I don't know why people think it's okay to ask the following types of questions:
"What happened to you?"
"So, did you hurt yourself or...?"
"Don't you think you'd be better off in a wheelchair?"
I have been asked all three of these questions since I started walking with my cane. All by adults--not the sweet little cherubs I work with everyday. (Although they will often ask if I hurt my leg. And I expect them to. Children are curious.) What if I had been born this way? What if I had an incurable disease? What if there had been a horrible accident that took the lives of my family? Is that any of their business? As a matter-of-fact, why is it anyone's business why I "walk this way" any how? It's not! So... if you see someone with mobility issues, perhaps the best thing to say is just, "Hello," or "May I hold the door for you?" and leave it at that. I'm not in the business of rehashing the entire story to total strangers, and a simple, "I tore my ACL," is never sufficient. Most people don't even know what that is. So it's really better if people I don't know don't ask.
Now, I've met a lot of great people the last month or so because I have a new job. And when one of those people, someone I work with, someone I see everyday, asks what happened, or how I'm doing, or the often, "Now how did you do that again?" I absolutely don't mind. Most of them know I tore my ACL last year before school ended because people talk, and that's fine. I certainly don't mind if they have follow up questions. But that's totally different than someone I don't know who I'm never going to see again asking, "What happened to you?" I got in a fight with your mama. You should see her!
Okay--rant over. Here's what I can do now that I couldn't do last time I updated this blog: I can go up and down flights of stairs with assistance from a spotter, a.k.a. my husband. I just found this out tonight. We removed the ramp from our front door a few weeks ago and I can go in and out of the house with minor issues. I have been using my cane if I need any help at all, and that's mostly at work because our halls are so long. I also use it first thing in the morning when my knee is pretty stiff. I can get in and out of the shower and the bathtub now. Basically, the only things that are still problematic are walking long distances (like a quarter of a mile would be far for me right now) and standing for too long. This is because I'm still not distributing my weight evenly and it starts to hurt my left leg, my "uninvolved" leg, as it is known.
My extension hasn't gotten much better, despite my best efforts, but my bending is basically normal. My strength is also pretty good, though my quad is still a little weak. I think this is part of what is causing my limp, that and the bend in my knee. I saw my doctor last week and he is concerned about my limp. He took new X-rays and said the placement looks good, but he wants to know why I am limping. I have to see him again in six to eight weeks. He also said I will most likely have arthritis where my meniscus is missing. It already hurts there more than anywhere else, so I'm pretty sure there's no getting around that.
|I'm bringing the cane back into style.|
As for pain, it hurts in my shin a lot while I am walking and/or going up and down steps. My quad hurts sometimes, but most of my pain comes from the inside bottom part of my knee--where they removed a big chunk of my meniscus. I'm not sure if that's why or if it is just a coincidence. If it rains, it hurts more than usual. It's not pleasant, but it is tolerable.
The last thing I wanted to address is just a quick explanation of what an ACL is and what it does. A sweet friend asked me one day if I tore the ACL in my knee or my foot, and it made me realize that some people probably don't know much about the ACL. I certainly didn't until this happened to me. With a popular football player and at least one Olympian recently tearing their ACLs, more people may know, but I really think the more people know, the more likely they are not to injure there ACLs in freak accidents like mine. The ACL is a ligament that runs through the middle of your knee. It goes from the upper-outside of your knee to the lower inside of your knee. There's another ligament that goes the opposite way, but it isn't as important. The ACL's job is to stabilize your knee and keep your bones working together. It's a lot easier to tear your ACL than you might think, and they almost always tear completely when they tear. You can tear it just a little bit, but they don't mend well on their own because not a lot of blood gets to the area, so you will likely have to have it surgically repaired even if it's not a complete tear. I jumped off of bleachers onto uneven ground. I wasn't playing a sport or doing anything where my knee should have pivoted or twisted, which is often what causes a tear. It doesn't necessarily happen because of vigorous activity or anything too athletic. When it did happen, I just assumed that my kneecap had popped out of place, because I had seen that happen to someone before. I had no idea that there was something inside of my knee that could tear and cause such a huge problem for me for so long. So, please, educate yourself about your knees--your ankles, your hips, whatever body parts you'd like to keep working. And be careful. I'm that mom who is always saying "be careful" about this and "be careful" about that. I guess I needed someone to shout to me to be careful!