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Offline Bacchus

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ACLr - View from the sofa - my post-op diary
« on: November 04, 2011, 02:04:47 PM »

dec 17th 2010
I was warming up for a regular game of 5 aside.  I was barely walking, without another player within 10 yards.  that's when my knee went backwards after planting my foot.  It was painful immediately and I knew I was in trouble.  I hobbled back to the changing room and sat contemplating my 1 hour 40 minute journey back home as the swelling increased.  My wife was not best pleased as I would be limping around at Christmas and we had a full house. I eventually got a taxi to Waterloo station and cursed the commuters who made the limp across the concourse particularly painful.
I had no idea what I had done.  I thought I'd be playing again in 8 weeks...

Dec 24th
My second trip to the fracture clinic.  The docs were all rushed off their feet as the cold snap had meant an influx of slips and breaks.  They still had no clue what I'd done.  I got told cart. Tear or ligament damage.  They eventually booked me an MRI for February.  Felt sorry for the chap next to me who had fractured every finger on his right hand.  I have never seen a man in so much pain before yet he was still holding a conversation and being polite.  made a mental note to be that gracious if I was ever in that much pain...

March 2011
Booked in to see the man mountain that is mr Sean o'leary, my newly assigned doc. I got my private medical sorted once I realised this might be a bit more than an 8 week layoff.  He didn't even look at the MRI before telling me.  He knew immediately. "You've ruptured your acl" he said, matter of factly. I was devasted.  My experience of cruciate ligaments was confined to stories about footballers who's careers were ended because of it.  He mentioned rehab and a possible op.  I wasn't really taking it in.  All I could think was that I would not play again.

I must point out at this point that I have a history of depression.  I have beaten it, through a mix of will power,  being optimistic and five aside football.  I have played sometimes up to 4 times a week since my early twenties, settling to just once a week now I have a young family and more of a career.  I can't explain how much I love it.  I'm not the best but I am there every week, loving it, waiting for it, replaying every goal in my head after the game. 

Mr O'leary had no idea.  I sat there and cried.  He was a bit confused and sat looking awkward.  Ex-rugby playing surgeons aren't renowned for their empathy.

Football was my mental crutch and now I would have to cope without it for some time.

March to September 2011
I returned from the appointment, booked in some physio and decided that I would return to playing whatever it took.  Several months of physio and my knee was almost normal.  I could hop, jog(although I had some aching), and the only action that caused me pain was kneeling.  I had full ROM.  My physio said some people could return to sport without surgery so I decided to try. Turns out I wasn't one of those people... :)

I played in a very friendly game letting everyone know I was taking it easy.  I was playing for 5 mins. I managed to score twice and then disaster. I ran and cut a little too hastily and boom!

One collapsed knee later and a hastily arranged appointment with mr O'Leary and I booked myself in for  a hamstring graft aclr on November 1st.

I set myself a goal of returning to playing before Christmas 2012.  Maybe this was ambitious but it seemed like a good target to have!

Nov 1st Operation day
Arrived at 7am thanks to my doting mum who drove me in.  She had brought 4 different types of chocolates, sweets and cakes for me to munch on during my recovery. This told me she was quite nervous.  I was actually rather calm about it all.  I went into surgery at 8am and was awake by 10.30.

I was quite confused after the general.  Knee pain was bearable until I felt my hammy.  I accidentally massaged it and instantly regretted it.  The pain was a constant dull ache but nothing I couldn't cope with.  They had me on paracetamol for the first night and a single ibuprofen before I went to bed.  I saw the physio and she took me through the exercises.  Ankle pumps, easy! Quad tenses, tricky but doable. Leg raises, bring it on.  Knee bends, no.  Still 3 out of 4 isn't bad.

Nov 2nd
Went home from hospital.  No brace, just crutches and tubey grin.  They gave me codeine to take which makes me fly so happy times ahead! Pain was ok still, swelling not too bad.  Used the ice pack a bit.  Should of been more diligent though...

Nov 3rd
My lowest day so far.  Knee was very swollen.  I tried my exercises and they were all much harder.  I thought I'd see progress but I had regressed within 24 hours! Still, reading up on it helped and I took my meds when I could.  My dad called from the states where he lives.  That was the third call in as many days.  He had his cartilage removed in the 70's so expect he knows what I'm going through.  I ploughed on with lifts and pumps etc but they were difficult and I couldn't manage them all.  Determined to ignore these negative moods.  They don't help.

Nov 4th
Woke up feeling great today. Knee still swollen but felt like my lifts were a lot easier.  Went to see physio.  He showed me a lot of useful tips and was pleased with movement and extension. Aid arrived in form of mother in law who is currently making me lunch.  Awesome.

Physio told me to do all my exercises every 2 hours.  Must get more disciplined if I'm to succeed.  Nearly time for ice then workout.  Knee is hurting as I am doing extensions but it's all for the best.

One day at time and all that... 

Offline Bigman78

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Re: ACLr - View from the sofa - my post-op diary
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2011, 05:30:49 AM »
Welcome to Knee geeks and hope the early phase of recovery goes well for you :)

You'll plenty of great support on this forum. How have your last couple of days been?

Visit my blog:

Oct 11th 2010: 2nd Op to clean out staph infection
Oct 1st 2010: ACLr (hamstring autograft)
Aug 26th 2010: R knee ACL rupture (soccer)

Offline Bacchus

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Re: ACLr - View from the sofa - my post-op diary
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2011, 03:45:37 PM »
Nov 5th
What a great day! I did all my pt and the swelling went down significantly.  I felt really good.  My mother in law was looking after both me and my wife ( who is pregnant and suffering with sickness all the time...)
Missed fireworks night but at least managed to ooh and ahh from the bedroom window!

Watched plenty of telly and some good films (13 Samurai) but can see how lying with leg up all the time is enough to drive people crazy.

Nov 6th
Woke up fine, did pt.

I have a tip: Walking up/down stairs my physio said good legs go to heaven and bad legs down to hell! Really helps when remembering what foot to move first!

Went for a lazy midday shower and as I was getting out I started getting a very painful knee.  It felt heavier and was swelling up.  I did nothing bad to it but it was so painful.  I took as much pain relief as I could and went back to bed.  I was unable to attempt much more pt than a few quad clenches and even that was agony.  Rested the rest of today.  I was a grumpy man...

Nov 7th
Knee still not as good as sat but better.  Did pt then had to go to hospital for scan on future baby Bacchus!  (scan ok!).  I was pushing it going but I didn't count on 1 hour delay and having to walk around the place looking for blood clinic.  I was in agony until I found some comfy seats and took some meds! Wife had to brave the needles by herself and I dozed while I waited.  Still, proved that I should be resting more and that I'm still not ready to go out at all unless urgent.

I am still bit wobbly but I can manage a couple of steps without crutches.  My short term target is to manage a pint on Friday night at my local, 250 yards away, using crutches of course!

Offline MUMofpain

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Re: ACLr - View from the sofa - my post-op diary
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2011, 12:05:18 AM »
Wishing you all the best with your recovery, it is very early days for you but you sound like you are doing very well.  My son also tore his acl at football, not being tackled either.

It is a long road ahead but a lot of people do go back the sports they love, it just takes time.
27th September 2010 - Tore acl at football
12th January 2011 - ACL reconstruction (Hamstring)

Offline Bacchus

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Re: ACLr - View from the sofa - my post-op diary
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2011, 12:38:50 PM »
Its been a week so I thought an update was in order.

Nov 8th
Still a fair bit of pain and I wasn't so hard on the PT today again.  I took the last of my codeine yesterday so and so am just using Ibuprofen when the pain is bad.

Nov 9th
Second physio session and it went really well.  I felt good in the morning and he was pleased with progress.  I have good quads and the definition is starting to return.  I can flex them at will now and I only have a small lag on my straight leg raises.  I don't have a fully straight leg yet but it won't be long.  I am still having some pain doing knee bends and he told me to get a gym ball.  I managed to dig one out the wife's gym stuff and now I can see the difference its made - really useful.

He told me to go to 4x a day PT and that ice was still vital every 2 hours.

I resigned myself to a strict regime now that I was in less pain.

Nov 10th and 11th
Wife was working and daughter in nursery which has meant 2 things.
1)  I get the control of the telly!
2)  I can watch movies my wife isn't into!

So, here is my one sentence review of all the films I have seen on Thursday and Friday during and in between bouts of PT. 
True Grit - Brilliant, masterpiece better than the original.
Source Code - really interesting thriller than doesn't disappoint.
Adjustment Bureau - Full of whimsy and imagination (I love the hats) while still delivering on thrills and action.  Clever stuff.
Hannah - low budget, fantastically scripted brilliant off beat thriller.  Tom Hollander as a camp, neo-n4zi assassin was awesomely chilling.
The Social Network - yes, I know, everyone kept telling me I should see it and how brilliant it was.  They were right.  Still, I prefer things blowing up than anti-social people arguing over billions of dollars. 
Beerfest - perhaps the silliest movie I've seen in a while but worth it alone for the Donald Sutherland cameo/death scene.  Fairly sure it will never win an oscar. ;)

I did my 4x a day PT every day and iced about the same number of times a day.  Swelling has significantly decreased and my pain has been bearable without any medication.  I only get severe pain when I bend or twist in a way I shouldn't!  (Tip: don't bend or twist...)

As it was Friday night I can confirm I managed the trip to the pub for a pint.  (all of 200 yards)
My findings on this trip were as follows:
(end of findings)

Nov 12th and 13th
My daughter celebrated her birthday and Sunday was a big party day so the weekend was spent preparing rooms for 14 three year olds and putting up decorations in between PT and sitting down a lot.  Appreciated the help from the in laws.
I took some paracetemol during the party as I was on my feet a bit more than I wanted but other than that it went ok.

Nov 14th
Today.  I was meant to start back at work today and have found myself a quiet corner of a room to work in.   Unfortunately (or not, depending on your viewpoint) my mail server is broken and I can't read any mails - which kind of hampers any work.  I have scheduled PT into my work diary so that no-one organises meetings when I should be exercising.  Boss glad to have me back despite all this I think...

My knee is almost back to normal size wise.  The outside lower thigh is still swollen but the left side quad is fully shaped and firing nicely.  Really pleased with progress.  With the gym ball I can bend my knee way past 90 degrees and I can walk ok without crutches around the house.

I do have some massive bruising on the back of my thigh which are really painful, purple and yellow.  They are the worst of my pain though and I hope they should disappear soon.  I will talk to the nurse about them as I go to have my stitches out at 3 today - another milestone.

Thanks for the kind words MUMofpain and Bigman78!

Offline Suejs14

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Re: ACLr - View from the sofa - my post-op diary
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2011, 05:19:47 PM »
I am continually amazed at the patience you in the UK have waiting for necessary (non-urgent) medical procedures.  I was frustrated for the week's delay in scheduling an MRI of my shoulder this past summer.

It sounds as though your body and mind are both surviving this challenge.  Being the King of rehab is the very best advice anyone could give you, and you're already doing that.  Best to your recovery to sport and to your family's pending addition.

Sue JS
4/04 R knee partial meniscectomy
4/24/11 L patella comminuted fx
4/27 ORIF (2 of @ 6 pieces pin & wire together)
5/10 Staples out
6/7 from full leg immobilizer to brace set at 70 degrees flex
6/16 begin PT with 45 degrees ROM
7/14 75 ROM
7/21 81 ROM
8/2  102 ROM
11/30 127 ROM