ACL Reconstruction

One day before: I woke up this morning thinking about how all the turning and stretching I did as I woke up will no longer be an option after tomorrow. I hiked at Stony Brook yesterday with Charlie and Rachael as a final “hoorah” before I become immobile. Having driven past the park after PT last Friday, I realized I had not been there yet this summer.  We walked the West Rim Trail which is one I don’t normally do. So. MANY. Stairs. I hope I’m not too sore tomorrow – I am usually the most sore two days after a tough workout. I ordered a foam mattress wedge to elevate my leg and a foam roller for stretching. Tonight, I plan to make plenty of meals to eat over the next few days. I’m going to bring a shelf downstairs to keep books, magazines, knitting supplies, and my laptop on hand. I plan on sleeping in the recliner for a few days before attempting the stairs. I’m not looking forward to sleeping on my back. This is going to be an experience.

One day after surgery: As someone who is healthy, doesn’t go to the doctor that often, and has never broken a bone, I describe surgery as a surreal experience. I know for those who work in medicine it is reality, but for me, it was like a TV show. So many people come into the room. They ask me my name, date of birth, and to confirm the nature of my visit (ACL reconstruction, left knee). They give me the nerve block in my upper thigh, and I make jokes about my hole-y underwear. I was rolled to the operating room, moved to a new bed, and pumped with the anesthesia. I woke up nauseated and uncomfortable with a full length brace on my leg. I was so sleepy and sick. They kept trying to get me up, but I kept fading. Sleeping felt better than nauseated and sore. I threw up after using the bathroom. Then I got in the car and went home.

Day two post-surgery: The nerve block wore off this morning at 2:30 AM and the pain level went up to about a 9. It took awhile for the pain meds to kick in, and I cried and moaned quite a bit. When I woke up around 8AM, I was nauseated and tried to eat, but it came back up. I didn’t keep a meal down all day. I continued to sleep on the recliner with my leg on the foam wedge and pillows. I wasn’t too uncomfortable – making adjustments for my back as needed. My little sister helped me from the minute I got home. She didn’t like me getting up to use the bathroom without letting her know. An excellent aide.

Day three: My arms and right leg started feeling the burn. My shoulders, biceps, and traps took the brunt of it. I assume my triceps will strengthen as well. I still felt nauseated but was able to keep food down.

Five days post-surgery:  I slept in my bed for the first time since surgery, and it was amazing. This was the most mentally taxing day post-surgery. I had physical therapy today which went great, but the trip, with the walking around and being vertical, was exhausting. The good news is that I am healing perfectly. My legs aren’t that swollen, the incision was hardly bloody, and I’m in very little pain. The past two days, I’ve only taken one pain med with dinner. I’m struggling with quad isolations (which I think is from being so reliant on my right leg over the past seven months). The bad news is that the doctor had to repair damage on both my medial and lateral menisci. I will be on crutches, ie. not weight bearing, for 6 weeks. The pain from the lateral meniscus was what had finally made me get the MRI. I knew the menisci were damaged, but I hadn’t planned for this. The reality of being crutch-bound for so long set in on the drive home. After thinking about not being able to take my dog out on our daily adventures week after week, I finally cried. I know it’s temporary, but Charlie is so frustrated with me. I love taking him to the park. I love walking trails with him. It’s a huge sacrifice for both of us. I’m mad at myself for getting injured. I keep telling myself I am going to be stronger afterwards. I’m finally going to heal this injury. Today I couldn’t shake it off though.

Three weeks post-surgery: I haven’t taken the prescriptions since Day 5. I take Acetaminophen every few hours for the anti-inflammatory benefits. I can lower myself into the tub to take a shower. My stretching and exercise are going well. I can straighten and bend a lot better this week. I can feel the tension in the patellar tendon easing. I can even cross my left leg over my right. The calf pumps and quad exercises are definitely building the strength again. I’m also really good at sitting down and getting up with one leg. However, I’m really tired of the crutches. I want to walk so bad. I hate crutching up and down stairs. It’s hard not being able to carry anything. I had been hopping a lot, but I think I pulled a tendon in my right calf yesterday. It’s sore today so I can’t hop. I have to carry something in one hand and hold the crutch in my armpit AND GO SLOWLY. In 20 days, I get another brace and can start walking, hopefully.

Four weeks post-surgery: My right leg feels better after going easier on it the past week. Overall, the Acetaminophen is helping a great deal for my injured knee. I noticed a decrease in swelling over the top of my knee – which is what is making extension difficult for me. I’m struggling to go from extension to flexion smoothly. I feel pain in the back of my knee during extension and tension in the front when flexing – obviously.  I hate to admit it, but I haven’t been as consistent with my exercises because I’m feeling down about being unable to walk and not being able to work. Originally, they wanted me to work from home, but if I want to stay on top of my exercises I’m spending about six hours a day stretching and strengthening. Then add eating, bathing, and going to the bathroom -ON CRUTCHES- and there goes my day. I don’t get to the computer until six or seven at night.  Plus, sleeping in a brace does not get easier the longer you wear it, at least not for me.

Fourteen Weeks post-surgery: My extension is good but I still can’t do much more than -3 degrees. My right leg is at about -5, so the injured knee is definitely not as flexible yet. My physical therapist says I’m doing great, and they are impressed with my progress. I have been putting the functional ACL brace on less, and I actually have been experiencing less pain without it.  I’m doing more walking and less stretching at work. The main place I experience a little pain is where the arthroscopic insertion was. It may also be the meniscus repair on that side. I went back to work at about Week 8 after getting the functional ACL brace. The doctor cleared me for desk duty. The first few weeks with the new brace I spent most of the day on the computer. I needed to keep it straightened or else it would stiffen up and make walking tough.

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2017 is almost over…

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… and I haven’t written in awhile. I almost asked myself why even bother sharing my thoughts with the ether, but I know how much it positively affects my mental state. So I am back here.

I think the thing I miss most about logging on and putting my thoughts down in words is reflecting on my goals and weaknesses. I use a daily planner for every day To Do lists, but I don’t take the time to think about myself as much as I used to.

Part of that is because I’m not as worried about “making the right decisions” anymore. I know that life is not about making the right decisions but rather about finding your way day by day.

I had knee surgery. I had an accident with Charlie. I gained some weight. I went back to work and picked up another part-time shift.  I currently work 40 hours plus an additional 3 shifts at the Knights. I got a raise at my day job – the one I asked for a year ago. I’m going to close on a house soon.

Life is happening to me.

My most important goal was paying down my student loan debt, but then I started to like my job and started to hate my living situation. I recognize that I’m so lucky to have to home I have now with my sister. We just can’t live together and be happy. It never worked when we were little. It hasn’t been working now.

So, I got excited about the idea of having my own place, and my mom – with her newly earned real estate license – starting looking. My budget was small, and I know that means a lot of paint and a lot of patience until I have a home that is modern and mine. I found the house that I was looking for. I have plans for an office and a shop room and a guest bedroom with a screen projector for movie nights. I will have room for an additional freezer for the game I harvest. I will have a garage to put a canoe. I will have little view of the river. I will have my own bathroom!

I’m grateful. I’m grateful for my jobs. I’m grateful for my family. I know I’m single and 25 all alone in a house, but I have my doggo. I have my parents and grandparents within ten miles. I’m scared and worried and a little disappointed that I’m taking out more loans rather than paying them off, but mostly, I’m excited.

expectations vs reality

A patron at the bar asked me what I want to be when I grow up while I was getting his beer. I answered, “that’s still up for debate.” He liked my answer and agreed that life isn’t always black and white. Over the past seven years, I’ve tried to determine my “dream job.”  After taking personality tests and career tests and researching job prospects, I am still only a little closer to that answer, but every time I ask myself this question, a quiet voice answers, “motherhood is my dream job.” I knew when I was younger I wanted a family. At times, I want to be a mom so much that it hurts. Having kids was always something I had to look forward to and progress towards. The past few years have made that goal seem further and further away. When I was talking this through with my cousin she responded that disappointment is a part of life. Of course, she’s right. Disappointment in myself is a constant battle of trying not to compare myself to others or think negatively about myself. I know I am disappointed in myself. It seems like I took a wrong turn, and I’m not living my life but someone else’s. When I made it through college and job searching, I wasn’t ready for a relationship let alone starting a family. Now, I see young families walking at the park, and I question whether I’ll ever be capable of loving someone enough to start a family with them. I have to just keep going and pray that I’m headed in the right direction.

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dads make life better

I meant to post this for Father’s Day last year, but I somehow missed it. And here we are again… another year gone by… another year of my Dad being awesome too.

My friend Nichole’s birthday celebration was the week before Father’s Day last year, and it was such a good time. She got her family and friends together for drinks and wings and dancing. I got to meet her dad who I think is just too sweet. He was dancing with all of us and told me how nice it was to meet me. I realized how important it is to meet people’s parents.  They help you understand your friends better.

Nichole’s dad has several daughters. I think dads with daughters know what’s up. Men who have girls learn so much about what growing up as a girl is like, and those men ultimately watch their daughter turn into a woman. I think watching daughters grow up makes most fathers into better people.

And I was thinking about this the weekend of Father’s Day. I like when my life lines up like that. I got to meet Nichole’s dad, and he reminded me how great dads are.

And look at my dad when he was in high school!

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What an 80s hunk.

He’s gutted his whole house to make it pretty – the house in which all of us kids were/are being raised – and took a photo with us even though he was sweaty and gross. It’s okay; we love him that way.

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Now look at his herd of kids (plus a grand baby)! The photo below was taken almost two year ago. We need a new one with my niece in it. Mom and Dad did a heck of a job. My Dad not-so-secretly loves having adult children to meet up with at the bar. I have a theory that he had so many kids just to grow a bunch of friends.

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it’s almost june

How, may I ask, is it almost June? We are close to half way through 2017. I’ve been busy this year. So here’s what I’m up to right now.

Currently Reading: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Currently Singing: JOSEPH music; I got a part in the summer musical.

Currently Watching: I finished Parks and Rec and I’m close to finishing Arrested Development.

Currently Loving: The balance between rain and sunshine we have been getting.

Currently Celebrating: The fact that I paid down a huge amount on my debt last month and that I’m shedding some weight again. I have to keep going.

Currently Thinking: I’ve been working so much the past few months, and it has paid off in a lot of ways. I hope I can get a little better at using my spare time efficiently though.

Currently Worrying: That I won’t make weight for my upcoming weigh in on Diet Bet. I’m so close, and this one has really helped me get back on track again.

Currently Hoping: That the vegetable plants I planted today grow nice and full.

Currently Painting: The first of what I hope is at least a four piece series.

Currently Knitting: A chunky blanket.

Currently Crocheting: A small blanket.

Currently Considering: If I should renovate my room or get quotes for a deck on the back of the house.

Currently Hating: That a part of my knee has still not healed from my accident in November. I have an MRI tomorrow.

Currently Trying: To Bullet Journal more regularly and set daily goals and plans.

Currently Thankful for: The USA and the brave men and women who lost their lives for it. I’m also thankful for the great day off I had because I managed to get a lot done.

Happy Memorial Day.

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