I’ve kept my Ganesha with me all week. He came to the hospital for my knee surgery Tuesday. He’s moved to my nightstand at bedtime to help me sleep. After overdoing it with work on Wednesday, I’ve kept him nearby during the days too. I chose Ganesha because of the Hindu meaning behind this figure. He’s known as the remover of obstacles, but the true translation in Hindu says that he creates the faith to remove obstacles and doubts by pointing to the spiritual side of all things. Carrying around this tiny symbol doesn’t mean that I think it will make things go my way. Rather, it’s a reminder to myself to have faith, not dwell on pain and instead look toward recovery.
Even if it means wearing these sexy, anti-swelling socks in the 90-degree heat.
My surgery was Tuesday afternoon and went smoothly. Prior to being wheeled into the operating room, I asked the doctor about the knee brace I would need to wear for the next six weeks. Mentally, I prepared for it to be the full length of my leg and immobilizing. He told me that I would be able to put weight on my leg and should start bending it right away, so the brace would be small enough to allow both of those things. I lit up and cheered, “Then let’s get this show on the road!”
The doctor removed a lot of damaged cartilage and did a lateral release on my knee cap. Anatomically, my knee caps sit more toward the outside of my knee than they should, so the release moved the knee cap to the center. I also believe this reduced or solved the bone-on-bone issue, but I didn’t get to talk details with the doctor post surgery. I should know for sure after my follow-up appointment next week.
I was pretty with it for the rest of the afternoon. We immediately went to the doctor’s office to get the brace, which is amazingly small! It’s really just meant to keep my knee cap in its new place. I hadn’t used crutches before, but was able to coordinate walking with them right away. I didn’t even need a nap when we got home. I slept fine through the first night and each night since. I expected to wake up in pain since the medication would wear off during the night, but I haven’t yet.
The second day was the toughest. I was in good spirits for most of the morning because I was surprised that I felt fine and could move around the house with ease. Being hot was my biggest complaint, which was pretty amazing. But I got tired in the afternoon and frustrated at how many trips it took me to move water, my computer and any medicine into a new room. Sitting at my desk did not go well and brought on a lot of pain even though I put my leg on another chair. I should have taken a nap, but I’d taken on a few tasks for work and I wanted to get them done.
I tried to not set as high of expectations for myself on day three. I stayed on the couch all day, where a couch cushion is the perfect prop for my leg. I felt clearer in terms of being caught up with my work and what I missed during my days off…and I had a helper stop by to get lunch for me and refill my awesome ice machine that plugs into the wall and flushes icy water around my knee. After work I took a two hour nap in preparation to have the energy to shower for the first time. I took off the bandage, which wasn’t gross at all, and got a chance to check out my battle scars for the first time – just two dots. If I had this surgery 10 years ago when I first damaged the cartilage, they would have done exploratory surgery to get to the spot. Arthroscopic surgery has come so far since then and I may not have the scars to prove it!
I’m practicing doing some leg lifts and other minor physical therapy moves, which are getting easier every day. Of course, I’m being really careful not to do overdo it because I want to dance down that aisle in October! I plan to blog about my recovery and hopefully a return to physical activity over the next few months, so stay tuned!