Saturday, October 1, 2011

Week 2

It's been about a week since I posted. Sorry, but since I have absolutely NO memory I would remind myself to post and forget. Maybe if I had smaller ears things wouldn't slip out so easily...

Well, it's been about a week, like I said, and everything is going extremely well. My first physical therapy wasn't nearly as horrible as we expected, and I could get my leg flat almost immediately. I know it doesn't sound like much, but that's really good. Amazing the things I get excited about. If I could have, I would have jumped up and down! That Monday we got me home, which was great. I won't be getting upstairs to my own room for at least fifteen more days (yes, I'm counting down). For the first week I made big strides every day, like improving on the crutches, as well as getting higher degrees on the CPM.

My PT is great. We love the therapist, and I'm also doing pretty darn well, if I do say so myself (and I do). I do my exercises at least three times a day. I have to move the kneecap around (which creeps out Mom), and Mom or Dad (never my brother) hold it and bend my leg. Surprisingly, that one doesn't hurt at all, and it feels really good once it's stretched out. There are several others, including stretches, heel slides, and leg lifts. The heel slides are my least favorites, but they aren't horrible.

We were also pleased at how much I have been able to get out of the house. The picture shows me at my brother's soccer game earlier today (the things I do for him; my left foot FROZE!). i have also been able to go to the library (yup, I'm a geek and proud of it), and church and other places.

Before the surgery, Doc said that most people actually looked forward to having the next knee done as soon as the first one was over (if it doesn't make sense, re-read it. As Mom says, "I'm not repeating myself!"). The first weekend, I was very much the opposite. I was sick and blacking out on Saturday, which sucked (No, really?). But after that it improved. By now, I don't even think about getting up, it's so easy. Haha, it'll be so weird to just stand up without crutches or a brace or some annoying contraption on my leg. All of these braces and machines and ankle weights and EVERYTHING have velcro. I AM SICK OF VELCRO! Ugh, with the right knee brace and the left one they stick together and it's like one of those Harry Potter curses. Anyway, everything is going really well. Two more weeks and I'll be able to do half-weight. Then about two more weeks and I'll be all weight, and then eight months and I should be back to normal. Wow, not long at all, right?


Curly Girl :P

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Day 1 and Day 2 Post-Op

More Day 1: So I guess I really wasn't totally miserable. I couldn't feel my leg at all, definitely a good thing. Thursday evening, I had eaten a turkey sandwich, a bag of potato chips, and lots of Sprite. I only barfed once, just after getting into recovery. Friday morning I had a bagel, applesauce, and milk. The milk made me very happy, because that is seriously ALL I drink when I have my own way. :) The meds had knocked me out overnight, but nurses came in regularly to make sure I hadn't started jumping on the bed (haha).
Getting in the car did make me nervous however. When I first sat up that morning I was very dizzy, but I was told to just sit on the side of the bed for a few minutes. I used crutches to get to the wheelchair, only about three steps, and they wheeled me to the car. Our minivan was right next to the sliding doors, so that was easy (picturing a red Staples button). I slid in behind the drivers seat, and pulled myself across so that I was behind the passenger seat. My leg was stretched across, and we propped it up in the middle with pillows and duffel bags.
We had decided before hand to go to my grandparent's house for the weekend, because there are stairs no matter which way you go at our house. I used crutches to get in, and sat right down on the sofa. I was feeling pretty good, so I had some applesauce and pudding. We were worried about nausea, so we had had them give me some nausea medication through the IV. Luckily, not having full anesthesia seemed to help that, though Saturday was tougher. But that's later.
Also when we got home I was told to start using the CPM machine pretty soon. I have to say, I was terrified of moving the leg in any way, much less bending it. But we got it in there, and I started on ten degrees. It was painful, but only on the side, where the reconstruction incisions were. The nerve block only blocked one of the three nerves in my leg, covering only the osteotomy, so from the beginning I could feel the inside of my knee. My directions were to use the machine at least eight hours a day, more if I could. I ended up sleeping with it at ten degrees Friday night.
DAY 2: I woke up Saturday morning feeling okay. I hadn't sat up yet, and that would be the real test, but staring at the ceiling wasn't horrible. Every four hours overnight I had taken two Oxicodone. For those of you that have been lucky enough to never had it, it One of these babies is enough to make you dizzy, nauseous, and not be able to concentrate. Two of them, well, let's just say I couldn't even tell which way was up. So we sat me up, and within seconds I was blacking out and puking all at the same time. I lay back down, and stayed that way until Dad made it over later on. That time it was even worse, but I didn't barf again afterward. Using crutches, I moved to the living room, where I stayed for the rest of the day. There was a football game on that day, so my brother and Dad stayed for that. Later that evening, the Oxicodones really kicked in, and my parents used it for a teaching moment, saying this is what a hangover and a high feel like. I will never, ever touch the stuff. That was my Saturday, nothing overly exciting. I used the CPM for around ten hours, though it was set relatively low. The key with that is just not to let the leg stiffen up. If it does, it's hell. At the top, there's a picture of my x-ray, showing two of the four screws in my leg. Those are the osteotomy screws, holding together my tibia. Really screwed up, now, aren't I? ;)

Curly Girl Takes Over

I'm Curly Girl, and I'm taking over Mum's blog. On September 15, 2011, and I had a MPFL reconstruction and a Tibial Tubercle Osteotomy. I needed the surgery because I have no trochlear groove in my left knee, which resulted in multiple dislocations and subluxations, meaning a partial dislocation. These stretched out my MPFL (the ligament on the inside of the knee) so much it was barely visible. Long story short, the doctor screwed in a donor hamstring over my MPFL, and moved a bit of my tibia bone. I have four screws, two of which are made of calcium and will dissolve over time. Cool, right? Not really.
Day 1: I was in the hospital until 11 AM on Friday. The nurse showed me everything I needed to know about everything. I had a nerve block, which would make my leg almost completely numb for three days. Because of the numbness, I couldn't lift it, and someone else had to do it for me. We took it out this morning, and I can feel the leg now. Let me just say, pain meds are my friends. I also have a CPM machine which makes me bend the leg. The first week I am supposed to get to 40 degrees, and I made it to 30 this afternoon. I never thought something so simple would be so hard, but I made it. And if you think I couldn't possibly fit anything else on my leg, think again. The Tens machine uses electrical impulses to stimulate muscles and help with pain control. There is also the Polar Care cube, an ice cube which hooks up to my leg and keeps swelling down. I also have a large brace and many wrappings (I look like a mummy), but they are inconsequential.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Curly Girl's Knee Surgery

Curly Girl will have knee surgery consisting of two procedures.

Reasons and Procedures:

Your knee should have a groove which the patella slides in as it moves. The groove in Curly Girl’s left knee is minimal and should be 10 times deeper than it is. Because of this, Curly Girl’s patella is not tracking properly in the groove and has suffered recurrent full and partial dislocations. Since there is not a successful surgery to deepen the groove, the surgeon will perform a medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL) reconstruction to correct this problem. In this procedure, the surgeon will reconstruct Curly Girl’s MPFL ligament, which will hold her patella in place, by grafting a donor ligament onto Curly Girl’s knee. The MPFL ligament must be reconstructed since it is now completely lax from the repeated dislocations. The donor ligament will be secured with absorbable screws. A brief explanation of this surgery is here:

Curly Girl’s knee also aligns incorrectly with her tibia, the lower leg bone, and is offset by several millimeters. To correct this issue, the surgeon will perform a Fulkerson osteotomy, also known as a tibial tubercle osteotomy. A brief animated explanation of this surgery is here: The osteotomy will be held in place with large screws which we may elect to have removed after 8-9 months.

The surgeon feels certain that Curly Girl’s knee issues are due to the structure of her knee, and no amount of physical therapy alone will stop the recurrent dislocations. The surgeon also feels strongly that Curly Girl needs both procedures to ensure a successful outcome.


Curly Girl will spend one night in the hospital. To allow the osteotomy to heal, her left leg may bear no weight for 4 weeks. Along with pain relief, this will be the largest obstacle for us at home since Curly Girl may not climb any stairs for 4 weeks. (Yes, our house is 2-story with her bedroom and both showers upstairs). From weeks 4-6, she can be 50% non-weight bearing and full weight bearing (but possibly with a brace) at 6 weeks. She will begin physical therapy at 3 days post-op and will continue PT for about 6 months. The surgeon said not to expect to play spring soccer (think of it as “gravy” and an outside possibility), but Curly Girl should be able to swim again next summer. The plan is for these procedures to completely stabilize her knee and prevent any future dislocations.