Monday, April 20, 2015

A New Appreciation for Walking

Last month I hurt myself playing soccer.

It was the one injury I was worried about, the one I was trying to avoid at all costs (I was trying to make it until my birthday--playing has hurt more lately, and I had been considering retirement).

I blew out my left knee.  Shredded ACL, sprained MCL, torn quadricep, three meniscus tears, giant cartilage tear, multiple bone bruises.  It was pretty terrible.

I had surgery four days after my injury to reconstruct my knee.  I had my ACL replaced, one meniscus tear repaired (two others shaved down) and the cartilage flap removed and my bone punctured in order to created pseudocartilage. Rehabilitation has been slow and painful.  I use crutches to walk (Elena's next size up loft strands, actually) and had great difficulty getting around the house and taking care of myself.  I have therapy twice a week, and do exercises around the clock.

It's been a real eye-opener.  The difficulty in dressing, bathing, carrying, and general instability has made me more sympathetic--and proud--of Elena and how she has struggled and coped with her disability. We've had some great talks about this, and she has seen me stretch, do home PT, and cry from pain and frustration. She is more helpful around the house and does more for herself. She is also quite proud of the fact that she is currently faster than me. I'm trying to be a model of safe choices (using crutches around the house to avoid falls), standing tall and straight, and diligently doing my PT exercises. Elena definitely is picking up on this.

The worst of my pain is from the bony procedures (ACL attachment and cartilage removal/"repair"). I've broken bones before, but not on a joint--it's bad. I am so super thankful we didn't go through with the osteotomy procedure we were considering earlier this year...I understand sometimes there isn't a choice, but I can now imagine how badly that hurts. I have had serious pain management issues, and will remember to address this for Elena's future procedures.

I expect to return to full (or near full) mobility in four to six months. Elena is keeping close watch on my efforts and attitude, so I am doing my best to be a good example. Jason is being SuperDad, taking over nearly all house and kid duties.  I'm very thankful to family and friends for such a great support system.