Days 1-3 Post Op
I’ve made it through surgery and now have the daunting task of recovery and rehabilitation. I went into surgery on Wednesday March 22nd around lunchtime. I wasn’t too terribly hungry before but I did have to stop eating and drinking at midnight the night before surgery. This article: Days 1-3 Post Op , will break down surgery day, coming home and what the first few days entailed. If you’ve got ACL surgery ahead for you then please use this as a means to relate and to rest assured knowing that so many other people have done this before. We can do this.
Chris and I arrived at the hospital (we luckily live 10 minutes away, so the commute wasn’t something we had to worry about), and checked in with the front desk. Within 10 minutes I was back at my patient bay getting my IV and answering a the same round of questions for my nurse, and several other doctors, PAs and nurses. This time went by slowly, but within an hour and a half they were wheeling my back to my OR. I don’t remember much after the anesthesia kicked in and in what seemed like no time I was back awake. I devoured two packets of Teddy Bears and two Apple Juices. The pain was kicking in and I started my pain meds. I was able to change back into normal clothes and didn’t have to mess with this insanely large brace or ice machine under it. After an hour or so, Chris was able to take me home.
Days 1-3 Post Op:
Day 1 post op was a bit of a blur. Lots of pain meds, Food Network (I love napping to any show on the Food Network) and sleeping while running my ice machine 24/7. Chris made pasta from Blue Apron for dinner, but I barley had an appetite to eat much at all. Then I fell asleep at 8pm. What a day.
Day 2 was filled with much more pain. I took my pain meds to the full amount allowed. In the middle of the night, my body would wake me up an hour before my pills were due because of the pain. It wasn’t fun. If you’re currently on this day then please know that I feel for you and send you my condolences. It sucks. No way to sugarcoat it. Lots of sleeping otherwise. 3 rounds of PT exercises at home when I was able to muster through the pain and exhaustion. PT exercises were: 10-15 reps of quad sets, heel slides, ankle/heel pumps, and leg lifts. 3x per day. My quad is firing pretty well, but with my leg locked in extension in a brace 24/7 I am having a hard time bending my knee (flexion).
Day 3 brought much less pain. I still slept a lot, but I was also able to stay awake enough to watch full episodes of TV shows and have conversations.I was able to shower today and to reduced my pain meds. I even had a friend over. We watched mindless TV which was perfect. I love Bravo. More rounds of PT exercises, constantly utilizing my ice machine and also adding in the CPM manual machine. I’m a fairly boring person these days.
The most important thing to note is that the pain does get better. I felt like there was a balloon inflating inside of my knee on either night 1 or 2 (they blur together at this point), but sleep does help. Sleep has been the biggest aid of all. My body clearly needed to sleep A LOT the first few days and I allowed my body to do so. Yes I fell asleep a few times while trying to watch a TV show with my husband, but giving your mind and body permission to fall asleep is the biggest favor you can do yourself. I also set alarms throughout the night to take my medicine. I read about many people falling behind on their pills and then waking up in intense pain, so I wanted to stay ahead of the game and avoid this.
If you’re just starting the ACL reconstruction journey then welcome. I just went through what I expected to be the scariest part of the journey and came through just fine. It’s not going to be easy from here, but it will get better. My positivity will help make sure of that.