The Big One - 23rd Jan. 2013

ACL Reconstruction Takes Place

From around November 2010 up until January 22nd 2011, I was basically in the gym on a daily basis, trying to maximise the size of my quads and put as much strength into my right leg as possible. This was a vital part of both the recovery and progress my leg would make after my 1st operation and prior to my 2nd one.  I could walk at around 4.5mph on a treadmill, up hill too, so that was quite challenging and made my legs ache a hell of a lot after not using them much over the past few weeks.  I resisted the temptation to run though, I think it brings to mind all the things when you were younger, you're told not to do something, so it makes you want it more, at that point I don't think I've ever wanted to run as much in my life, as strange as it might sound!

As I got more into the spin classes and uphill walking etc, things became more frustrating as the progress seemed to slow down even though I was constantly working on it and mixing up the exercise to make sure I wasn't just focusing on one area of leg muscle.  My knee would still seize up and at that point it was painful, as if i'd done nothing on it, rather than the total opposite.  Some days it felt rubbish, I felt rubbish.  I had nothing to do apart from uni work and even this was tough because there was only so much pain I could take before it would become a distraction from work and there is only so much FIFA you can play before getting bored of it, and I literally played it until it didn't work any longer, I had no other options as getting about was difficult and obviously I couldn't play any sports that I was interested in....

January 22nd came round pretty quick and thinking about it I should have wrote this post yesterday, 2 years exactly since this operation took place.  I remember the day well, like I do with most of this "journey", it was another early get up on a Saturday morning, the same process, no food or drink before it and what seemed a long wait in the bedroom before going down to the operating theatre. This time I would be in hospital for 3 days/4 nights as it was major, i'll explain why later on.  The operation also lasted much longer than the previous too, a full reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament was about to take place.  I was again nervous, a hell of a lot more nervous than the previous operation, partly due to the fact I was having an epidural injection prior to this one.  For anybody who doesn't know what an epidural is, a diagram is below to show what it involves;

Epidural Process, More Commonly Used In Pregnancies Rather Than ACL Replacements

I'm usually pretty good at descriptive writing and describing things but describing the pain/sensation that is involved with an epidural injection is quite difficult.  I was sat on the edge of the bed while a nurse, who was considerably larger than me, pressed down on my shoulders to make sure I moved as little as possible.  I was given the pre-warning to prompt me when the injection was imminent and it has to be the strangest feeling I've ever experienced.  It felt like a humongous amount of pressure was building up but in the smallest possible area, if that makes sense, my reflex reaction was to move away from the needle as the pain was strange and extremely uncomfortable, within 10 seconds I had to swing my legs around onto the bed before they became numb and immovable, that was quite a task as the numbing feeling appeared near enough instantly, but I managed it.

I was then given the anesthetic and put asleep as the operation commenced.  One thing I will always remember is how I "woke" up during the operation.  You may be thinking what?  I did actually wake up but still under the influence of the anesthetic and therefore could feel no pain, when the anesthetist realised, she asked if I was alright and obviously upped the dose and I nodded off again and I still presume to this day that was supposed to happen, luckily the drugs made me unable to feel any pain and I didn't panic or anything alike, although any reaction of mine would have been useless anyway as I couldn't feel the lower half of my body, although I could feel pushes and pulls of my leg but my waist down was covered by a curtain screen so I couldn't see what was going on, which does make me presume that the split second wake up was predicted.

Me, A Few Days After The Op, Looking Rather Drugged Up & Fed Up! 

The days following the operation were relatively strange.  I couldn't feel or move my body from the waist down, a rather daunting feeling and my body didn't work properly.  I couldn't go the toilet but didn't feel the need to either, even though I was eating and drinking basically as normal, half of my system was under the effect of the epidural and it wasn't a pleasant feeling.  Obviously I couldn't get out of bed, couldn't do anything, it felt quite a good novelty at first to have people waiting on for you if you needed anything but I really don't like people doing much for me, and in this situation it was everyone doing everything for me, so eventually I got a bit fed up and wanted to do things myself.  I was also woken up at 6am each morning to have tests and more pain killers injected, this wasn't the best feeling either as that was around the time I could manage to sleep relatively well due to being so tired, as you can imagine, it wasn't easy sleeping as I couldn't move in bed and just had to adjust to a position that was most comfortable without the ability of being able to move my lower half....

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