My knee, my knee, my knee. The nurse thinks I'm confused. She tells me that I had ankle surgery, not knee surgery. I tell her I know that, but right now I have no feeling in my ankle and my knee is killing me. She pushes pain medication into my IV and tries to make me comfortable. As the nerve block wore off on my ankle that day, so did the pain in my knee. The pain in my ankle was excruciating, therefore masking the pain I had in my knee. It was not an easy night in the hospital. As if hurting from the surgery wasn't enough, I had a bad reaction to the general anesthesia making it very hard to breathe. I developed strider. Every breath was short and raspy. My oxygen intake was low. I had on an oxygen mask and it wasn't working. The nurses had to give me a shot of epinephrine which caused my heart rate to go insanely high. It felt like my heart was going to beat right out of my chest. Luckily, the one shot of epinephrine opened up my airway, and I was able to breathe normal again. To this day, I never want another shot of epinephrine.
Before I left the hospital the next day, I told the nursing staff the top of my foot was burning. I was told the dressing was probably wrapped too tight. So before I left, the dressing was loosened. For the next week, I watched a lot of movies, worked on homework and tried to recover. The top of my foot was still burning. As my mom usually does, she takes things into her own hands when she thinks something is not right; so, she called my family doctor. He prescribed me antibiotics just in case I had an infection. Good thing! The next day when I saw the surgeon, he took the dressing off to assess my ankle and to his surprise, the top of my foot was infected. I had cellulitis; a type of bacterial infection on the skin. Luckily we caught it early, and I was only on antibiotics for 7-10 days (I have a scar from that darn infection). For the next 6 weeks, I was on crutches and in a cast.
|The reality of everything I have been through the past 5 months sinking in|
|Attempting to play soccer while on crutches|
As physical therapy progressed, and we tried putting the crutches to the side to work on weight bearing exercises such as walking, squats, balancing on one leg etc. all of a sudden the knee pain I had when I woke up from surgery returned. I thought to myself, this couldn't possibly be happening. I've had enough of being injured; all I want is to get back to "normal". Since my right knee kept swelling by the end of every pt appointment, my physical therapist advised I go back to my orthopedic and have my knee evaluated. So off to the doctor. Again.
I saw my orthopedic a couple weeks later. My ankle was doing great. Yay! However, when I told him I was having sharp pains in my knee, my doctor didn't think it was at all possible to have injured it. He kept trying to tell me that my knee was hurting probably because of my ankle. I wasn't buying this reason. He then went on to imply, I was saying my knee hurt in order to get pain medication from him. Are you kidding me?!? Pain med seeking?? For one, I had medication leftover from my ankle and two, I feel awful on pain medication. Why in the world would I make something up to get medicine I don't feel good on? It was the farthest thing from the truth. Since I wouldn't drop the issue, and kept being persistent that there was something more going on, he told me to see his associate who specializes in knees and dismissed me from his care.
When I went with my mom to see the knee specialist, he initially didn't think there was a problem. I told him I wasn't able to walk without using at least one crutch. I would swell after any exercise, and something was in the joint causing my knee to lock. He decides to order an MRI. Well, would you imagine that. The results showed there was reason for my symptoms. This means back to the operating room for surgery. My patella (knee cap) was being pulled out to the side because the tissue was too tight so the doctor performed a lateral release. There was also an enlarged plica (swollen tissue) that was getting caught in the joint which caused my knee to lock, so that was removed. Luckily, this surgery wasn't nearly as invasive as my ankle. As one could imagine, when I ran into my ankle doctor at the office after knee surgery, I gave him an uncomfortable stare right into his eyes and he put his head down and walked into a room without even saying a word to me. I think his ego dropped a few points that day because he knows he was wrong. Anyways, I wore a knee immobilizer for 2 week but began physical therapy 3 days after surgery. Physical therapy absolutely sucked that soon after surgery. I worked really hard and was off of crutches by the end of June. Success.
I didn't know it then, but the "impossible" medical journey had begun. As I continued going to PT, I found I couldn't do all of the exercises due to sharp pain in the back of my right hip. It turns out when I landed from that jump back in September, I damaged my right ankle, right knee, and right hip all at once. Since I wasn't allowed to put any weight on my ankle for so long I never knew I injured anything else until physical therapy started. It was now only a matter of time before going to the orthopedic to figure out what was wrong with my hip. Now the real fun was to begin because the injuries that were soon to be discovered were certainly rare and bizarre.