There's a Hole in My Bucket

Friday, February 10, 2006

Having flown back from Dubai (where I failed miserably to get to the firing range) on Wednesday, I had an appointment with the knee expert yesterday. My MRIs were back and the diagnosis was complete. There's a hole in my bucket.

The image above demonstrates what a bucket handle tear of the medial meniscus looks like in cross-section from above. That's what I've probably had for quite some time, and have at this very moment.

The image below demonstrates what a displaced bucket handle tear of the medial meniscus looks like in cross-section from above. That's what happened when I knelt down to pull a plug out of a wall a few weeks ago.

My knee has improved a lot since that happened - in fact, my bucket handle tear is no longer displaced, which is obviously great - but I'm walking around on a time-bomb that may explode (or, to be more medically accurate, displace) at any moment.

In short, the cartilage has to come out, but it's not urgent. I've been given the all clear to go to the US and play golf next week as planned, but as soon as I get back, I need to get to the hospital and have an arthroscopy to remove the offending bucket and its dodgy handle.

I mentioned to the surgeon that I have rather a daunting athletic programme lined up in the months to come. He said that was fine, but only if it was a one off - I could probably make it through the training and running of a single marathon, but if I decided to take up marathon running long term, I'd be likely to have arthritis in my knee by the time I'm 35. Likewise, he said, contact sports like rugby or football would have to go too.

I almost found myself being upset by that, until I remembered that I loathe jogging and don't play either rugby or football.

I asked him if I could film the operation and post it on my website. He told me I was a freak, but he didn't say no.

I'm off this afternoon back to Belfast, then (on Sunday) I'm heading to the US with my dad to play some golf (bucket handle permitting) and do some hardcore relaxing. Having failed to find the time in Dubai to visit a shooting range, I will do my utmost to fire a gun while I'm in the states; I hear it's virtually mandatory.