Fortunately, there are a few things that have helped me begin to heal - physically, mentally and emotionally.
Preparation & Due Diligence: It started with my original visit to a specialist in April, only to give me a range of x-rays and to tell me I have severe arthritis in my knees and they’d like to go in and clean my left knee out.
I had a bad feeling about their hurried approach, and consulted my wife, her family, and my family. After a referral from my wife’s business lawyer, I switched doctors, had an MRI, and was told the bottom line worst case scenarios all the way from the original appointment through the day of surgery. Nothing was sugar coated. I appreciated that.
Through all of this, I knew I was going to bear the brunt of the pain and anguish of being cut open. But, I wasn’t alone. To mitigate this, I did everything I could to prepare my body for what was to come. I hit the gym religiously, making sure I was in good shape and had strength going in. This type of injury is a lot more about what you put in prior vs. what you do in physical therapy afterwards.
Support System: Despite the pain and inconvenience, I feel very fortunate to have the support team that I do. That team includes my wife, my Dad, and even my brother (who came out of the woodwork), among many others, that show their support. It doesn’t hurt to have a wonderful wife to back you up when you’re down. While I did a lot of the physical preparation, Rachel took on a lot of the planning beforehand. Who would take me to the hospital and take me home? Who would look after me and make sure I didn’t need anything when she was at a business meeting the next day?
I fell flat on my back the night of surgery. I was trying to go a little too fast and believe or not, my non-injured leg gave out on me. Could have been the nerve block or hangover from the anesthesia. I’m just happy Rachel and my Dad were there to help get my a@! up.
My wife and my Dad have been there as the constant. Offering help at every turn, even when I didn’t necessarily need it. However, I’m still learning never be too proud to ask for help from anyone - friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. Bottom line: while full recovery is four-to-six months, I know that it would not be going well if not for the undying support and love I’ve received from everyone around me.
The Day of & Post-Surgery; Getting it Done: The day of surgery is never fun. We got some things done in the morning, but afterwards was a blur for me, and for good reason. Nerve blocks, anesthesia, and pain killers combine to give at least some relief from the pain for about a day.
Then comes the hard part, getting around to actually trying to do things. Pushing it too hard, especially with this injury, can leave you in a worse situation then when you started. In fact, it’s likely part of the reason I’ve had repeated problems for 20 years since the first go-round.
As time goes on, it’s getting easier, but perseverance is key. I went back to my day job at 11 a.m. on Tuesday. Getting around for the first full day was exhausting, but I did it. After a full day, coming home and doing one to hours of design work is not easy. It’s hard to focus, but having something to keep your mind occupied and off the pain does help.
This post is a thank you to all of you who have helped me. From those who have been there physically, changing my bandages and helping me get in and out of the tub, to those that offered to get my coffee for me at work, to those who offered their thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery.
Thank you. (And know I’m not done yet. Sorry!)