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Author Topic: Really scared ,ACL surgery in 3 days!!  (Read 6404 times)

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Offline treenshep

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Really scared ,ACL surgery in 3 days!!
« on: December 12, 2010, 12:28:12 PM »
im starting to get very nervous, i am having ACL surgery wednesday 15/12/10, i am having it done with a graft from my hamstring,after reading posts from this board i see that the first few days are extremely painful, do they send you home with strong painkillers ,i hate pain (who doesnt) i also have 4 children aged 12, 8 ,5 and 2 years,i am spending the first 3 days at my mums with the younger 2 children so mum can help out, i hear people talk about ice machines what are they, where do u get them from? Is there anything thing else i need to know or do or if you have any advice i sure will appreciate it!
thanks
Kind Regards
Katrina

Offline lwillson

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Re: Really scared ,ACL surgery in 3 days!!
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2010, 04:14:48 PM »
Hi Katrina

There are lots of people with ACLr experience on this forum who I am sure will come and contribute to your thread and help out both before and after surgery.

Surgeons' protocols seem to vary wildly, ranging from crutches and braces to little more the the tasty stockings and some fabric plasters.  Note the old leg plaster seems to be a thing of the past nowadays.

Don't know whether you are from the UK or US, or further afield, and under state or private insurance.  That will have a bearing on the post-op strategies and what "goodies" you get sent home with.

Trying to answer your questions, (1) the ice machine you refer to is most likely a “Cryo-Cuff” - stick the text in Google and you will see what they are - essentially a super-chilled "hot water bottle" (please forgive the oxymoron in my description)  which wraps around you knee - helps for swelling and numbs pains/aches. (2) pain seems to vary wildly from person to person, being almost non-existent at one end and not fun at the other end.  You will most certainly be sent home with a suitable pack of tablets to keep the worst away.

Good luck at you mums, and looking after the youngsters.  There are several on this website who have young children too and will empathise with you well

Things which may help – get a “nest” ready at your mums and/or home, where you have most things to hand and your are comfortable.  Try and keep your leg genuinely up “above your heart”, not just on a stool or table.  And take it easy for the first few weeks after, in so far as family and work will allow.

Best wishes, and keep posting.

Lawrence
30 Nov 2010 - ACLr with allograft and resected meniscus
July 2010 - MRI and athroscopy diagnosed torn ACL and multiple cartilage tears
March 2010 - ACL tear, climbing in snow
March 2009 - ACL partial tear, skiing in heavy slush
1990 - patella re-alignment surgery

Offline pinotlover

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Re: Really scared ,ACL surgery in 3 days!!
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2010, 04:25:54 PM »
Hi

I had ACLr with a Hamstring graft nearly four weeks ago (in UK). I will be honest I didn't have that much pain at all. Every time the nurse asked me to rate it on a scale of 0-10 I always said about 0.1. I felt uncomfortable at times but not in pain. Even when they sent me home I had only diclofenic and standard paracetamol.

This forum is a great source of info and reassurance!! Take a look at my post op diary you will see how the first few day went.

Keep posting!!

Jen  :)
Feb 2010 - A&E say dislocated knee & twisted
Mar 2010 - Fracture clinic say return to sport "nothing wrong with knee"
June 2010 - First netball match, 3 min in, jumped, landed, agony! A&E "twisted knee" but get PT appt, she demands MRI
July 2010 - MRI 100% ACL Tear
17 Nov 2010 - ACLr Hamstring Graft

Offline lwillson

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Re: Really scared ,ACL surgery in 3 days!!
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2010, 07:19:54 PM »
Katrina - when's the big day?  Tues or Wed this week?  Just wanted to wish you well  :)

Lawrence
30 Nov 2010 - ACLr with allograft and resected meniscus
July 2010 - MRI and athroscopy diagnosed torn ACL and multiple cartilage tears
March 2010 - ACL tear, climbing in snow
March 2009 - ACL partial tear, skiing in heavy slush
1990 - patella re-alignment surgery

Offline treenshep

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Re: Really scared ,ACL surgery in 3 days!!
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2010, 12:02:45 PM »
thanks for the replies i really appreciate it, my surgery is tomorrow (i live in australia) i  am still nervous but feel alot better after reading your posts ,hopefully i will be one of those people who dont have too much pain,i do have health insurance & the physio phoned today to say they would see me in hospital and that they pretty much get you up straight after it (not looking forward to that) anyway i will keep you all informed and thankyou once again!

Offline lwillson

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Re: Really scared ,ACL surgery in 3 days!!
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2010, 03:23:28 PM »
Hey Katrina - soon you'll be on the other side and happier once the deed is done.  Be nice to the physio even if she asks for what may feel like the impossible, and good luck with your first few steps off the bed and down the hospital corridor - you should hopefully be pleasantly surprised.  How quick after surgery do you reckon you can post again?   
 Good luck and thinking of you, Lawrence.
30 Nov 2010 - ACLr with allograft and resected meniscus
July 2010 - MRI and athroscopy diagnosed torn ACL and multiple cartilage tears
March 2010 - ACL tear, climbing in snow
March 2009 - ACL partial tear, skiing in heavy slush
1990 - patella re-alignment surgery

Offline Snowy

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Re: Really scared ,ACL surgery in 3 days!!
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2010, 04:07:14 PM »
Just wanted to wish you luck! It seems so daunting going in, but once you're on the other side just take one step (crutch-assisted if necessary) at a time and you'll be up and trying out the physio exercises before you know it. My surgeon gave me a script for very strong painkillers and made sure I had my instructions on what to do for the first week or so in writing before I left hospital. I know a few folk find it hard to remember oral instructions if they're woozy from the anaesthetic, so having the instructions in writing (or someone to note them down for you) is very helpful.

I wasn't one of the lucky ones with post-surgery pain, possibly because unlike a lot of folk I didn't have a femoral nerve block. My advice is to make sure you stay on top of the pain meds, especially the first dose - they will keep the pain manageable even if it's bad. I was given morphine in the hospital, but was then a bit slow to take my first Percocet due to the journey home. The pain broke through before the Percocet kicked in, which is not an experience I would care to repeat. From them on I was religious about taking them, and they kept things well under control. A good tip is to set your alarm to take the dose that's due in the night, so that you don't wake up in pain and have to wait for them to kick in. Even though my post-op pain was pretty horrible, I was surprised how quickly it eased off - within a few days I was cutting back on the strong meds, and I think after a week I had stopped taking them altogether.

I would also recommend the ice machine (Cryocuff seems to be the easiest to get hold of) wholeheartedly. It was my constant companion during my time on the couch, and a close friend for several weeks!

Best of luck - hope all goes well!
Mar 11: R Biceps femoris tear (skiing)
Jul 10: ACLr (hamstring autograft)
Mar 10: L ACL rupture (skiing)
Feb 06: L partial ACL tear (kickboxing)
Dec 03: R bone edema (motorbike)
Jan 01: R patellar chip (motorbike)
May 93: R ACL sprain (hockey)
Ongoing: bilateral PFS and OA

Offline hibiscus_tea

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Re: Really scared ,ACL surgery in 3 days!!
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2010, 11:27:43 PM »
Hi! I think your surgery is... today?  Everything will go smoothly, I'm sure of it!! 

If you didn't get the cryo-cuff, regular ice will be fine.  If you have a long piece of cloth to keep it on and give it a little compression, it might help.  My friend didn't get a cryo-cuff, but she continuously iced it and wrapped a long handkerchief around the ice and it's essentially the same effect you would get with the cryo-cuff.

When I had my surgery last month, my daughter was 3.5 months old.  She's the only one I have, so I don't know what it would be like with 4 children, but it was really challenging for me.  You can read about it in my diary, but in a nutshell, I couldn't pick her up... which was an issue because she loves being picked up and taking walks.  It broke my heart to hear her cry in my arms because i couldn't stand up.  I was often alone, so sometimes, I would just end up crying with her because there was nothing I can do. 

I'll be looking for updates from you! GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!
ACLr (allograft) on Nov. 9, 2010.
Recovery diary: http://www.kneeguru.co.uk/KNEEtalk/index.php?topic=54066.0

Offline jayhen

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Re: Really scared ,ACL surgery in 3 days!!
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2010, 09:09:28 PM »
Hello.  Hope the surgery went well for you.  What amazes me about reading these stories is how much variety in experiences there are.  Right now you are finding out if you are one of the unlucky people that has alot of pain or like myself had none after the first day (I did not have a nerve blocker).  The best advice that I can offer is to get moving asap.  Be it exercises from bed or just standing (with or without crutches for a short time) I found helped the muscles in the leg stay active which will help out when you start physio.  I did not have a cryo cuff but rather a ice bag that I would tensor to my leg while resting.  I am 2 months out and have been fortunate to have had no real pain or complications with the procedure and I am on a path to a full recovery and back to work in a couple of months.  I hope that your experience is a mirror image to what I have had so far and good luck.

Jayme

Offline treenshep

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Re: Really scared ,ACL surgery in 3 days!!
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2010, 02:50:06 AM »
Hi guys thankyou so much for all of your support ,i had my knee done late yesterday afternoon,i was a nervous wreck by the time i went in ,it seemed like i had to wait for ever ,but i cant believe how smoothly it has all gone so far,i was done around 4pm and didnt really wake up properly until about midnight ', i got up with crutches & went to the toilet and to my surprise their was hardly any pain, i then went back to be & woke at 5am to go to the toilet and there was still barely any pain, i thought maybe it was still numb,when the doctor came to visit at about 8.30am i was walking up and  down the corridor (with crutches) but i could do it without crutches but the nurses insisted i use them ,he said all went well there was a big tear in the mid section of my acl which he replaced with a hamstring graft and there was also a tear on the outer of my menisus which he trimmed , but otherwise my knee looked great ,i asked him when was the anaesthetic going to wear off as it wasnt really hurting much and he said it would of worn off already so i am thanking god he answered my prayers that i wouldnt have to much pain, i got out of hospital at 11am and had to go to physio at 11.30 which was alright as i only did a few exercises , i then went to mcdonads(sad i know) but i was craving it so badly we stayed for a while and he kids had a play and now we are back at my mums i had to go up 15 stairs to get into her house but that was fine, it is a little sore at the moment i just took 2 digesics and have put ice on it and am in bed, but so far i couldnt be more pleased than how everything is going I can bend my leg almost to 90 degrees and am sot far of straightening it so i will keep doing my exercises to improve this, i just want to thank everyone for their support i have really appreciated it,if anyone who reads this is about to have the operation done, dont get really stressed about it i have been pleasantly surprised Praise god!!

Offline lwillson

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Re: Really scared ,ACL surgery in 3 days!!
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2010, 09:32:48 AM »
Hey, welcome to the other side - it sounds like you have come out of this experience really well.  Keep plugging away on the heel slides and leg raises to keep the movement and the quads working, and the sooner you are let of the crutches, the more your quads will work to help you walk.

It is so nice to have the op behind you, and now just ned to start grinding through the physio religously.

Well done!!  ;D ;D ;D

Lawrence
30 Nov 2010 - ACLr with allograft and resected meniscus
July 2010 - MRI and athroscopy diagnosed torn ACL and multiple cartilage tears
March 2010 - ACL tear, climbing in snow
March 2009 - ACL partial tear, skiing in heavy slush
1990 - patella re-alignment surgery

Offline treenshep

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Re: Really scared ,ACL surgery in 3 days!!
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2010, 11:22:11 AM »
thanks lawrence i sure will ,i must say it is a bit sorer tonight but it is still bearable, its hard to fnd a comfy position, im hoping i will sleep alright though, i think my doc wants me to stay on crutches & in the brace for the first 2 weeks as originally i tore my mcl as well and it is still a little week so i need them for protection, but i will get busy with the exercises ,i find it hard to ice my leg with the brace and bandages on,i would love to see what my knee looks like but im not allowed to take the bandage of for 48 hours anyway thanks for the advice i will keep plugging away,

Offline treenshep

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Re: Really scared ,ACL surgery in 3 days!!
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2010, 02:44:37 AM »
hi everyone ,i had a really good night sleep, it was very tender when i got up but not to bad ,the most painful thing seems to be doing the exercises, i am scared i am going to stretch the graft ,anyone know anything that you definately should not do, i just went christmas shopping for 2 hours my plan was to sit in the food court while my little sister did the shopping for me ,but my 2 year old had other plans she wouldnt sit in the pram or trolley and was being really naughty so i ended up walking around the shops for 2 hours trying to keep her happy,i think i am paing for it now as i am quiet sore ,looks like the afternoon will be spent with my leg in the air and an ice pack,took my bandage of for a sneak preview, it looks as though it has 4 incisions,3 with 1 stitch and 1 with 4 stitches it looks pretty gross and quiet swollen but does look as though its healing well,i can have a shower in the morning so i am looking forward to that,anyway i think i might have a sleep now while my baby is asleep,hope everyone is well ,i will update later

Offline Snowy

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Re: Really scared ,ACL surgery in 3 days!!
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2010, 08:49:40 AM »
Wow - sounds like you're doing awesomely! Congratulations!

Two things I'd emphasize at this point:

1) Your OS and PT aren't going to tell you to do anything that could hurt the graft. So keep trying to do the exercises they've given you; just don't push it too far if it's really painful. They'll come in time.

2) When you ask if there's anything you shouldn't do, I'll tell you the same thing my OS and PT told me at this stage: anything that involves twisting or lateral movement. They were totally okay with me doing most things that involved straight up and down motion (my OS even cleared me to swim at 10 days post surgery as long as I only kicked gently) but twisting is a whole other ballgame.

My advice would be that if there's anything at all you have a question about, call the PT or OS and check that it's okay to do that. In fact, do that for every new exercise if you have to. Better to bug them a little bit than risk hurting the graft, and you may be surprised by some of the things you shouldn't do. At about 2 weeks post surgery I was going nuts because I still couldn't turn the pedals on my bike, but discovered that I could use our elliptical trainer just fine. Fortunately I emailed my PT to ask if I could go ahead on the elliptical, and got a firm no because it causes more tibial translation than a bike and hence puts more direct pressure on the graft. I did start using it a few weeks later, but was very grateful for the advice.

I guess the summary is: better safe than sorry! :)
Mar 11: R Biceps femoris tear (skiing)
Jul 10: ACLr (hamstring autograft)
Mar 10: L ACL rupture (skiing)
Feb 06: L partial ACL tear (kickboxing)
Dec 03: R bone edema (motorbike)
Jan 01: R patellar chip (motorbike)
May 93: R ACL sprain (hockey)
Ongoing: bilateral PFS and OA