I probably got too close to someone’s Voodoo doll while I was in Salem, Oregon this week. I arrived Tuesday afternoon in preparation of delivering the Keynote presentation at the annual Oregon Workers’ Compensation Educational Conference Wednesday morning. While I felt fine when I arrived, it was while I was returning to my hotel room after dinner that I noticed a problem. My left knee was suddenly, and without explanation, very stiff and painful. The pain persisted through the night, and Wednesday morning I took a rather painful and limping walk down to the conference center.

After breakfast, they called me to the stage to do a mic check. As I rose and started walking I felt several strong pops in my left knee, accompanied by searing pain. Walking went from painful to excruciating, and after my presentation I spent the majority of the day in my hotel room, unable to walk without holding on to a wall or furniture to aid the process. Alternately I was able to get around by hopping on my other leg.

Some of you will recall that I recently wrote about problems with my knee, and an ongoing fight with my insurance company over the treatment protocol my doctor prescribed. I should point out that particular knee was not the one that went kerflooey on me Wednesday. It was, sadly, my good knee. Of course that means I am doing all that hopping on the knee that has been acting up.

Talk about a lousy backup plan. 

This was my first trip to Salem, OR. Some people will know it is also home to SAIF Corporation, a company that endured a scandal over the firing of CEO John Plotkin a couple years ago. I wrote a word or two about that debacle, and while I made many friends of employees who were upset about what happened, I also made a few distinct enemies in the process. I am a fairly rational and logical person, but remain convinced that what happened this week was most likely black magic. I clearly flew into range of someone’s Voodoo or hex doll.

Very easy to explain, really. 

I was most concerned as I was scheduled to travel Thursday from Oregon to Burbank, CA for the 5th Annual CompLaude Awards and Gala. I briefly considered altering those plans, as not being able to walk would not be conducive to a positive conference experience. However, I have several presentation obligations at the event, and I have been pretty consistent in this blog in insisting that people should work beyond their injuries and limitations to maintain a contributory role in society. Crapping out now would make me a hypocrite. A limping, stumbling hypocrite. I’ve been an advocate of walking the walk; I suppose it is my turn for Hobbling the Hobble. 

Fortunately for me, Thursday morning found slight improvement in the leg. Consulting with my wife, who is a quite knowledgeable Certified Personal Trainer, we felt strongly this was a muscular issue. She recommended several massage techniques for my quadriceps and hamstring, looking for trigger points that might be contributing to the issue. I found, through a process that is often equally painful, that she was on to something. Today, while I am still hurting, I am at least walking without my face pressed against a wall.

Generally, that is a good thing. Of course, it is possible that the further I get from Salem, the less power the black magic will hold. Whichever. 

So, as I write this I am about to board a plane in Portland, bound for an event designed to celebrate the very best our industry has to offer. I look forward to participating, even if I spend much of my time hugging a wall. Of course, if that backup knee goes out, I might be found hugging the floor. 

Now that I think about it, it wouldn’t be the first time for that.

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