Sports Girl Reports on Pre-Surgery Anxiety

I am very nervous and scared about the surgery. I won’t be able to eat after midnight and I am always very hungry in the morning, so that should be interesting. Also, I don’t get any liquids after midnight except clear liquids, and I can only have those until 7 A.M. I am also really worried about the I.V. Does it hurt? What about the mask that puts you out? How long are you out? What happens if you keep sleeping for a while longer? How do you feel when it’s all over? Will the pain medications make me sick then making me not be able to take them anymore causing intense pain all the time? Yikes! It’s all so scary, and I have no idea what is going to happen to me! Just thinking about all of the medicine TV shows that I’ve seen makes me woozy. Is that what they are doing to me?

Some other things I have to be aware of is that I have to make sure that all of my nail polish is off. I just got done taking it all off and it took me forever because I had to get in all the nook and crannies and get all of the little bits of nail polish off, what a bother! Also, I didn’t get to have any ibuprofen starting about Sunday. That wasn’t too bad, but it was still a restriction, and another thing to worry about. I am always being constantly reminded of it through those restrictions.

I am also being constantly reminded by the homework I have and by all of my friends telling me good luck and to text them as soon as I could and all. Then there also are all of those people who always ask you where you are going and when you tell them they ask why and yadda yadda yadda.

Then there is the fact that I still have to buy Christmas presents for my dad and Busy Toddler. I have ideas for both of them, but when am I going to get to the store? Also, even though I get to miss school, I still have a Christmas 4-H Program thing that Horse Lover and some of my other club members are participating in three days after my surgery. Then there is an early Christmas my whole family is having with my Great Grandma before she goes to visit other family four days after my surgery and also five days after my surgery my cousins have invited me to a hockey game and I really want to go! I really hope I am feeling good enough to go to those things!

As I mentioned before, I get to miss school through all of this. The good part of it is that I am only missing three and a half days until Christmas vacation making my vacation almost a whole week longer than it should be! But missing school always means one thing, homework. The only okay part in it is that since it almost being Christmas vacation, I am not missing much since in my middle school there are no finals. I also got most of it done in study hall the past few days.

Anyways, all in all I am pretty scared and nervous about it. In fact, I even started having dreams about it last night! That was pretty freaky. I dreamt that a lady was putting an IV in my hand and while she was doing that I asked her what the odds were of me waking up during the surgery. She said that that had happened only like 1/6 of the time. Boy, that really freaked me out! That still meant that people did wake up! But before I could think much of it I started feeling woozy. Just when I was starting to fall asleep, I woke up because I had even started feeling woozy in real life! When I looked at my clock it was 5 A.M. and so then I just sat in bed and worried for an hour and a half until my dad and mom came in to wake me up.

I will report more after the surgery, but for now I need to get to sleep so that my mom can wake me up for some more spaghetti before it is to late to eat anymore! Good night!

Sports Girl Prepares for Knee Surgery

This doesn’t really fit in with the “country life” angle of my blog, but my oldest daughter who recently turned 14 is scheduled for knee surgery next week and it’s a big event for our family. I couldn’t find much information online covering her affliction and impending surgery, so I thought I would go ahead and detail the experience.

Sports Girl Wears Knee Brace While Playing Soccer

Sports Girl wore this special knee brace for the entire fall soccer season. It helped her feel a bit more secure, but ultimately it didn't keep her knee cap from subluxing again.

Sports Girl first dislocated her left patella or knee cap following a collision during a physical education class in April. I say “dislocated” because most people will understand what that means, but her patella actually “subluxed.” That means it went out of place and then shortly after went back into place on its own. A truly dislocated patella must be manipulated to be put back into place. (Slammed back into place is probably a more accurate description, but we’ll go with “manipulated.”) The full, proper term for the temporary dislocation which Sports Girl experienced is “patellar subluxation.”

At first I thought the episode was nothing but a fluke. Sports Girl took a few days off from P.E. and spring soccer practices; she also missed one Saturday soccer game which was a huge sacrifice for her. She returned to soccer practice on Monday, and her left patella promptly subluxed again – this time just as she planted her left foot to kick with her right, without anyone touching her.

Now I knew we needed to look into this issue further. I took Sports Girl to see a local physician’s assistant; she recommended Sports Girl wear a neoprene knee brace, exercise to build up her muscles and perhaps undergo physical therapy. We decided to wait to see how Sports Girl’s knee would heal before starting physical therapy – perhaps she just hadn’t given it enough time before going back to sports. But we did pick up a basic knee brace at our local sporting goods store.

I first wrote about Sports Girl’s knee troubles about this time. You can see my post relating to bike riding as exercising here.

Summer was fast approaching, and she would be able to take more time off to recover. The thing was, it was becoming obvious that the patellar subluxation experiences had left their mark on Sports Girl’s body and mind. She was continuing to experience discomfort, and she was extremely anxious about her knee whenever she did any physical activity. So I decided to get another medical opinion. This time we went to a full-fledged medical doctor and used the appointment to also conduct a physical examination to meet school athletic requirements for the next year. This two-for-one approach helped me convince Handsome Hubby that we should spend the money on another office visit even though he was personally convinced that Sports Girl would eventually just grow out of this problem.

Second Doctor Refers Us to Orthopedic Surgeon

But this doctor had other thoughts. He paid special attention to Sports Girl’s bone structure and build and to how generously loose her joints presented. He thought she was a prime candidate for surgery to correct her problem and he referred us to an orthopedic surgeon who specialized in sports medicine and who was utilizing new surgical methods to correct this particular issue.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t get in to see this sports med/ortho for about 6 weeks; it was already late June, and the fall soccer season was fast approaching. In the mean time, we tried to get in to see our local orthopedic surgeon, but we had to start by seeing his physican’s assistant. This P.A. also recommended physical therapy, so with two written orders on file with the physical therapy department, we decided to go ahead and get started with that before seeing the other orthopedic surgeon.

Sports Girl Starts Physical Therapy

The physical therapy seemed to make Sports Girl’s knee hurt more before it got better, but she did make progress. Her exercises called for strengthening not just her VMO , quads and hamstrings, but also her hip flexers, glutes and abdomen. Since girls have a wider core, research has shown the important of strengthening the whole package to heal and prevent injuries. Prior to this I thought a 13-year-old girl was much too young to be introduced to the weight room, but now I’m convinced that with proper training and a proper approach of lifting a lighter amount of weight for more repetitions, weight training or strength training in general may well be crucial to keeping teenage girls physically healthy.

When we finally got in to see the sports med ortho, he ordered x-rays of Sports Girl’s knee and confirmed that her patella sat at an outward tilt, which became more pronounced when her leg was bent at a slight angle. That combined with her loose joints made her very susceptible to patellar subluxation and dislocation. And once the patella slides out of place, the ligaments attached to it become stretched or torn, resulting in subsequent subluxations. He prescribed a special knee brace which cradled her knee cap with a horseshoe-shaped support and urged her to continue with the physical therapy.

She plugged along with PT through the summer, faithfully wore her new knee brace and started fall soccer. But she still seemed cautious; she just wasn’t her usual aggressive self. Those subluxation episodes were very painful and she definitely was scared it was going to happen again. A couple of times she told me, “I felt it almost go today.” But thankfully it didn’t. So while she continued doing her exercises, we ended our visits to the physical therapist who had offered these prophetic words, “The real test will be basketball.”

Sports Girl took three weeks off between soccer and basketball, but continued her PT exercises. She really did. I reminded her and pressured her regularly. That’s what moms do, right?

During the first week of basketball her patella subluxed again – this time as she pivoted on her left leg while running a ladder for conditioning. Again, no one touched her, and she was wearing the special knee brace at the time. The episode dropped her to the floor in a crying heap. I got the emergency call from the coach that I might want to come get her early from practice.

Surgery Is Scheduled for Dec. 17

We called the sports med ortho doctor a couple of days later and he said she should not play basketball if she was experiencing pain and that he wanted to see her again. Somehow this time we managed to get an appointment for the very next Monday. That’s when he showed us how fluid had pooled up in her knee. I hadn’t noticed her knee looking bruised or swollen following any of the subluxation incidents, but there was definitely fluid there. And then the doctor uttered those dreaded words. “The last thing I want to do is put a 14-year-old girl on the operating table, but I think we are looking at surgery.”

He also recommended that she quit playing basketball until the problem was corrected. It was a heart-wrenching appointment for Sports Girl, yet she didn’t argue with any of his recommendations. She promptly notified her coach that she would be out for the season but that she would like to serve as team manager. And she started mentally preparing herself for the surgery. That was mid-November. The surgery has been scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 17. I think the five-week wait has been the hardest on Sports Girl – that and watching her basketball teammates lose a couple of very close games while she’s sidelined keeping the stats book.

I’ll post more about her situation and the type of surgery she is having done in the next couple of days. Subscribe using Feedburner to receive e-mail notifications of my posts or keep checking back!