Saturday, August 09, 2008

The road to recovery

Some of you may know that I tore my ACL back in April of this year. It's been an annoying experience to say the very least, but Thursday Aug. 7 I took a major step on the road to recovery.

That's right. I tore it in April but didn't have my knee repaired until August. There are several reasons. One: my doctor recommended waiting a few weeks, two: I was slated to begin an internship in New York City from April to the end of June, and three: I had family in for the majority of July, so I didn't want to miss out on our crazy family activities.

Well now I'm back from NYC, the family is all gone, and my knee has successfully been sliced and diced.

The procedure included removing a part of my patellar tendin and using it to create a new ACL. Apparently when an ACL is torn, as mine was, it is irreparable. Therefore a patient needs a new ligament from either the patellar, the hamstring or a cadavar. I chose the petellar because it is a "bone on bone" ligament which promotes quicker healing time and stronger performance when healed. For more information, read this.

I know this is probably all pretty boring to everyone, but I found the whole process extremely interesting.

My doctor is Kirt Kimball, who also happens to be the team physician for both the BYU Cougars and the Orem Owlz.

Anyway, allow me to tell you a bit about the operation. I was admitted into the pre-op room at about 10:30 on Thursday, August 7 (which, consequently, forced me to miss BYU's one and only open football practice--a fact which still makes me angry two days later). My roomates turned out to be some kids with tonsilitis, so I got a good share of audio from the Disney Series "The Suite Life of Zach and Cody."

Soon my leg was shaved by two wise-cracking orderlies and I was asked to sign my right knee with a marker so the doctors didn't accidentally work on the wrong knee. It happens, you know.

The anesthesioligist entered my curtained-off area to explain the different drugs I would take to knock me out, and then asked if I wanted a nerve block. The nerve block would deaden my entire right leg for about 12 hours so I wouldn't feel any pain. Of course I answered yes. Who wouldn't?

I was wheeled over into the pre-op room where different nurses asked me the very same questions about 17,000 times: What is your name? What is your birthday? Why are you here? I guess they did it all in an effort to make sure they're doing the right thing to the right person. Which begs the question: "Do these guys make that many mistakes?"

The anesthesiologist made his appearance again and loaded a needle the size of a howitzer. That was the nerve block, and suddenly I was having second thoughts. Before I could protest he pounded that massive needle into my pelvis area and I'll be darned if I couldn't feel a thing in my right leg.

The next thing I remember I was wheeled into the operating room... then blackness.

I woke up and it was all over. It was crazy. My leg was bandaged, I was no longer hooked up to an IV and I was grinning from ear to ear. I was so relaxed, in fact, that I forgot to breathe. Honest to goodness--the nurses had to come in and remind me to breathe. But I was having too good a time to breathe. Life's a party, right?

But I guess people need to breathe. It's vital, you might say, so "the man" had to stick a tube in my nose to keep me from relaxing myself to death until I proved that I would be willing to breathe on my own.

I decided to take ownership of my breathing from that point on, and pretty soon I was given clearance to leave the hospital and start my recovery at home.

That first day was a little rough, I'm not going to lie. The anesthesia wreaked havoc on my inestines, and I couldn't keep anything down. Not even the calming herbal tea prepared with love by my sweet mother. It was so bad, in fact, that even the slightest movement made the yak. For instance, I was laying down for a while and decided to sit in an upright position: ralph. I got up to use the bathroom: ralph. It was revolting.

Thankfully, though, I was given some very powerful drugs that have the ability to destroy nausia in favor of unconsciousness. Needless to say, I've been sleeping very well lately.

Yesterday (Friday) and today (Saturday) have been promising, but painful. I started physical therapy on Friday, and I'm really starting to miss that old nerve block. It's actually a lot harder to move around when every slight shift sends excruciating pain through my leg.

The hardest thing, though, has been missing BYU camp updates. I checked the computer for the first time today and I had over 100 stories to read about BYU football. I didn't read them all, but I felt guilty. I did catch the bit from O'Neill Chambers, though (which I don't think is a big deal), and practice seems to be getting better and better.

Anyway, just wanted to give a little update on the ACL. I'm recovering well, and I'm back on the blogosphere. Look for daily updates, because frankly: I've got nothing better to do.

Also, be sure to check out where editor-in-chief Trevor has promised one post every day from the Cougar Crazy staff leading up to gameday on August 30. As one of the Crazies, I can promise I will be writing content for BYUCougarCrazies to help Trevor meet that chellenge.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and keep me in your prayers/voodoo ceremonies/spirit quests.


Becky said...

you've got to get those before and after pix from the knee scope. and others i took at the hospital i think people would like to see them.

um...did you forget to mention your dear wife who basically took off two days of work. chilled in the hospital for 8 hours, got you a jamba, bought you the entire rocky collection, made you homemade blueberry sour cream ice cream, played with your hair, gave you a sponge bath, makes you do your physical therapy exercises, takes you to PT, made you malted chocolate chip cupcakes (they were dang good by the way), wraps your leg, changes your ice machine thing and gives you your drugs?

oh yeah you did! :)

believe it or not, i'm having a great time playing nurse/servant. it's great to hang out with you all day. i love you!

Becky said...

oh and you forgot to mention that you liked hearing the disney channel...