I Hope My Story Helps Someone Avoid My ACL Journey.....

by Cherie

As I sit here in my wheelchair, contemplating what the next few weeks and months hold for me I am reading everyone's story here on Sport's Injury Info trying to find some information that will help me get through this.....

My story initially began on Thanksgiving Day, 2008. Me and hubby were cleaning and getting ready for everyone to arrive that evening when I fell in an awkward turn move. My knee hurt really bad but I didn't want to ruin our holiday so I limped through it all and made the best of it. I was 51-yrs-old at the time. I really believed I had just sprained my knee and that with time it would heal. By January of 2009 my knee was much better but it stayed swollen all the time and it felt like there were parts inside that moved some times when I made certain movements. I went to my regular doctor, who sent me to an Orthopedic Surgeon (OS), who sent me for an MRI.

When the OS saw the MRI he told me he was shocked and had to double-check to make sure that the MRI he was reading was actually my MRI. Seems my ACL basically tore off right at the upper portion of the knee joint, it was bad and he was surprised I had managed to go so long with a knee like that. His recommendation was ACL reconstruction. NO WAY, when I fell on Thanksgiving Day I was just 6-weeks post-op from major surgery. Now here it was only 3-months later and I was not ready to face another major surgery. What else you got Doc? He said that since I was not involved in sports, nor had any intention of starting any high impact activities that Physical Therapy was an option...however, I needed to be diligent with the rehab and if I were to EVER injure my knee again it might be much worse. I took the PT option and did that at the Rehab clinic for about 4-months.

They told me I would need to keep doing the exercises FOREVER to keep my thighs and knee supporting tissues strong, but after a couple of months I felt so good, I was just too busy to do the exercises any more.......BAD DECISION

Fast Forward about 18-months....knee still felt good with only a few times when I felt a slight shift inside. No major pain....just keep on truckin...

February 3, 2010.....the DAY was a great day....until that night when I went to get something from our attic. We have the good sturdy drop down attic stairs and I've been up and down them countless times, this time was different though. I was descending and had reached the 3rd or 4th step from the bottom of the stairs when my "bad knee" went completely out from under me. I fell HARD onto the cement floor of our garage. My knee was in intense pain, my whole body hurt from the fall and the cement floor was cold. I was all alone at home, with no phone within reach, no one to hear me shout, nothing. I was in pain, scared and praying for the Lord to help me and get me up. My prayer was answered and within a few minutes I was able to get myself up with my good leg and hop into the house to get an ice pack and call my daughter. I knew it was really bad
this time.

The next morning, I called the OS....the same one I had seen almost exactly 2-years ago for an immediate appointment. My husband went and got me crutches but my body was so sore that crutches were painful to use as well -- plus I'm no good on them and I'm now scared I will fall again.

The OS was booked solid so I saw his Nurse on Friday (2/5/10), had x-rays (no broken bones thankfully) and received the paperwork and appointment for a new MRI. The MRI is this coming Wednesday (2/10/10). Once I have the MRI I will then be able to make a followup appointment with the OS and get back in to see him.

My knee is in bad shape, I can't put any pressure on that leg. I can straighten my leg out partially, and bend it partially so that's good but I am bound....home bound, couch bound, wheelchair bound, you get the point. I'm using a borrowed wheelchair in my home and just use the crutches to transition from one-place-to-another as needed.

I don't know exactly what the MRI will show but I know that this new journey has just begun. Just from how my knee feels I think that I have damaged something else in addition to the ACL and the words of the OS ring in my ears from two years ago (when he cautioned me about the perils of having essentially NO ACL and what could happen without reconstructive surgery).

I decided to enter my journey on to this post for two reasons; FIRST; I really want to encourage everyone out there who has a SEVERE injury to their ACL (like I did to begin with) to get the surgery, don't put it off and think that you will never have to face it again. I have been very careful all this time and mindful of my knee. I never expected it to just completely fail like it did though.

SECOND; I am scared to tears! I need those of you who have had this surgery and can share PAIN MANAGEMNT information with me to do so. Did the doctor, or hospital do anything that really made the pain more manageable for you? I have a really low tolerance for pain and I am ALLERGIC to most all the pain meds they give you; codiene and all it's derivatives, Vicodin, Hydrocodone, Darvon, Darvocet, etc. When I had major surgery in the Fall of 2008 I was in the hospital for 4-days and they had to give me Morphene in the hospital and then my Doctor prescribed Talwin for me at home. Talwin is not a drug that doctors want to prescrib though I don't know why as the other drugs are addictive just like Talwin is if you take it for too long.

PLEASE if you know of anything that helped you manage your pain I would be very grateful. I need all the help I can get. I know it might sound strange but I wish they WOULD keep me in the hospital for the first 3-days so they can give me what I need to mange the pain. I don't look forward to the PT or the pain that comes with that either, but I am most worried about the surgery and the pain of the first week or so.

Thank you for taking time to read my journey and thank you for all your help!

C. Bell

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