About to go for my ACL, PCL, & LCL, Knee surgery after 1 Years wait......
So, I'm about to go in for my long awaited knee surgery, and quite frankly I am absolutely bricking it!
Just to fill you in on my story so far (I'll keep it brief I promise). I had a motorbike crash late May 09, I fractured my wrist and had a right knee injury. It took a while for my knee to get diagnosed, basically Nov 09, because of the fracture and the serverity of the knee injury and being referred from local Hospital to RNOH, Stanmore. The final diagnosis was that I have grade III tears of my ACL, PCL, & LCL ligaments. So in essence I've done a proper job on my knee!! I've never had a knee injury before (thankfully) so before the crash the knee was in good health, but obviously now, not so much.
I've had a long time to think about my upcoming surgery and the aftermath of it, and I have tried to use the internet to find out as much as possible of what to expect Post Op, as many of you will know Hospitals and Doctors are not really forthcoming on info, unless you know what to ask. I have found it quite difficult to find about this kind of injury, with the tears to three ligaments, usually I have found the info about 1 or 2 ligaments. Which is why I thought I would start this blog, so that if there are others out there with this combination of ligament injury, then I would be able to pass on my experience.
As soon as the crash happend, I was obviously in a lot of pain. I had just ridden into the side of a moving car, so it was bound to hurt. Thankfully I played rugby, so I was used to taking a bit of a bang, and although I have been tackled by some big girls, it wasn't quite like being tackled by a car!! The pain was excruciating to say the least, and I can quite honestly say my knee pain overshadowed my fractured wrist by some way, and it was a nasty fracture that needed plating. I was completely unable to move, and it was a very weird feeling. Once in hospital and the painkillers had kicked in, I was starting to come to terms with how my knee felt. It was the size of a house, so basically I had Thigh muscles and then an Ankle, there was just no definition at all!! very weird to look at. The knee also felt incredibly weird, the best way I can describe it is, you know when you have a floppy wrist and you feel like its just hanging there flopping everywhere, well thats what my knee felt like, it was just hanging on by the skin, a very weird feeling. I was on bed rest only and found that hard enough, just to sit up and lay back down again.
After a couple of days, the swelling was still HUGE, but I started to get the most disguisting coloured bruising I have ever seen! Illuminous Yellow and bright purple!!, that is not a nice combination let me tell you, I just couldn't stop taking pictures of it. But the camera never seemed to do the colours justice, it really was a sight. After 4 days of not being diagnosed and not having any treatment, I'd had enough and wanted to come home to actually get some rest. So I was given a Knee brace and gutter zimmer frame and told not to weight bare until I've had my MRI in Six weeks time.
So off I went home and did as I was told. I got about mainly with a wheelchair, and in the house on my Gutter zimmer frame. And I basically lived downstairs for 3 weeks. Within a week I'd noticed my thigh muscles had basically halved in size (and I had quite big thigh muscles to start with). So I had a tiny thigh and a huge knee, very weird!! I wasn't happy with this at all, particularly as I was only week one into my 6 weeks of not putting any weight on that leg. So off I went to get a second opinion, which I paid for. This Doctor basically said the complete opposite of the first Doctor, and said I should weight bare as much as I could manage. This was the best advice I was given. If there are any of you out there who have been told the same thing, as in not to weight bare, I would consider hard about getting a second opinion. You need to get your upper leg muscles as strong as possible as quickly as possible to aid your recovery from this type of injury. Now obviously everyone is different, but I'd like to think there won't be many people with a bad combination of ligament tears as I have had, so you have got to do what feels right for you as you know your body better than anyone. And for me getting back on my feet as soon as possible was the best for me. Within a couple of weeks my muscles started to come back and I started to feel independent again. I'd say probably 5/6 weeks post the crash, and having had no treatment on my knee, I was walking with the aid of one crutch to lean on. I did try to wear the knee brace I was given, but A) it kept falling down, and B) it was falling apart, so still around the 5/6 week period, I started not to wear the brace at all and just used one crutch. I felt this benefitted me no end, muscular wise and getting the knee joint moving again. I know the Docs out there will be going beserk probably, but for me this worked best. Don't get me wrong I had to concentrate everywhere I walked, I had to sit and rest every 10-15 mins for 5 mins, and the knee would bow out every now and then, not dislocate, but bow out. But it didn't hurt and I was prepared to take those risks as I felt it was benefitting me. And quite frankly, there wasn't much more I could do to my knee!
So this is how I carried on basically, getting to the point where I was walking without a crutch or the knee brace, and concentrating on walking correctly and with the proper gait. The knee, after about week 1, hasn't been particularly painful, just felt weird and was very swollen.
So I stopped taking painkillers within 7 days, as I'm not much of a one for pill popping anyway. I've tried to treat my knee as normally as possible, even doing moderate cycling (on a static bike) and trying to do as much walking as I can. As I have been told the more stronger, normal the knee is before surgery the better the chance of making a better, quicker recovery. It also makes the knee easier to operate on for the surgeon, as there's less swelling and rubbish floating around in there.
Where I'm at now, is 4 days before my surgery to reconstruct those three ligaments. I feel i've done as much as possible to aid the process, and now its down to the surgeon to do his part. I'm quite prepared for the long rehab process, and I'm almost looking forward to it as its all down to me. I have good physio's ready and waiting and can't wait to get stuck into the exercises.
So my plan is to try and update this blog everyday, after the surgery, and thereafter. Fingers crossed please.
If there's anything you want to ask me, then please do not hesitate to get in touch and ask away. And I promise my next posts won't be half as long, but thanks for reading if you have.