“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?”

“Uh, no.”

“Icing it?”

“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. 

Lesson learned. 

Sort of…

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.


107 thoughts on “Bummed

  1. Yep. I get this totally. From soldier, to nurse, to mom….I am too tough on myself, too time strapped, in too much denial. Happy peddling my friend…I am on the elliptical as we speak, only slightly in pain. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. LOL! This is a funny post because I can so relate. I will lecture other people about eating well, elevate that knee, put some ice on it, take your med…and then limp out to my car munching on a donut for lunch.

    Personally I have no idea why people keep saying mean things to me like, eat more kale or try exercising once in awhile, but I really wish they’d knock it off. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It seems to me that a dr appt is more time consuming than icing and resting. And they’d have to admit there’s something wrong, and that if affects them enough to make the appt in the first place.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Technically if you add up 20 minutes twice a day for a week or two, that is way worse than a doctor’s visit. Plus, ice anywhere is just not comfortable. You are correct that by the time they make the appointment they are having to admit that they have a problem. But what about all of that time before? How long ignoring it before it is bordering on ridiculous? These are the things I wonder.


      • But if you have to do the icing and resting, anyway, you’re still taking that time, in addition to the appt, which also costs $, and either takes time out of your precious Sat (if the dr sees you on a Sat), or eats up a vacation day from work.

        Seems like a lot of waste, when you could just ice and rest, at home, in the first place.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Bwahahaha! Physician heal thyself. ha! Oh humans are complex creatures. Every bit of our existence is rife with this problem Victo – don’t feel too bad. You’re human, welcome to the the rest of the world – so many of your colleagues don’t fall into this category – Ha! – human that is. You know in B-school we studied two types of accounting – financial accounting and management accounting. Financial accounting is looking back at what has been spent, what has been done and what it cost – and then this is used to predict and shape the future expenditures and company direction. .Quite often this is wrong – which is why so many companies have such trouble when the bean counters take over. It makes some serious assumptions – the main one (which is often false) being that the context and environment – financial, market, political, etc – will be the same tomorrow as they were yesterday. Management accounting, however,is precisely the opposite – it looks at what is right now – in all it’s detail and continues to do that as time progresses. Decisions are made based on reality, not predictive factors, which may be wrong. For instance, say you had a pen factory and you produced different colored pens for office and home use. Sale of Red pens used to be very high but has shrunk a lot recently. Now you charge the same for Red pens as you do for Blue and Black because the material cost and variable costs were the same. You can switch between blue and black production easily but to switch either to or from Red production you have to flush and purge all the ink equipment – which is costly , time and resource wise.You find that although your total blue and black sales are constant, your red sales are down. Oddly enough, you notice that your profits are down greater than the percent of sales drop would suggest. Why?

    Financial accounting will not give you answers to this problem as you are still doing the same processes and actions which always made you ,money so they should continue to make you money and yet they are not. A mystery. A very human mystery. So typical of the way we perceive reality. The answer lies in management accounting. An analysis of the problem soon shows that the flushing and changeover costs when moving to Red is a fixed cost and is now borne by fewer and fewer Red sales. Which means that now the cost of Red pens is really much higher per unit than they ever were and will continue to grow as red sales drop. So, it turns out that the company is now selling red pens at a loss and that loss is being born by the blue and black pen profits. I big view confirms the logic of this – a total sales drop with fixed costs that remain constant then a larger and larger portion of profit will be eaten up by the costs. The problem is the Red sales have caused this. To increase the price of blue and black pen will cause further loss of sales to the competition for the true cost of production of blue and black has not increased. So the answer is to either increase red pen prices to cover the increased unit cost or discontinue red prosecution – which is now a loss anyway so profits will increase.

    And, Victo, therein lies the answer to your problem as well. You can either stop doing what is causing your pain or you can increase the resource cost and price of your activity by spending time icing, medicating, and/or doing special exercises(i.e. aquafitness). The thing is that you cannot look back and take a financial accounting perspective by saying “I used to be able to do this. so I should still be able to do this”, you have to take a management accounting view and say: “My reality has changed and to maximize personal profit, I must change my behavior – irregardless of past experiences.”. This is a lesson that has eluded some great companies (it almost bankrupted IBM years ago when they pooh-poohed personal computing and stayed with main frames) and some great individuals – don’t feel alone or bereft.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m not alone…the internet seems full of injured yet proactive paragons dutifully RICE ing. It is nice to hear even a doctor has resistance to the same common sense things I have resistance to… We re strange people us humans.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. When I was younger and had surplus energy I would stretch myself and not rest enough most of the time. After a few almost severe sports injuries though I forced myself to slow down. These days my focus is on feeling well first and then I go out to do my thing. I am 27 but I am not going to ruin my health like I did before.

    Forcing yourself to slow down is difficult though. It took a few sharp pains and almost severe injuries for me to think “okay, the body says no and fuck this hurts too much!” so stop now and rest. If slowing down means lying down and taking a nap, do that. A good nap is criminally underrated these days…

    Liked by 2 people

  7. My knees bother me now due to high school sports. I think I might have ACL issues in both of them, but I can’t afford surgery – so I wear knee braces when they bother me, which, thankfully, isn’t daily…but I hate not being able to exercise the way I want to, either.
    Hope your knee gets better, and doesn’t have anything serious going on with it!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. As the saying goes, “The cobbler’s children are always the worst-shod.” Your pen name adds additional irony to the situation and I love the diagnosis of the busyness.

    Do take care of the knee and yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I don’t know the ages of anyone that has left a message here, but in past years I have been physically fit and thin. However no matter what you do age is waiting for you, and so are the afflictions that come with it, Oh I know there are a few really healthy wonderful looking elderly folks out there and that is wonderful. The rest of us no matter how we try or what we do old age will beat the crap out of you and there is nothing you can do about it, I am now 72 and every joint and bone in my body aches, there are times that even my blood hurts, I have gained weight and developed wrinkles, I really have given up all hope of looking and feeling young again. I have now decided to eat what I want and do whatever I can when I feel like doing it. I like to travel and do when I can, I take medication for pain when needed and Tylonol when needed. Since I have made this decision I am happier and less stressed, and I can eat a donut without guilt, If someone offers to help me I graciously accept and if I am asked how old I am I tell them I will be 93 next year,. They looked shocked and tell me I look wonderful no where near 92. Hey what ever works for you. :o)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. How about swimming? I know it takes time, but I’ve found it to be a great stress reliever. That doesn’t mean I swim much now, mind you. I don’t have time. But when I did, it was a great stress reliever. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Funny how that works isn’t it? Blogging while on that contraption must take some mad skills…..maybe it’s your super power? My advice…..prop that knee on a pillow and read the kiddos a story…..it’s a win win. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, those kids get me to read more stories than I can count! As for blogging while using the contraption, it is surprisingly easy. It is called an elliptical but it is really more like a stationary bike. Hands free! Super easy. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Hope it gets better soon. Reminded me of my current situation with my sore neck:
    Me: hurt my neck, can’t move it properly to one side
    Doctor: have you seen an osteopath?
    Me: No
    Doctor: Have you rested your neck?
    Me: No, it was bad when we went to a theme park with the kids and my love of scary roller coasters took over. After a couple of painkillers I did all the rides. Woke up next morning – neck not good!
    Doctor – sigh!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Don’t know if I “liked” hearing about this – because this is the way my knees started. I kept on abusing them, then got steroid shots, used a cane, and finally gave in – two knee replacements later, I am pain free, hiking, swimming – and wish I hadn’t waited until the pain got so bad, it was hardly bearable. Take care of yourself!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I am apparently the only person who though “exercising while working?, why didn’t I think of that????” So I googled it. The problem was, there was a typo in my search: “Exercise equipment to use ate desk.” I don’t think it will help me lose weight to eat my desk …

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I just love that you have this insight.
    This was a funny read for me because I have grade four chondromalacia with maltracking. I use my own symptoms as an excuse to not exercise much – a brilliant maneuver in the category of denial, if I do say so myself!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. LOL! You’re too funny. What’s that saying? “Physician, heal thyself.” Only in your case, it’s “Doc, heal thyself.” Do people seriously call you “Doc?” I know you’re supposed to be incognito, but you’re not one of the seven dwarves, are you? Shhh…. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Pingback: Eroding | Behind the White Coat

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