August 8, 2012
OK I borrowed that quote from Bette Davis, but I’m telling you it’s the truth. Many of you may remember that I had knee surgery back in April (I certainly whined about it enough, I know). My recovery has been slow and laced with setbacks and peripheral problems. Grannies with hip replacements have been dancing Zumba circles around me for months; my snail-like progress has been more than a little frustrating.
I had a follow-up appointment with my surgeon this week, and my biggest fear was that he would want to give me a cortico-steroid injection in the knee to calm some inflation that’s preventing me from healing completely. For a brief time at the beginning of the visit (the hour or so between seeing the intern and the actual doctor), the idea of actually doing a second surgery on the same knee was being kicked around (pardon the pun).
I felt sick. I felt panicked and in disbelief. I do not ever want to have another knee surgery again if I can help it. The funny thing is, I had gotten myself so worked up over the possibility of getting a steroid shot in my knee that the suggestion of another surgery threw me for a loop. All of a sudden, the shot didn’t seem so bad.
One day I will learn not to listen to people’s horror stories about their own experiences with (in this case) steroid shots in joints. Hopefully, I will also learn one day not to turn to WebMD when a medical problem arises. I can convince myself in no time flat that a cold is really an incurable little-understood virus, or that a shot in the knee can result in paralysis or even death and will most certainly hurt so badly that I’ll pass out or even worse, get sick on the doctor and his assistant.
I’m happy to report that the shot was no more painful than any other shot would have been. My husband had shielded the length of the needle from me before they administered the injection, or I would have just gotten up and walked out. My doctor informed me that I did great and that those shots are really painful only when the person administering it hits bone. The world went a little gray at the mere mention of needle hitting bone, but I pulled myself together.
I can be my own worst enemy when it comes to worry and fear, and I really need to stop feeding those two with WebMD and others’ “you-won’t-believe-what-happened-to-me” anecdotes.
Do you run straight home to consult WebMD when you have medical questions? Does it help you or make you worry more, putting ideas in your head that weren’t there before? I think I need to block that site from my computer.
Carole Townsend is also a Gwinnett Daily Post staff correspondent and author of “Southern Fried White Trash.” The book takes a humorous look at families and how we behave when thrown together for weddings, funerals and holidays. She has been quoted on msnbc.com, in the LA Times, USA Today and the Christian Science Monitor, been featured on FOX 5 News and CNN, and is often a guest on television and radio shows nationwide. Her next book, “Red Lipstick and Clean Underwear,” is eagerly expected in Fall 2012.