"The older I get, the more I value the importance of good health and good physical fitness as it relates to long term survival. After huffing and puffing during a recent hike up 800 feet, I realized that the time had come to reassess my personal health and fitness goals and to bone up on personal medical preparedness.
"I totally agree with her on the importance of being physically fit, having a knowledge of your own physical state, your limitations and a knowledge of at the very minimum basic first aid.
I am currently suffering from a knee injury I sustained while helping a friend replace his workshop roof before our Summer rains started. I was stripping the old roofing off and trimming a branch when I stepped to the side and hit a rotted patch. My right leg went through the roof up to my thigh and my left knee buckled and struck solid wood, preventing me from falling all the way through.
It was immediately painful, but as I did not hear the tell-tale pop, I believed that I didn't tear the meniscus or ACL. I continued working, though at a much slower pace. There was some minor swelling, which along with the discomfort should have indicated that I should have called it a day. Notice I said should have...
I went home and took some aspirin for the swelling, I alternated a couple of cycles between ice packs and applying Tiger Balm before going to bed. For anyone who is not familiar with Tiger Balm, it's great stuff. Rub it on and it heats up to sooth muscles. As my knee hadn't stopped moving all afternoon I wasn't that concerned.
When I awoke the next morning, I became concerned. My knee was the size of a grapefruit and I couldn't move it laterally. I did a self exam and there were no bone chips found and no pooled blood, which would have indicated a possible ACL or meniscus tear requiring a MRI and possible surgery to repair. I elevated my leg by placing a pillow under my knee and began applying Tiger Balm again. Between the soothing warmth of the balm and the gentle massaging, my knee loosened up.
I applied a neoprene patella support to prevent further injury and got dressed to go work on the roof. Throughout the day, when I would take a break, I'd ice it and take an aspirin every couple of hours.
Now, 3 days after the accident, the swelling is about the size of a golf ball and at night I continue to alternate between the ice packs and Tiger Balm.
Once my knee is fully recovered, I have promised my girlfriend that I will start going hiking with her! I look forward to that and enjoying the scenery and the company of my bestfriend.
While I am not a Doctor and I do not suggest everyone do a self exam or the other things I have done, I do recommend everyone know basic first aid, have a couple of reusable ice packs or those Instant Cold Packs, a muscle rub of your choice, and a pair of neoprene ankle, knee, wrist and elbow braces on hand at all times.
In an upcoming blog I will discuss my basic first aid kit and some personal recommendations for yours.