This was my first operation really, so I was not really sure what to expect or had any idea about the whole thing but I have to say that things went rather smooth. It sure helped that all the people I met at the hospital was always in good mood, smiling and very friendly.
I had a spinal anesthesia, didn’t even realise when they gave me that one as they put me to sleep for a few minutes, so I had no feelings in my legs while they operated. During the operation I was half awake, I had the choice to be fully knocked out but I wanted to be awake. I was not able to follow the operation on the screen but maybe that was the best :-) I did feel the drilling and when they hammered into the bones, I could also hear when they stapled the wound up together. I later counted 20 staples was used, that’s going to leave a scar or 3.
Operation took around 2 hours, where the ACL was fully reconstructed and the Meniscus sewed together (Not layman’s terms but how I understood it). After that they closed the wounds with staples and put bandage around my leg and put it in a solid/fixed brace.
Not been able to bend the knee at all did give me a few challenges the first few days. Since I both have ACL reconstruction and Meniscus fixed I’m not allowed to put more than 10-15 kg of pressure on the leg (so no standing/walking) and not allowed to bend the knee more than 90 degrees, for at least 6 weeks.
After the operation I was wheeled over in the “wake up” room. I heard someone mentioning coffee, so I was quick in asking when I would be allowed to drink coffee again. So around 5 minutes later I enjoyed a double espresso, oh yeah, that was good.
I shared room at the clinic with 2 out guys (one got replaced), all kind and we had a few good talks but otherwise it was rather boring. I had planned to read a lot, listen to audio books, watch some Spartan Up Podcasts but only did a bit of it all. Otherwise the time just passed by doing nothing. Sure didn’t help that we had the warmest time in Switzerland for I don’t know how long, with up to 38 degrees Celsius. We had rolled down in front of the windows all day, windows closed and a fan/ventilator running none stop. Late evening we opened windows to get some fresh air in, but just laying in bed all the time wearing shorts and nothing else and sweating, which ruined the fun ;-) I wasn’t able to sleep well during my stay; the lights and noises disturbed me.
I had visits from the physiotherapist 4 times, checking the knee and how much I was able to bend it and how well I was walking on the crutches. She was happy with how things progressed, so that was good to hear. While staying in bed I had a machine that worked on the knee, moving the food back and forth so that the knee would bend, to start with only 40 degrees but at the end I was able to do 80 degrees :-)
Learning to use the crutches was rather easy but I was rather unsecure to start with but that went away quickly, I even went on the stairs (accompanied by the physiotherapist). That was also easier than expected but still not easy.
At the start I had to call for help each time I had to get up, just to make sure all was well with me. Soon after I was able to get around on my own but I did have one encounter with circulation problems that almost made me faint but I was able to ring for help and sit down, that was a bit scary as I never experienced such a thing before.
I was able to leave the hospital earlier than expected as all healed fine and I had good movement in the knee. It was great to come home but that gave me new challenges. Got to plan everything when I move around the apartment, how to bring food from kitchen to eating table (turnout out to be easy), taking coffee with me to TV or the PC but for that I found a nice old mug that I bought many years ago :-) But finally getting to the TV, with coffee and then realise that I forgot something is annoying but I can only laugh at it and get moving again.
I very lucky to have my kids, ex-wife and friends who help out when needed, sure make it all a lot easier :-) I mean, how do I shop on my own. So far they helped and I hope they will help the next 5 weeks.
The day after returning home I got a more flexible brace for the knee, that allows me to bend the knee (max 90 degrees) and that helped a lot, I can now sit on a chair, on the couch and so forth.
Sleeping is also a lot better with the new brace, and sleep I sure do. The last week I had more naps that I expected, maybe still aftermath of the operation and of course the normal ‘walking’ around takes more energy than before.
I’m not allowed to lift the leg (from bed down to floor) without holding on to it with my hands, due to habits this can easy happen, that I want to move and then just move the leg as I always did, as I do have the strength to do so, so this requires some mental training but also here I’m progressing nicely.
I’m going to the physiotherapy twice per week, so far mainly to reduce the swollenness of the knee and check the state of the knee. I have 3 exercises that I do here at home to improve the bend/muscle/stretch of the knee. I have one golden rule regarding the exercises: I do not less or more than what I’m told to do. So 3-5 times I do my exercises and I don’t try to add extra ones that I find on the net, the physiotherapist is in charge here.
The leg changed color a few times, was total yellow one day and was rather swollen but all is turning slowly back to normal, so things are progressing very nice but still a long way to go and here we are talking about month before any real training can happen.
I’m really looking forward to the day I can go swimming again, go for a small jog, go on the bike and so forth, but all that are month away. First I need to get rid of the crutches and then I can move forward.
In my latest blog post (here) I mentioned that I already signed up for a Spartan Race in April, this is going to be rather tight, if I can make it or not. As the doctor said, he is positive about it but lets take it step by step. My attitude is that if he says NO when we get to that time then it is a NO (I will then go and watch the rest of the team participate) and then I will continue my training for another race a few months later.
So for now I just try to do the training I can do, get more comfortable with the crutches and then return to work and then take it from there. Not much more I can do really.