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My Meniscus, My Story
By Preston Fairchild, MSW
It was just before the 2010 holiday season when a sharp pain surged through my right knee. This pain would’ve brought down The Rock, but, managing my 52-year-old pride, I hobbled back to my apartment in need of relief. It was a torn a meniscus and required arthroscopic surgery. So I spent the next two months on crutches, a knee stabilizer, and some very nice narcotics. I also employed the patience of Job as I waited on a date for surgery.
I had surgery right after the New Year. Luckily for me the surgeon was successful in shaving down the meniscus tear. Unlucky for me, I returned from surgery with complications and developed atrial fibrillation. I knew something was wrong after feeling this large amount of pressure on my chest, and noticing my heart rate was in the high 170‘s. My daughter and sister were at my bedside, and I attempted to remain calm so I would not alarm them. Later I was wheeled away to the emergency room, and then admitted to the cardiac unit for treatment and observation. I couldn’t believe it.
I cannot help but think “Am I going to be one of those people who come to the hospital for a routine procedure only to die before seeing the season 25 finale of The Oprah Winfrey Show?” God help me. I mean, even at 52 and being overweight, I eat healthy, I workout, and I take vitamins. I have worked to address my health issues ranging from hypertension and hypothyroidism, to asthma and cancer. My father died from a myocardial infarction, primarily due to poor health, at the age of 56. It was always my intention to not let history repeat itself.
Fast forward to three weeks post surgery. I am recovering well. I see a physical therapist twice a week, and I have been cleared to exercise at home with modifications. After knee surgery it is important to strengthen your quadriceps and gluteus muscles. Literally my physical therapist works my butt off before I get an ice wrap to control the inflammation.
In sharing my story with you, I began to really reflect on a few things. First, many of us men do not manage our health. When you consider how precious good health is, there’s no excuse. Health is not just the absence of disease. It’s important to know what’s going on with your body before any symptoms show up, as by then it could be too late to reverse any damage. So schedule your physical check up that includes a prostate exam. Consider getting a HIV test, a vision test, and an eye exam. If you live a stressful life, consider talking to a professional counselor or therapist. Physical health is linked to mental health. I decided many years ago that I did not want to wait for a health crisis to begin a healthier lifestyle. It’s not easy at all, but it’s the only mind and body you have. Take care of it every day.