I have made allusions to it in other recent posts, but if you haven't caught on, I had my third semi-serious (serious? I'm not sure what to call it, but it wasn't minor!) injury to my knee on October 1.
I used to do gymnastics. In March 2006, I tore my meniscus in my right knee while hurdling before a vault. I had surgery (just an arthroscopy- basically, they snipped off the piece of cartilage that had been torn) in late April 06, but it was a really fast recovery- I was walking without crutches the next day, and in physical therapy for only a month. I was able to dance in a recital less than a month after the surgery.
I went back to gymnastics in July 06. My third day back, I tore my meniscus and ACL in my left knee (landing a front handspring... on the Tumbl Trak). I had surgery (meniscus repair and ACL repair- they used a patellar tendon graft and now I have 2 screws in that knee) in September 06. I was in physical therapy for about 7 months, but it wasn't until about a year later- September 07- that I was 100% back to normal (before that, I had to wear a knee brace while dancing and doing other activities). July 06 was the end of my gymnastics "career", although since then I've been able to occasionally go on my backyard trampoline at home- wearing the knee brace, of course, and only doing what I'm confident I can do.
This fall, I joined my college's cheerleading team. I haven't been tumbling (I wanted to, but I knew it wasn't the best idea, at least until I spent a few months really focusing on getting my legs strong).
On October 1 at practice, I was front-spotting a liberty (if you don't speak cheer- click here for a pic) - basically, I was holding the wrists of the girls that were holding the foot of the girl on top). The flyer sort of wobbled, and came right at me. I tried to catch her... and my right knee just buckled. It twisted, or something, and it made a noise- I wanted to say it sounded (and felt) like something had shattered. I stood there shocked and then just collapsed to the floor, crying and in pain. My coach and another cheerleader helped me off the mat (I literally had to hop- my knee was so painful, and so incredibly unstable, that I couldn't put any weight on it at all).
I rode in the ambulance to the ER (which, luckily, was just down the block- literally). They did an xray, and nothing showed up wrong on the xray, so I'm supposed to see an orthopedist this week. But I knew from experience that "no broken bones" isn't always a good thing in terms of injury diagnosis.
But until I saw the orthopedist, I'm in a knee brace and on crutches. I hate being on crutches, but I really couldn't walk without them. The swelling has gone down, but the knee is still REALLY unstable. I couldn't bend my knee all the way, but I couldn't completely straighten it either (my knees normally hyperextend a lot, and I can't do that). The ER doctor prescribed Naprosyn, which helps with the pain and swelling, but by the time it started to wear off (I take it at breakfast and bedtime, so usually midafternoon/dinner) my knee starts to feel really, really sore. I hated being on crutches. I hated not being able to do anything for myself- when I go to the cafeteria, I had to get someone to carry my food for me; if I drop something on the floor, I often need someone else to pick it up for me. All of my classes are on my campus's main quad, which is almost a mile from my dorm. Luckily, I'm able to get rides from campus security (which I am amazingly thankful for), but it sucks having to wait for someone to pick me up and not being able to walk back with my friends.
I saw an orthopedist on October 6. She said my ACL felt "loose", but so did the ACL on my "good knee" (the left knee, which has been reconstructed in 2006). So, she ordered an MRI. I had the MRI on October 9. They weren't able to see anything right away, but there was a ridiculous amount of fluid, they said. On October 12, I got a call from the orthopedist, confirming that I had a torn ACL and (as if that wasn't enough) torn lateral meniscus. I was still on crutches and in the immoblizer, although a few days later I was allowed to exchange the immoblizer for a neoprene sleeve (which made my life SO much easier).
I went home that weekend, and saw my home orthopedist. He brought up the images from my MRI (which I had delivered on a CD), and let me look at them. We tentatively scheduled surgery for a few days after New Years. Oh, and he said I could get off crutches as soon as my quads were strong enough, which they were. So no more crutches, but I did bring them back with me when I went back to college. I also got a hinged knee brace- pretty darn fancy, haha.
Fast forward a week. I was at a club meeting, literally standing around, when I must've taken a bad step, or something, and I felt this sudden, horrible pain on the inside of my knee. I knew I wasn't okay, so my friend helped me get back to my dorm (we were able to get a ride, but she helped me get to the car and then to my room). I was on crutches for the rest of that evening, but was able to walk the next day. Of course, I was in so much pain that I called my parents multiple times, and eventually ended up with prescriptions for Tramadol and Naprosyn.
On Halloween, I took the Tramadol without food (BIG MISTAKE), and felt so sick I couldn't go out (unfortunate, but at least I had been able to go to a costume party the night before).
A few days later, on my way in to work, I slipped and fell, barely avoiding another visit to the ER (the police officer who I waived over to help me actually called an ambulance to come get me, but I didn't actually go to the hospital). I was on crutches the rest of that day, but felt a lot better by the next morning. After I told my home, we talked to my hometown orthopedist and the dean at my college, and decided that it would be best if I could get the surgery earlier, so I'm not scheduled for December 3.
Since then, my pain has been on and off. I do leg exercises a few times a day, after which I ice it. I can't take the stairs normally, but at least my dorm building has an elevator (that only breaks sometimes... ugh). Recently I've been having a lot of pain in my shin. I'm not sure why. Ice helps, though. Since the surgery is so near, I can't take anti-inflammatories (that is, Naprosyn or Advil) anymore. I've been having more pain than I had before, but it's only a few more days till I get it fixed.