“Doc, my knee has been bothering me for a few months now. It began when I started doing lunges in crossfit.”
“Did you stop doing crossfit for a bit to see of it would get better?”
“Have you been taking any antiinflammatories?”
“Well, no. I know I should do all of that, Doc, but I just haven’t.” Cue nervous laugh. “Can’t you just fix me?”
At this point, invariably, I laugh back good naturedly and say, “Well, guess what we are going to start with first…”
It struck me the other day while listening to some audible crepitus and wincing with pain as I took the hotel stairs because of a nonfunctioning elevator, that I have been nursing my own bum knee for a few months. Of note, I have not been resting it or icing it or taking any meds. I still sit at my desk and vigorously pedal away on my mini-elliptical contraption while I am doing charts every day at the clinic, even though the pain and stiffness are more pronounced when I stand up afterwards. Even though my knee is not getting better. It is, in fact, getting worse.
Sometimes I even limp.
So I considered this fact for a moment. Why am I engaging in the very same behavior that my patients are exhibiting that drives me nuts? I should know better, right?
Denial. I don’t want to admit that I have a problem, so I ignore it. Because to have a problem means I have to accept my own finite existence. Surely it will just go away? Eventually?
Time. I am too busy. I do not have spare time to spend taking pills and applying ice. Maybe I should actually call it Lazy.
Stubborn. I am too tough for this to really affect me. Pain? I scoff at pain.
Fear. What if I really do have a problem? Surgery? Knee replacement? OMG. How will I burn calories if I cannot exercise while I work? Will I gain weight? How will I find time to do some other form of exercise?
Attention. “Doc, what happened to you?!?!!? Why are you limping? Here, let me help you with that…”
So, ok. Now I understand. It just took some time for my smug, know-it-all self to live this so I could truly appreciate and respect the nuances at play here.
Do you know what I am doing right now as I type this out? I will give you a hint: It does NOT involve ice or pills or rest. I am pedaling on that damn elliptical machine.
Alright, alright! I am stopping now. Well. Maybe. I’ll just slow down. Some.