It's Celeste's Turn column: Lessons learned after knee surgery
The following is an opinion column written by an Echo Press editorial staff member. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press.
On Nov. 18, I had meniscus repair surgery on my left knee. I thought I was prepared, but I was sorely mistaken.
The last two weeks have been physically, emotionally and mentally challenging and I’ve experienced some of the most humbling times of my life.
First off, though, I want to give a huge thank you to Dr. Emily Monroe at Heartland Orthopedic , which is a service of Alomere Health . She is a fantastic surgeon and I was impressed with how responsive she was, and still is, when I message her. She is super friendly, knowledgeable and is an all-around nice person.
I also have to give a shoutout to my physical therapist, Scott Syverson. Even though I may not like some of the exercises he gives me, he is still a great guy who I can tell cares about his clients and wants them to succeed. Like Dr. Monroe, he knows that I have goals and is helping me to reach them.
I have to say my whole experience with all aspects of Alomere Health has been very positive. My husband even got text messages letting him know when surgery started, when it finished, when I was brought to recovery, etc. And, Dr. Monroe called him after surgery and explained everything to him. She told him that my meniscus was about 50% torn, but surgery went well.
So, if you ever have to have meniscus repair surgery, I thought I would share what I’ve learned.
You won’t be able to put any weight on the leg you had surgery on. This means you have to use crutches, a walker or a wheelchair to get around. Luckily, I had crutches, but borrowed both a walker and a wheelchair from my neighbors. Thanks, Hanstads!
You will wear a brace that locks in place and keeps your leg straight for six weeks. You can unlock it when you’re sitting or resting, but when moving around or sleeping, it must be locked straight.
The palms of your hands will get sore from using the crutches and you will have to have really good balance. Luckily, I do – most of the time. If using a walker, you might use it wrong. I do. I sit down and push myself around with my good leg. Apparently, that is a no-no according to the instructions on the walker.
I used the wheelchair once. Although it was very useful for what I needed it for, I have no intentions of using it again. It was very humbling and I have a new respect for anyone who has used one, is using one or will be using one. Life is very different when bound to a wheelchair. A side note to society as a whole: Handicapped accessibility needs to be addressed on so many levels, but honestly, I wouldn’t even know where to begin.
Lastly, there will be very few things you will be able to do by yourself. You're thirsty and need a glass of water? You need to ask for one. The laundry needs to be done, but it is in your basement? You’ll need to have someone else do it. You need to get shoes and socks on? You need someone else to do it for you. You need to take a shower and get ready? You will definitely need help. And, you will need a shower chair (thanks, Scott!). I also found out that a new handheld shower head helps (thanks, Lee!).
It will take you about twice as long to get ready. So no going anywhere in a hurry.
Whatever it is you need or whatever it is that needs to get done, just know you will probably not be able to do it yourself. Someone will have to do it for you. Everything is out of your control. And for those control freaks out there (possibly me), learning to let go may be the hardest lesson learned. Asking for help is another hard lesson. You will feel like a burden. No one will make you feel that way, you will just automatically feel it, trust me.
I know that six weeks is not that long and my situation is temporary, but it will be and has been a challenge.
If you ever find yourself in this same situation or anything similar, feel free to reach out. I have many more tips and tricks I can share.
“It’s Our Turn” is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.