A very personal blog

[Recovery Logs] ACL reconstruction surgery with meniscus repair

See I knew something was wrong when it’s been 10 weeks since my knee injury (from playing badminton) and I haven’t fully recovered yet. For reference, here’s my previous recovery logs where I didn’t recover at all lol: https://www.theblahger.com/2023/01/recovery-logs.html

For context, I got injured playing badminton on January, let myself rest for a couple of weeks, but then felt too excited that I walked an hour on a treadmill on an 11% incline and then swam the next day. That’s how I re-injured myself, prompting a knee reconstruction surgery. That’s also proves how mind isn’t over matter when the matter is out of hand lol.

Sometime in April I got an MRI which confirmed a chronic ACL tear on my left knee plus some serious meniscal tear. Doctor advised to get knee surgery, which went well on June 24.

In my understanding, they’re gonna replace the torn ligament in my knees with a graft from my hamstring and screw it (literally), then shave off my torn meniscus so the edges are smooth and not sharp and damning to my bones. The technique they used (knee arthroscopy) is a vey minimally invasive procedure so there’s not a lot of incisions made, making it easier to heal from the surgery.

It was my first time to undergo surgery so I didn’t know what to expect. I was mostly worried about coordinating the LOA from my HMO provider and the hospital but turns out I didn’t need to do that myself since I will be admitted pre-op which means the hospital will take care of calling our HMO for approval. I think the bill ran up to ₱180k, which included everything from the surgery, two nights admission, professional fees, and everything else I perused during my stay. Only thing not covered are the implants – and I opted for a bioabsorbable screw and button type so that set me back ₱85k. 

I was mostly excited to get over this major part of my life because I badly want to workout already. Now with a renewed sense of my mortal limits I promise to be more careful and more mindful of what I do with my ageing joints.

June 24 – day of my surgery. I was scheduled 6pm and was told to shower using a pre-operative bath kit they gave me consisting of two sponges and a bottle of some kind of antimicrobial bath gel that smells like alcohol and betadine or something. I was wheeled in the operating room by 5pm. The most painful part of the surgery was getting injected with anesthesia through the spine. After that I was sedated and would wake up from time to time feeling woozy. I just let myself fall back to sleep. Two hours later the surgery was completed and I was brought to the recovery room where they took an x-ray of my knee. Moments later I was brought back to our room where I immediately ate cos I felt so hungry. Surgery required me to fast for 10 hours so I haven’t eaten anything in almost 12 hours at that point. Unfortunately I didn’t know food and anesthesia don’t go well together that as soon as I ate I just puked it all out. I felt sleepy afterwards and didn’t fight it.

Here’s my recovery logs so far…

Week 1

Jun 25 – it was a struggle to go home in this state. My leg was braced, I couldn’t put any weight on it so I had to rely on crutches. It was also very painful and super swollen. Hard to go to the bathroom to pee. Had to put a chair in the shower so I could take a bath. Thank God my husband helps me with everything, I love him. I’m taking a bunch of meds for swelling, pain, and GI tract. Also antibiotics.

That’s how my leg looks like on the first week. Everything swollen from the thigh down. I dress it every two days as instructed. Every day I’m able to put more and more weight on my left foot which is nice 😀.

Week 2

Jul 5 – it’s been more than a week since my surgery and I can now walk without crutches but not too long because it gets tiring. I’ve finished all my meds too and is just taking it slow, wearing braces as much as I can to keep my leg straight. I do feel some kind of shooting pain when I’m pivoting though which is concerning because I thought I’d have brand new knees and I just have to wait for the swelling to subside. Will ask my doctor when I follow up.

Note to self: https://www.stoneclinic.com/ACL-reconstruction-meniscus-repair-post-operative-physical-therapy-protocol

Jul 7 – Barely used my crutches today. Still wearing braces the whole time. Can shower standing up now. Can wash the dishes as well. Felt a sharp shooting pain once; I think I accidentally pivoted. Otherwise, good progress. 😊

Jul 8 – followed up with my surgeon. Suture removed. Doctor mentioned the shape of my meniscus was adiscoid instead of crescent shape; which made the tear more painful as it goes in contact with the joint. Was advised to start rehab next week.

Week 3

Jul 12 – can walk better now. Can sleep without braces. Still wearing knee support. Can shower standing up for the most part but still gets tired so I still need the chair hehe. Can work the kitchen now, albeit slowly. Have been able to go out to the mall as long as I only walk short distances. Didn’t use crutches the whole day. Can sit with my let bent slightly. Can ride the front seat of the car now, but have to scoot forward so my thighs don’t get too pressed on the seat if you know what I mean. There is still some swelling on my calf. Still can’t see my ankles. 

Jul 13 – Consulted with a rehab doctor as well as scheduled by rehab sessions. Poor flexion – straightest I can go is 30°. Closest I can bend my knees is 60°. Stopped wearing braces. Can walk faster. Still need crutches for aid. 

Week 4

July 18 – Day 1 of rehab. Got super tired with all the exercises I was taught. My leg is still swollen. Was advised to do warm and hot compress and continue the exercise at home. I also learned how to use my crutches properly. All this time I was putting my weight on the armpits, turns out it has to be on the hand support. No wonder I was slouching and feeling more tired when I use them, half the time I give up and just use it as a cane. Hay.