I recently had Internet issues that reminded me of my old battle with knee pain.
My desktop PC connects wirelessly to our home router through an adapter that plugs into a USB port. The week before Christmas, my Internet browser started to hang after anywhere from three to ten minutes. This happened repeatedly. However, my laptop computer could still connect wirelessly.
Hmm, I thought. What the heck can be causing that?
I’m fairly good with computers, so I used Google to help me try to figure out what was going on. But my sleuthing proved frustrating. Possible causes abounded. Every time I eliminated one, another two or three would pop up.
The list of suspects was all over the map. Could it be a virus? A software conflict with my antivirus software? A power saver setting? An update from Windows that created issues? And on and on.
Then, while pinging websites from the command prompt, I discovered a significant amount of packet loss. That led me to connect the PC by cable. The Internet worked fine.
I went to the back of my computer, where a wireless adapter smaller than my thumb, poking out of a spare USB port, should have been grabbing the Internet signal. I suspected it wasn’t – or at least not reliably.
So I replaced it, and everything was okay again.
What I realized later was it took me a long time to get to the solution. I should have investigated the faulty hardware as a culprit early on. I got that little device from the company that provides our Internet service; the installer handed it to me as if it were some throwaway lagniappe when I asked about connecting wirelessly.
That should have been a clue that it didn’t have much of a lifespan.
Instead of zeroing in on the adapter though, I chased a lot of other theories around, some a bit wild. I didn’t look at the simple thing first: namely, something that wasn’t built well in the first place just failed and needed to be replaced.
Similarly, when I had chronic knee pain, I remember Googling my symptoms a lot. I bet that anyone reading this right now will recognize themselves in that sentence. We all do it, desperate to find answers. In my book, I even mention getting tested for rheumatoid arthritis, wondering if I had some autoimmune disorder.
But Google can be more curse than blessing. It can lead you in a thousand different directions, none of them profitable. It will convince you that you have some extremely rare disease.
The simple thing to consider when you have grumbly, achy knees and medical tests don’t turn up a clear culprit, like a tear in a ligament, is that you simply have a damaged, weakened joint that can no longer tolerate the burden placed upon it.
In that scenario, you have to modify activity, scale back activity – but stay active somehow. You let go of all the weird little symptoms that don’t make much sense. You focus on bringing back your knee joint, little by little. It will take a long time. There will be more ups and downs than a world-class rollercoaster.
For a lot of us though, I think the simple approach makes a lot of sense. And, at least in my case, when I got better the weird little symptoms that made me suspect some systemic disorder went away anyway.