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I had been wearing the ‘DonJoy’ X-Act ROM Hinged, knee brace 24×7 (with at most a 30-minute break to take a shower and do my leg exercises) since I busted my quadricep tendon on Thursday, February 28, 2019.
I was only supposed to wear it post-surgery, i.e., as of March 7, 2019, but it was so comforting when they first put it on me for size that I sought permission to wear it even before the surgery.
It was a pain, but it did a good job in supporting my knee. As long as my knee was well supported I had no pain — even from the start. Hence, why I loved the DonJoy to begin with.
But, after 5-weeks the dynamics changed. I had no knee pain and as such the need for rigid support was not as much. But, now I started to notice the damage the DonJoy was doing to my thigh muscle. It was brutal.
So, I contacted my doctor and got permission to order the smaller, lighter and wrap-around ‘Neo-G’ lockable hinged brace — shown above. It was on backorder and I will not get it till Tuesday.
In the interim I went back to the original ‘CorFlex’ knee immobilizer that ER had given me to use prior to surgery. For now it is great. It doesn’t eat into my muscle. The soft wraparound material feels good, though it also contains five rigid metal bars. Why they want you to use the DonJoy is that they want to start increasing knee flex after 6-weeks. You need a proper hinged brace for that — like the ‘Neo-G’.
So, this is a heads up in case you need a knee brace. I did a ton of research before picking the ‘Neo-G’. That my doctor said it was ‘OK’ was reassuring.
There was no pain to talk about
— throughout, from surgery to now.
The Two Pumps.
The nerve block pump is in the black ball-shaped bag
— hanging down.
The inputs to the ice cooler around the knee.
The Nerve Block Pump.
Post Surgery Ice Cooler.
So, far, so good. Actually pretty blinking bloody amazing (though my use of ‘bloody’ is kind of ironic since there is just a minimum of blood that I can see)!
Nearly 24-hours later NO PAIN. Maybe a slight twinge, but no pain per se.
Have not taken taken any of the opioids they gave me as yet — and that is consistent with the v. precise instructions I got.
But, I am well and truly bionic. I have two pumps attached to I as well as my trusty DonJoy X-Act ROM knee brace (which fully immobilizes the damaged knee).
One is a Nerve Block catheter attached high up on my left hip. I knew about that.
They kind of semi-knocked me out before inserting that. I had been told about that too. Did not expect them to be using an ultrasound unit to locate the vein. Pretty cool. The staff at Frisbie were pretty amazing and the anesthesiologist was very cool. I have been told that the Nerve Block should work for about 48-hours. Maybe longer. It is a ‘balloon’. When it is totally deflated I am supposed to pull out the catheter. That might be interesting.
What I was not expecting was the ice cooler pump for my knee. That is so COOL and that is not a pun.
Never knew they existed. As the ads for it say (when I went and checked them out yesterday night) they sure beat a bag of frozen peas or traditional ice packs.
Between the two pumps I am doing ‘OK’.
Can’t put any weight on the leg and it is weak.
We live in a 4-story house with 3-staircases. I have to go up & down the staircases on my bum. I had not realized how weak my shoulders were. I guess I don’t exercise them enough. But, they are sure getting a workout now and I am ASHAMED to admit that I have to take a break when climbing up the stairs with my shoulders. For someone who averaged 56 floors a day, climbing stairs was a pleasure. It is now embarrassing! When I am better I may split my floor climbing — some by foot, other by shoulders.
Dr. Charles Blitzer who performed the surgery is said to be outstanding. I met him fleetingly prior to surgery and when I was recovering. Both times I was under the influence. He seems very nice and had the air of quiet confidence. I had read about him and liked what I read.
This is what caught my eye: “Dr. Blitzer has been recognized for his humanitarian work as he regularly travels abroad to provide orthopedic services to the disadvantaged in the developing world”. Anybody who has that mentality and commitment has to be pretty decent. I liked that.
I will meet him properly next Tuesday. Looking forward to that.
So, far, 24-hours into this all I have taken is three 325mg Tylenol. And that was because I felt feverish.
That is my story for now.
Yes, it could all turn on a dime. I am not totally stupid as I repeatedly point out. Just partially stupid. I know I am not out of the woods. When the Nerve Block wears off I could be in significant pain.
I hope I didn’t bore you too much.
The good news: it is not too bad!
The secret is total knee immobilization with a full adjustable brace. With my knee immobilized there is really no pain. I kid you not. Yes, there is a twinge or two when you move it. But, anytime your knee bends — e.g., lifting it up to get into bed — there is pain, though it is not that bad and goes away once the knee is straight again. There was, alas, one exception to this and that was a few hours ago (i.e., on my 5th day). Up until Monday I hadn’t given the swelling of my knee and calves much notice. But, today, per my post-ER instructions I decided to apply a compression bandage to the knee — a bit too tightly. That was not a good idea. So, took it off and as recompense laid in bed for an hour with my legs elevated above my chest. No pain.
Consequently I did NOT end up taking the Vicodin-like narcotics that were prescribed to me by ER. They gave me a shot of morphine before I left (on Thursday evening). That was enough. After that I just started taking Aleve. Of all the pain medications out there I like Aleve, not that I take much pain medication. But, from what I can see it has the least ‘implications’ and it is supposed to last longer. Thursday into Friday I took the maximum 3 Aleve’s over a 24-hour period just to be on the safe side. Then I realized that that might be overkill given the absence of pain. So, I went to 2 every 24-hours.
A couple of tips.
I am able to use my good leg to lift the damaged left leg onto the bed. That helps. So, I can get in and out of bed on my own.
I can just about getting into my pants by laying them strategically on the floor. But, today I ordered a few ‘tools’ from Amazon to make life a tad easier — a long handle shoehorn among them. Having to cajole my 12-year old to help me with my shoes is no fun.
Truth be told we went on a 3-day long-weekend to Cape Cod the day after my accident! I had booked it over a month ago and there was no way I was going to miss it!
It was my left leg and I was able to drive, with no pain, discomfort or distraction for 6-7 hours a day. I was also able to walk (or at least hobble), in the snow, for reasonable distances to visit the sites.
So, those were what the first 5-days were — ALBEIT WITHOUT surgery. Surgery is Thursday and things will change. I will keep you updated.
Search ‘running’ & ‘shovelling‘.
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Right now, for the first time in my life, aged 65, I am CRIPPLED!
Totally tore my main Quadriceps Tendon this morning. I slipped and fell while shoveling snow.
There was an almighty CRACK and my leg was at an unusual angle.
They initially suspected that I had broken my knee cap. Yes, they took X-rays. Knee cap was fine but something else was wrong.
So, off to a CAT Scan with contrast. They also checked my entire leg artery for possible damage. Artery was fine.
But, Quadriceps Tendon was totally separated from the knee. It was flapping around …
Yes, I need surgery and they were going to do it tomorrow! That was too FAST. I needed some time to recover and get my head sorted out.
But, I already met with the Orthopedic team! That was pretty impressive. 6-hours in ER and then being able to meet with the surgery-group the same day.
Getting surgery next week.
Will not be running for a few days — at least. Definitely no skiing in March.
Something that TOTALLY bummed me. Running is a major cause for this injury. You just can’t win.
Well, I will keep you posted.
I am OK. The morphine IV helped.
Search ‘running’ & ‘shovelling‘.