Sorry I’ve been away for so long, I’ve been away climbing and stuff before my surgery. I’ll get onto that another time, but for now its time to talk about what ACL reconstruction surgery is like.
Thursday 9th March
My admission time was 1230, which meant no eating after 0800 and no drinking anything after 12. With that in mind the double sausage and egg mcmuffin for breakfast went down quite well.
We arrived around 1200 and I was shown up to my room. For the next hour or so various people came by to introduce themselves and repeatedly check my name, DOB, and allergies. Finally, the surgeon Mr Learmonth came by for my consent and any final questions and I was good to go. It’s worth mentioning here what a warm, friendly and communicative person Mr Learmonth is. I definitely felt like I was in good hands.
I walked up to surgery in my dressing down where I met the very friendly staff up there. I was very grateful for one bloke in particular, who was nice and chatty and put my completely at ease. With a final ‘we’re putting you to sleep now’ and some nervous giggles I was off.
I came round about 2 hours later at 1630 shivering. My knee hurt. A lot. Some morphine and warm blankets soon sorted that out. I also realised I wasn’t immobilised, which I took to mean that my previous meniscus repair had been successful and didn’t need any more work. After around 45 minutes of drifting in and out I was eventually wheeled upstairs. I felt pretty sick,a side effect of the general anaesthetic that was to be expected. At some point Mr Learmonth popped in and confirmed everything had went well and my meniscus was OK, though the scar tissue was still a little soft.
I spent the rest of the evening drifting in and out of sleep, trying to eat and getting my knee well iced. My knee still had a drain in it and my other leg had some kind of device that would randomly inflate and deflate, which made it quite difficult to sleep. I also had the pleasure of peeing into a bottle whilst lying down, which proved somewhat awkward.
Friday 10th March
After a broken nights sleep, I was feeling pretty good in the morning. The pain was nowhere near as bad as I was expecting to be honest and definitely not as bad as my meniscus repair surgery. My Learmonth popped in pretty early at around 0730, had a look at my leg, checked how well I could move it and said I’d be able to leave later that day as expected.
The next visit was from the physio, who took me out for a walk. I was on two crutches, but fully weight bearing. I couldn’t believe it. I went for a hobble around and practiced going up and down a flight of stairs. All the exertion was a little much though, as i felt quite faint afterwards. The instructions from her were as follows: keep the leg elevated at the heel to help extension, heel slides, extensions (pressing the knee into the bed), standing calf raises and mini-squats.
Then came the worst bit. Time to get the drain out. I hadn’t been in much pain so far, but that was about to change. I can honestly say its the most painful thing I’ve ever been through, but with gritty teeth, hyperventilating and some emotional support I managed (and gradually accepted some morphine afterwards). It took me until after lunch, and some anti-sickness medicine to feel well enough to go home, but at around 1500 I left with a load of paperwork, some sexy stockings and a bag full of drugs.
- Take some comfy clothes, especially some roomy comfy shorts that are easy to get on and off
- Take a small selection of snacks, if you feel sick like me you won’t know what you want to eat
- don’t be modest about the amount of pain you’re in, especially when it comes to getting a drain removed.
And finally, a big thank you to the staff at BMI the Edgbaston hospital and of course my wonderful girlfriend Nic for all her help and support.