Getting older means stop taking things for granted

By Norman Knight

My right knee was hurting so much after our Sunday run that I reluctantly gave in to the experts’ RICE advice and agreed to try it for a week. The RICE method (rest, ice, compress, elevate) was hard for me because I kept forgetting to put ice on my knee, wrap it with compression bandages and keep it elevated. But the hardest thing for me to do was rest. Doing nothing is not something I do well.

Seven days later Becky and I went for a trial run. My knee felt pretty good afterwards, and I was hoping the RICE advice had sufficed. I also was thinking I might cancel the appointment with the orthopedics doctor that I had made during my RICE recuperation.

But when we ran again the next day the knee started hurting again, this time in a different area, so I decided to keep the appointment.

OrthoIndy is a large medical facility that I have found to be well-organized and efficient. This was my first running-related visit, but I knew they were sponsors of the 500 Mini-Marathon, so I figured my knee was in good hands.

After just a short wait I was whisked into the inner rooms where I was weighed, measured, X-rayed and finally lead to an examination room. The doctor came in, shook my hand and sat and waited while I told my story. I alway appreciate when medical people listen.

I eventually got around to mentioning the front of my right knee where the most recent pain had occurred. He stopped me at that point and directed my attention to the X-rays of my two knees that were on the computer screen.

The left knee had a space between the bones indicating a cushion (meniscus) while the right knee had no space; it was bone on bone. Diagnosis: arthritis. Well, I knew I had arthritis in my hands and feet. Now it is in my knees.

The doctor understood that I really like to run, and he didn’t try to dissuade me. He said flat surfaces would be better for my knee than running on hills. He suggested exercises and pain relievers.

He recommended supplements. He told me I would have to decide how much and how often I felt I could run. He told me I would likely know when it was time for a knee replacement. He explained that I wouldn’t be able to run anymore with an artificial knee. So it goes.

For me, the toughest thing about getting older is the gradual losing of what I once took for granted. I suspect this is true for most of us who are lucky enough to have made it this far. Change happens.

Sometimes it is for the good and sometimes not. The changes that are not so good are usually obvious while sometimes you have to look a little closer for the good changes.

After we left the doctor, Becky and I drove north to be with the g-kids. We had agreed to stay with them for a few days while their parents were away. They were at school, and we wanted to be at the house when they got off the buses.

The four of them came in bouncing and chattering away. They told us how things went at school, had a snack and after some prodding started on their homework.

At one point fourth grade Lorelei pulled a paper out of her backpack. It was a sign-up sheet for her school’s running club. She is lean, fit and bursting with energy. Becky and I thought the club was a good idea and her parents agreed. We like to think if she sticks with it, she just might learn to love running as much as we do. That would be a good thing.

Norman Knight, a retired Clark-Pleasant Middle School teacher, writes this weekly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to letters@dailyjournal.net.