Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Knees and Ankles...and kidneys

It's been about a week since I first felt the piercing pain in my knee warning me that I was about to be unable to get around for the next few days. My knees have been taking turns with this crap since the middle of 2006--fluid buildup, swelling, inflammation, can't bend it, can't put any stress on the joint, can't let my lower leg "hang" free, can't pile it up on pillows...everything makes it hurt, so about all I can do is lie there and try sleeping and wish for some serious painkillers.

Doc #1 says it's a torn meniscus--one of two cartilage pads cushioning the knee joint. Stay off it, use crutches if I have to move around. Doc #2 says it's gout--and he drew maybe 15cc's of fluid out of my knee. I think the second one's the right one, since it's caused by the accumulation of uric acid and my right kidney's on the way out with a suspected carcinoma. One thing that caught my eye on the Wikipedia "gout" entry: "Diuretics have been associated with attacks of gout."

I'm on three different diuretics as part of my blood pressure meds; knowing there's a link lets me put up a timeline: Almost 2 weeks ago, I couldn't put weight on my left foot. It was swollen, so I leaned a little harder on my right leg and took a little more of one diuretic in hopes of reducing that swelling. Two days later, my right knee got inflamed from the extra work and from the effects of the diuretic. Today--nine days later--I got some goop siphoned out of my knee through a long-ass needle poked in under my kneecap. I still can't walk as well as before: Doc #2 asked me why I was still using the crutch. My leg hasn't been bearing my weight completely for more than a week, that's why. Besides, I still have the crutch, might as well use it!

Feels much better with all that gunk out of it--much less pain, more flexible, not nearly as hot, but you can still push on the kneecap and see adjacent skin pushed up by displaced fluid. Pretty neat how a few minutes with a syringe (and a good mechanic) made such a difference. Maybe someday I'll be in a position to pay this guy and the other docs, nurses, techs, clerks, transport jockeys and such what they're worth for patching me up and keeping this decrepit body of mine limping (if not trotting yet) along.

I did finally find something that'll touch the pain: 500 milligram acetaminophen. Aspirin's out as long as I'm taking Lasix (bad, bad interaction). Ibuprofen wouldn't even touch it. I even tried some leftover Panlor SS, but that was less than useless for pain relief even if it does have codeine. About all it did was make me itch all over after 2 days. Made me miss that Dilaudid and Lortab the hospital gave me back in July.

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