Last night, I had a dream that I was no longer hopping around on crutches and was walking around with ease. I was going to parties, walking around the house, walking around in Vegas even. When I opened my eyes, I realized I was still in bed, dreaming, and that I haven’t walked around on my own and unassisted since before my surgery. I was close, but not quite there.
Well, curious guy that I am, I woke up right away and attempted to walk without my crutches (I’m scheduled to practice this next week anyway at physio). The end result? SUCCESS!
I can now say that I can walk again for the first time since having ACL reconstruction surgery.
I’m not moving very fast, but I’m moving on my own. Think of a cross between baby steps and regular steps. That’s me right now. With more use and practice I should be able to upgrade this skill to its maximum level (too much Skyrim playing).
Looks like I’m making a step forward. Many steps in fact!
So I’ve officially reached the 4 week mark post-surgery and I can say that the progress I’ve made to date is staggering.
I’m about a week away from discarding my knee brace completely, as its intention was merely to ensure I could straighten my leg after my surgery. According to my physiotherapist, what causes people to limp is the inability to straighten their leg and this is also the hardest thing to do. So with my leg being in a brace for the greater part of 4 weeks, I think I’ve got that down pat. Now the goal is to be able to bend my knee.
Bend it like…
The ultimate goal is to be able to bend my knee about 135-140 degrees, as that is the full range of motion I’m going to have. I can bend my knee (unassisted) 105 degrees at the moment, so I’m not too far away from that mark. One thing that I’ve been doing to expedite the process is using an exercise bike. By doing semi- and full rotations, I’m helping to stretch out my knee and encourage it to bend even further. I’m doing this daily.
I’m still not able to walk without the assistance of crutches, but I have changed up my walking style so that I put more weight on my left leg now whenever I move. This helps me simulate the walking experience, as I feel I’m going to be doing that soon.
One thing I avoided at all costs during the early part of my recovery was stairs, as I wasn’t quite sure how to go up and down a staircase using crutches. But a few days ago, I finally decided to watch some instructional videos via YouTube and the rest is history. I can navigate staircases with such ease, I question why I didn’t figure out how to do this sooner. Oh well. I can do it expertly now and that’s all that matters.
All in all, I’m much more mobile than I ever was during the early part of my recovery, and I can only get better from here. Other than going to physiotherapy sessions, I’ve been confined to my home for most of the past few weeks. But this week that’s going to change as I’m feeling much more confident and adventurous now.
My first order of business?
Watching The Avengers! :)
Last Friday, I had the bandages and stitches removed from my left knee after 2.5 weeks, and this is what it looks like now:
Yet another major knee injury in the NBA. Baron Davis of the Knicks out with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament, as well as a partial tear of the patella tendon in his right knee.
All these knee injures are getting out of control!
Stay safe everyone. Watch out for those knees of yours!
*warning… the video below is cringe worthy*
When this past weekend began, I was excited for all of the possibilities the NBA playoffs would bring. Great plays, competitive basketball, pure entertainment. Instead, the first two games I watched just made me cringe as I witnessed a couple of major knee injuries to key players. A couple of torn ACLs.
First, I saw Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls go down in a heap when he landed awkwardly driving to the basket:
Then a short while later, I saw Iman Shumpert of the New York Knicks go down in a heap when trying to change directions (this is how I most remember my injury occurring):
In both cases, I felt a sickening feeling as it was almost like I was getting injured all over again. At the same time, seeing elite athletes like Derrick Rose and Iman Shumpert get the same injury as I did was strangely encouraging, as it showed that anyone could tear their ACL, not just me. Even so, I wish both Derrick and Iman a speedy recovery so that they can return soon and play the game that they love.
So I’ve officially reached the 1 week mark post-surgery.
To say it’s been a breeze would be a lie, as this past week has been all about overcoming struggles, dealing with pain and accepting that recovering from knee surgery is going to take a very long time. I keep telling myself, “It hasn’t even been a week yet,” whenever the pain becomes too much or when I think about what a long road ahead it’s going to be. Well, now that it finally has been a week (honestly, it felt more like a month), I certainly expect things to get much better from here on out.
I had my 2nd physiotherapy session today and for the first time, I see a lot of hope with my recovery. My knee was bent for the very first time post-surgery and I did pretty well I think with a maximum bend of 60 degrees. The goal is to be able to bend my knee 90 degrees within 2 weeks, so this is something I am going to work hard at doing. The sooner I can accomplish these targets my surgeon set for me, the sooner I’ll be able to get back to normal, which is all I could ever hope for at the moment.
I have another physio session scheduled for tomorrow where my therapist and I are going to work on bearing some weight on my injured knee. I think 20% weight bearing is the maximum allowed. I don’t even know what that means so hopefully this session should shed some light on what I can actually do with that.
On to week 2!
The worst part about getting up after having been sitting or lying down for some time is the phenomenon that occurs the moment your foot points to the ground.
Like a waterfall, a rush of blood goes straight down to my knees and I can feel my leg swelling inside my knee brace to support this massive influx of blood. But what makes this event unique is that it’s visible in my toes because they will begin to turn purple, as blood just gets pooled there. It’s just a weird, weird sensation, like a party going on inside my leg. This is a party I have no interest in however, so my main objective shortly after I get up is to find some seating and to elevate my leg so that circulation is a little more normal.
When it comes to the color of your toes, pink > purple… and I’m not talking about nail polish.
The one thing that people may not realize when recovering from knee surgery is that you’re pretty much confined to your home until you’ve healed enough to be able to walk and do things unassisted. As such, there’s not very much in terms of scenery.
Sure, there are movies, video games, books and sleep to keep you occupied during those “x” amount of days, but there’s only so much of that you can do consecutively until you get bored or start looking for something else to do. Call that a lesson learned, because prior to taking this time off work, I was looking forward to catching up on all of those things. I’ve watched a couple of movies here and there (which I’ll get into more detail later on), and played a few hours of Skyrim on the Xbox360, but it always felt like something was lacking.
Well, last night that something was the highlight of my night. The highlight of all my nights so far since coming home from surgery. Any number of ridiculous things could have happened, like it being revealed that Tupac’s hologram was actually being transmitted to Coachella from a remote island and that he was still alive; the Pittsburgh Penguins scoring 20 goals in a single NHL playoff game; or Rob Ford voluntarily stepping down as Mayor of Toronto. All that could have happened and yet, nothing would have surpassed the overwhelming joy I felt as the one I love the most (my amazing girlfriend Jane) came to visit me after a few days of not having seen or talked to anyone other than those taking care of me (my parents and physiotherapist) during this initial stage of my recovery. We talked, we caught up, we laughed uncontrollably. It was a breath of fresh air and that something special that I had been missing the past few days. I’d like to wish Jane all the best during her trip to Osaka and Hong Kong (I love you and you’ll certainly be missed).
If you ever decide to have surgery, make sure you surround yourself with people you love. It won’t take very much for them to lift your spirits, no matter how bad you might be feeling. Sometimes just seeing them is all it takes.