Sympathy Pain

For the past several days, I’ve had pain in my left knee.  It hasn’t been exactly a shooting or burning pain, but it’s enough to know it’s there.  About the only time it doesn’t hurt is when I’m too busy at work to remember, or when I’m asleep.  All the other times it hurts.  Friday morning I decided to use something besides Aleve to combat the symptoms.  Originally I had planned on using some Ben-gay or Aspercreme, but my wife had a bottle of something she got at our chiropractor called ‘BioFreeze‘.  The label says that it’s a “cold therapy pain reliever” and it comes in either small 3 ml packets, a 4 oz tube, or a small bottle roll-on, like deodorant.

Figuring it was worth a try, after my shower, while my skin was still warm and porous, I slathered some on.  My wife insisted I used too much, but I used my fingers to massage the liquid from the roll-on around and over my kneecap.  It smelled nice, apparently one of the active ingredients is menthol, so it was pleasant to the nose at least.  I didn’t feel anything initially, but as time went on, it started to work, or at least it felt cold on the skin as it began to work.

We were going to the dealership to swap the Ford Edge for the Nissan Murano, and my wife had offered me use of her knee brace.  I wore it for part of the morning, but seeing as I was planning on wearing shorts in the afternoon, I didn’t want to be wearing the brace out in public.  So using the BioFreeze was a good compromise.  By the time we got to the dealership, pretty much all the noticeable pain in my knee had dissipated.  On the way we stopped at a rest area so my wife could use the restroom, rather than getting to the dealership and making a beeline for the bathroom.  While she was indisposed, I received a text from my birth mother, whom I had texted late last night.  She congratulated us on our lease, and then proceeded to inform me that she’s had pain in her right knee for the past week.

Her orthopedic doctor diagnosed a torn meniscus and after an ultrasound he further suggested there was a Baker’s Cyst.  Having little medical school training (re: none) that sounded pretty serious, but when I got home I asked Dr. Google about it and found out more information on exactly what she was talking about. She did mention that surgery might be in the future, which would probably put her impending visit here in August and October out of reach.  If she is going to be having knee surgery, it’s probable that she’s not going to be feeling spry enough to be scaling stairs a lot and in our house that’s problematic, since the bedrooms are on the second floor.

Dr. Google suggests even the minimum of healing time is 2-3 months post surgery.  So even if it was done today, she wouldn’t likely be ready to travel until at least September.  And one would suppose physical therapy would be in the offing as well, so that might very well take us into mid to late October or even early November.  So probably travel here to the Finger Lakes isn’t going to be in the cards for her.  Which would suck, but I’d rather she (and I expect she’d rather) be in good shape for a visit, rather than be stuck in a wheelchair, or scooter, or whatever while visiting.

At the conclusion of our conversation, I promise her pictures of the new vehicle and she wishes us a good trip.  Her relating this to me has got me thinking however.  My knee had started hurting about the same time that she had had her diagnosis from her own doctor.  Sure I don’t necessarily believe in anything besides coincidence, but it does make you wonder if the pain I’ve been experiencing is in any way connected to hers.  Sympathy pain.  Curious concept to be sure.  Something to consider at any rate.

In the interim, I’m going to keep using the BioFreeze on my knee, since it does seem to be working.  I don’t believe it’s time to up the ante and see my doctor yet, because it’s not causing me to miss work, it’s not swollen, and I’m not limping.  So if none of those things are occurring, and the topical analgesic continues to abate the symptoms, I think I’m good for the time being.  The real test should come on Monday, when I’m going to be spending a good amount of 3-4 hours on my knees doing departmental inventory, but at least I do have knee pads to help with the impact as well as hardness of the floors under them.

Cheers to pain relief.