the oozing knee

so, regular ysmarko readers will already know that i am occasionally a complete idiot (close friends and family know that “occasionally” is generous). this is proof.

a little over a week ago, i experienced a highly embarrassing mishap involving a dropped ipod and a swiftly moving treadmill. the immediate result was embarrassment; but the result within minutes was bloody knees. as i previously posted, i worked out for 90 minutes more before going home. of course, by then, the wounds were large scabs. so, when my wife suggested i put antibiotic ointment on them, i did the guy thing: i didn’t.

unfortunately, the pain has increased daily. wednesday night, i hardly slept, as the pain had increased to a truly distracting level. and thursday morning, i couldn’t walk without limping. jeannie looked at my right knee and quickly (duh) deduced that it was infected (i suppose that’s what normal people deduce from swelling, redness and pain). at jeannie’s suggestion, i headed off to urgent care.

when i told the nurse how i got the injury, she swore and said, “well, that’s one i haven’t heard.” then she left me in the exam room, and i heard her, just on the other side of the door, telling the office staff, followed by their loud laughter.

the doc came in, and i swear he looked like a tall ben stein. he had the same droll humor also (like when he said with a completely straight face that he was going to have to amputate my leg). he didn’t call me an idiot, but implied the same for not cleaning it out earlier. he said we would need “an aggressive treatment of antibiotics” to make sure it doesn’t become something more serious.

the nurse came back in and gave me a massive antibiotic shot in the butt (“when you get a shot in the butt, it comes with a little massage!”), a tetnus shot in my arm, and a prescription for two antibiotic pills and – yeah, baby – vicodin for the pain. the doc told me i have to keep my leg elevated, and put a hot wet towel on it. when i asked him how long and how often, he responded with a straight face, “oh, i’d say 15 minutes every 20 minutes.” i said, “seriously? just keep it on all the time?” he said, “i’m kidding; do it a handful of times each day.”

getting in my car after leaving the pharmacy, i bumped the wound on the steering column of my car and almost blacked out from the pain. and that’s when i first noticed the oozing. not blood, mind you (sorry, this is gross) — but puss. this oozing has continued since.

i have to go back for a follow-up this afternoon. and i can’t work out in the mean time (which is a nice excuse, but frustrating, as i know the “loser” competitors are chomping at the bit for me to fall from my current #1 spot.

friday afternoon update
today, the surface pain is less, but the deeper pain is worse. my knee is extremely stiff, and feels something like a pulled muscle. i can’t stand in one place on it for more than about 15 seconds.

the surface wounds look better also, but the redness from the infection has obviously spread. yesterday, it was only about an inch wider than the scabs. today, it covers the entire knee cap, and onto the inside of my knee. the whole thing is still quite swollen.

i went back to the doc, and they seemed concerned (they did not joke today, which made me a bit nervous!). i got another big shot of antibiotics in my butt (and this time it hurt!). and the doctor took a black permanent marker and drew a line along the outside of the redness (the infection area), so he can more clearly see the change tomorrow. yes, i have to go back again tomorrow.

tuesday update
since the youth specialties update newsletter linked to my sob story today, and there’s a raft of new traffic here, i thought i should update it a bit, so you all don’t think i’m dying on a hospital bed.

i went back to the doc on saturday, and, while the infection had spread a tiny bit more, it was significantly lighter in color and pain; so they were encouraged and said the antibiotics seemed to be working. i’m still on the three prescriptions, keeping my leg elevated, and putting a hot wet towel on it multiple times a day. and i have a follow-up with the doc tomorrow. but it seems to be slowly clearing up, and the pain has decreased substantially.

thanks for your prayers and concern!

21 thoughts on “the oozing knee”

  1. oh, and I’m with Chris on this one… we want pictures! (have we been hanging out with our Jr high kids too much?)

  2. Marko,

    As a medical professional, can I suggest to you that the best cure for your knees would be chocolate. Lots of it. And not smeared on your pus filled swollen knees as that might ruin the small nuances of flavor that good chocolate has. My prescription would be – chocolate b.i.d. taken orally
    Dr. Molly

  3. molly — funny thing is, i got a gorgeous box of lindt chocolate truffles in the mail two days ago. i let it sit on my desk for 24 hours, then put it out on the receptionist’s counter for the staff of YS. i had NONE!

  4. Apparently elementary school was in vain, as I can’t spell or type. God love the nuns that gave me that great foundation!

  5. you know, oddly enough, an infected knee from a minor injury is why Jonathon Penner had to quit Survivor this season…..maybe you two could start a club?

  6. I know your pain, Marko! I did something about as embarrassing a few months ago! I fell getting into my shower and ended up scratching my back on the shower door metal handle. It did hurt at all, or maybe I didn’t notice it compared to the pain of landing with my leg on the metal door track! THAT hurt so bad I almost thru up! I didn’t even notice the cut until that afternoon and put ointment on it later that night, but it still got pretty badly infected and took a few weeks to heal and hurt pretty much the whole time.

  7. Hey Mark-
    because of having been injured with equipment that is exposed to lots of germs, it might be worthwhile to ask your doctor about possible staph infection. My husband had a skin irritation over his outside wrist bone that worsened and did not heal, and that’s what it ended up being. There’s a nasty strain that’s resistant to most antibiotics (MRSA) to watch out for as well.

    Hope you are better soon.


  8. what doesn’t kill ya, makes ya stronger! get well (even if it means putting everything else on hold), man!

  9. Wow Marko, If your infection/redness spreads past the magic marker mark before you go back to the doc, you might want to go directly to the emergency room. My mother had the same kind of infection thing. It ended up as the flesh eating bacteria, and took several operations and two months in the hospital to save her leg and to clear up. The doc in the ER circled the redness on the back of her leg, and it had grown past the line withing 20 minutes. It was then that they rushed her into surgery. So, if it is one of those flesh eating types of staph or strep, time is of the essence in treating it. Not to scare you, just to give you a heads up.

  10. I pray that your knees are doing better, that the infection goes away, and that you’ll be running pain-free again soon!

  11. Marko,
    Sorry to hear about this… You are definitely in my prayers… I’ve had a few knee injuries working with the Youth and know how you feel…

  12. jon – -thanks for asking. i added an update in the post. it’s coming along well, but isn’t completely back to normal yet. i have a follow-up doc appt this afternoon.

  13. Dear Marko,

    I am SO SORRY about your ordeal. I hope you feel better really soon. I thought my own humiliating knee stories might make you feel a little better. My seminary chose me to attend a Preaching Excellence Conference, which was held at the College of Preachers at the National Cathedral. I was suffering from a bit of an imposter syndrome, because of the setting and the caliber of the faculty. I really didn’t want to make a fool out of myself. Well …. on the second day I was there, we were headed to the Pentecost service at the National Cathedral. I have arthritis and tripped and fell down the stone stairs in front of the College of Preachers and skinned both knees really badly. I was limping and bleeding and everyone was horrified. I was determined to pretend it was no big deal, to salvage at least a little scrap of my dignity, and was not about to miss one of the biggest services of the year at the cathedral. So I went to the service – limping and bleeding, and went on a tour of the cathedral, then returned to the conference for the rest of the day. By that evening I had to beg someone to take me to a pharmacy for first aid supplies and an ice bag – the kind you see people with hangovers in the movies wearing on their heads. I was so stiff I had to hobble for the rest of the week and couldn’t go at all unless I kept ice on it. I made quite an impression on everyone, but not necessarily for my preaching skills… I was known as Wounded Knee for the rest of the week.
    Then.. years later and a few days after my 40th birthday, I developed an arrythmia that isn’t too serious, but makes my heart beat 250+ times per minute. It had been doing that for about 4 hours when my doctor decided I better go to the ER. The problem is that I’d just had a knee replacement and couldn’t get pants on yet, so I had to go in my nightie and robe, and I had to use a walker because of the surgery. My husband got upset and broke the side of the walker, so it kind of flapped as I walked. Once again, I was quite a sight. Every time a member of the medical staff came in to talk to me, they asked, “HOW OLD did you say you are????” I have to adit that I finally answered “90 alright?” I sure felt it!
    Then there’s the memory of a very hot day when I nearly passed out in the pulpit in the middle of my sermon. I was dragged off into another room by some choir members while the senior pastor finished my sermon. The entire congregation filed past after church as I was laid out on a sofa in the library. They had all decided I was pregnant and just hadn’t “fessed up” yet.
    Do you feel better yet?
    I have to tell you I am a huge fan of yours and don’t know what I would do without YS. My seminary had ZERO youth ministry courses, and so I’ve learned everything I know from trial and error, but mostly from YS materials and the CORE and NYWC. I wasn’t able to go the the NYWC this past year, because I don’t have the budget for it in my new job, and I really missed being there. I did just take four team members to the CORE though, and we all thought it was awesome.

    Take care and feel better soon!

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