Apologies for the recent radio silence; I’ve been ‘off sick’ after a recent knee op (I had torn my meniscus and had to have meniscus surgery) and despite the fact that I type with my hands and had all manner of gizmos at my bedside to allow communication, I had a Pacman high score to defend and orders not to sit at a desk. But I’m back now and so I thought I’d tell you some of the things I learned while I was laid up.
No sadly, this not one of those epiphanistic ‘my life has been worthless, I’m off to fund a puppy sanctuary’ posts – I did, while lying in the hospital, have a brief ‘I don’t want to be infirm, I’m never going to do anything that doesn’t nourish my body ever again’ moment, but I think that was anesthetic haze as it was soon eliminated by the sight of a packet of biscuits in the hands of a nurse. Instead, it’s a collection of random tips that may, or may not be useful, if you’re having meniscus surgery (or any other op in fact) in the near future.
1) Arnica certainly doesn’t do you any harm. I don’t use a lot of homeopathic remedies, but considering plastic surgeons regularly recommend arnica to their patients to reduce swelling and bruising I gave it a go. I started the day before my meniscus surgery, and then carried on for four days after. I can’t prove it made a difference, and I know there’s a lot of arguments as to why it’s snake oil, but considering a surgeon has drilled a couple of holes in my knee, poked a camera in there, stitched up some torn stuff and come back out, I have no bruising, no swelling and haven’t taken a painkiller yet.
2) Linseed really takes some chewing. My biggest worry about the surgery was the anesthetic. It scares me (more on that in tip 3) and last time I had surgery, I threw up and felt emotionally deranged for days afterwards which I blamed on the knockout drugs. I therefore asked my complementary contacts for some tips as to how to get it out of my system ASAP. Your liver is key here as it controls toxin elimination. I stopped drinking for a few weeks so it was in a happy place and I was recommended to eat lot of liver boosting cruciferous veg ie cabbage, broccoli and Brussels in the days prior. Afterwards, diet guru Marisa Peer also suggested I eat one dessertspoonful of linseed three times a day post surgery to detox me. I’ve felt pretty good so far.
3) Express your fears – no matter how stupid they are. As I say, my biggest worry was the anesthetic. Partly the throwing up thing, but also, those horror stories about people waking up mid op and not being able to move. As much as this might have made me a fairly lucrative case study fee, I wasn’t keen on that as a plan, so, expecting her to laugh at me, I mentioned it to my anesthetist. ‘Oh don’t worry about that, you’re not having the type that paralyzes you,’ she said. ‘If you come round, and I’ve passed out or something you can wave at the surgeon.’ Strangely, this was reassuring. I didn’t know there was more than one type of anesthetic.
4) The biggest obstacle to your recovery is your head. The physio drummed this into me when showing me my exercises post op. I was scared to do anything. In the end after I asked her six times what could hurt my knee, I finally took in that if I didn’t overdo it, the answer was nothing. That I’d actually do more damage babying it. This has given the courage to push myself just a little bit each day. Like a small child I’m glorifying in my achievements – sitting in bed with both knees bent created an ear to ear grin; walking in a smooth one leg, two leg pattern a small shriek of glee. Though I’m still not locking it out. I’ve got 18 hours to work on that one before tomorrow’s check up. Best I stop typing and go stand up for a few minutes!
A lot of people say meniscus surgery isn’t necessary – that your leg will heal on it’s on. But at the point I had mine,I literally could barely put any weight on my leg – I certainly couldn’t run. I was back to normal in as little as six weeks and, touch wood, that leg has been fine every since. I’m really glad I had it done.