Tuesday, September 25, 2012

There goes that knee again...

There goes that knee again...
It seems to come out of nowhere. I wake up and my right knee is complaining loudly and feels loose and sloppy in the joint as if it's twisting out of its range and really doesn't like it. Even the weight of the blankets seem to intensify the pain. Eventually, after trying several sleep position, I find one that seems to cause the least distress, hoping when I wake in the morning, my knee is not tangled in the covers and crying "ouch" again.

I had just returned from spending three days and nights at a nature camp my 11 year old son attended in the woods of New Hampshire. I thought it might be fun to tag along and act like a kid again for a couple of days. Sleeping on a mat that's too thin for real comfort and too narrow to make turning over easy did leave it's mark. We spent the days hiking, scaling fallen tree trunks, fording slippery-rocked creeks in our bare feet and huddling around smoky campfires listening to the owls hoot in the darkness before calling it a day and sliding into our sleeping bags.

I felt great after the brief time away. On my first morning back I sat longer than normal in spite of sore muscles in my legs and bruises on my shins. It was so nice to just sit there in peace. I have no idea how long I sat. It wasn't until the wee hours when I woke to the pain in my knee that I knew I had overdone it. That familiar ebbing and flowing tenderness that makes even thinking about moving my knee difficult. As in, which way is out of harm's way, when no position makes the pain go totally away but only lessens it.

Even before I attempted to actually stand on my right leg, I massaged the muscles and tendons above my knee, the joint itself and then on down to my calf, ankle and foot. As soon as I think it's possible I do a gentle stretch of the front of my quads and the back of my calf. Finally, I give myself the reminder to take it easy for a day or two and to check for any swelling to go down.

If all goes well, my knee will be back to its old self. I'll soon forget about it. I am left no worse for the wear, humbled by the responsibility to pay heed to this faithful friend on the journey,  honor its limits and respond promptly with wholehearted attention when I overdo it and ...... there goes that knee again.  

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