On the Other Side: Adventures in Knee Surgery

It has now been a week since my surgery and now that I’m finally coming out of my pain medication fog, I wanted to take a moment and update everyone with my progress.


Friday was tough because I had an afternoon surgery and therefore the no eating after midnight the night before thing was not fun. My teammate Julia McComas picked me up at 11am from my apartment and went to the hospital and checked in.

As I was waiting for my name to be called, my mother called, talked to me, then to Julia, then to me and was emotional that I was going into surgery. At this point, I didn’t have time to be emotional. My coping mechanism is my positive outlook and humor so I stuck to that and tried to make all the nurses laugh.

I finally got checked in and went into the pre-op room with about a book of instructions on how to get undressed and into a gown, a surgery net for my hair and extremely attracted grey fuzzy socks. Once I finally got situated, I noticed that my gown had a couple of holes it. Apparently, when you are cold, they can hook the gown up to a hose that goes to a heater that blows air into your gown. That was interesting.

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Then it came time for the IV. Now, I am a big tough middle linebacker. Not much scares me. Except needles. I hate them. I was honestly more afraid of the IV than the surgery. I know that sounds funny but it’s true. Thankfully, my nurse was kind and talked me through it and I got through it.

I remember them putting something in the IV before they wheeled me away. I was watching the ceiling go by and felt like I was on TV show or movie, in some sort of hospital scene. Then somewhere in the hall I passed out. Surgery started at 2:30PM.

To be honest, I don’t remember exactly how I woke up. Just that I woke up, very fuzzy, over 5 hours later. They took me to a recovery room where I laid down as they let me slowly wake up. They then wheeled me to my hospital room where Julia was.

Julia told me that she had been in contact with surgeon and my mother and that surgery was very successful. They reconstructed my LCL and most of my PCL was intact so they were able to sew the small part that wasn’t back together.

I was very hungry. They told me most people after surgery aren’t hungry or overeat and get sick. But I was hungry! I tore up a chocolate pudding and an ice cream and passed out.

I was supposed to be released the next day but they decided to keep me an additional night.The 2nd night was hard. My knee had stitches that were covered by bandages, then wrapped with an ace bandage, then put in a brace that is locked into a certain angle with straps. My leg swelling made it so the bandages were cutting into my leg. The more I tried to adjust it, the worse it got. I couldn’t get comfortable. The night nurse couldn’t figure it out either.

The 3rd day the other surgeon who worked with my ortho on the surgery came by to visit and could probably tell that I was not a happy camper and said they would keep me one more night to get my pain under control. I was ok with this.

Later the day shift came in and re-wrapped my knee and brace and it felt a lot better. Then a PT man had me walk down the hall and back on crutches. They would test me on stairs the next day before releasing me.

There were some good times about being at the hospital. Firstly, it was nice to be able to order room service. Hospital food isn’t great but it isn’t terrible. My favorite was the breakfast.

I also had visitors. Players from my team, Everett, and Portland came to visit me. I got a box full of treats including nurf guns and other fun. I got cards, pizza, and a lot of hugs. Yes of course there were nurf gun wars. The hospital room probably found ammo around later.

I also watched a ton of Housewives of Atlanta, Housewives of Potomac, Terry Perry movies, and some weird show called Vanderplumps. Nothing like trashy reality TV to distract you. You blink and it’s 4 hours later and you just can’t understand why there is an hour show about someone’s hurt feelings over a party invite. And then you watch another episode.

I finally was released Monday after passing the PT stair test. Julia picked me up and we stopped at Jimmie John’s on way home. We went over my 5 medications. I ate my sandwich. I set alarms on my phone for meds and passed out.

Monday and Tuesday are a blur. They consisted of a cycle of med taking and passing out. Wednesday I woke up in some discomfort. The ace bandage had started to bunch up and the brace wasn’t sitting right again. I was pretty grumpy on this day.

I found out that I needed certain paperwork from the hospital to send to Aflac so on Thursday, our team mom Nicole, picked me up and took me to the hospital. We had a great time when the wheelchair we got out front had the left leg stuck where you couldn’t extend the length. We tried 3 hospital people but no one could figure out. We were able to prop it up and move the pedal out of the way.

We got the paperwork from the registration and then went to Proliance, my ortho, to see if they could fix my brace. I got seen fairly quickly and they took the ace bandage away and replaced with a compression sock which works much better. It doesn’t move or bunch so it doesn’t mess with straps on brace.

Today, I’m feeling slightly better. I think mostly due to the fact I’m weening myself off pain meds and onto more milder stuff. I have learned that pain killers are fine for me short term but long term I hate it. I hate not being in control of myself. I hate not being able to think clearly. I hate passing out every 2 seconds. I hate that it has tons of side effects. I’ve never had to take strong stuff this long before and I’m not a fan.

Next Thursday is my  Post Op appointment.

As I’m going through this I’m learning things about myself. For me, I’m OK with rehab stage. I’m strong and I work hard. It makes me feel like I’m progressing. It’s this recovery stage that I’m finding the hardest. I’m a Capricorn and therefore driven and doing nothing for weeks is very tough.

It’s tough that just a week ago I was in great cardio shape from camp. Now if I go to kitchen and back I’m sweating and out of breathe. It’s very humbling.

The good news is, when I talked to my ortho before I checked out from hospital, he was very positive and said that my goal for Team USA tryouts in February of next year is now a solid possibility. This makes me happy because the last tryout I was dealing with an MCL tear so was about 60 percent. I want to be as close to 100 for this one.

I’m going to write updates on this as I go. Not all my posts will be about my knee of course. But I want to be honest and open. I figure if I am, I might help someone else in the process.

I had someone call me the other night and tell me that people are watching to see how I handle this. I want you all to know that I won’t be perfect. I’m sure I’ll get frustrated. But I will handle it. I’ll be back. If it’s one thing I do well, is I always get back up.



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