Wednesday, January 15, 2014

ACL Reconstruction Surgery

This is day #1 of my ACL reconstruction surgery recovery - so I'm a bit hopped up on Percocet and sleepiness so if this post gets a little goofy just keep that in mind!

I wanted to share my experience with you all because during pre-op I spent hours searching the web for information about ACL and I have to tell you the best information I found was this post by Holly: 

I really debated if I should go thru w the surgery. Last year was when I first discovered my ACL was torn. I just did physical therapy for it and went on my merry way. Then in November of 2013 I fell/slipped/knee gave out at the top of the stairs. I fell with a loud POPPING sound. Which I had come to find out that popping sound was my MCL tearing this time. Between the time I first found out my ACL was torn and the November stairs incident my knee had given out a few times and it was painful! It feels like your knee is bending completely backwards. I don't recommend it.  

But anyhow, this time around when I talked to the doctor (Dr. Miller at Shady Grove Orthopaedic Associates) he basically said my knee can continually give out because the knee is so unstable plus with my ACL torn my MCL is at risk to be damaged (hence me tearing it in November). 

So after me talking to the doctor, my mom, my dad, my stepmom, Troy (and per Troy's suggestion I got a second opinion from another doctor) and hours of googling I decided to book my appointment. 

Even with my appointment booked I still debated if I should go thru with it. I worried about missing work (seriously). I am in sales...commission sales...and I really don't want to (nor can I afford) to have my checks messed with. PLUS neither doctor told me how long I should take off work (1 week? 2?) they both said "it's up to you". Whatever that means. 

I decided to take off one week. Then HR said I could have up to two weeks off so guess what? I'm off for two weeks.  

Pre-op Recommendations:
1. Move furniture so you can get around on your crutches. Make a path from couch to bathroom to bed.
2. Stock up on waters in the areas you'll be recovering in (mine are by the bed and by the couch - you will be very thirsty! Plus they say drink plenty of fluids so just prep yourself now).
3. Have ice packs. Lots of them. Or packs of frozen peas. You have so much padding on you knee post-op but still be prepared.
4. Have friends/family available to bring you food. You won't feel like getting it yourself.
5. Have the remote close by
6. Have extra pillows to prop your knee up on.
7. Get you painpills and antibiotics BEFORE surgery. Like day before. 

Day of surgery:

My surgery went as planned. I was in at 10:30. Had my paperwork done by 11. Was talking to the doctor and anesthesiologist by 11:30. 

They ask you at least 5 times what leg surgery is on AND make you write on your leg with a sharpie which one you are having work on:

Then you put on the socks on the foot that is NOT being operated on

Then you get the nerve blocker which sounds scary but is fantastic. They inject you in 2-3 spots so you don't feel anything in your leg for 12-24 hours. Mine lasted about 18 hours. You have a numb foot for awhile which is weird. Like you foot is sleep.

Surgery was 2 hours. I went for the cadaver option. They do 3 incisions and do the surgery laparoscopically. I have pictures but decided against sharing those but the doctor gives you about 6 photos showing you the MCL/ACL and other.

Next thing you know you are waking up. Took me about 20-30 minutes to wake up and get dressed. Then they wheel you out to your car and go home. I recommend just getting in the backseat. Make it easy on yourself. 

When you get home - get in bed. Have some food, watch some TV. Take a pain pill and go to bed. Don't do anything more than that. Besides go to the bathroom - and if you're anything like me that's about 100 times. I have a little trashcan I put in front of the toilet to prop my leg on while I handle business.

I have to tell you I'm some thankful my mom was there. She talked to me to get my mind off things. Told me I should be in hospital giving her a grand baby.

I told her not to look so happy I was having surgery.

Then when I got home Troy had left me roses and balloons and cards. Love that. 

I recommend you doing this for your friend/partner if they are going thru this or any type of surgery. It made me feel SO good.

1. Take it easy. 
2. Get on the couch w the remote and relax.
3. Eat some food and take your meds. Don't let your pain get out of control. Trust me. I did and that was a big mistake. I'm still trying to get the pain under control.  
4. You'll have some exercises to do: ankle pumps and quad sets. I've only done the ankle pumps. I can't bring myself to do the quad sets yet. 

The pain meds (or maybe just the pain) made me feel nauseous. I had a couple scares today where I thought I was going to lose my cookies.

I'm in pain now. Maybe a 5. I spend most of my resting day at a level 2-3. It's only day 1. High hopes tomorrow will be better!

I hope my experience helps you if you ever go thru this! I'll keep you posted on my recovery/rehabilitation. I'm on the road to recovery!



  1. Deseo una pronta recuperacion!!! Dios te bendiga! Cuidate!!!

  2. YIKES! I like that you mapped out what people should expect. Hopefully I never have to have this surgery done, but if I do, I know where to go for some helpful advice!
    I hope you're feeling better today, since you're now two days out (almost anyway, by the hour). Im sure it's not fun, but know that I'm thinking about you and hoping you have a speedy recovery!

  3. I wish you a fast and pain-free recovery. (The pillow you have your leg rested on is very pretty.) :)

  4. I feel your pain..I went through this years ago..and I don't know if I would do it again as my knee is still messed up...but here is to hoping you recoup well, be pain free, and the knee works wonderfully...many blessings

  5. Hey girl! Thinking of you! I've had ACL reconstruction twice (on the same leg... booooo). Best of luck on your road to recovery, I've been back to pre-surgery me for quite a while now, so you'll be there soon too!

  6. Get well soon! Thanks for the details, I found it quite interesting. You never know when it will be your turn. I need surgery on my shoulder. I'm avoiding it for some of the same reasons you didn't want to have yours.

  7. Get well soon! I need surgery on my shoulder and I've been avoiding it for some of the reasons you were reluctant to have surgery on your knee.