6/28 – 7/6
Surgery on 6/28.
I remember getting wheeled into the operating room, already dosed on a few painkillers and loopy. I remember talking to the nurse and giggling a lot and suddenly, I woke up and my leg felt horrible. They gave me some fentanyl and wheeled me out to my mother and then to the backseat of her car.
Who knew that pain could get this bad. I couldn’t feel my leg, but I could feel a searing knife cutting into it at all times. I had to pop 2 percocets every 3 hours to stop myself from going insane. That pain continued throughout that night into the following night, where it began to dull from excruciating to simply severe. I couldn’t move my leg without sharp, stabbing pains so I laid in bed, trying to use the bathroom as little as possible. To get to the bathroom, I had to use my crutches to carry my drugged out self and hope I didn’t fall (I did. A few times.)
I had to go from the guy who people leaned on, who helped everybody, who never asked for help. To the guy who needed someone to hold his hand through the pain, who needed to be carried around, who had to ask for help to get fed and clothed.
But I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better blessing. If you asked me what my biggest weaknesses were before this, I would tell you I was too prideful, too impatient, too obsessive, too focused on the big picture and willing to let the details slide, too driven. Recovering from this surgery has been all about swallowing my pride, being mind-numbingly patient, paying attention to the tiniest details, figuring out balance, and an opportunity to train my mind and spirit as opposed to my body.
Derrick rose and countless other athletes have compared this surgery and the physical therapy following it to “hell”, “the closest thing to death”, and “I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy.” That is all true, but it is exactly what I needed and when I needed it. Through all of the pain, weakness, and discomfort, I always try to remember that and it keeps a smile on my face.
Now those are my thoughts on that – let’s get down to business. I have had two therapy sessions in the week since my surgery. The number one priority for therapy is to achieve full knee/leg extension and be able to perform leg raises. The first therapy session was only 3 days after and the first time I removed this horrible brace off my leg, temporarily of course. The therapist led me through a list of exercises of which I wasn’t able to really do many of them yet. I couldn’t even do a damn leg raise or bend my knee.
I kept working at all of them, multiple times a day, and I was finally able to get all of them down. I had my 2nd therapy session exactly a week after surgery on 7/5. I have almost achieved my previous level of leg extension which is slightly past hyperextension. The therapist was impressed at how fast my knee is recovering and how much my flexibility and movement has improved. Then gave me a list of harder exercises. Time to get to work on those.
“We all hang on to our sad life stories, thinking that they give us the right to be unhappy. They fucking don’t.”