Stupid Human Tricks
photo by coba
Our bodies do some crazy things. Like how our eyes tear up when they’re hit with freezing wind. No sadness or loneliness there, just cold, raw air. Or how we sweat when we’re nervous. Isn’t sweat the body’s way of cooling itself? I’m never hot when I’m nervous. That brings me to the freaky if not completely annoying thing my body did this weekend. My knees—those ever-infuriating discs that continue to complicate my life—started playing games with me.
It began on Saturday when I was sitting on the couch doing some work. I was splayed out over the entire couch—legs reaching to the teensy corner The Man occupied. (Sorry, Man.) Anyhow, I spent a few hours in that position because I was on a role with an article I was writing and, frankly, it was really warm under the fuzzy blanket I draped over me. My point is, I wasn’t doing any exercise—no physical activity in any way, shape, or size. I was being a (hard-working) bum.
Then things started getting all Twilight Zone freaky on me. When I walked into the kitchen to make dinner, my knees were bright red and burning up. That’s how they get when I walk a ton a few blocks. And while I wouldn’t have been happy about it, I would have understood their flare-up had I been shopping or standing or even walking around the house. But no. No, no, no. They were inflamed by sitting! Sheesh.
So the rest of the night I acted like someone had just amputated my legs. Every half hour or so, I’d roll up my pant leg and ask The Man whether he thought my knees still looked red.
No, really. Look again. How red do you think they look?
Feel them. Don’t they feel hot?
Do you think I’m doomed to a life of knee pain?
Can you look at them again?
[Rolls his eyes.]
You get the idea. I was freaking out. My knees weren’t hurting, mind you. But I was worried something else was going on—permanent damage to my knees or a new trend of pain without activity. The heat and redness went down after a couple hours, but the event scarred me. That is, until Sunday.
That evening, The Man and I braved the frigid cold to sneak a workout in at the gym. My knees had been feeling pretty good all day (all week, really, if you discount the non-painful but petrifying redness episode), so I decided to push myself. I biked for 16 minutes at a resistance two notches higher than normal. I turned on my music, stared straight at my knees, and concentrated on the rhythm of my legs pounding down on the petals. I was more tired after that bike ride than I have been since I started physical therapy.
And ya know what? (I’m sure you’ve guessed by now.)
The knees that terrorized me the night before weren’t red at all. Not. At. All. As in no inflammation. They felt pretty darn good, too
I don’t understand. Maybe the flare-up was a fluke. Maybe I did something to my knees without knowing it. (Doubtful, though. I pretty much baby my knees as if they were made of crystal.) Maybe my body just felt like screwing with me. Either way, I’m happy to report my knees are feeling great today. I hope a few months from now, I’ll look back at this post and realize it was a turning point in my fight against knee pain.