Brave New Knee

Better living through chemistry, that’s what I call it.  Through the magic of modern medicine, I just might have a brave new knee.  How hard I’ll be able to beat on it remains to be seen.

After the crushing news about a torn meniscus, Dr. Rosenberg outlined possible treatment options.  He discouraged surgery: it could lead to early onset of arthritis.  (Let’s hear it for doctors who discourage surgery, let me hear you say YEAH!)  Instead of cortisone, he suggested something called Euflexxa.  And if that didn’t work, maybe we could try platelet-rich plasma therapy.  Me, in the company of Hines Ward and Tiger?  Be still, my beating heart.

Cartilage has even less blood supply than ligaments or tendons, so it’s hard to heal.  At first, I thought this stuff would mend the cartilage.  Sadly, I misunderstood my doctor.  Thank goodness I still have the capacity to engage in magical thinking.  So far as I understand, Euflexxa augments the synovial fluid in your joints, helping to lubricate them.  Online search results refer to it as an arthritis treatment, they don’t say anything about torn cartilage.

Doing my due diligence online, I found another possible treatment, Synvisc.  Without naming it, Euflexxa wrote,

Euflexxa is different from some other HA therapies because it is not made from processed rooster combs, which may be problematic in people who are allergic to poultry products (including eggs and feathers). Euflexxa, however, is made differently, from an all-natural source. It is free of animal proteins and is therefore safe to use in people who are allergic to poultry products.

Oh, really?  And rooster combs are unnatural?  Methinks the rooster might disagree.

So on Monday, I grimaced as Dr. Rosenberg swabbed my knee and stuck in a needle somewhat thicker than bucatini.  Then he sent me on my way, admonishing me to avoid exercise for 48 hours.  For now, I’ve still got to avoid running for, but he said I should be able to ride and rollerski.

When Laurel was 4 years old, I had occasion one day to take her out for lunch; we got pizza someplace in Ledgewood.  I remember the conversation of three guys of retirement age at the next table.  They were talking about stents the way guys might discuss whether Fischer skis are better than Atomic.  “This new stent from <pharmaceutical company> is good for 15 years,” one of them intoned.  His buddies were impressed.

At the time, I copped a smug attitude, thinking, yeah, I’m a badass, I’m in great shape, I’m never gonna worry about no stinkin’ stent.

But as the school board meeting wound down on Monday night, a fellow trustee accosted me: “What are you on, cortisone?”


“What is that stuff?”  Turns out that he’s got a bum shoulder and an aching knee, and he’d been getting cortisone injections.  And it was off to the races as we compared injuries and treatments.

Never say never.