Weeks have flown by, I’m now 9 weeks into ACL recovery. It has been an arduous and uncomfortable process with some lighter moments along the way.
I returned to the office at 4 weeks. I was unpleasantly surprised by how tired I was at the end of the day. The up side was that I loved connecting with our team and delightful practice members again. I felt productive and focused. Life was ‘normal’ and I like it that way. It was a powerful reminder that I’m not ready for retirement.
At this point I was using an ice pack 3 times a day to control discomfort and swelling and gradually increasing my activity level, returning to some careful weight training at home.
At 5 weeks I had a follow up visit with Simon Smith (Orthopaedic Surgeon), I went to my appointment with a prepared list of questions and a generous dollop of apprehension. At that point I still had a noticeable limp and swelling in my knee. I could bend my knee to 97 degrees. My first comment to him was “I have either got unrealistic expectations or my progress is slower than it should be and I’m hoping it is the former”. Simon was quick to reassure that my progress was on track. He also told me that the graft was very strong and that I would literally have to re-injure my knee for it to be damaged. That I wouldn’t damage it doing the sort of controlled exercise I was keen to get into. This did come with a warning, to not push it so far that it became painful and swollen as this would set my recovery back. He finished by encouraging me to be patient with myself, he agreed that surgery of this magnitude takes an emotional toll that can take up to 3 months to remedy. I left his office feeling reassured and optimistic.
A few days later when the temperature hit the low 30’s I attempted a walk along Koombana beach. It was less that a kilometre to the end, so it was with dismay that by the end of the day my ankle was very sore. Clearly this was from the way I was walking. As our annual stay at Smiths Beach was only a week away, I felt down about this as walking on the beach is one of my favourite holiday activities.
Fortunately, I was being well looked after by Dr Justin and Dr Jaquelyn. After an adjustment I went for a remedial massage where Robyn (Robyn Rowlands Massage Clinic) did some serous trigger point work and fascial release into my lower leg and ankle. Within 24 hours I was walking significantly better. I was able to walk up and down steps relatively normally. Yeah!! This was an exciting breakthrough.
At seven weeks I walked the length (2 kilometres) of my favourite beach and back. It wasn’t easy, and I was slow, but I did it. The ocean down there was freezing, the cold on my knee felt unbelievably good. Submerging the rest of myself was a bit more challenging. I was thankful to have Jeff by my side as I was very apprehensive of the movement of the waves and putting too much pressure on my knee.