Continuing on the theme of compiling and writing out my emailed ACL recovery updates…
ACL emails: Week 6
Another week, another few minutes sitting in an altitude room, writing a letter out to everyone. I kind of like this tradition… maybe if I keep it up, I’ll finally be able to keep up with Sarah at altitude this time next year?
This week I had an appointment with Dr. O’Shea, and another physical therapy appointment with Dr. Andree, both of which were pretty intense… where to start?
Dr O’Shea was the least pleasant, but the most far reaching, so we’ll start there. First, he’s less certain on the need for surgery! My knee is still angry and inflamed, which means we’re not quite ready for me to go under the knife… but it also looks like it’s recovering pretty well, which might just mean the ACL is going to return to its pre-injured state… or at least close enough that I won’t have instability in my knee. We’ve delayed the surgery until the 17th of May now, and will get some X-rays on the 1st of May to see how well the fractures are healing. And we’ll also do a displacement test the same day, to see how much (if any) the ACL has recovered. It was 50% elongated before, so… we’ll see.
O’Shea also drained my knee… he jabbed a needle full of Novocaine into it, then a huge stint, and pulled ~1.5 cups of blood, bone shards, and fat out of my knee. It was exceptionally unpleasant… poor Sarah got to hold my hand as I nearly passed out. But it felt a lot better the next day, and the fluid gave us a really good indication of how damaged the knee still is, so I’m quite happy that we did it. And O’Shea didn’t even charge us (since my insurance doesn’t kick in until May), which was hugely appreciated.
And with the drained knee, I had PT the next day! Thankfully it felt a lot better by then, which contributed to some pretty amazing progress that I made. First: I walked with only one crutch! Then, I walked without any crutches! Which is to say, I took a single shuffling step, and Ed told me not to walk without crutches. But I’m officially allowed to walk with only one crutch, which is a huge step forward. (Heh, punny).
And that wasn’t the biggest update from Physical Therapy. After the walking, we moved into range of motion and strengthening. I now have a new PT routine – I need to do some actual squats again, as well as balancing on my injured knee! It’s not painless to do, but Ed promised that I’m ready for it, and that this is the first step in strengthening my leg and stabilizer muscles up to the point that I can start walking unassisted again. It’s really tough, but it’s moving forward finally.
ACL emails: Week 7
(Note: This one was written by Sarah – we were driving home, so she offered to type it up for me! Yay!)
This week has been challenging and surprising. Monday morning Ben had an appointment with the Surgeon in Hood River which was kind of a big disappointment. Late surgeon, didn’t do a Lockman test, just told Ben to test the leg to failure and that was it.
It looks like the bones are healing well so the question now is what kind of stability does Ben have. It’s tough not having an objective answer. Ben is gaining more strength and ability to walk around- he’s been cleared to walk with one crutch and can walk unassisted in the house which is awesome! Ben can actually go up and down stairs and PT is focusing on stability and pushing the knee. The goal is to see where the instability, if any, starts. But he also doesn’t know if all this progress is in vain and the surgery will still have to happen. He has X-rays and an appointment with Dr O’Shea scheduled for May 1st and will have more answers then.