This weekend my knee felt pretty good so my sister and I went for one tenth of a 5 mile run. I was shocked that my breathing was fine. It felt really good to be out there – well until the muscles around my knee started seizing up. The tightening knee muscles were slightly discouraging so, on Sunday’s Hot Buttered Run I only ran the 5k instead of the 12k with Andrew. I ran it in 30:02 which is not bad considering I haven’t run in 3 months. My muscles did not seize – I knew right then my ACL had healed itself and I was not going to need to have surgery. I couldn’t wait for my surgery consult the next day when I could tell the doctor that I am sorry I wasted his time.
So – it seems that when you tear your ACL it is very possible to run without pain because as long as your knee doesn’t do lateral stability movements, or pivoting, or twisting, or the Macarena you don’t really use it. The surgeon went through my MRI film with me (or possibly a Rorschach test). After assuring me that it was a series of pictures of my knee and not my uterus, and yes he was sure, and yes he actually would be able to tell the difference, and no my knee does not look pregnant to him – had me tell him my injury story then told me to stop telling people that I dislocated my knee.
“It’s a technical term. What you should say is that you blew out your ACL.”
I found that weird because, while the only thing that qualifies me to be a doctor is that I am a Jew (it’s mostly the same thing), I do know words. And, it seems to me, that the best way to describe the point in time when the bones of my knee where not in the proper location for my knee to work would be to use the word dislocated.
Then the surgeon told me that a person can get on without their ACL but not if that person wants to have the active lifestyle I have that includes such activities as trampoline dodgeball. “So, I think you are going to say yes to surgery.”
Then I asked a bunch of questions that ended with the money question – “When?”
“Well, here at the VA….”
Apparently there is a year and a half to two year wait list.
“*However, in looking at your MRI, when you injured yourself and disloc – er – I mean blew out your ACL you also injured your meniscus. Here look at more MRI pictures of your knee. See this bright line here? That’s a tear that I think I can repair. See this shape right here? Doesn’t it look a bit like a rabbit? No? You see a castle? hmmm.
“The point is, I think this meniscus tear is repairable. Also, if we don’t repair it for two years it is liable to be irreparable. Therefore, I can put you on an expedited list for surgery. So it is a really good thing that while you were dislo – almost got me there – blowing out your ACL you also injured your meniscus in a repairable way. Good trampoline-dodgeball-klutziness!”**
I will be getting my ACL reconstruction surgery at the end of January or early February 2012. The recovery time for this is 6 to 9 moths. I have been taken off of weight bearing and bent-knee exercising.
*[quotation marks may be an exaggeration]
**[quotation marks may be mostly holiday decoration]