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A Nation Mourns: Keith Malek Tentatively Diagnosed With Chondromalacia Patella


BROOKLYN– Ever since he was seventeen, whenever he gets up from a squatting position, Keith Malek’s knees make an incredibly loud cracking noise. He finally saw a doctor the other day, and he was tentatively diagnosed with chondromalatia patella, a softening and degeneration of the cartilage underneath the kneecap. News of Malek’s condition sent shockwaves across the nation. “I stayed inside my apartment, turned off all the lights, and cried for two days,” said Claire Bailey, 26, of Manhattan. “It’s times like these that remind you of what’s really important,” said Eddie Heegan, 30, of Brooklyn. Even Malek’s enemies, like Bonnie DeDely of Washingtonville, New York, expressed remorse. “If I had known that he had chondromalacia patella, I never would have written those nasty Letters To The Editor,” she said. “I am so, so sorry.”

But Malek’s orthopedist, Dr. Bandi, points out that his diagnosis of Malek’s knees is only tentative. “I didn’t want to jump to any conclusions, so I instructed him to get an MRI,” said Dr. Bandi. As of now, Malek has still not scheduled an MRI. In fact, he’s skeptical of Dr. Bandi’s diagnosis. “Don’t get me wrong,” said Malek. “There’s definitely something wrong with my knees. After all, whenever I stand up from a squatting position, it sounds as if firecrackers are going off, and that’s probably not normal. However, the doctor told me to google chondromalacia patella. I did, and it contradicted everything he told me.” Dr. Bandi told Malek that sometimes, cartilage doesn’t fully harden until one reaches their thirties. But when Malek, who is twenty-eight, researched chondromalatia patella on the internet, it said that it is often related to “overuse, injury, or too much force on the knees.” “None of those things apply to me,” said Malek. “In high school, I jogged a lot and I was always playing sports. And up until a couple of years ago, I always had jobs where I was constantly on my feet. But I certainly don’t think it can fall into the category of overuse.”

One reason that Dr. Bandi believes that Malek might have chondromalatia patella is because it’s a condition that is very common among those who suffer from Down Syndrome. “He kept calling me Dr. Bambi,” said Dr. Bandi. “When I would correct him, all he kept saying was, ‘I felt so bad for you when your mother got shot at the end of the movie.'”

Despite his knee condition, or maybe because of it, Malek has been jogging a minimum of two miles a day ever since Dr. Bandi’s diagnosis. Looking down at his knees, Malek stubbornly shouts, “Fuck you!” He then added, “Being able to walk at the age of forty is overrated anyway.”



April 9, 2007



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