Samuel Jerome and Richnightder

Samuel Jerome and Richnightder
Our boys in Haiti

Friday, November 18, 2011

Nuttin' new

I went to my weekly physical therapy appointment last Tuesday and left in great disappointment.  Mr. Studdly, AKA Mr. PT informed me that my knee is still healing and is not tight in full straight leg extension.  At 30 degrees of flexion it feels as tight as my left knee but since it's still loosy-goosy in the straight position, he won't allow me to wear my leg brace unlocked or to bear any weight yet.  POOP!

I have some more involved exercises to do to strengthen my knee, but they hurt like hell.  Now I actually don't know what hell feels like, but I can now describe it as a burning ache that radiates to the deepest recesses of my knee.  Sometimes when I am trying to bend my knee it feels like someone tied knots in my ligament and as it stretches the knots get pulled over each other.  Yeah, not a cool feeling especially after having seen my ligament on the MRI and seeing how it looked like shredded chicken meat. 

I go back to the physical therapist on Monday morning and then I see the ortho.  I am hoping like heck that my knee has tigthened up enough that they will allow me to start wearing my brace in the unlocked/flexed position and will let me start putting weight on the leg.  I know the ortho told me that by 6-8 weeks my knee will be as scarred down and as tight as it will get.  I just hope that it gets as tight as the left knee and I will not need major reconstruction to tighten the MCL.  I'm not really worked up about needing arthroscopic surgery on my meniscus as that should be relatively easy compared to the damage I did to the MCL, and it can wait for several months as I rehab the ligament.

I'm bummed as I sit here, watching holiday plans take shape around me.  I won't be able to prepare, cook and bake our Thanksgiving dinner, nor will I be able to participate in Christmas shopping in stores.  I'm having a major pity-party for myself and would love to have company.  I just want to get up and resume my normal life and would love to see some forward progress of my knee healing.  Out of this experience I have learned I am not patient, nor happy to sit idly by and watch life happen around me.  I have to get back to living soon.  My expanding waist and butt can't take much more self-soothing of the Schwan's ice cream kind.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The necessity of freshly shaved legs

I saw my orthopaedic surgeon yesterday who reviewed my MRI results and explained the nature of my injury.  I knew I had a grade 3+ tear of my MCL, but to see it in pictures really helped me understand exactly how and where it's torn and shredded.

I was able to see the exact spot where my MCL pulled away from my femur and could easily see that the entire length of the ligament was shredded both superficially and in the deep layers.  What isn't great to see is that my medial meniscus was damaged from the rotation of my tibia and femur and will most likely need surgery after my MCL is completely healed.  He explained that by 8 weeks we'll know how much healing and scarring has occurred and that whatever joint stability is present then, is most likely how much I'll ever have.  He's hopeful that with proper rehabilitation I will have a fully functioning MCL and hence a 'normal' knee.  Once he assesses my knee progress at 8 weeks, he'll begin discussing my probable menisci surgery which he anticipates as a fairly routine arthroscopic procedure with minimal recovery time.

I had physical therapy today which was, let's just say, interesting.  The therapist is a rather good looking guy which is why no matter how much it hurts to stretch, I must shave my legs before any session with him.  He began today by assessing my good leg and knee.  Seems that I am 'hyperflexive' which explains why I can bend my knee joints way beyond straight and flat, why I can pop my hips out of place and my creepy elbows that bend in a freakish way.  Anyway, after establishing that my joints are loosy-goosy, he had me bend my knee for the first time in 2 weeks.  At the start of the session I could reach 41 degrees of flexion and by the end of the session was at 46 degrees which is half way to my 90 degree goal.  I was pea green scared to bend my leg.  I knew my shin might just fall off or flop around, but it didn't it.  What it did do, was let me know that there is a lot of healing going on in that joint.  To flex my leg to only 41 degrees made me feel so wimpy.  I'm so scared that I'll undo all the healing that has taken place and set me back even further than anticipated.  I've never felt fragile before, but boy, am I careful with my knee.  With any luck, next week he'll feel even more tightening of my knee joint and allow me to start toe touching with my right leg.  WoooHoooo, I get to put my toes on the ground.  Hot Damn!

I called my oldest sister last night to give her a rundown of my doctor's appointment only to have her tell me she would have to call me back as she was driving herself to the emergency room.  Yep, us Heckman girls are peas-in-a-pod when it comes to injuries.  Seems she was walking her dog, Buster, when he suddenly took off after something, causing her to fall and be dragged across the concrete street on her back.  She has a concussion and a hideous head wound, but with God's help and 40 Irish Policemen, she'll mend too.  So that officially makes 2 out of the 3 of us Heckman girls with dog related injuries.  I wonder what my middle sister, Kathy will have happen.  Seeing as she is decidedly NOT an animal lover like Nancy and I are, I can only imagine that she will have a Jimmy Choo stiletto high heel accident.  Time will tell, but things tend to run in 3.  This time I wouldn't mind if things quit at the terrible two's.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What lessons are to be learned by this?

I'm a big believer in living life and learning lessons from those experiences.  Of course, hindsight is always 20/20, but upon reflection I can almost always recall having felt gut instincts or feeling a sense of intuition that I ignored.  This instance is no different.

8 days ago I stuck my leg out to protect the powercord and laptop from being catapulted to the floor and ended up with major knee damage.  Oddly enough, right before I stuck my leg out, I had a sense of deja vu( for lack of a better description) and had the fleeting instinct to keep my legs curled up on the couch.  I ignored my gut instinct and am now left with a complete MCL tear.  Not only is my MCL torn completely thru the deep and superficial layers, but it is also pulled away from the femur. addition to the MCL damage I also have meniscal damage.  Seems that will actually require some surgery to 'clean up' the pieces that are just hanging around in the joint now.  So, for the next 3 weeks I am to continue with this hideous leg brace and have ZERO weight bearing.  After 6-8 weeks, the doctor will re-evaluate how much healing has taken place on my MCL and then plan to salvage the meniscus. 

What have I learned from this lesson?  To always listen to that little voice  inside of myself and not ignore it.  If I had listened to that instinct 8 days ago, I would be writing about the expense of buying a new laptop.  Boy, do I sure wish I was bitching about that now instead of being confined to the living room couch and using crutches to get to the bathroom.

I believe in intuition.  If only I didn't have to learn it in earnest the hard way.