A week ago today I went under the knife to have a lateral meniscal tear shaved on my right knee, a terrifying step but one that in my opinion needed to be done.
I had spent 6 weeks using my foam roller, cross training and strengthening the muscles to support my knee hoping that this would be enough but sadly it wasn’t, so after much discussion with my surgeon (he specialises in just the knee, deals with a lot of sports people and seemed to think it quite normal to run across America) and various other runners who have had the same procedure done I felt it was the only way I would have any chance of running 2,831 miles in April.
HWMBO took me into the hospital in the morning; we were confronted with a whole reception full of other people waiting to be signed in for their various ops – all looking quite miserable, so I tried to smile and look relaxed (not easy). Eventually we were taken upstairs and then in pairs taken to our respective rooms. I was in room number 16 which had a great view across the Kent countryside. There I waited to be seen by the anaesthetist followed by the surgeon who thankfully marked my leg so he knew which one he was operating on!!
To add insult to injury I have to wear these awful surgical stockings for two weeks to prevent a DVT. Not a good look but better to be safe than sorry.
All quite easy so far! I was second on the list which meant less worrying on my part. I had to giggle when the nurse asked for a urine test in order to give me a pregnancy test – I did say that I had gone through the menopause so not a chance of me being pregnant. Apparently they have to test everyone from the age of 12 to 65! I was delighted to find out that I wasn’t pregnant (can you imagine having to break the news to HWMBO had it been positive!)
I walked to the operating theatre where I had a good old chat to the anaesthetists who seemed to know all about my running (showed they read the notes – PHEW) and said they were looking forward to tracking me during my run across America. It was lovely to have no negativity about my running considering I was having a knee procedure done. After being pumped full of drugs and attempting to count to 10 I then woke up in the recovery room feeling great except for a painful throbbing coming from my right knee. Once the staff were happy I was fully awake and firing on all cylinders they took me back up to the ward. (I have to say I don’t remember that bit!)
The surgeon popped in to see me informing me all had gone well and he would see me in 6 weeks. I asked when I could begin running and he said I could give it a go (if my leg felt OK) just before my 6 week appointment. The nurse came in and got me to stand up and walk. This felt very odd and initially I thought I would need crutches but after trying a few times decided I could do this by my self (I even walked out of the hospital) She also gave me a series of 4 exercises I have to do 2-3 times a day to straighten the knee as well as get full range of movement back.
I think what I found most frustrating was that no one was able to tell me when I could start exercising again, how much to do etc, surely they must deal with other runners who ask the same questions as me? It’s very easy to go back too quickly and mess up all the good work. My goal is America so want to get this right.
Luckily for me a fellow runner Ben, who I had raced with in Sweden and is also an Associate Clinical Professor, Trauma, Academic Orthopaedics, Trauma and Sports Medicine contacted me and has given me some valuable information and put me in contact with another guy who deals with sports injuries who is also going to help me; I’m thrilled, I love the running community. Through Kent University I have also been given the use of their Alter G Treadmill, this will be an amazing asset to my recovery.
Although I still can’t run or cross train I continue to do my exercises, walking as much as I can, ice and of course rest (resting will aid recovery) and try not to take any pain killers although that doesn’t always work.
Thinking I was being clever I ordered a hula hoop as I thought this would be an exercise I could do but sadly at the moment it”s being used by everyone else as the hip movement will put too much of a twist through my knee. However, once I’m OK I will be attempting to hula hoop as it was something I was never very good at so time to learn a new skill.
Progress is slow but steady and each day my knee feels a tad better so all good. On the positive side I have loads of time to work on my American trip!
Hope you’re training is going well and you’re enjoying this marvellous weather.