. I iced both knees after every practice. I wore a brace. During the year, I worked with PT students, but in the summer the trainer for the varsity men's basketball was my guy. I only found that out later. He was very, very kind to me, and took care of my silly achy knee for months. The sports medicine doctor saw me several times and prescribed a series of different anti-inflammatories, none of which did much good. I was on, at different times, for at least a month each:
  • Ibuprofen, 800 mg, 3x a day
  • Relafin, unknown quantity, 2x a day
  • Voltaren, unknown quantity, 2x a day
As I told the NP today, the Voltaren was the only stuff that worked. I said, "It was great. I didn't have any pain when I was on it. But they said I couldn't stay on it too long."

Sadly, she did not prescribe it. Instead, I got a scrip for 500mg of naproxen 2x a day and some prilosec to go along with it to protect my stomach. I said, "My stomach never bothered me when I was taking any of that stuff."

She answered, "It doesn't hurt because you're on pain killers." And she wrote the scrip for prilosec.

It's clear that I should not row this week. The NP diagnosed me with tendonitis. That sounds about right.

I want to row. I don't want to hurt myself. I suppose one more week off won't kill me. I said, "What about bike riding?"

The NP gave me a look that said, "NO."

"When I was doing PT before, they had me ride a stationary bike."

She said, "While your knee still hurt?"


But the pain never kept me out of the boat. I stopped running. I used the stair master, the elliptical trainer, the treadmill--but I stopped running outdoors. In the year before the pain started, there was a day when we had to run the stadium. The football stadium. I didn't run every step--I had to walk a few--but I stepped on every single step in that place. Yes, I was proud.

The next year, when the knee was acting up, I asked the sports med doc about running stairs. He said, "That's about the worst thing you could do." The day came for us to run the stadium again. I rode my bike to practice and told the coach I couldn't do it. He wasn't pleased but I said, "This is the one thing the doctor specifically said I shouldn't do." The coach sent me on a really long bike ride and I did as ordered.

Today (ironically?) the two new pair of rowing trou I ordered finally arrived. It will be a while before I wear them. But here they are, ready, waiting. Encouraging me. It will happen.

Grateful for: knowing when to stop.

Drop me a line.

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