The nurses responsible for instructions on how to handle things after my meniscus surgery were both honest and cautious about the conditions I might face coming off the procedure. “You might need crutches,” one nurse told me. “When you go down the stairs, you bump down on your butt,” another advised.
“On the other hand, you might be just fine,” another nurse advised. “It just depends.”
Well, crutches are not necessary. I walked out of the surgery center a little wobbly from the anesthesia, but other than that, life after surgery is a cakewalk.
In fact, I slept quite well with the leg elevated. No pain all night. The hydrocodone is working, but I don’t want to use it any longer than needed. Back when I had surgery for the ACL tear, it was Vicodin for a couple days and that was that. The clavicle repair, same thing. It’s not good to let the drugs wear off and feel a spike of pain, but neither is it good to carry the drugs on too long. We all know the opioid thing is a danger.
Let’s get up!
This morning, Sue rose early to head to the indoor track for a workout. She was checking with me on a few things before she left and finally said, “Do you want to come with me? Because you seem too awake to stay in bed.”
She was right about that. I did feel rested. So I got some workout clothes over the knee bandage and we piled into the car. She drove the Subaru, because technically I’m ‘on drugs’ and not allowed to drive.
I wasn’t sure what to expect as I started in walking. So I took it easy a couple laps. Then a couple laps more. Sue was warmed up by the time I’d walked for fifteen minutes and I didn’t want to push my luck, so I settled into my coaching role.
She was getting ready for a workout that was likely to be tough for her. After my walking, I stationed myself at the starting line and coached her from there. She nailed every interval along the way. It was cool to watch her go about the business of building her confidence with that workout. Between intervals of 800 meters, we talked about the sensations she was feeling.
And when the last lap of the last interval came around, she dug in and ran the last lap 2.5 seconds faster than the previous four. I was really proud of her.
I was also grateful to be there walking at the pace I can manage in recovery. Nothing bad about that at all. The same surgeon has fixed both my clavicle and my meniscus. He also repaired Sue’s rotator cuff the first year I met her.
Sometimes that’s the price of being an athlete. But I think one of the rewards this time around was being an observer as my wife dug in and learned some things about herself she really wants to know. In some ways that’s the question that we’re always asking ourselves. Can I do this?
And the answer is, “Yes.”
See you back on the road in a few weeks.