I had reconstructive ACL surgery yesterday at 8 am. Dr. Hackett spent 50 minutes inserting a cadaver ACL into my tibia and femur, and apparently all went very well (I must admit, I'd love to know whose cadaver it was! Hopefully I can do the person proud.). There was no damage to any other ligaments, which is quite surprising after 20 years of them not having any support from the ACL, and at therapy this morning the P.T. was very impressed by the limited amount of swelling. My range of motion is quite good, including near full extension in the leg. Bending it is harder, but that will get better as the swelling goes down and the wound – which is barely 24 hours old – heals.
It was a scary lead-up and I was very glad to have my wife Elaine and her father Steve at my direct side. In some ways the worst part was getting the I.V. tube inserted in my arm, as the technician had to take a couple shots to get it in. I contemplated staying awake and watching the surgery, using just a spinal as my sedation, but in the end elected not to as nerves were high. I remember the nurse telling me "my day was about to get a whole lot better," and her asking my name and date of birth. The next thing I remember was sitting in the post-op room, seeing Elaine and Steve and getting way too many instructions for being in such a loopy state of mind.
I'm in good spirits. Now that the surgery is done, there is no "what-if" regret…it's all about moving forward and taking things minute-by-minute. I believe baby steps will win this race and am genuinely excited for the process. It was fun pushing myself in P.T. today, and while riding an indoor bike on the deck might seem mundane, to me it's the equivilant of skiing Denali. This is going to be an adventure, and when it's done I'm going to have a stronger knee than I have since I was 18. For right now, doing my little P.T. exercises, kicking back with the icing and motion machine and reading books, writing and watching movies in our little creative nook in the home works great.
Rather than bore people with mundane P.T. exercises and such, I might use the next few weeks to recount some of my adventures from "back-in-the-day" that I'd intended to write up, but never have. I hope to bring entertaining stories about the Waddington Range, Alaska and the Yukon to readers, as well as some accounts from the days of the Intergalactic Pilots and more recent adventures backcountry skiing. And it won't be long at all until I'm taking walks down to the creek, where I'll try and capture the more sublime parts of spring at 9,000 feet above sea level that I often overlook.
Thanks to everybody for your support. It means a great deal and provides a lot of the motivation to get back at it, as well as take the time to rest and breathe.