Sunday, July 3, 2011

Hobble and Waddle's Summer Vacation

Part One

Here we were, a few weeks ago at Luke's graduation party. This was Adam's last weekend before his knee surgery. About three weeks ago, Adam had ACL replacement surgery to repair his knee issues he's been having since an accident in August 2010.

During a volleyball practice, Adam attempted to prove to some students that it was possible to jump 15 feet without a running start (long jump). He successfully completed the jump, but badly injured his knee. There was an audible POP and he instantly knew something was wrong. He spent the next few days trying to walk with much difficulty. His knee became very swollen and he could hardly bend/extend it. Finally, Adam decided he would go to the doctor. What happened next was that the American doctor he saw said that it was just a sprain and all he needed was to rest for six weeks. He asked Adam about 2 questions total and did not even perform a knee exam or order any x-rays or MRI's. Since I wasn't there (it was during a school day), all I had to go on was Adam's report of the appointment. So, a few weeks later, Adam was at it again, playing sports and working out as usual and rarely complaining about his knee. He had to sleep with it elevated, however, and it was still very sensitive weeks and weeks after his long jump.

Well, after a few months, his knee seemed to be much better. Actually, what happened was his body learned to cope with the changes and overcompensated to make up for the damaged ACL. So, his right leg (which was the injured leg) became very strong and Adam was able to do most everything that he had done before. In the spring, he was playing a game of pick-up basketball--which is something he did often. While playing, he came down hard on his right knee and he experienced the same kind of pain from when he initially hurt it in August. After that, his problems with his knee resurfaced again. Whether he was just walking, playing a sport, or even standing in his classroom, his knee would often slip out and cause a lot of pain.

Finally, in May, Adam decided he would go to the doctor's office again--this time to see a different doctor who we liked better. This doctor ordered an MRI after taking a full history of Adam's knee and performing an in-depth knee exam. Getting the MRI is a whole different crazy story--but basically what the results of the knee exam and MRI showed was there was something not exactly right with Adam's knee. The doctor in Shenyang told us to see an orthopedic surgeon once we arrived in America.

The day after we arrived in America, Adam went to get the surgeon's opinion about his knee. This surgeon was highly recommended by friends, and if Adam did in fact need surgery, we wanted it to happen as soon as possible. The thought of not being to walk after the baby was born was unappealing, and the risk of blood clots while traveling long distances (e.g. international flights) are much higher soon after a surgery. The surgeon ordered an x-ray after looking at Adam's Chinese MRI films. He asked lots of questions, worked with Adam's right knee a lot, and kept lots of 'notes' on a voice recorder. He had lots of neat visual aides and integrated technology throughout the appointment--so that was fun. But the news was, "you should get surgery if you ever want to play sports again".

The next week, Adam scheduled his arthroscopic knee surgery. The recovery period is about a year long, and so it was hard for Adam to make this decision. But hopefully after a year of therapy and recovering, Adam will have many more years of physical activity and athletics.

The day Adam went in for surgery, he didn't feel nervous at all. I took some videos and pictures of Adam as he was waiting to go into the operating room--but he doesn't remember that part of the day at all. There's actually very little that Adam remembers from the day of his surgery.

Here Adam is the day after his surgery.

Adam was listed as a "Fall Risk", which was funny because he almost did fall many times. Getting from the wheel chair to the van seat after his surgery was a close call. The nurse had to catch him by smashing him against the car because Adam started spinning/falling out of control. It took Adam about 20 minutes to get from the van to the bed (normally would probably take 20 seconds). But as soon as he had his pain medicine and some rest, he was doing great on crutches.

This was a few days after his surgery when we were finally able to take his pain catheter out and change his surgical bandages. His leg was fairly swollen and it was difficult to see a difference between his calf and thigh. Adam was a little disappointed at how short the catheter was--it was inserted at his hip bone and we thought it would go down to near his knee. But it ended up only being a few inches long.

By the third day after his surgery, Adam was walking around and exercising his leg as much as possible. He was often seen WITHOUT his crutches, much to my frustration.


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