The Knee Chronicles: A Shot In The Knee

It’s two hours past my scheduled appointment time and I am finally sitting in the examination room. I’ve actually been in here for about 20 minutes. Not much to look at but at least it doesn’t smell funny. You know what I mean! That doctor’s office smell. As a child, I was always traumatized by a visit to the doctor’s office. But today at age 49, I am just as unsure as I was at age five, only I don’t have my mommy to accompany me. I don’t know what to do with myself. Should I remove something (clothing)? Where should I sit? There are two chairs and a low stool on wheels. The stool looks like his seat. There is also a raised examination table. There are no stir ups. Funny I should notice that. He ain’t that kind of doctor. I guess there is never a reason for him to use those in his ortho practice. Well, I am not hopping up on that thing until instructed to do so.

My knee is holding. I feel a slight burning when I apply weight to it but otherwise there is no exceptional pain. I have been holed up in my house every since “Hell Night” and I believe it has helped. I can bend the knee with hardly a twinge. I was able to get into the cab with no trauma though walking is still a task I perform with trepidation.

I can no longer trust my body to do what it is supposed to do. I have no idea what the doctor will tell me. I have run a dozen scenarios in my head which include arthroscopy, replacement, amputation and a wheelchair. And then there’s the cortisone shot. That sounds so unpleasant. The other options at least require anesthesia of some sort, don’t they?

I can hear my doctor counseling the other fat lady (besides me) in the next examination room. Evidently she fell and broke her ankle. She is worried about when she might return to work. He tells her that she must have surgery and some sort of screw or something horrible must be placed in her bone.

“Oh My God!”

The doctor enters the room. He is pleasant looking with kind eyes and a calm voice.

I don’t have to remove my boots or my pants or anything. Good. He feels my knee, bends it, asks for my symptoms.

“Describe your pain.”

“It hurts!”

“Okay, it hurts like Satan is shooting a vibrating white hot blade of evil down the front of my patella.”

I am proud of this description. After much discussion and examination, he offers a shot of…

“Cortisone?” I interrupt.

“Kenalog” He corrects me.

“Okay.” I agree weakly.

I have researched and talked to everyone about it. People say:

“Those shots are really painful!” But when I ask if they’ve had one they always say “No, but I’ve heard.” I talked to people who have actually had the shots and they have said it doesn’t hurt any more than any other injection. You feel the initial prick of the needle and that’s it.

That sounds reasonable.

But right now as I sit waiting for the doctor to go prepare the injection, it dawns on me that agreeing to allow someone to put a needle in one’s knee is absurd.

Of course it’s gonna hurt! And how cruel to ask me if I want a shot in the knee!!

Why doesn’t he ask if I want him to place some aluminum foil on the fillings in my teeth or poke me in the ear with an ice pick!

The doctor returns with things in his hand – things wrapped in packaging.


“I don’t want to look!”

“You don’t have to. Just tell me when you’re ready.”

Is he kidding me? Ready? Never!

“Okay, I’m ready! No! Wait!” I’m beginning to feel like a fool.

“Go ahead!” I place my hands over my eyes and start humming to myself.

“Are you humming a Helen Reddy tune?”

I shoot him an evil look.

“Try to relax. Okay, Here we go!”

Prick! I feel the initial jab of the needle. I jump a tiny bit and open my eyes. He is sitting on the short stool at my feet. I am sitting up on the examination table and I realize that I could very easily kick him in the balls – a reflex action really. I don’t kick him of course and I resist the urge to ask him if anyone ever has… kicked him in the balls upon being stuck.

I close my eyes again. An alien and unpleasant sensation encompasses my knee. This is weird. Then I realize that he is placing a bandage on my knee and it’s over. That sensation was the injected liquid moving inside my knee. I feel immediate relief from pain. I mean immediate.

It’s a miracle! I go back in two weeks.

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