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Author Topic: First timerrrrr...ACL (patella graft) and some miniscus. :)  (Read 2154 times)

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Offline JoJo Knees

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Well I think I've read 90000 boards over the past few days but never had the motivation to post myself. However i everyone seems so nice and I am officially hitting the bored/on the verge of depression phase of not moving anywhere so I think this will help so here goes nothing...

The background
I am 25...math teacher..loves soccer. I got hurt in the last game of a coed indoor soccer game on April 19th...typical wrong type of turn/placement of the knee/bam on the floor. I couldn't walk but was convinced I didn't tear anything because I didn't hear a pop and could hobble and even though it hurt a lot I wasn't dyinggggg. In fact I went to Atlantic City the next morning for a friends birthday and hobbled around with my knee wrapped up in ace bandage thanks to some physical therapist friends. Whoops
I went to the doctor on Monday April 22 only because I still live with my parents (oye) and my mom gets concerned quite easily with knee pain. He did some pulling and pretty much said I was really messed up and sent for an MRI. Within one day he called to tell me he was right I tore the ACL slight miniscus and slight MCL tear. So much for being fine. I was given the really big immobilizer brace to start wearing and excersises to do to start healing the MCL. Finally went back and scheduled the ACL two weeks later.

That was a really annoying time because I was slowly getting better and able to walk again and building up muscle...just knowing surgery would make me have to start all over again. The brace did make me look pretty tough to my middle school students.  and at the same time so many nba and MLB players wear tearing their ACLs so I gained some street cred.

 The surgery...
I had Acl surgery on Friday (may 25th) with the patella graft and some cleaning of the miniscus. Wooooie
The day of surgery sounds exactly the same as everyone else. (which really helped reading before I went in...thanks strangers!). I arrived at 6:00 am...got shuttled into a small room to have blood drawn and stuff (my least favorite part). A nurse came in to ask the first round of medical questions and what happened and what knee. A PA came in and did the same. My surgeon came in next with the same questions and marked up the right knee (the left one). Then the anesthesiologist came in with more medical questions. I was more concerned about the IV in my wrist that came next but i survived (clearly).
Finally it was time to head to the operating room and I realized hospitals are a lot more than those little visiting rooms. The room was freezing and my surgeon was there ready to go. I was layed down. Arms spread out. Was talking about something and then bam I never saw the room again
I was then laying in a recovery room where I kept waking up randomly to my mom or dad or nurse or friend who works at the hospital and kept thinking I was fine and not tired....but apparently I just kept falling back asleep. I knew I was awake for good when I heard the guy next to me puking and kept waiting for that feeling to hit me...thankfully it never came. So I was allowed to get dressed and have some juice and go to the bathroom and finally be wheeled out to the car. It was around 1:00 then.
The pain level was pretty tolerable. Everything seemed to be happening quite fast so I have no idea.

When I got home I was set up on the couch with the cooling machine and was relatively comfortable. My sister the knee surgery veteran came over and told me to enjoy it cause the real pain always began the next day for her.  So sweet.  A man came to deliver the CPM machine and got me set up on it at 30 degrees for 2 hours. Wasn't too bad. It looks so soft and cozy though so I enjoy my leg in it....until of course it starts bending :)


I took my next dose of meds (every 4 hours) I went to bed...and slept for a good hour. That's how it went pretty much all night. When I slept it was really good sleep. And when I was awake it was really wide awake. On and off again hour by hour  Thank god for iPads and google and this forum.


Day 1
At about 6 I took my next meds and at 7 headed down to the couch for the cpm machine and did 2 hours. That went okay and I thought heyyy this isnt gonna be so bad.  But as the day went on I was proven wrong. I was really uncomfortable and in pain for the majority of the day. I had pretty much no appetite at alll And we had company over for my moms andd my boyfriend's birthday and as much as I tried to be sociable I just wanted to lay with my cooling machine and close my eyes (which is eventually what I did and how I spent the night). At around 10 I got back into the Cpm machine to do the 2 hours before heading up to bed for the same kind of night as the night before ..

Day 2
Sunday - no fun  I don't know if I really need to go into detail because it was exactly like Saturday with more pain and no company.  Just my mom and dad walking around me trying to see if I could go with out painkillers yet. Probably....if they wanted me to murder them. The cpm machine was probably the best part of the day. The other exercises I kept trying really hurt. Especially trying to gain full extension and getting my leg straight. (with a towel rolled up under my ankle) it even really hurt keeping my leg elevated the correct way with no support under the knee. (the doctor said that just means I was stretching it and was good) but I was convinced it was bad because it hurt so much. Just did a lot of Internet reading and scramble on my phone
again...not much of an appetite but my dad kept giving me fruits and yogurt and all stuff to try to avoide the inevitable constipation to be caused by the painkillers (sorry)

Day 3
Mondaayyyy... Memorial day. More looking at Facebook and seeing all the awesome weekend photos and plans and beach trips from everyone else. My two sisters came over today for a BBQ but I lasted outside for about 8 minutes. The heat was just way too annoying. So more laying and cooling and elevating and ankle pumping and knee reading and cpm and so on. More pain too. Yay pain. I did eat a cheeseburger though.


And todayyyy day 4
I went to the doctor today and he was not happy with the swelling so he drained a wholeee lot of blood from the knee. It was not as bad as I thought it was be...but pretty gross. He took out my stiches and cleared me for a real shower and that's what I'm most excited about..  Just wanted to get my two hours done on the cpm and that's where I am nowwww. Currently set at 45. I can probably to more too. My major concern before today was that I felt like every time I was bending my knee my stiches or knee was gonna burst open. Turns out that was all the fluid making me feel like that and I didn't have to be so concerned.


Soooo that was a lot sorry! Harder to remember specifics too then I thought it would be. Basically I've just been drifting  in and out of sleep for 4 days. And nowwwww I'm officially bored and tired of being stuck home and need some entertainment in my life. If you read all of that thanks!! I don't even want to go back and proofread it or anything so it will probably sounds like one jumbled mess...just like my knee




Well here's some more random nonsense/ concerns

-any tips for "firing up" my quads. I still just can't get them going to do leg lifts. I feel embarrassed to have to go to my first physical therapy appointment not being able to...but I guess that's what they get paid to help me with lol

- was it painful for all of you to keep the leg elevated so high with pillows under your ankles. Do u get used to it? Any tips?


- I haven't seen any timelines of teachers and returning back to work. I can't wait to go back (staying home all day is quite boring!) I actually have only taken 3 days off total in my 4 years teaching so I'm not used to this at all lol. Although I'm sure my students are loving it. Since it is the end of the year I don't have to move around so much. I can sit and use a projector for most things really so I feel like I will totally be fine by Monday to return (that would be day 10).  I only have 12 students at a time (I teach special Ed math) so they can even crowd around me when they need help.  Is this being too crazy?? Any advice??

Wow this is the longest thing I have ever written on the Internet...I feel kind of silly...but I read so much good advice and help given before so I hope it works for me
Thanks!!!!!!





Offline j2willia

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Re: First timerrrrr...ACL (patella graft) and some miniscus. :)
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2012, 03:11:12 AM »
Funny post!  I'm about one month ahead of you. I also tore my acl and meniscus playing indoor.  Same deal...went in on a play and just felt the knee twist way too far. Then on the next play, I planted hard and immediately hit the floor. I didn't hear a pop but definitely knew that something was wrong.

I had surgery on April 18th, but elected the hamstring option. I'm a bit older and the surgeon identified a slight onset of arthritis, so suggested the hamstring graft.

Man, you described the first few days perfectly.  I've been going to physical therapy the past few weeks and all I ever hear is that I need to work on "firing up" my quad. I'll be glad if I never have to hear that phrase again after all of this.

Resting my leg with a pillow under my ankle was always extremely uncomfortable when I tried to do it for long stretches, but it's pretty important to keep doing it as often as you can. You're going to need to be able to get full extension in order to get your normal gait back.

I wouldnt be as concerned with the leg lifts. They will come. It's probably more difficult early on for you because you had the patella graft (your graft should heal faster though).  Also, unfortunately, the meniscus repair will probably slow down your recovery plan a bit though.

Keep up the CPM machine and definitely take advantage of physical therapy!  They really helped me understand when I could start new exercises.

It's funny because I remember hitting a low point after a week because it was depressing not to be able to get around and do everyday things. 

I had my surgery on a Wednesday and made it into the office by the next Tuesday, but I was pretty uncomfortable sitting at my desk.  I was also driving a week after surgery, too, though I had surgery on my left knee and drive an automatic. Still, it was pretty challenging getting in and out of the car.

Best of luck. Hope you get back to playing soon enough!

Offline JoJo Knees

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Re: First timerrrrr...ACL (patella graft) and some miniscus. :)
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2012, 05:59:29 PM »
Hii thanks so much for the reply and advice! Nice to hear you felt the same way!!  And I felt like a little kid seeing a response so quickly hahaha so exciting.

Anyway it's day 5.
Tried to fire up those quads lol no such luck this morning...thanks for the reassurance though  :)

However I definitely had my best nights sleep! For the first time I didn't need the pain killers at all during the night.
I took the pain meds around 6:30 this morning...and slept a little more
I feel so much better now too. I think draining the blood from the knee really helped yesterday

I'm on the cpm machine now and it is already so much easier to bend me knee. I also got a lot of texts and messages from friends today (plus your reply!!) so I felt more connected to the world outside my living room which was nice.

The worst pain is walking around with the brace. Some researching says that can do with the rush of blood after laying down for so long. But I hope that stops soon. I can't wait to be more mobile.

Hope the rest of the day goes this nicely. It's about 1 and I took 2 Motrin instead of the pain killers and I think I will put the ice machine thing on again. I stopped using that for the first time last night when the doc said it wasn't as necessary.

Hope everyone else is having a good day. I went onto the board for spiritual advice and help ( forget the real name) and realized how lucky I do have it right now. Especially with all the help from my parents. Especially my retired dad consistently bring me food and drinks and moving me leg around. So hoping to stay on this high note and not so miserable about having to take a week off life. Hopefully can find words of advice for others too but feel like I have nothing do far. But defentitly think these boards are awesome place for people to come

Thanksss


Ps. Slowing down on the pain meds finally helped the bathroom situation  ;D just a little  but better than nothng....maybe that's why i feel much happier too lol   


Offline JoJo Knees

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Re: First timerrrrr...ACL (patella graft) and some miniscus. :)
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2012, 03:09:11 AM »
Oh mannn...these recoveries can be vicious
The rest of day 5 did go pretty well...but obviously a pain free day was too good to be true. A few friends were visiting and I spent time sitting in the kitchen with my leg bent for the first time in a while. It might have been too much for my knee and pain started to come in the evening way more   Anddd then I got much sicker with some stomach issues and head pains. I think part of it might have been my body reacting to not having the steady doses of pain meds like the past 4 days. It was a rough night trying to sleep.

Howeverrr as always I survived and was much better this morning

Day 6! I did my morning cpm machine routine (74ish)  and I took the pain meds for the first time in a while because i felt it coming and was alsooo going to my first physical therapy appointment.

So a couple of hours later there I was. My pt is very nice and was happy with my leg extension (I guess the pain from elevating my leg with the pillows under my ankle worked out) soo we went to work trying to fire up those quads. This is going to be the death of me. He had me elevated and iced doing some quad sets for a while. Then he did this massage thing that was quite painful but to try to push swelling out of my knee. Oye. And then more work with quad sets. Which seem to be sparking a littttttle bit of fire. He put some electroyde thing on them to help that out too. And then some flexing isometric exercises of some sort. Some more icing. Some more basic covering of the typical things to be doing at home. And that was that.  I am actually going to go back tomorrow though. I'm going to get these quads working no matter whattttt

The rest of the day was ok. I had a headache more then a knee ache for a while but dinner seemed to help. Then some more elevating and icing and nothingness. Bahhhhh
On the cpm nowww before heading to the bed.  Boring life. I can nottttt wait until I can be a human again.  Or to just be able to sit places comfortabley. I'll take that for now lol


 



Offline JoJo Knees

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Re: First timerrrrr...ACL (patella graft) and some miniscus. :)
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2012, 03:04:23 AM »
So just letting two days pass have showed me this is really going to be and up and down recovery

Day 7
Best morning ever...I woke up and for the first time did not have that terrible feeling putting down my leg when getting up to walk. It was like heaven on earth. Soooo typical morning routine of breakfast and cpm machine followed by another visit to the physical therapist This time after a lottt more quad work we finally saw movement lol. I still couldn't lift my leg but this time I was able to kick up slightly with my legs hanging off the table. It felt so weird pushing up against his leg. Baby steps

Even the night was decent...I was much more sore after the therapy and ended up taking a pain killer after dinner. But thennnn I actually ventured into the world and finally hung out with friends. I got a ride and we were only hanging in an apartment but it still felt great to be there. And the Mets even got their first no hitterr so the whole world seemed to be turning around :). When I got home I was pooped and knew it was going to be a good sleep. I didn't even need the tv all night. It was beautiful

Day 8
Well the sleep was nice and even stayed in bed till around 10. Soooo late compared to my 6am wake ups all week. But I knew I felt some pain and when I went to put my legs down my fear was confirmed. This time however the pain was on my lower legs down towards my shins. It was so sad after having such an easy day yesterday. I spent some time looking this up and saw many people experience this same pain so at least I knew it was a normal Part of the process. Oh well. Spent the majority of the day elevating, icing, and bending in the CPM I took another pain killer after dinner...averaging this usually once per day. And hoping I'm back to painless walking tomorrow!  Maybe then I can even get back to work this week. I hopeee

Offline JoJo Knees

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Re: First timerrrrr...ACL (patella graft) and some miniscus. :)
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2012, 01:14:03 PM »
Wow so I am now up to Day 19. 10 days from my last post.
A lot has changed..but a lot has stayed the same...and I think i am hitting that emotional frustrated part of this whole ordeal...BAH! Anywayyy..

Day 10 & 11 I went for physical theraphy and did a lot of knee massaging and quad setting...trying to get them going (FAIL!)
By Day 13 I was able to do leg lifts...but with my brace on only. If he helps my leg up without the brace i can lift...but I can't life my leg off the floor by myself...so sad.  I went to PT again on Day 15 (Yeh I am going as much as i can!) and this time we did more electrical stimulation on the quads and some other fun stuff. So this was week 2 in a nutshell. Pain has been pretty low...The only time I take pain killers is before physical therapy...I recommend trying to save some for these times. Sleeping however is still pretty rough and uncomfortable.

Oh yeh...I went to work on Thursday (Day 13) to test out being in the school building since children were off for the day. It wasn't too bad. I was a little more swollen then usual by the end. I ended up returning for good and spend majority of the day sitting at my desk. I am not really in any pain when I am at work...but i am tired...because sleeping still isn't exactly up to par. I wake up every few hours and often have a hard time getting comfortable enough to fall back asleep.

Which brings me to now...day 19.

Yesterday was bad. It was pouring rain all day...and I may just be having that girly emotional time...and dealing with 8th graders at the end of a school year...and just got an email confirming a 10 mile race I was supposed to run on Saturday.... but the pain felt way worse and I felt way more frustrated than ever. It was the first time I actually cried after work - but I think it was more of a release of all the frustrations of relying on people for basically everything and not being able to walk yet and still in this stupid brace (for 2 months now). ( END OF VENT...sorry!)

I got myself together though and went to physical therapy...the quads still are not functioning (add to my frustration). He put electric stimulation on way higher and longer and we felt twitching after...but still unable to do a full leg raise by myself. My knee has no support and just buckles down when i try to lift up. UGHHH!

The positives are my extension and flexing...I am good in those departments and bent 115degrees yesterday even with being stiffer than usual from the rain and bad day. I can basically do all the simple stuff without pain...and my swelling has gone down immensely..My knee resembles a knee...but its still a little bigger than my other one. My upper leg however is disgustingly smaller than my other one. Atrophy...sucks.  I NEED QUADS! 

I took Tylenol PM for the first time yesterday after PT and went to bed nice and early. It did take a while but I eventually slept pretty well. I did wake up a few times...but this time I fell back asleep way quicker than usual. So hopefully all my stupid tired depressingness (not a word) will be gone for good.


So just though I would update...I don't even know if that was very useful information...but I guess it helps me to vent. Mostly when people ask how I am doing i say "So much better thanks!" or "Definitely getting better!" or some other fantastic response like that. (Often followed by...hey do you think you can carry my coffee up to my room...thanks!)

Bah Hum Bug.


I did book a trip to Spain for August 5th. It will be 10 weeks from my surgery...eek. (Luckily I am going with 2 of my friends who happen to be physical therapists)  It helps to remind me that I have to keep working...which i do. I am constantly doing my exercises and quad sets and doing the best I can. I really really hope everything just comes together soon. PLEASE!
« Last Edit: June 13, 2012, 01:19:17 PM by JoannaG »

Offline JoJo Knees

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QUADS
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2012, 02:12:30 PM »
3 weekssssss. Time is flying. (kidding - it feels like 3 years)

I am getting really frustrated with my lack of quads.

Yesterday at PT we tried and tried again to feel the quads but I still just can not get them going.  I finally did some bike riding and squats...so at least I felt more productive...but I will not be able to get rid of this brace and make big strides until i can get these quads going and do straight leg raises without the brace.

When I do quad sets I seem to keep using my butt too instead of getting my quads and i can't seem to make my brain communicate to my knee and quads to do what i have to do.

helpppp

Offline Hockey98

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Re: First timerrrrr...ACL (patella graft) and some miniscus. :)
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2012, 11:38:36 PM »
I had a pretty difficult time getting my quads to return as well.  I started working on it pretty diligently once given the okay and once they got working the strength came back relatively quickly.  I would have someone help me lift the leg up and then slowly lower it back to the ground, and I would attempt to lift as they lifted and resist on the way down.  About two days of this and I was flying through them on my own.  Good luck, it certainly is a frustrating process.

Offline JoJo Knees

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Re: First timerrrrr...ACL (patella graft) and some miniscus. :)
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2012, 06:47:05 PM »
Thanks! On Saturday I definitely saw progress in the quad area..I've been doing a million quad sets and leg lifts with the brace on so its about time...but at least we can feel them sparking away now. Saturday PT was really rough actually and it was the first time I felt like I did an actual workout with how sweaty I was after. Felt good!  My knee is actually still sore...but I can deal with this pain if I can see progress in the near future.

Offline Kaputt_Knee

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Re: First timerrrrr...ACL (patella graft) and some miniscus. :)
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2012, 06:20:45 AM »
My quads shut down completely after surgery and with the best will in the world, I could not do any quad exercises in isolation (my straight leg raises were done by cheating). My physios have always used electrical stimulus to get them firing again. The machine uses electrical pulses to educate the muscle fibres to twitch properly again. I have to concentrate to send a "twitch" message to the quads at the same time as the pulse activates. So far it has worked a dream. They use this equipment as part of my initial rehab protocol and  depending on how long the down time was, I get that treatment until they are happy I'm no longer cheating and the quads are firing properly.

It works by placing an electrode on the main body of the quads and another near the knee. A small electrical charge is sent through the muscle making it contract and then relax. It doesn't hurt, sometimes it tickles a lot though.

After my first knee injury in 1989 I had no quads due to being in a full-length cast for over 6 months, just a few bits of stringy muscle remnants was all that were left. This equipment was the only way we could engage the remaining muscle fibres. It took a while, but we got there after about a month of having this treatment every day.

Sue  ;)
1989 big trauma R. knee - sorted
1990-2004 3ACL recons and 20+ arthroscopies -RK
3/06 LK ACL torn!
4/06 ACL recon, kneecap broken
09 &10/06- 2x meniscus trims
3/07 - Notch Plastic & Lateral Release
14/8/08 complete revision ACL plus LCL/PLC recon
6/2/09 returned to skiing! Whoopee

Offline JoJo Knees

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Re: First timerrrrr...ACL (patella graft) and some miniscus. :)
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2012, 02:08:42 PM »
its officially been 4 weeks. man oh man.

thanks for sharing sue!  i also had the therapist using electrical stimulus on the quads for the past two weeks...andd im happy to say i am finally able to lift my own leg and do a straight leg raise...it is not perfect and the knee kind of lags....but at least i can do ittt. hopefully now i keep improving and get out of this brace. it has been 90 degree weather and it is no fun wearing this guy.
















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