Monday, December 31, 2007

The Winter Of ACL Discontent

Although the most pain from an ACL operation occurs in the first few days, I found that my lowest point emotionally came several weeks into recovery.

The analogy I would use is the children of our friend Lisa. A number of years back, when they were very small, they looked forward to the holidays (Hannukah in their case). When New Year's Day rolled around, with snow and ice everywhere, they turned to their mother in perplexity: The holidays are over, where's the springtime?

When I was first recovering from ACL reconstruction surgery, my mental attitude, to the extent I could think through the pain, was the equivalent of uttering some choice Anglo-Saxon words and vowing, "I am NEVER going to do this again!"

But pretty quickly I could see progress, which was so encouraging. The pain didn't end right away, but it decreased, and I could do things with my leg like raise it or make visible quad muscles tighten. I enjoyed going to PT and getting good feedback on my progress. One PT intern told me she would always remember me because I was her first patient who was zipping through ACL recovery.

But then I hit a point three or four weeks after the operation when I was ready, like my friend's kids, for springtime: I wanted things to be back to normal. I had been working so hard, and hurting so much, for weeks, wasn't it time for me to be able to do normal things normally again?

It was at that point when I realized that, yes, as I had read, ACL recovery does take a very long time, and even though I had worked really hard, I had a long time and lots of work left to do. My ACL winter would last a long time, and then it would be spring.


Blackbeltmama said...

In my case, I'm literally waiting for spring/summer. I'm expecting that by then, I'll be feeling better. It is a remarkably frustrating thing. I'm 2 weeks post-op today and it's difficult to imagine ever feeling normal again. Hard work and patience is the name of the game at this point.

bolomX said...

Hi Bob, I'm having ACL reconstruction on Sep 24, I didn't make it to the bb test, I eventually will. I'm a high brown, I guess from your school, but different town.
I saw that you are from LI. (me too) I'm looking for a good PT in the area. I can't wait to get back on the mat.
I'm a certified pilates instructor, and although I don't teach, I get annoyed with the little knowledge PTs have.
Is there anyone person or place that you recommend?

BobSpar said...

Hi, bolomx, osu!

I went to a Sports PT of New York facility in Rockville Centre. It's a chain of PT clinics:

I liked it. I think they worked well with me. But I don't have the knowledge you do about anatomy etc., so I can't really speak to whether you would find them acceptable.

Best of luck--let me know how it goes.

bolomX said...

Hi bobspar, osu!
thank you very much.
I made my first appointment for friday at Island Sports PT in Garden City, I'll see how it goes. I think they are associated with NY Sports Club and have a few locations as well. But I'm going to call Sports PT, they have a location in Wantagh that is not far for me.
I'll definitely keep you informed.

bolomX said...

Osu Bob!
It's been two and a half weeks since my surgery. I'm walking without the crutches but still limping from using the brace.
I'm doing my PT at Island Sports, my therapist is great, he had both acls reconstructed and a clear idea of the recovery process.
I can't wait to start exercising. I've been out for short walks and in PT I'm using the stationary bike and starting with leg presses.
I'm still in pain, but it hasn't been too bad, I could go without painkillers but I take them mostly to help me sleep (on my back).
It is a slow (very slow) process, but I'm getting there.
Keep in touch.

BobSpar said...

Congrats on your progress, bolomx!

One weird thing I found when I took off my brace--I had to be trained how to walk normally again, instead of a pirate with a peg leg. You wouldn't expect you could forget how to walk so fast.

bolomX said...

Yeah, I'm not even there. I'm seeing my doc next week, and he will decide when to get out of the brace.
I'm still horrified of long periods of time without the brace. I guess when I get there my leg will be strong enough.
I'll keep you updated, and thanks for your support.