Dave’s ACL Diary: Doing it Solo [Part 4]

Saturday, 2/5/2000, 12:30 PM

Well, it was exhausting but worth it. After attending to several morning chores, I crutched into the living room, used one of my REI Treking Poles (Thanks, Dad!) to unplug the extension cord, and a step at a time, dragged one of my big torchiere lamps and my Radio Shack timer switch back to the bedroom. Bingo – indirect light, controllable from bed at last!

If you’re using ice cubes to chill your elevated knee, make sure you have a plan for the ones you drop. I sweep mine into the laundry room where they can melt out of the way of my crutch tips (can’t reach ’em to pick ’em up!)

The treking pole has been handy for manipulating a lot of stuff – it’s much lighter than a crutch or a broomstick, and better for stuff that needs a little more finesse. It’s length-adjustable, and is handy for putting on the slipper that won’t stay on my brace leg, fixing the covers at my feet, moving the ceiling fan blades (had a piece of paper taped to one to shade my eyes from the ceiling light), etc. You probably don’t need to buy one specially, but if you can borrow one, or have one handy, get it nearby.

Am finding that there are several things that just aren’t going to get done. I need to access my bottom dresser drawer and the pull to open it is at the very bottom of the drawer face, recessed in the underside – 2 inches from the floor. There are several coins I’ve dropped on the floor – I figure they’ll be there for a while. There’ll come a point where I’ll want the VCR hooked back up in the living room (with the nice TV, etc.), and it goes at the bottom of the stack, under EVERYTHING. Since I’ll be the one to feed it tapes, I guess I’ll take a real go-slow approach.

I saw the recommendation to get into a leg immobilizer BEFORE surgery and walk around on crutches for a few hours to see what needed to change. This is good advice, but I’d actually recommend (PARTICULARLY if you’re planning to do your ACL solo) trying to imagine what will work, setting up your space, THEN spending a day or so living in the space with crutches and immobilizer – you’ll catch a lot of the annoyance things I’ve figured out in the 48 hours post-surgery.

The bedroom is a wreck right now, and I figure I’ll spend some of today trying to sort things out so that they’re a lot more functional. It’s annoying to hear noises and be unable to check up on them immediately. Some of those noises come from things falling off the far side of the bed. My bed is COVERED with stuff – my laptop case, briefcase, full-size keyboard (in a box – haven’t bothered to use it since getting laid up), pillows, pack, towels, food, bed backrest, tons of stuff. I don’t have a way to use the actual covers on the bed. Spent last night under the lightweight fleece blanket – again, a really nice thing to have handy.

Pain is quite well under control (folks doing the patellar autograft must have a LOT harder time with this!). There are certainly things I can do that hurt, but if I manage to keep the knee elevated as comfortably as I can, the pain meds are doing their job. Circulation appears to be good, have found an efficient method for icing the knee (nothing special, just have managed to strap the ice in position so I don’t lose it every couple minutes). Don’t have a huge appetite, but will make myself go make a hot lunch in a bit.