44 Stitches Later: 1st Post Op Appointment

Today was the day of my 1st post op appointment. My teammate Edwina Brown picked me up from my apartment and we drove to the clinic. When we arrived, Edwina helped me get situated in a wheelchair and we decided that since she was the team appointed selfie queen of the Majestics, she would be my photographer for the day.

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We got to my room and I laid out on the table. The doctor came in and took off the brace and pulled down the compression sock. I asked her not judge my hairy leg because I have not been able to shave it over 2 weeks. This is a big deal for me because I’m an anti hair person.

Over the top of my incisions were long bandage strips. They had held pretty well these last couple of weeks. No movement from them. Of course what this really meant is that the adhesive from them was strong. What did this also mean? Adhesive plus hair equals I got my leg basically waxed. Ouch. I refrained from pulling a Steve Carroll in the 40 Year Virgin and did not cuss at the doctor.

Once the bandages were off we could see that the incisions are healing nicely. Clean and no sign of infection. I have an incision down the front of the knee which is a good 5-6 inches. There is one down the left side about 8 inches. And there was one tiny random stitch in between where they did the arthroscopic procedure.

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The nurse proceeded in taking out all 44 stitches. I am no stranger to stitches, having lived a fully active life, including softballs ripping open my chin and football face masks slicing my nose, and several other events. Because of this, I knew getting your stitches removed doesn’t hurt. It’s more like you feel like thread is being cut away.

She then put butterfly bandages over them to protect them a while longer.

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The doctor was surprised I have been off pain meds so fast but as you read from my previous entry, at some point for me it’s counter productive and I’d rather feel like myself than anything else and be able to think.

They then wheeled me over to the xray room and took a couple of xrays. You can clearly see the screws in my leg where they were grafting and fixing the fracture which is fascinating. I asked if this meant I would be stopped at airport security. They replied that it depends on the material they used in surgery but likely not. I thought darn, I’m already picked a lot for extra security, it would be nice to have a built in excuse. Oh, well.

All in all, everything seems to be going well. They are going to keep my brace locked in at 30 degrees but 3 times a day I can move it to 90 and manually work on bending my knee. I can’t fire the muscles yet but can use my hands to work on it. I tried this just a bit ago and I can tell this will be a challenge to work on but I figure that with some time it will work it’s way out.

I can now get it wet while in the shower which is helpful when wanting to shave it. This makes me happy. I will still have to use the shower chair but can at least not have to worry about the stitches.

They said I can also start driving again. This makes me extremely happy as I am an independent person and being confined to my apartment has been mentally challenging for me. I have been working part time from home this week which has helped with that but I can return to work on Monday.

This is very important to me. Physical pain is something I can deal with. The harder part of this journey will be the mental and emotional roller coaster that comes with it. The more normal activities I can return to, like driving and work, the better for me. Luckily, due to my previous MCL injury to the same leg, I know how to get in a car with a bad left leg.

My next appointment will be mid April and hopefully by that point I will have mastered the bending range of motion and then work on extension. They are babying my extension part because when they went to fix the PCL they also fixed a hamstring tendon so they don’t want that part to stretch too much too soon.

I can also tell from my first range of motion activity that my quad will have to be built back up. And my calf also sometimes gets cranky due to the angle I’m locked in the brace at.

Edwina was happy to go with me because she apparently loves medical stuff and is fascinated by the human body. I have a weaker stomach but it’s getting stronger.

They also gave me the surgery notes and it’s basically a book. My ortho is very meticulous which is a good thing. It’s kind of weird to read about your own body in a play-by-play of terms and medical jargon. Then again, it’s incredible to me that I survived that. It truly is a weird injury. I’ve tried looking up online the combination of injuries I have and I can hardly find anything. There are pages and pages of ACL and MCL info. Not on this. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised because I don’t ever do anything half-assed. Nope. When I injure myself I really injure myself.

After the appointment, Edwina took me grocery shopping. I got to use a motorized cart. This is my first experience with this. It is a whole new world. My cart went about 2 mph due to I think being low on battery. When Edwina was heading to the bananas I told her I would meet her there in about 5 years.

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I’m now home and re-situated. I’m going to go to practice on Saturday to watch my team prepare for our 1st game which is next weekend and then going to a team lunch. Being around my teammates helps heal my heart. I’m so blessed to have so many awesome people around me.

It extends beyond my team and my region as well. I’ve had several people visit me in the hospital and at home. People brought me groceries and gave me rides. I’m humbled by it and thankful. When people in other countries know you are going through a hard time and ask how you are, it’s pretty incredible.

Now that the worst of the initial chaos is over, I’m looking forward to getting back on track in work, football, and life. I will be updating on my progress as well as how my team is doing. Our first game is next Saturday against the Everett Reign. If you want to find me, I’ll be the one either in a wheelchair or crutches, yelling and cheering and probably wanting to go play on 1 leg.

 

 

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