Dougal Campbell's geek ramblings

WordPress, web development, and world domination.

Knee Surgery

About 16 or 17 years ago, I injured my knee in a job-related incident. Being young and stupid, and not really understanding insurance and workers compensation very well, I never got around to doing anything about it, beyond using crutches for a while until I could walk without them again. My doctor at the time recommended that I get it scoped for a better look at  what the damage was, but like I said, I was young and stupid, and so I put it off.

As a result, over the years my knee has mostly been okay, but occassionally it would “lock up”, requiring me to do odd manipulations of my knee joint to “unlock” it. Sometimes I would twist my knee while doing some physical activity, which would cause it to become swollen and painful for anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Like last year, when I re-injured it while playing on a church softball team, and it was stiff for about three weeks. When that happened, I ended up getting a doctor to take a closer look, and an MRI revealed that I had a torn ACL and possibly some damage to the meniscus. My doctor recommended surgery, which I knew I was going to have to break down and do eventually, but I put it off again, hoping to find some extended vacation period where I could recover without disrupting my job and household too much.

So, as normal day-to-day things go, it wasn’t a problem. But I knew I had to avoid a lot of activities, including many forms of exercise, which is obviously not a good thing, and is at least a part of why I am a lot more overweight than I’d like to be. And being overweight means that put more wear-and-tear on my knees. It’s a vicious circle.

With some encouragement from my wife, and the realization that there was just never going to be a really “good time” to do it, I finally scheduled the surgery, which I underwent yesterday. So here I am, laid up in the bed, with a “Game Ready” leg wrap that circulates cold water around my knee, a bunch of pillows propping my leg up, and a regimen of Cephalexin (antibiotic) and Oxycodone (pain killer, which is about to send me to snoozy land, shortly). It’s been well over 24 hours since the surgery, and parts of my leg are still numb. At least I can finally move my foot and wiggle my toes again. Not being able to wiggle my toes was driving me nuts! It doesn’t sound so bad, but think of what it’s like when your circulation gets cut off and your foot falls asleep, and it’s like a piece of dead rubber hanging off the end of your leg. Now imagine that your whole leg is like that, and it won’t wake back up. It’s a bit disconcerting.

I’m going to be on crutches for four weeks, with strict orders not to put any pressure on my right leg, and I’m supposed to start physical therapy as soon as possible. I plan to do everything they tell me to do, because I’m looking forward to eventually being able to do normal activities again — swimming, biking, maybe even Tae Kwon Do again one day.

I’m fortunate to have a good support system here. Between my wife, her parents, and her brother, I’ve got a pretty good amount of help on a daily basis. And this week, we have a nephew coming up to help out, and the week after that my mom will be driving up to help out. I can’t imagine what someone without close family and friends nearby would do.

Kids, take this advice from good old Uncle Dougal — be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

About Dougal Campbell

Dougal is a web developer, and a "Developer Emeritus" for the WordPress platform. When he's not coding PHP, Perl, CSS, JavaScript, or whatnot, he spends time with his wife, three children, a dog, and a cat in their Atlanta area home.
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7 Responses to Knee Surgery

  1. Glad you got it taken care of. Be good to yourself.

  2. Robert Cain says:

    Wow, I just figured the Digital Diva kicked you in her sleep or something. Just be sure to remember to bounce your youngest on your OTHER knee!

    Get well soon!

  3. Digital Diva says:

    No, no – if I had kicked him, it would’ve been his *left* knee that was injured, not his right, cause I sleep to his left.

    On the plus side, it’s over and done with and Dougal is on the road to recovery. On the down side, while he mentioned “be kind to your knees”, he did not mention that he’s got a lot of physical therapy ahead (i.e., *pain*), and he didn’t mention all the logistics we are still figuring out as to showering, etc.

    Oh well – at least this will definitely prepare us for when we’re little old people (or should I say, a little older people?) and need to take care of each other. 🙂

  4. james b says:

    I remember when that happened to you vaguely.
    I think I told you to take workmans comp then. but oh well. too bad you are going to miss my bday party. hope you get better soon.

  5. james b says:

    btw Geof F. Morris you look like a skinny version of that guy from bluestraveller in that hat.

  6. Molly says:

    Thank you for posting your blog and reporting on your progress. It is so helpful to those of us who are going through similar trauma. I had several knee surgeries in the past 18 months following a fall from my bike (lateral release March 2007, PCL/MCL reconstruction October 2007, MUA with lysis of adhesions March 2008). I’m 52 years old and not a star athlete. As of 9 months reconstruction post-op, I can ride my road bike 40+ miles at a pop, take several indoor cycling and flexibility classes each week, can go up and down stairs almost normally, and can walk without hesitation on uneven ground. I was non-weight-bearing for 6 weeks. You will get better; it’s a two-steps-forward/one-step-back kind of recovery. Don’t let the down days get to you – there’s always a good day coming up! I have a log of my experiences that I can email you if you are interested in reading it. I learned a lot about how to manage daily activities during the recovery process, and have documented my tips in my log.

  7. Darin says:

    Yeah, I’ve had a ACL (knee surgery) about 15 years ago. Just a few months ago
    I was mopping a floor and I made a weird turn and I instantly felt a
    pain on the knee I previously had surgery on. I let about 2 weeks go by
    and still notice a constant sour pain.

    <b>Nut shell</b> – I torn my ligament (knee) and needed surgery. Also, had lots
    of scaring tissue from previous surgery. Anyway, I made sure my
    orthopaedic surgeon was a renown surgeon in knee surgery etc. One of the
    things he told me was that once you have knee surgery you will probably
    need to have it again within 10-20 years and so on. So yes, take care
    of your knees.



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