Post-Op

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Manhattan – 6:30am from the N train over the Manhattan Bridge

 

It is 5:30am on Monday and my alarm is ringing. I really really do not want to wake up. I stayed up way too late the night before paying bills and trying to tie up some loose ends. I pull myself out of bed and try to get dressed as quietly as possible. 5:30am is a dangerous time in our house. It’s just late enough that if the boys wake up, there’s a good chance that they won’t go back to sleep. But, it’s too early for them to be awake for the day without them turning into a cranky mess. I leave the house and get on the subway to make the trip into Manhattan and to Roosevelt Hospital.

I arrive at 7am as instructed. When my name is called, I walk to the Nurse’s Station in the pre-op and recovery area and sit down with Robin to fill out a mountain of paperwork. As other patients move on to the next phase of the process, I wait as Robin transcribes my gazillion allergies onto at least five different forms and then into the computer system. There’s got to be a more efficient way.

Finally, I change into a lavender paper gown. It’s actually a bit thicker and more substantial than the typical hospital gown which I’m thankful for because it’s chilly in the hospital. I am escorted to the next area where I meet the Anesthesiologist. My doctor arrives and runs through the procedure with me and what to expect when I wake up. I sign more consent and release forms.

I’m wheeled in the gurney outside of the OR. I jump off and walk to the operating table and lie down. I place my arms out to the side while they attach electrodes and monitors to me. The Anesthesiologist says, “I’m just going to give you something to start relaxing you…”

 

Next thing I know, I’m waking up after surgery. I hear the nurses and doctors talking and my eyes float open and then close. When I open my eyes next, I’m in the recovery room and Ed’s sitting next to me. My knee is wrapped in a straight-leg brace. After an hour or two, I’m cleared to go home.

The surgery went well. I have a reconstructed ACL in my right knee. I also had a pretty big tear in my meniscus so they repaired that as well. Otherwise, my doctor said that the rest of my knee joint look great. Phew.

 

 

Since coming home, I’ve been struggling to find a comfortable position. I really really just want to bend my knee. Just once? While I’m allowed to take the brace off while I’m awake and in bed, my leg just feels ridiculously hyperextended or something. Since I can’t move my knee, my right hip is sore and stiff. The pain is OK – a general, dull throbbing pain that is mostly manageable but sometimes it really hurts.

I will be in a brace for 4 weeks and should be able to start physical therapy next week. Now, it’s all about recovery. I know that it’s going to be a long and slow process. I know that it’s going to hurt. I’m not too excited about that last part but know that in the long run, this was the right decision for me. I’m also trying to remind myself that this is recovery and that I need to take it easy and to ask for help which isn’t the easiest thing for me to do.

 

 

Comments

  1. says

    Oh, I am hurting for you…seriously, I think I am having sympathy pains or something. My knee feels awful and I am bending it for you! Please take care of yourself. I know I said it before but as moms we tend to give and give and sometimes it is just too much. Put yourself first this time so you can be back and running around with your boys as soon as possible!

    • says

      Thanks Kristen! I’m trying my best to stay positive and to sit back and let others take care of me, which, as you know, is hard. I don’t want to feel like a burden but I also know that it would suck if my knee didn’t heal properly. The kids have been super sweet and check in on me and bring me cards. Keep bending your knee for me!!

  2. says

    Bending your knee…what a novel concept. I guess we take that for granted when we CAN bend it, right? I am glad you are on the road to recovery and are pretty positive about it! I am so impressed. I hope PT goes smoothly!

    • says

      I know, right? I didn’t realize how important bending one’s knee is until it was strapped down in a brace! Seriously, it totally affects my alignment and being able to sit/lie down comfortably. Le sigh. I’m trying my best to stay positive! Thankfully, the pain has subsided quite a bit. Phew!

  3. says

    Time to tell the man you need a {hip} massage.

    So that’s all? A repaired meniscus and ACL reconstruction? Aww… that’s nothing. ;) You’re doing great, girl! Be surfing in no time.

    And don’t you love the Anesthesiologist… they are always doing that. they tell me and I know to start counting. I’ve gotten to 5. Although one time I was whining and he told me to stop whining and I woke up post surgery. LOL.

    You need lots of magazines. Let me know If I should send you any. And I love the gown. Its about time they make em a cool color for the ladies!

    • says

      I was waiting for the Anesthesiologist to tell me to start counting but I never even got to that part!! I guess that’s better than the opposite, huh? I have lots of magazines, books and blog reading to catch up on while I’m lying around. Thanks for checking in on me!

  4. says

    You wrote about this experience so well! I am so impressed you went to the hospital by yourself…I think I am far to wimpy to do that.
    Here’s wishing you a speedy recovery and hoping you can bend that knee soon! Take care of yourself. :)

    • says

      Thanks Gin! You know, I didn’t even think about the fact that I was going to the hospital by myself. It was more out of necessity. My husband had to stay home with the kids and take them to school and then he met me at the hospital to take me home. I hope your foot feels better soon too!

  5. says

    Recognizing you need to ask for help is the first step! I myself am terrible about this, so I hope you will be kind to yourself and not push the recovery too hard or fast. Glad the surgery is over and was a success!

  6. Anonymous says

    Christine,
    Bron from Oz here. I follow your blog as I am learning to surf & in my 40′s. What an adventure and I have been following yours with lots of interest! I hope you are feeling better and back in the surf enjoying the waves soon!
    Bron

    • says

      Thank you so much for your well wishes Bron! It really means a lot to me. I am feeling better and am anxious to start physical therapy and get moving again! I also know that it’s going to take some time. I’d love to hear about your adventures in surfing as well or if there’s anything in particular you want to know more about. Please let me know!

  7. Nahid says

    I have had quite a busy April and May thus did not even know you had ACL reconstruction. Get well soon. You are going to gracefully move through your rehab with mindfulness. I had the same knee reconstructed twice. My big challenge was not getting too down on myself during the process – a yogic mind and that yearning for balance helps so much. Be gentle with yourself, be mindful, and I’m sending healing vibes your way.

  8. fabien says

    Well done. I am due for the same operation in 4 weeks time. How long did you wait for your operation and how old are you ? Is it a meniscus repair or trim that they did ? It is a big difference.
    I am 43 and would hope that they will try to repair mine instead of trim it but that is not sure because of my age. WHat type of tear did you have ?

    • says

      I was 36 when I had my second surgery. 1st surgery was when I was 20, I think? In college, I torn my ACL and tore my median meniscus while skiing. They did an allograft and repaired the meniscus. The 2nd surgery was also an allograft and I believe they repaired the meniscus. Now that you ask, I can’t remember!

      I wish you the best with your surgery. It’s frustrating for sure and the healing process can take time, especially if this is not your first surgery. Good luck! I’m happy to answer any other questions too.
      Christine Yu recently posted..Back to the BeachMy Profile

  9. fabien says

    Thanks for your quick reply. How long did you wait to get surgery ? Where your tear in the vascular part of your meniscus ? Was it medial or lateral ? Also do you remember if it was on the posterior horn part ? All these are important factor when they trim / repair your meniscus.
    Where you allowed after surgery to weight bear on your leg and if not that would mean that they repaired your meniscus rather than trimmed it.
    Was the operation on the same knee ?

    • says

      1st surgery – I waited about 6 months between accident and surgery, primarily because I was living abroad at the time and waited to come back to the States. I worked a lot on strength training during that period and was able to run a bit. After the 1st surgery, I was not allowed to weight bear for 3 weeks due to the meniscal repair (medial meniscus). I don’t remember if it was on the posterior horn.

      2nd surgery – I waited about 2 months before having the surgery because I wanted to get it done sooner rather than later to start to rehab process so that I could potentially surf and ski later in the year.Surgery was on the same knee – ACL and medial meniscus again.The 2nd time, I was allowed to weight bear so I believe that they trimmed the tear vs repairing it the second time around but I honestly can’t remember.

      Is this your first surgery?
      Christine Yu recently posted..Back to the BeachMy Profile

      • fabien says

        Hi Chirstine,

        Yes it is my first ACL surgery and I have medial meniscus damage as well which is typical as well as lateral incomplete tear which at this stage surgeons don’t want to touch.
        What is scaring me is getting the meniscus trimed as this means OA in few years time specially on the medial meniscus. Do you know how much they trimed of your meniscus ?
        How are you feeling now ? How many years since your surgery ? Is your knee back to normal or are you having pain or other issues ? I also understand that picking a good surgeon is critical. I am 3 months post injury and booked to have surgery on the 14/10

        • says

          I had great surgeons both times and I would also stress lining up a good physical therapist for your rehab. While ACL rehab is pretty common, a skilled therapist really makes a difference.

          Recovery from my 1st surgery wasn’t a problem at all and was all pretty easy and painless. Then again, I was 20. I’ve run marathons, completed a triathlon, took up surfing all after that first surgery. I never felt hindered after my surgery.

          2nd surgery was a bit of a different story. With a second surgery on the same site, it takes longer to heal and for the ligament to take. I probably didn’t give it as much time as I should have initially. It’s fine and I’m still very active. No real pain but it’s one of those things that you’re just aware of during some activities (like I won’t play soccer now or sports like that). I had my 2nd surgery in 2012.

          I’m sure you’re doing this already but definitely do take time to build up strength in your legs and glutes prior to surgery. I felt that going into surgery strong helped in the recovery process.

          Good luck!!
          Christine Yu recently posted..Back to the BeachMy Profile

          • fabien says

            Hi Christine,

            Did you have any arthritic change showing when you did your MRI before the second operation ? It is interesting that knee reconstruction seems to be not a big deal beside the operation and recovery but the meniscus repair can be as this might set you up for arthritis down the line. I am not worry about the knee reconstruction but very worry about what they are going to trim in my meniscus as this kind of set you up for arthritic issues. I guess other factor come into consideration but menisectomy is in all study a very big factor of OA (10 years study). Do you know anyone who were in their 40s when they did the knee reco and had medial menisectomy ? I am interested to know how they are doing 10 – 15 years later.

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  1. [...] had no idea that I would be out of the water for so long. Even after the reality of having to have knee surgery earlier this year sunk in, I still expected to be back in the water during our summer vacation in [...]

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