Friday, September 16, 2011

Let the Good Times Roll

I can't sleep. While that's not necessarily news, I decided I would make the most of this particular round of insomnia and be productive for a change. My ACL reconstruction and meniscus repair surgery was about two weeks ago and I guess this is my attempt at sharing how things have turned out so far. When I think about what both doctors told me a month ago (it's important to get second opinions these days. Treat your body like you would treat a rare automobile), I laugh to myself. They both made me feel incredibly confident about the entire thing, from what the pre-surgery routine would entail to how recovery might progress. "Son, you'll be dunking a basketball and running 4 minute miles again in no time." This is what I wanted them to say. "We do these procedures all the time. It's both routine and highly successful" is what they actually said. "Your life is going to be absolutely miserable and your left leg will eventually look like it belongs on the body of a ten year old girl" is what they really should have said.

When I was escorted into the operating room on September 1, I thought I had just walked onto a movie set. There were 7 or 8 people in scrubs milling about (this many people seemed excessive, but I'm no expert), large monitors everywhere, overhead lights that could illuminate a baseball field, and a chimpanzee running around with a scalpel. When the nurses finally got the chimp out of there, the anesthesiologist strapped me down and started asking me about sports. I was onto his little game of trying to make me feel comfortable, but I played along anyway because I can be irrationally competitive. He must have won, because the next thing I remembered was waking up while being rolled into the "recovery room" of the hospital - a rather morbid place full of people in various stages of consciousness, misery, and nudity. My leg appeared three times its normal size due to the underlying ice wrap, several layers of dressing, and a brace. The pain was bad but I was given a "block" (basically a nerve injection) to numb it down. I was lucky to have my parents help me out of there a couple of hours later. I also owe my brother big-time for helping me with everything ever since the moment I came home.

So it began. The hard part. The car ride home made me want to vomit immediately, but I held it together because that's how awesome I am. I needed to save energy to get up to my fourth floor walk-up apartment. When Andrew and I first saw this place before moving in, I thought to myself "Ha-ha! I cannot wait to hurt my knee and then scale these stairs!" Going up was, and still is, exhausting. At least now I have it down to a science. The stairs serve as a good metaphor for the entire uphill battle of this recovery so far. What the doctors failed to tell me (although I really should have known) was to expect an almost utter lack of mobility over the next several days and weeks. The saying "you never know what you have until it's gone" is applicable here. The next time you stand in front of the mirror to comb your hair, cherish the moment you lucky bastard. Anyway, I wasn't worried about the operation itself, but about the crushing inevitability of being inactive for a long period of time. Apparently I didn't realize just how inactive I would be. I'll save the thrilling details for another entry.

I hesitiate to complain because an innumerable amount of people go through far worse and suffer far more than I ever will. This blog will just be my take on things as I experience them - a sort of self-serving record of some of the lousiest weeks I can remember. More (hopefully) to come later. When I can't sleep, you win!

Oh, I originally hurt myself skiing back in the Winter and finally did myself in playing basketball this Summer. I probably should have mentioned that earlier.


  1. hey now, that chimp is the one who called me to tell me the surgery was a success...keep it up....maybe i'll start my paris one again....maybe. your loving sis

  2. Dude, reading & hearing about your plight has actually slowed down my training runs out of fear that something similar might befall me. I hope you feel better soon and that the days ahead are less painful. How goes the cooking/cleaning/hygiene process?

  3. We wished it wasn’t so, but you were actually released at 4pm, 5 hrs. after surgery.

    Hang in there, you will get better.

    Love, Mom & Dad