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The most important article I have read in the Seattle times this year. Copied here to to avoid losing it to the archives…

$4.5 million for a boat that nobody wanted

By David Heath and Hal Bernton
Seattle Times staff reporters
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The Real Culprit

A week ago I pointedly blamed the LCL for all my troubles, and mentioned that the good news was that the LCL was not the ACL.

Well, it turns out that while the LCL is still not the ACL, the ACL is, in fact, the ACL. This is all a roundabout way of saying that my ACL and my LCL are both torn, as in all the way through and not-going-to-heal-on-their-own. Along with a bunch of bone contusions (or bruising, but contusion sounds more appropriate for this situation), it means that my right knee is basically in just about the worst shape possible, short of any bones breaking, which apparently doesn’t happen to me, ever.

(*Knock on wood.)

Tomorrow I get to call a surgeon to (presumably) schedule surgery on my knee. Recovery afterwards is supposed to be about 6 months to full strength, which is a shorter time frame than I expected to hear — but maybe the arthroscopic surgery is just that good these days? The time line I received was as follows:

1 month to biking
2-3 months to running in a straight line
6 months to full recovery, including ultimate again

This is a heck of a lot better than the 6-12 months for partial and probably incomplete recovery that I was expecting to hear. Was this sugarcoated or are my chances really this good? I guess time will tell.


Axial view of knee

Saggital view of knee

MRI in Ten Hours

I’m getting an MRI of my knee later today, and so I should know pretty soon the status of my CLC (or at least by Tuesday, when I next see the doctor — but I bet the MRI tech can give me a preview of coming attractions). The MRI machine I’m headed to is at the UW Roosevelt Clinic, about half way between main campus and my house. That would work out well, except the MRI is between two classes… oh well.

Here’s to hoping it’s not a tear!’

As to the reason I’m up so late, I just finished some code to render 3d structures with lighting and shading. It rocks. CSE 467 is a very cool class.

The Culprit

I saw a Sports Medicine doctor at the UW Hall Health Center today. Both he and a resident he is training came to the same conclusion: my knee is hampered by an injured lateral collateral ligament, or LCL (see picture).

Lateral Collateral Ligament
The good news is that the LCL is not the ACL. The bad news is that it still might be a tear; I won’t know until I get an MRI sometime in the next week. I have been advised to not bike (a bummer!) but I am allowed to put weight on the leg, which makes getting around campus in a timely manner much more doable. I have a huge knee brace with metal (!) hinges on right now, and I can walk without the assistance of crutches, although I have those too just in case. I also get to pop 9 ibuprofen a day. Woohoo druggie Ryan!

Biking on a Bad Knee

Actually, its not as bad as it sounds. All the power was provided by my left leg; my right leg was just along for the ride and to bring the pedal around for the next stroke (which took no more than its own weight to accomplish). So I was able to make it to all of my classes and appointments today, although I missed work because I don’t want to attempt driving quite yet and biking a couple of miles doesn’t sound too much fun either. I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow at 10:00 at the Hall Health Center Sports Medicine Clinic on campus; I’ve heard good things about them and hopefully they can set me on the quick path to recovery, which if I am lucky will involve little more than taking it easy for a few weeks. If I am unlucky, well, I don’t know, but that could be months possibly, and maybe even surgery. That doesn’t sound very fun.

Fortunately, my friends continue to impress me with their kindness and willingness to help me out. I’m trying not to rely on them more than is necessary, and their help is greatly appreciated. Its helped me remain in good spirits throughout this ordeal, which really isn’t too much of an ordeal considering how bad things in this world can get. I remain one lucky dude.