Lost Spirit Lounge and Knee Porn(Physical Therapy Week 9 – 14)

Chat

The weeks just kept on rolling by without much excitement…swelling here and there, pain here and there…up days and down days. My bend went to 120 degrees and then to 128 degrees (145 is the goal).

I just kept marching to the 12 week mark to get the brace off. About week 10 a pain started developing under my patella (kneecap). I could no longer do squats without severe pain (so I stopped that); walking up and down the stairs began to hurt A LOT (but I had to keep doing that). Brian thought there was swelling that might be causing the pain or maybe a very tight IT band. I worked harder where he told me to work and stopped doing anything that caused too much pain. The next week the pain continued and he performed a few other tests and was stumped. I couldn’t do squats where I was sharing the load, but I could single load my knee and it didn’t hurt. Weird shit be happening.

Week 12 was THE WEEK to meet with the surgeon and get the final okay to lose the sexy brace. I bought a sack full of Fireball to give him for working on my surgery video (along with his nurse and scheduler). Sadness is he hadn’t had time to finish the video but he swore to get ‘er done soon. I told him he was not to drink it (actually he had never tried it but he staff said he was missing out) until the video was done.

mV2OEg-ai1E01Xqzy-exaGg

In all it’s glory, Fireball is always appropriate as a thank you.

And then THE QUESTION, “So doc, you said 12 weeks on the brace I could be brace free and, well in three days is 12 weeks….so what do ya say?”

Doc’s answer: “Ummm, could you wear it 1-2 more weeks?”

Sad Mary: “Well one week is 7 days and two weeks is, well 14 days, so what are you looking for?”

Doc: “How ‘bout 2 weeks just to make sure?” Ugh..he is so damn nice I cannot be angry.

I was disappointed, but after 12 weeks of being in a brace I wanted it Right not necessarily Right Now! The next two weeks were fine…I think the ‘funk’ hit me and I become less compliant with my exercises and my knee continued to hurt. Another theory was that the swelling was actually cushioning the knee but when the swelling went down the irritation under the knee (which was always there) became more noticeable. The doc just said hang in there and let’s give it some time.

WTF? Week 14 (actually 2 days before it) I happily looked at brace in the morning and just walked away and had my first day of being naked! It did not feel as good as I thought; it just was. I sent Brian an email with my ‘naked’ knee and called it knee porn. He happened to be with Dr. Nelson and they both got a laugh out of that.This entire journey could have been so much worse if I hadn’t been surrounded by caring, accessible people.

Free Leg

THE knee, in all it’s glory! I used a photo filter to make my legs look prettier though.

Human nature is so fickle (or at least me) but when I have one success, like the brace coming off, I find something else to complain about. Ridiculous. At least I knew I was doing that mentally and tried to combat it with positiveness. I just seem to have lost ‘something’ since surgery. My drive is gone, my attitude is struggling- not sure what is going on but I do need to find my way out of this; just not sure how. Don’t get me wrong, I have moments of feeling driven and powerful but those are short-lived. I recognize I am a bit lost in my spirit and worn down.

lost spirit

If you are looking for me, I currently am living here.

Happiness to What-ev and Everything In Between (Physical Therapy Week 6-8)

Standard

photo (5)

My knee is happy to be starting a new phase of recovery at Week 6!

Wow, the weeks are kind of flowing into each other and as I have more mobility the struggles become less and I am less motivated to write. The ‘survival mode’ has lessened and now and I try to figure a way to become more normal while still having the motivation to push myself. After I received the new brace and had the first hard week I began to lose my focus. I would do range of motion but less strength. I let life get in the way of being the best I could. I also realized that when I overcome things that were challenges (90 degree bend, driving, sleeping without a brace….) I find a new thing to complain about. Geez, is this just me or human nature? Can I just be grateful and happy? Add that to my bucket list. Continuing to move forward to two new goals – 120 degree bend and four more weeks of wearing a brace- both seem so far away.

Week 6

This was a BDDD ( Big Damn Deal Day). On my Tuesday PT session I brought my new brace into Brian and Aaron and let go of the big bulky one! It was scary to let go of the dreaded brace. As much as I hated the brace, it became a security blanket; I felt almost terrified to switch into tiny little brace that allowed me to bend my knee. I had this seed of fear growing that I wasn’t ready for the new brace, that I would mess up my knee, that I would have to have surgery again, that…that…that.

brace

I think I just lost 15 lbs in brace weight alone

He put me into a treadmill that takes body weight off so they could start the work teaching me to walk again with a normal gait. This machine is pretty amazing and it feels good to walk when you don’t have 25% of your body weight dragging you down. Take more off, take more!!

treadmill

I am pretty sure this DOES make my butt look big

As always Brian calmed my fears (I think he should be a psychologist) and said it was all understandable. It’s like I was so excited about this new stage but when it became real, I slightly panicked. I put the happy post on FaceBook about the new brace but I was actually fraught with insecurity.

Oh Lordy Lordy Lordy- the first day of the new brace was PAINFUL. My knee was actually swelling over the brace because now I had much greater range of motion and it was fluid retention overload baby. The day after PT is always a down knee day, but this was the extreme. Little by little it became easier as always- you just never know when it’s happening that you are getting better.

swelling

swelling 2

A good day for the swelling

I came into work and stared up all those stairs wondering if I could tackle them. I sent Brian a text showing him the terrifying view but it was not yet time to coax my angry knee. Going down any stairs was still out of the question. Later into the week I came into work early and did the stairs….WOOT WOOT! It was ugly and slow and I used the hand rail but I did it. A couple days later I decided to try going down the stairs. I probably used my fav word ‘motherfucker’ quietly under my breath a few times. I clung to the rails as though my life hung in the balance of every step (and it probably did!).

stairs

I did it!

Week 7

I started to become a bit complacent and not very focused in my workouts. Coming to work and going up and down the stairs had my co-workers kinda keping their distance as I maneuvered them. I was proud and happy with myself that I no longer used the elevator. There were a few days that I would look at the elevator with a lustful yearn but I just put my head down and turned away from the old lover and trudged up the stairs.

elevator

I yearn to be with my old lover sometimes

Seeing ‘the boys’ at Performance Rehab is actually a highlight of my week (yes I KNOW how pathetic that sounds). We have so much fun and it really something I look forward to. Well, I have so much fun, I don’t know if they do. Lots of jokes and sarcasm and I just feel like I am among friends and can just be me. We may joke a lot but in the end there is work to do and Brian always gently guides me back to the work that needs to happen. Whether they know it or not, Brian and Aaron are part of my recovery- they are an integral part of how I am recovering. It goes beyond the physical aspect of how far I bend or how many squats I do; it really is about the emotional support to succeed.

photo 3 (2)

These guys are with me every step of the way

And because they know me and how I can be unfiltered, they will just gentle remind me when other patients come in that are not like me (hint…that is everyone) and I know to tone it down. I respect everyone’s paths and I have no problem adjusting my actions so they aren’t on eggshells and fearful that I am going to drop the F bomb.

This week my bend got to the triple digits! 111 degrees (from 90 degrees the week before!). I posted on my old derby captains FaceBook account because that is her derby number – #111. She was and continues to be an inspiration to me and I knew it was no coincidence. Slash, slash slash! I am doing it!

10154527_10152332137260837_6508232555379675695_n

My FIERCE Captain Annie Maul #111

The day after PT this week I expect an angry knee, this week was a bit more. I texted Brian, “Ummm I am not going to say my knee is angry and much as it is f’ing pissed off. We probably won’t talk or work together at all today.” The response? “Thanks for the update. If your knee wants to talk to anybody today, have it talk with a stationary bike, gentle range of motion drills, ice, and elevation today. Tomorrow you guys should be on better terms again.” How fucking perfect is that response?

My knee and I did eventually make up and had some great workouts and I felt strong!

me

I won’t get in trouble for not having my brace on because my PT doesn’t read the blog

Week 8

Is it possible to have a blah blah blah week? I did…life was busy, time was short and I chose to be lazy and do so much the minimum that I was disappointed in myself. My bend went from 111 to 114 degrees and I was a bit sad. I just didn’t really care this week. Brian said it’s kinda like losing weight….you make these big gains but it’s the last 5 lbs that is a killer. My goal is 120 degrees and the big gains are done. I joked a lot but in the back of my mind I was pretty hard on myself and just told myself I needed to refocus on my range of motion and make it happen. Even though I open up to Brian and Aaron, I still hide the parts that make me sad because I always want to be this together and funny person to them.

knee

Starting to see some dimples in my knee!

Quite a few new exercises were introduced during PT and I am sure my knee and I will not be talking tomorrow. I found out Aaron’s last day was next Friday and that made me a bit sad. He is so fun and he and his fiance have so many cool things happening in their life; I don’t like when some journeys end. But at my age I know great journeys can start when others come to an end (they still are a bit mewh).

purty knee

Refocusing with Happy Knee thoughts!

This Shit Happened (Physical Therapy Week 3-5)

Standard

phot

This shit happened in surgery! The top part actually shows the IT Band.

Week 3

I couldn’t get myself to 90 degrees but improved to 78 degrees. I found myself really disappointed even though I portrayed happiness on the outside. I continued to be very compliant with my exercises and wearing my brace and I had enough fear put into me I don’t ever want to go through this again.

The days continue to be long and by the end of the workday I am exhausted with barely enough energy to do anything. It seems that focusing on each footstep every day drains me mentally and physically. Other than that Week 3 Post-Op has little knew to offer.

photo

Same ole’ fat stupid knee

Week 4

This week seem to take me back a few steps. I skipped a few times doing my own PT with life getting in the way. Add onto that was a day on my feet constantly and I paid the price – my bend went back to about 60 degrees and the swelling went a little wonky as well.

brian

One of my texts to PT Brian to keep him infomred

I wrote to Brian that I was not happy with my progress. He wrote back and said he finds his patients often believe they are not progressing but they are. He said he would be happy to see me more than 1x/week. Made an extra appointment for the next week to ensure I was doing what I could.

On Friday I dropped off a couple pints of Fireball for Brian and Aaron as a thank you for their work with me and as a joke, leaving a note to ‘pre-dose’ before my appointments because I know I can be intense.

Fireball

This may or may not be a shelf in my house

Week 5

Had PT on Tuesday and my surgeon on Wednesday.

PT went well and Brian just gave me ‘that look’ when he measured my angle and I was just shy of 90 degrees. Here I had been telling him how bad I was doing and what he saw was something else. I will admit I knew I wanted 90 degrees very bad and so I had a shot of Fireball in the parking lot before heading to my appointment!

I was happy at PT that day and enjoyed the push as well as I see Brian and Aaron as my friends. The next day I went to Dr. Nelson for my second post-op check up. I was SO excited to hear I was to get out of my brace..…but what I heard was, “We are fitting you for another brace to wear another 6 weeks.” Uh, excuse me? WTF? I am not kidding, after I heard six more weeks I seemed to block everything else out and didn’t ask very good questions. That is like three entire months in a brace…wth?

At the worst I thought he might keep me in 8 weeks. He said I can lose the brace for sleeping at six weeks. He wasn’t yet done with the surgery video but gave me three very graphic pictures he took. They were amazing. I asked him if I could send him some Fireball to entice him to finish the video. Dr. Nelson said it wasn’t necessary but he wouldn’t deny the gift! Love this doctor.

photo (3)

Not a clue what this is showing except maybe part of the new graft?

drill

They are drilling my tibia to feed the new graft (I think)

Went home and texting Brian and then we chatted. He asked me why I had to keep the brace on and if I was supposed to wear it while doing PT and some other questions. Ugh, I had failed to ask any follow-up questions because I was so shocked that I had to wear the brace. The next day I wrote out my questions and sent them to his nurse who forwarded them to him. Within a couple hours I got all my answers!

Because he did lateral ligament work as well, those have a tendency to stretch out so he wants me in an offloader brace which basically pushing on the lateral side to take pressure off the work he did. I asked him if the brace was too much money out of pocket could I stay in the brace I am in. He said that was find but it isn’t as functional. If I don’t get the new brace right away, I can unlock the next week!

11-1214-x_donjoy_oa_nano_3_quarter_back_view_hires

Somehow I don’t think my leg will looks as good in the brace as this model

As far as wearing the brace during PT, that is up to Brian and how he will run the protocol. So my questions were answered and I felt sad but better that I understood WHY an additional six weeks.

The next day I had my lady-part doctor and I will just leave you with this; to do that exam with a straight-leg brace was kinda an ordeal and obscene in its own way. I actually took a picture of the position of my leg during the exam but I couldn’t bring myself to post it!

Friday I had the second PT but was exhausted as my 17 year old daughter was in a car accident the night before and I was very worried about her. I did okay but my heart wasn’t into the session. I had taken a few steps back on my degree of bend but Brian assured me that once the brace is unlocked things will start happening a bit quicker. I just didn’t care about PT.

On Saturday I decided to take my brace off at night (3 days early, the first time I haven’t been compliant!). It was a looooooooooooong night. It hurt in general and every time I moved the knee reminded me it wasn’t healed. I had to be very deliberate and calculating with each flop in my bed.

It occurred to me throughout all this I don’t ever think of roller derby anymore; this ordeal has been life changing, similar to what derby was for the time it was in my life. I use so much energy concentrating on recovery, I don’t think of much else. That is not such a bad thing.

30 Degrees to Friggin Shoot Me Now Please (Physical Therapy Week 2-3)

Standard

Week 1 of Rehab

Wow, talk about an emotional and physical roller coaster! The days became more extreme; sometimes PT was great and then the next time was horrible. Sleep became worse because I was starting to push my body and it just hurt. My back was on fire from the continuous sleeping on my back and just having my body not be centered and working together.

IMG_4299

Bruising is going down steadily

I got the okay from the doc to just walk without a crutch for short distances. If my knee started to buckle that meant I had reached the end of what I could for that day. I would come home exhausted from work and just the physical strain of the day. I was really fidgety- my leg was up, down, back up, get up, move around and do this over and over and over. It was like my leg had a headache that was just nagging and wouldn’t go away.

IMG_4343

I take up A LOT of room in meetings at work

Later I asked and was granted to walk without crutches for ‘short distance’. That is kinda subjective and I don’t do well with subjective. I swept the carpet and took out the garbage (I will say I don’t miss that part about being able-bodied).

I attempted to do my PT exercises at least twice a day since I can only see my PT Brian once a week (too difficult to find people to get me there and wait and take me back to work). I was very compliant with my exercises and unlike me, I didn’t push past what he told me to do. I have the seed of fear about messing up and going back to redo this surgery. It is not something I ever want to repeat.

Saturday I was just tired but late in the day I had a good arm workout and then went out into the yard and sprayed the weeds and then called like 10 people to see if they could pick up dinner for my daughter and me. I couldn’t find anyone and I didn’t want to keep asking the same people to help me. My son called but he was working and I snapped at him bad- I was just so frustrated not being able to get dinner for my daughter I had a mini ‘lost-it’ moment and then went outside and cried. Of course my angle who has helped me through so much in life was able to take care of us. It truly is a horrible feeling to even ask for assistance and then when person after person cannot help (for all valid reasons) it just tears you down and breaks you a bit. This was the worst feeling I have had in a while.

IMG_4348

Swelling was getting out of hand and hampered progress

I have gotten so far behind in work I spent a good part of Sunday working just to be a lot behind instead of astronomically behind! Then a freak out moment (or I should say another). I was reading about PCL recovery and read that you should never ever work 100% on leg as it could dislodge the bone plug. Oops. I had been walking without crutches and all around. The seed was planted….I had fucked things up, I just knew it.

I wrote an email to my PT not wanting to bother him and escalate it to a Sunday text. Here was his reply:

Thanks for the email. Directions for you as follows….

1) Take a deep breath.
2) Stop surfing the internet on your condition.
3) You’re fine.
4) Yes, it takes 6-8 wks for a bone tunnel and bone plug to heal.
5) Have you been walking with your brace on??….then yes, you’re fine. The brace protects both the graft and the plug.
6) Call me if this doesn’t make sense.

🙂

Brian

He later told me he was having dinner with some friends and saw my email and quietly replied. Seriously, this guy is awesome and continues to guide me through my own troubled waters.

Note to self: make sure I tell Brian I actually walked a lot farther than around the block but was too embarrassed to let him know.
Note to self #2: People look at me strange when I talk about ‘rehab’ – must start calling it physical therapy.

Week 2 Physical Therapy

Seeing PT Brian I had a good report! My bend went from 30 degrees to 60 degrees and my quad strength was good- I think he was actually impressed. But that 10 seconds of fame was gone and his new goal was 90 degree bend by next week and he introduced me to new exercises.

IMG_4339

60 degress and celebration!

I forgot my shoes and had to do PT bare feet. Brian noted there was bruising on the bottom of my feet which I guess I normal. All that blood that was released in surgery will go with gravity. The next morning was I was doing PT at 5:30 a.m. in my room and looked at the bottom of my feet.

IMG_4346

Uh, I don’t have bruising on the bottom of my feet…my bad

The big news was my brace was released when I am sitting! It allows me to be more comfortable but I took that as my out to drive!!! And I took full advantage of it. I finagled my body into the car with my brace locked, unlock and move my seat forward. I immediately drove to get food and then to the liquor store. This event is huge for me. Three weeks depending on others for rides was emotionally taxing- I don’t think I could have ever been prepared of that feeling.

IMG_4344

A little piece of freedom

My swelling got a bit out of control and does after PT. I had two straight days of bad sleep and was’t happy with my progress. Went home, made bad choices and had a few beers too many (for reference that means three beers, possibly four). Ended up doing something that wasn’t smart but wasn’t horrible. Made for a good Facebook post and a lot of laughs with my roommate and daughter.

IMG_4357

Well, ummm, yeah

I forget to remember my successes and just get tired which wears on my emotionally. I have to think about EVERY step every day and it is just tiring. When I stop thinking about my steps (to be sure my foot is clearing the step appropriately) I start tripping a lot on rugs at work which just makes me more tired. It is amazing how this journey is more about mental than anything else…I figured it would be that way but probably not to this extreme.

Trying to reach my new goal of 90 degree bend. Heck if I went from 30 to 60 I think I can do this.

Sometimes I Am Full of Shit and Don’t Know It

Standard

Coming upon the second week post-op, things are finally stabilizing. The first week is one of intensiveness all the way around. My frustration is still there but I have begun to accept the way certain things are for NOW. It is a feeling of an internal storm, and once you get your bearings, you learn to be more present in the work that needs to be done.

Day 9
After my previous day’s breakdown I woke up with the sole purpose to get my shit together.

Finagled myself into the bathtub and shave a leg- yes ONE leg and it was awesome! Had my roommate strip my bed (gross, a week in the same sheets from surgery) and later another friend came and made my bed. It takes a village even for the bed.

IMG_4265

This, my friends, IS a big deal

My Physical Therapist called me after receiving an email (it was actually a manifesto) of the previous days frustrations. I cannot imagine having anyone else guide me through the multiple injuries I have had. I don’t know if he is from this planet.

He settled my fears of swelling and told me what we will be working on when I get in to see him next week. He lightened my load A LOT!

Day 10/11/12

Less crazy Mary evident as things calm, which is really about me accepting where I am at and moving forward with intent (slowly is what I have to keep reminding myself). I had my first outing for fun with a few derby teammates and it was awesome but tiring.

pic

Derby fun with margaritas and tacos!

The bruising makes cool shapes on my leg and I snapped a few selfie thigh pictures which is weird to even write. Totally surprising as I couldn’t move my leg and just never knew what lay on the other side.

IMG_4271

Sometimes you shouldn’t look behind the curtains

Bad bad night of sleep equals a wasted Sunday of no energy. The continued sleeping on my back and inability to shift positions means even with a good night, I am waking up every hour or so.

You win some; you lose some.

Day 13- Doctor Doctor Gimme the News

I was giddy with excitement to see the doc. His nurse took off the bandages and then put new steri-strips on. She said when they fall off, let ‘em go. I guess they help with minimize scarring. Then off to get a few x-rays done and patiently wait for the doc.

a

photo

The legs is cleaning up a bit

He checked my leg out and said it looked great. The x-rays showed the bone plug and screw were right where they needed to me and he explained that during the healing when graft is taking, to not activate the hamstring because that will pull on the graft. That is why PT is about getting movement back and activating the quadricep.

We had a great conversation about my less than happy experience the week before and not being able to get a hold of anyone for six hours. He was upset that happened and communicated he hires his own staff just to be sure there is a good patient experience. I guess it was the perfect storm. We also discussed the inconsistent messages for post-op instructions and I gave him the example about conflicting messages on how to actually take a shower. He made a note to update their patient instructions. Such a down-to-earth cool doctor.

He wanted to see me in a month and gave me go ahead to start Physical Therapy. I asked him if he would unlocked my brace at all (trying to find a way to drive sooner). He said nope, that will happen with PT. Oh well, all in all a great visit.

On the way home, safely stuffed in my friends back seat I quickly call in to make a PT appointment. Yeah me, I can get in the next day!

c

I live in the back seats now

Day 14 + – Finally I have control over my rehab!

PT! PT! PT! It was awesome to see Brian and catch up and FINALLY start the work needed to get myself and myshit back together. These exercises, for a normal-bodied person, would be a joke, but for me they are tough. It is all about learning to fire the quadricep again and slowly work on bending my knee. The knee simply didn’t work. I was amazed how the knee cannot bend on its own. I managed to scoot my knee to a 30 degree bend and that was painful(used a rope to even get it to move). Brian was not even close to releasing my brace at all.

He was also shocked I was so happy at rehab (man on man, am I a total intense bitch when I have seen him before? Yikes). I told him I was happy to now own my progress.

I went home and did the exercises again later that night and did much worse. I wrote a quick email to Brian to see if that was normal. Yes, all normal. Take a few steps forward, then back. The knee will swell and make the exercises more difficult so you ice and try again. That night was one of the worst sleep nights; probably an accumulation of rehab and life. The next morning I could barely do any of the exercises.

b

With extreme work my knee can now do this with assistance

Went to work exhausted and overly frustrated and some quiet tears were shed. This is HARD. That night I did the exercises again and did okay. Alright, alright, I get it. This is going to be a few steps forward and hopefully a few less back.

d

Tired leg after PT

Mentally this is so taxing and frustrating. I just re-read the beginning of this post about how things are stabilizing. Well, I guess I am full of shit because the last few days have shown that is not the case. Instead of attempting to reject the feelings that I might have, I am going to treat it like a wave and just let it wash over me and get it over with then pick myself up and do it again until another wave hits.

It’s time to dig in.

Come Hell or High Water (or just hell) – Day 4 through Day 8 post-op

Standard

Day 4

Poor poor sleep, exhausted, feeling disgusting and gross – those were my thoughts throughout the night and morning. I think this is where the mental thing comes in. To make coffee took me 10 minutes but then I have to ask someone to bring it to me. I asked for about 10 things in the morning (can you throw this away, can you get my computer, can I have another cup of coffee, can you fill my ice container for my leg, can…can…can).
I am used to things a certain way and done when I want them done so I need to work on not imposing that curse on those who are helping me. Instead of looking up and seeing ‘oh that needs to be done’ I think I really need to just have certain times of the day where I ask for work to be done but then let them relax to and not always jumping up because I saw a paper on the floor that needs to be thrown out or I just remembered we need I left a sugar packet on the kitchen counter.
Hyper extended my knee is some misstep with my crutches and totally freaking out about every misstep that I have injured the graft. Still icing about 20 hours a day.

Several firsts today
• First total sponge bath
• First time wearing a bra since Tuesday- still sans underwear-just not possible to do by myself

IMG_4239

Seeing how good it looked made me believe it would always look this good….NOT

Day 5/6

The frustration is really setting in. I am thinking too much about everything I cannot do instead of looking at the small baby steps I am making. A few days ago I was in agony and now the pain is controlled. Once the pain was controlled my mind started complaining about everything else.
So the bottom line is there is a ton of shit I cannot do or I can do but it takes me 100X more effort and time right now. I could write 10 pages on everything I am struggling with from picking up something off the floor to putting a dish into the dishwasher. It sucks, this all sucks but sucking doesn’t make it go away and it won’t make the six weeks go by quicker. I can balance the blog about how I am overcoming the suckiness.

One of the many lessons of roller derby I learned is not to think too far ahead. Instead of worrying about the entire game, look at the next jam and what you can do to be your best. So instead of looking at my day, I look at 15 minute increments and how I can just do my best for that time and then I go on to the next 15 minutes. Otherwise I start getting down very early in the day.

Today I did learn a crutch kick maneuver where I can make coffee and actually move a cup of coffee to the couch without asking someone at 5 a.m. to help me (and there is no one to ask anyway). I use the crutch on the good leg and kick it out with my arm pit being the hinge (and the same hand holding the coffee) and slowly move myself to the couch with a full cup of coffee. I am pretty sure with this maneuver I am still only putting 50% weight on the affected knee and now I can drink coffee all by myself. I am going to have strong arm pits after this journey. I am not quite sure how I will use this in life but I will find a way.

My friend came and took me and my daughter to the store so I could by some easy pullover dresses to wear to work with my nifty converses. Aside from the fact I hate all forms of shopping I was actually sweating on this errand. Standing on one leg trying on dresses is not fun but was necessary. Then we went off to Target and for the first time in my life I rode in a motorized cart. I felt weird doing this and like everyone was staring (they were). There is a backup alarm on those things that is super loud so I tried really hard not to actually have to go backwards.

First Outing

Watch out!

Nights are still difficult sleeping on my back and I don’t sleep more than 3-4 hours without becoming fully awake, wanting to bend my knee (Damnit, why did I say that? Now I am thinking about wanting to bend my leg..shit shit shit).

I decided that wine or a shot or two of Fireball actually decreases my stress level before bed and I am more relaxed than sans alcohol. I know, I know, this sounds just horrible and dependent but it works. I would rather do that than go back on pain meds and the effects are short lived.

IMG_4257

IMG_4254

The angry leg begins to show itself

Day 7- First Day of work

IMG_4252

FINALLY ready for work

The hour it took to actually get ready felt like eight hours of physical work. I put on underwear for the first time since surgery with my crutch without raping myself which was a plus. Made it four hours before the discomfort was too much.

I did everything I could think of about propping up my leg but it was too high, too low, too hard, too soft and after four hours I was spent. Worked the next hours at home nicely elevated with the ice back on cooling the leg. My leg is definitely more swollen since I stopped the icing on Sunday. I need to make sure I make that a priority at night to keep it under control.

Day 8 – Pain and a Breakdown

All night my leg was swelling and in pain- so much so I had to take a strap off my brace. With little sleep I didn’t go into work and decided to work from home. Called the doctor’s nurse and she was on vacation and told me to call his admin assistant. Called her. Called her again…nothing. Looked through paperwork and called another triage number and left a message. Nothing. Called the nurse back and just left a message. The swelling inferior to my patella hurt like a mother and was numb. Maybe it was normal, maybe not but I just wanted to talk to someone. Tears were welling up in my eyes throughout the day from a accumulation of being tired, scared, mad that I didn’t go into work, pain and whatever else I felt. How can I not get a hold of anyone in the practice? Why is it so difficult? Mental note to offer some constructive criticism when I see my doc. It shouldn’t be that fucking hard to get a hold of someone that can help me and yet I spend from 8:30 until 2:30 leaving messages.

Finally a call back. Dr. Nelson is out of town and so I told the nurse what was going on and offered to send pictures. I just didn’t know if it was normal. He asked if I wanted to go to the ER. Uh, no, I actually don’t want to spend thousands of more dollars when I really just need an office visit. I asked him if there were other associates and he says yes but this doctor is my doctor’s partner and then are friends and understand each other’s work and he doesn’t want me to go elsewhere. That ‘take charge’ makes me feel cared for and calms my head down a bit.

Finally he just told me to come in. And oh, by the way, the Wednesday office schedule is at Arrowhead Stadium. Great, that is a long ride. Call a friend and we go out there. The Royals are playing actually and we are worried about getting in when everyone will be leaving. Beside a few missteps we get there and a very cool nurse takes us back. We chat a bit and he asks me to take off the brace and bandages (wait, what? I thought you would do that goes through my mind). While he is looking at the hematoma (bruise) he said the discoloration is still from the betadine. Yes, I admit I haven’t taken the shower I could have at day seven because I am freaked out about bending my knee. I tell him what the doc told me, what the nurse told me and then he comes with a different story of what he prefers on how to take the first shower while protecting the knee. I make another note that this practice could actually do some work on consistency of message to patients to decrease the stress level. I just don’t think practices understand how the variety of messages affect a patient when they want to do the RIGHT thing. I don’t ever want to go through this again and I just want a solid answer.

The doc comes in and reads over my operation report and palpates a bit around. He educates me on the wounds and what each one accomplished during the surgery. Super nice and knowledgeable just like my doctor. Because I was gorked after surgery I didn’t get the post surgery talk from my doctor which would have been helpful.

He then pushes on the hematoma and it hurts, like a lot but yet numb to the touch. Finally he shows me the site where they drilled into my tibia to loop around the new ligament. Wait, WTF, are you kidding me? My tibia was drilled and there was a bone plug? How in the hell did I miss that during my research?

IMG_4259

IMG_4261

Ouch, the swelling is too much

The swelling is developing at the base of this ‘tunnel’ they drilled to get the ligament where they needed I guess. It’s normal- some people get it, others do not. I still just hear the word ‘drill’ in my head and cringe a bit.

Well, okay then! No issue and I feel a weight lifted off me. I wrap my leg back up and off we go home. I get home to an empty house and just lose it. I cry and cry and cry…for nothing and for everything. I just feel so overwhelmed and sad which I know is fueled by lack of sleep and just the stress of recovery.

After about 20 minutes I put myself together and do a ridiculously easy arm workout just so I feel I have done something positive today. I needed that cry; I might do that more often. It’s pretty cathartic to release the stress through the salty tears and fill up with hope and promise.

PreOp to Hell

Standard

PreOp 3-2-1

Wow, who knew how productive one can be when you know you will lose the use of your leg for 6 weeks. Powerwalked every day, massive amount shopping to stock up nutritional foods to support a speedy recover (fish, quinoa, eggs, plenty of veggies for vitamin dense shakes). My body was sore but it was a good sore, letting me know I was using it and pushing it a bit, and frankly I didn’t know when I would get that feeling back.

IMG_4205

Pre-surgery SnapChat fun from my son

Operation Day

With my surgery time at 12:30, I knew I would be a bit cranky with no coffee and no food. My sister flew in from Houston to be with me and we got a great walk in that morning. Unfortunately I was a bit hungover from drinking the night before (not the best choice to go into recovery and health mode I know). But what was done was done with a mixture of Shocktop Beer and Fireball. The walk and plenty of water cleared my head a bit.
I wrote on my ‘good knee’ to give the team an extra bit of help not to work on the incorrect knee and then we headed out.

IMG_4209

Being a team player

We arrived at our first location at 10:15 and it sure didn’t look like a surgi-center- – just an office building. I put a call back into KU and let them know I don’t really think they sent me to the correct place. They gave me an updated address just across the street and we arrive at 10:30 and I was quickly processed and taken to the pre-op area for the basics of giving a urine sample to ensure I didn’t have an active infection, IV and vitals. My sister soon joined me to wait.

IMG_4234

All ready Doc, let’s do this!

The normal visitors of pre-op streamed into my room (Pharmacists, Anesthesiologist and Doctor Nelson). Dr. Nelson wanted to know how my quadriceps strength was. I told him I had been working on them and working out and and he lifted up the gown and informed me the right one looked weakened. I think he saw my saddened face because he was apologetic he said that! I guess with the injury I have the quad will be weakened because it is not activated correctly. He enjoyed the extra note I wrote on the good knee and then he marked the correct knee with his initials. I reminded him I wanted graphic pictures for my blog and he said he would just video the procedure and edit it and give it to me when I see him. Excellent! Mild chit chat and I wanted to be sure he ate lunch and had a restful night sleep the night before and was ready for MY surgery! The previous two times I saw him he had a full Grizzly Adams beard which was mweh looking. He was clean shaven and looked mighty hot this go around!

Then in walked Buzz, the head OR nurse. He said it would be awhile before they took me back and I was like ‘I just saw Dr. Nelson 2 minutes ago and he said he had already done 3 surgeries.” Buzz informed us that they leave the dirty work to the nurses- in fact Dr. Nelson was heading into his 3rd surgery; I was his fourth. So basically we have to buckle in for an extra two hour wait. I thought Dr. Nelson was a hottie but that changed when he didn’t inform me he was running late (not really, he is still a hottie).

IMG_4210

The view is glorious waiting….

I sent my sister to get some food to eat and then around 1:30 they showed up in my room to get me ready to go back. They gave me the ever so lovely bolus of Versed which was fantastic – one of my most favorite drugs (in a completely legal way). My sister leaned over and gave me a kiss that reminded me of my mom and her ‘butterfly’ kisses. Nice memories floated through my head.

Into the OR and the team worked in unison to get me ready- tie this down, move here, raise your head, etc. Often times they let you know when they give you the first bolus to put you out but if they did I don’t remember it. I am assuming my surgery started about 2 p.m. and they didn’t get my sister until closer to 7 p.m. when the doctor came out and talked to her. He told my sister I did great (did I have a choice? I was just lying there). He also said he was reaffirmed this surgery needed to happen as apparently my meniscus was not in good shape. There was quite a bit of fraying that would have turned into a big deal down the road. He gave her some pictures inside my leg in which I don’t really recognize anything but the frayed meniscus.

IMG_4235

IMG_4236

Does my meniscus make my butt look big?

There was no one in recovery except the nurse and one other helper- the place was cleared out! Kinda creepy and made me thing about The Walking Dead or 28 Days Later when people wake up in abandoned hospitals. I determined I would immediately die because I am down a leg.

We got home about 8 p.m. and I was out of it, trying to stay awake to take my pain pills. The Percoset makes me itch quite a bit but I can deal with it and the first night was the standard dozing, awake, dozing, pee, dozing.

Day 1
Motherfucker, the nerve block wore off. That was basically my first thought of the day. I didn’t realize they gave me one but it became much clearer that my previous movements now elicited pain that took my breath away. I don’t really like to take pain meds but decided I need to stay on top of this because when it hits I can barely move.

I was drinking a lot of water which meant I had to climb narrow hard stairs. I did more of a crawl which worked well going up but was pretty painful going down. I know fluid is important but damn, that was like nine times and towards the end of the day I could feel tears welling up in my eyes because of the pain.

IMG_4223

Medicated, sore and with amazing fashion sense

My nutrition was great today and I hope to use this experience to get back on a better path. And I am day two of no red wine drinking (which is my norm). Since derby ended I have gained 8 lbs as I wasn’t exercising and worse, I was traveling for work and eating very poorly.

I put in a call to the nurse to ask how I am to change my dressings tomorrow as I am not supposed to be out my brace. The instructions said I cannot take a shower for 7 days as well. Gross but it is what it is. My dear friend is going to wash my hair at her salon tomorrow and I pray that my pain is stable.

The day progressively got worse with pain and even taking the medications it was not controlled. The night was just a blur of constant pain. I had ice water circulating 24/7 and nothing would touch it.

IMG_4233

This is an AMAZING machine that circulate cold water through a bladder under the brace. I am using almost 24/7.

Day 2
By the morning of Day 2 I was exhausted. I chose not to really go downstairs except later in the day because traveling up and down the stairs was more pain than I could handle. I kept thinking this might be my worst day and I would turn the corner.

Today was the day we were to unlock the brace, unwrap the leg and remove the dressings from the site and check for drainage and infection. I am terrified that one wrong move of my leg will void all the work that was done so my sister and I work slowly to get the chore done. Minus an ugly looking leg, it was uneventful but it felt good to let my leg breath for a moment even if I didn’t bend it.

IMG_4218

IMG_4219

Looks like I have grown fuzzy white hair from the bandages

IMG_4220

Uh, that looks pitted and gross

I had to cancel a visit from some co-workers because of how bad I was feeling and I could not go get my hair washed. It was like the smallest breeze on my leg would illicit intense pain. Later that night I made the trip down the stairs and washed my hair and sat for a bit before retreating back to my room. I worked on getting help for the next few days. My sister stayed an extra day to help out which was truly a blessing. I always thought of myself as one with a very high pain tolerance but this brought me to my knees and to tears. I couldn’t do anything for myself.
You know it’s bad when in the deepest pain you WISH to be in full labor than going through the pain you are feeling at that moment. Seriously I prayed to the gods of pain to send me labor pains instead of what I was experiencing.

I realized I was also coming down with a fever and had that night had several episodes of chilling and sweating. I was too unsteady to go downstairs and just gradually made it through the night. At 3 a.m. I took my last hydrocodone with Tylenol and decided that was enough narcotics.

Day 3

On Friday I was feeling worn out from the fever and tired of being groggy and unsteady from the medications. But I did feel like the pain was subsiding a bit. I ventured downstairs about 9 a.m. from yet another night of little sleep and feeling like I am going to have butt sores because I am required to sleep on my back. I was supposed to be working from home today but that is doubtful. I might get a few hours in later today and definitely this weekend. Right now it is best I rest and take care of myself. My sister is packing to leave in an hour and my son who is a firefighter/EMT is going to stay with me tonight along with my youngest (in case he gets called out to work).

Had a nice visit from some friends at work and who brought flowers and food including a fake bouquet of flowers with mini Fireball shots! True love.

IMG_4231

Strangely the Fireball shots are missing

Felt pretty good throughout the day and moved with more confidence. My stamina is shot and I tire very easy. Another friend came over with more food that night. I truly feel super loved. Watched a movie with my kids and had a fireball shot and a beer and then got up to go make the climb to the restroom. Uh, probably not a good idea to do that again. Whether it be narcotics for pain or alcohol, being unsteady with your leg locked puts you at high risk for falling. I think I will use this experience to cleanse my body of my dear friend ETOH. Sigh….

My son had to do a quick errand so I put myself in the back seat and had my first car ride since Tuesday. Felt good to get out. Later that night I was doing my unsightly crawl up the stairs and both my sons said it was hard to watch. They want to help but they can’t- I just have to do it on my own. Trevor said to Tyler, “It’s hard to watch but you just gotta let her do it.” They are seeing their mom unable to really care for herself and struggling which is not the norm. I had similar feelings helping my mom when she was diagnosed with cancer- to see this incredibly strong woman unable to do things for herself anymore was very difficult as a grown child.

Closing out the day feeling a bit hopeful.