Playing House

One of my favorite TV shows is House. This week, I felt like I’d stepped into my own personal episode of the medical mystery series.

My knee has been bothering me on and off for quite some time now. Lately, it’s been more on than off. So I decided to make an appointment for myself at the same time as Mom’s appointment Tuesday. I don’t know what I expected. I wasn’t in enough pain enough of the time to warrant surgery. I hate needles. I guess I just wanted to find out what was happening in there. So off I went to x-ray.

When the pictures came up on the computer screen (all digital now, you know) even I could see something weird, not in the joint, but in the bone below the knee, the tibia. Ah, I thought. That’s my lumpy shin.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had a lump on my right shin bone. I contributed it to being gang-tackled during a game of dodge ball back in bible school. One doctor told me it was a greenstick fracture. Another called it an extended tibia. No one ever x-rayed it. It hurt like crazy when I bumped it and often ached when I was on my feet too long. But as I grew older, it stopped bothering me and I pretty much forgot it was there.

When the doctor came in to view the pictures of my knee, he announced that I had no arthritis and the knee itself looked pretty good. The knee cap, however, didn’t sit quite the way it should. That, it appears, is the source of my pain. No surgery, needles, or physical therapy required. Just a knee brace to stabilize the floating, not-quite-aligned knee cap.

But then, our beloved orthopedic surgeon began to scowl at the x-rays. He rubbed his chin. He seemed intrigued…almost fascinated…by what he saw. That’s when he turned into Dr. House and asked if I minded if he x-rayed the rest of my leg. I rolled up the leg of my jeans and pointed to my lumpy shin. “This is about that thing, isn’t it?” I asked. He confirmed my suspicion. He’d spotted that strange looking abnormality on my tibia and wanted a better view.

So off I went, BACK to x-ray. What the heck. There were no knives or needles involved. And my mystery-writing brain was, quite frankly, curious.

After viewing the new pictures, the doctor announced that I had meloreostosis, a rare bone disease. Rare disease? I told you. HOUSE.

In my case, it’s nothing more than an interesting topic of conversation (and good material for a blog). The lump is a benign bone tumor that I’ve had most of my life. It’s little more than a deformity. And since I’ve long been used to not looking good in shorts (and the lump doesn’t even have all that much to do with that), it’s no big deal.

But I do think the doctor enjoyed diagnosing a rare ailment. And I was happy that neither my knee nor my shin require more than the brace. Plus I was thrilled to have a name and a reason for the lump. Another mystery solved.

Elementary, my dear Watson.

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