Dave’s ACL Diary: Doing it Solo [Part 7]

How do you feel? What hurts? What’s tough to do? What sucks?

I feel basically OK. Better than I expected, and in less pain than I expected. This afternoon, I did let my pain get out of control (trying to trim back on the Lortab), and this is not good – it takes a while for the meds to kick in – maybe an hour to get back to tolerable. I hadn’t thought about it, but there is a certain level of Lortab in your system when it’s time to take another one. You let that level run down to nothing and you’re riding on bare bone-and-nerves.

What hurts?

Well, my back as well as my knee. The continuing reader will recall that I had back pain on the way into the OR. That pain was caused by crummy ergonomics and by (probably) injuring it (had an ice storm here – had to get the branches off the lawn pre-op or they’d rot in the sun for 3 months or more). This operation is the worst thing to happen to my ergonomics in a while. There’s NOT a good and comfortable position to be in. There’s just not one I can find. I’m favoring the good leg standing up, the stretched-out bad one makes me slouch in ANY chair, lying down, I’ve got to prop, and that stresses everything, have to put one leg up in bed to type, etc…

It hurts to stand up, too – that is, the blood rushing into my lower leg is uncomfortable. Hopefully this all gets a lot better soon.

What hurts most (now, this is before I’ve started PT, folks) is using the toilet in the sitting-down mode. Because of the Lortab, it’s REALLY past time to go when it’s time, so my head hurts. I’ve typically laid off the Lortab to get to this point anyway, so the knee hurts, too. It’s uncomfortable with or without the extension – just in different places. Because I have to keep the braced leg straightened out, I have to slouch (kills my back, especially slowly descending into the slouch with crutches), and I have to sit funny on the seat and it pinches my skin near the brace. Getting up makes it all hurt worse. Have nearly fallen a couple times (once it would’ve been bad). By the time I’m back up, I realize my pain is out of the control zone, and I’ll have to lie there and throb for an hour before it’s OK again. Took a prop-pillow in with me this morning, and it moderated the back pain only slightly. Not pretty – sorry. Some of you readers may need to know this and try to make life easier for yourselves in advance.

What’s most difficult

…is controlling my temperature (again, this is before PT). I’ve already discussed it, but it’s an ongoing hassle to stay in a good zone for me. Crutching around gets me quite hot. I lie down, put on the ice pack, and am freezing in minutes (this IS the way the radiator in your car works – the ice cools the blood that flows all through me, and I get cold.) For a blissful hour or two this afternoon, the icepack kept my carefully-propped knee cool, while the afternoon sun heated my toes under the black fleece blanket. Wish this’d happen more. May try a heating pad at my feet.

What sucks most

…is the ergonomics (yeah, yeah, before PT). If I could design something, I’d put a glass bookcase over my head in such a way that I could lay my laptop on it, screen-down and plug in an external keyboard with pointing device which I’d hold in my lap. Could lay flat in bed and work that way. Maybe I should’ve checked out a head-mounted display (I only need 800×600…).

Oh, yeah, my upper arms hurt. This is probably my muscles reacting to all the crutching, so maybe I’ll end up with arms like the buff cop I saw this morning – would be a nice outcome!

So where are you going with this elaborate diary?

I’ve tried to write a lot here, and it does take a lot of time. I expect to be able to continue working on entries this week (while I’ve got to keep the knee iced and up…), but once I’m back to regular work (which could happen soon), there’ll be a lot less time, so you should expect sporadic updates at that point.