A New Mountain: Knee Surgery

Upon my return from my trip to New Orleans, I found myself on a bit of a football high. I couldn’t wait to get done with work on Monday so I could get to practice and see my teammates and share with them my experiences. Halfway through the practice, we were running offense against air. I play running back on offense and there is a play that I run a flood route. I took it about 80 percent but as I planted my left foot to push off and go right into the flat, my foot got stuck in the turf. This meant my foot was at an inward angle but my leg straightened and hyper extended to the point that it actually went forward into my hip.

 People have asked me if I heard a pop. I did not. I felt a lightning type pain shoot through my leg at an extreme clip. It felt initially like a nerve type pain and then it came in waves. I couldn’t breathe for a couple of minutes and it took a few people to calm me down. I then found myself feeling frankly pissed and frustrated that I spent a week doing amazing things and injured myself doing something so simple. I knew that I was likely out for a long while and I couldn’t help but feel heart broken.

 My teammates moved me to the bench to help me get off my gear. They then planned out how they were going to get me to the hospital. My car was parked in the parking lot on top of the hill but there was no way was getting up all the stadium stairs so one of my teammates drove it down to the bottom of the hill. This still meant I had to cross the field to the other parking lot. One of my coaches tried to carry me but it was too painful for me so I hopped across the field on what might be the longest walk in my life.

 They go me in the car and drove me to the ER. I checked in and sat in a wheelchair. I looked at my leg and to my surprise, there was a lump that was about 4 inches below and to the left of my knee that looked pretty bad. The knee was a bit swollen but not as much as that lump. When I got into a room, the ER doctor looked at and said he was not sure what it could be because there is no muscle over there. They ordered xrays and painkillers. Unfortunately, the xray people won the race and got me first which meant I had to do xrays and hold my leg in places it did not want to be, without pain meds. It was pretty difficult. I got through it though and finally the painkillers arrived.

 When the xrays came back the ER doctor came and said he spoke with the on call orthopedic doctor over the phone and that I had at least a fracture and likely ligament tears but would have to call orthopedic doctor to make an appointment.

 The next day I called and made an appointment and on Wednesday I went in to see the orthopedic doctor. Upon looking at the results and my knee, he said that likely I hyperextended so hard that I took off chunks of bone, tore LCL, and likely tore PCL. He said that he works a lot on ACLs and meniscus tears and only sees injuries like that 4-5 times a year. I would need likely 2 surgeries and would need the 1st one right away so that the scar tissue doesn’t build up. The next thing I knew I was headed out the door with several papers and appointments.

 Yesterday, I went to get a vascular ultrasound to check my arteries in my leg to make sure that it was safe to operate. This consisted of laying on a table and having a tech check my circulation using gel and an ultrasound machine. It wasn’t too bad at all. The machine kind of sounded like a video game at times. I apparently passed this test and was sent over to get my MRI. I have had one once before when I tore my MCL so I knew what to expect.

 For those of you that haven’t had one, it’s really not bad. I can see why claustrophobic people might have anxiety but if you don’t have that condition, it’s kind of just like you are going in a tanning bed that’s really loud. They put you on bed that slides out and they fix your injured leg in a holder so the machine knows which one to look at. Because the machine is loud, you get earplugs and headphones with music. They move the bed up and forward until your leg is the machine. Because it’s the leg, I was only halfway in the machine. Then you just relax as the machine does its thing and makes noises. It lasts about 10-15 minutes and then you are finished.

 I got the call in the evening with the results. The ortho said that I do have a fracture, my LCL is torn, my PCL is partially torn, and I have divot in my femur. The good news is that to take care of my divot in my femur, he will drill a hole in my knee to get inside and if it’s small he can smooth it out and if it’s larger, he will have to knock it out like knocking out the other side of a dent in the car. Because he is doing this, he is deciding to go ahead and address the PCL which because it’s partially torn, he is going to sew together. What this means is that if all goes well, I will just have 1 more complicated surgery and not have to do 2.

 I am now here the morning of my surgery, trying to remember not to drink water or food. I have not had surgery like this but I really just want to get it over with so I can get on the road to recovery.

 I will be posting updates on my processes. I figure that if I’m open about what I’m going through that maybe I’ll help others along the way.

 I know there is purpose in everything.

 See you on the flip side.

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