2014 has been a pathetic year in many ways & just when I was getting ready to bid it adieu, it gave me the worst blow of the year – or later as it turned out, perhaps much more. So on 31st Dec, I got ready, packed some stuff, set out from gurgaon for my parents’ place in Delhi. During the entire drive I felt some discomfort about something not being right. But I attributed it more to the car. Reached home, parked car in garage and then proceeded to take out the stuff from the backseat. My laptop was nearby but the main bag was far off towards the other end. The backseat part of the car was on an incline and my right foot was I think between incline and flat. I made one lunge to get to the bag.. and suddenly my right knee snapped and i was SHOCKED beyond belief. I screamed inadvertently in pain and also realised that my kneecap had dislocated like it had once earlier, 20 yrs back. At least this time I knew what was happening to me, but then it wasn’t relocating back at all unlike the last time when I was a teenager. This time the pain was excruciating cos the knee joint just wasn’t snapping back. Then in about a minute it managed to snap back and I slowly gained cognisance of what had happened & the world seemed to be crashing in front of me. I sat down in that very backseat and called my parents, who were two floors above, oblivious to what all had suddenly happened. And then another dislocation happened just when i was trying to straighten my knee! Each time the pain was excruciating and the knee joint just wouldn’t come back instantly either! Then it happened a 3rd time too! The conclusion now, was to somehow shift the car back out of the garage, shift myself completely into the backseat and go to a hospital like that. With great difficulty, I managed to drag myself in to the backseat and finally my parents & I, left for the hospital… and on the way another fucking dislocation happened AGAIN!!! The fact that it just wasn’t stopping was most disconcerting! And i worried about how much damage each dislocation was causing!
Once we got to the hospital, an immobiliser was tied to my right leg (which I still have on, 24 days later) and I was prescribed medicines to bring down the inflammation around the knee joint & address the pain. An X-ray was done but it was just basic & X-rays don’t show ligament injuries. At that point my knee joint was also too sore for it to be inspected physically and chances were that more dislocations would have happened if an attempt was made. So after this whole immobiliser, wheelchair, stretcher, xray, wheelchair session, we left for home. I was told to visit again after a few days when my knee joint had “quietened down”. Now the next hurdle – my parents live on the 2nd floor. I’d asked the doctor the procedure to climb stairs in this condition and with great difficulty managed 2 flights of stairs of our ancient ancestral house. Everyone had missed lunch due to this medical emergency and now we finally got home to take stock of the situation & what was left of our new year’s eve. I finally broke down & had a crying, hugging session. The shock of the whole thing was just too much. I was just going about my day as usual and suddenly I couldn’t even walk anymore, was bedridden and was looking at, at least 2-3 months of rehabilitation time. The unfairness of it all was just hitting me. The fact that it happened while doing something I’d done infinite number of times was very disconcerting. (More on what makes it happen, later). I knew that my extra flexible joints (I can twist both my thumbs outwards and touch them back to the wrist) made me vulnerable to this. In fact I’ve already had a kneecap dislocation 20 yrs back.. but that was a walk in the park compared to what had happened this time. Ultimately I tried to make myself believe that may be something worse had been averted and I got this “gifted” instead, but at that point I could barely reconcile myself to the situation.
Next up – after a week, MRI and digital x-rays were done. By this time I had reconciled to the situation and since I’d already dealt with a kneecap dislocation earlier, I knew the challenges. Back then the medical advice I had got was hardly anything. 20 yrs later, things had obviously advanced much more. Now there were ice packs, immobilisers, physiotherapy sessions, the internet as a huge resource and what not. As a teenager, I was just given a crepe bandage and sent off. It took around 6-9 months to get back to normal back then, but once it was ok, I forgot all about it. I thought this time the recuperation would be faster because I was equipped better. But when we showed the test results to the doctor – the first thing he said was, this would have to be cut open and operated. There is damage to the patella (kneecap) and the MPFL (the ligament towards the inner side of the knee) is torn and would need reconstructive surgery. Blood drained from our faces. There was shock once more. None of us could believe that the situation was THIS bad. We decided to take another opinion. Then another. And another. This includes a govt hospital, a sports injury doctor and a different hospital. They all say the same thing unfortunately. So here I am, gearing up for surgery now.
I’ll be writing in more detail about how these things happen, challenges & what to do in rehabilitation. But first a tiny note to all gyaanis, free advice givers, self appointed experts & well intentioned but ill informed wellwishers – kneecap dislocations have nothing to do with weight. Any surgery in the knee is not the same as “knee replacement”. Anything to do with a joint is not about weight. Yoga though an extremely beneficial regimen, can not cure everything.
As I wrote earlier, I’ll be updating my blog much more frequently and hope to hear from blogger fraands as well as people who have been through something similar.