Sunday, 7 October 2012

Taking my knees walkabout.

A while ago I posted a dilemma - my knees were rebelling, and I had to decide if I should nurse them at home this winter, or risk being stuck in a jungle if they went on strike.

I took the sensible course. (What? Sensible! Not willingly, I must add. Nagged by sensible daughters who would have to sort me out if the worse happened. I take their point - they have jobs, families, cannot drop everything to fly across the world to rescue me from something I could have predicted in the first place.)

So I have had x-rays and seen the bone-person. I won't go into him looking young - at least I didn't ask him if he's started shaving yet. More importantly - he listened. And he didn't even flinch when I mentioned tottering around unlikely places with a rucksack.

He told me I have arthritis (which I knew) and that both knees are probably beyond tinkering with. 'We could give you arthroscopies, but in your case there is a chance it doesn't work and could even make things considerably worse,' he said.

'I'm not ready to give up my lifestyle,' I said.

'If course you're not.'

(Hurrah!! He's not assuming I'll retreat into a corner with my cocoa!)

'So,' he went on, 'I'll give you steroid injections to help the pain for now. (Ow!) We'll sort some physio to keep the muscles in good trim around the knees - which should keep you going for a while. Eventually we'll give you new knees - starting on the left.'

'So can I go to Madagascar this winter?' I explained about carrying a rucksack, and he asked reasonable questions about weight and distance.

And then he said, 'You go. You'll have less pain in the warmth anyway. But you might need to pass on ten mile hikes - sit on a beach with a book instead; and, if you can, get other people to carry heavy things for you. Then we'll see how you are in the spring and operate if you are still in pain.' (The subtext - I can't make them any worse. So I might just as well take them travelling as sit at home feeling sorry for myself. And then he'll sort me out so I can carry on travelling year after year!)

So - Madagascar this winter, I thought. Raced off to buy the Lonely Planet.

Except that isn't going to be as straightforward as I'd thought - so I'll let you into my tortuous thinking about where to go in my next post.

But the main news is - me and my knees will be off again this winter! Yippee!


  1. Somewhere hot this winter? Now that sounds like a plan....arthritis doesn't play up as much in the sun....but I'm on the side of the docor and and the careful!

    The thought of sittuing on a beach sounds great I have to say.....or perhpas wring a new one on the beach?

  2. How good to have a doctor who understands the kind of life you want. New knees sound painful but good,Ive heard of many people having new knees and hips and it has made such a difference to their lives. I think you will be careful because you won't want to have any of that"we told you so" oh the thought of some more sun bet you can't wait.

  3. You're not?! You wouldn't?! What, go off again into the great unknown?! *shudders at the mere thought*

  4. Excellent! Good for you. And when you come back, you get new knees. The op is less intensive, so a friend told me, and they have such fab technology that you will wonder why you didn't have it done before.

    Good luck with your travelling. Dying to hear about it when you come back.

  5. Thank you all for your support (and yes, that includes you, Ros - I know I make you bite your nails, but you still cheer me on),

    You never know, if I am careful, I might squeeze more than one trip in before the knees pack in and I give in to replacements ...

  6. HI Jo,
    Got into your blog another way and have no idea why the other didn't work! Looks the same.
    You are so ambitious! I have bad knees too, but for me a lot of my problem is my weight. It really helped to lose even a small amount. You don't look like you can afford to lose much!
    Your travels must be a wonderful inspiration for your writing.
    Keep us informed of your progress!