I can walk again!

This post is about a week overdue cos I actually started walking without crutches last weekend but yeah, just wanted to record down what happened in the past few weeks.

Basically I injured my left knee from playing for a frisbee comp (likely because I didn’t train enough previously then suddenly went to play & run intensely for a while day), then it was getting better already but on deepavali (~2 weeks after the comp) I was bending down to sit on the floor at benny’s house and my injured knee was suddenly super painful. After that I couldn’t straighten or put weight on it :( I went to see a GP first, who said it looks like a meniscus tear but have to go see an ortho specialist and do MRI to see how bad it is.

My dad booked an appointment at Mt Alvernia cos it was the earliest slot, for public hospitals need to wait like a few weeks x__x so yeah the doctor referred me to go for MRI scan. The scan was v boring, half an hour of lying there doing nothing and consciously trying not to move (which doesn’t really work LOL). Anyway here are some photos of my scans:

mri5mri4

The meniscus is the black parts around the middle of each image. Each knee has one lateral (outer) and one medial (inner) meniscus, each one is c-shaped and they’re basically shock absorbers. The left/top one shows my lateral meniscus, which is ok cos the 2 triangle-ish shapes are completely dark. The second one is my medial meniscus, which has faint white lines in both triangles – those are the tears :x

mri1
Another view of the medial meniscus with its tears. The bone is in black here, I guess cos the image is taken at a different frequency(?) than the earlier 2

I was quite curious so before seeing the doctor I already googled knee MRI and compared with my scans. I got 7 films, each one has a grid of images which are like “slices” of the knee:

mri3

mri2
How to view MRI films without an x-ray film lightbox: open a big blank word doc and increase screen brightness to the max xD

Ok so anyway. When I saw the films by myself, I managed to find the tears but I didn’t think they were that bad cos the whitish parts seemed quite small and faint. But I was wrong lol. Doctor said it was pretty bad cos there were multiple tears, plus the tears were complex. And the meniscus is a cartilage which doesn’t heal by itself, so it won’t get better on its own. Given that I couldn’t even walk, there wasn’t much choice except to go for surgery :x

The earliest slot was at the end of the week, and luckily that week was recess week so I just stayed at home and moved around with crutches in the meantime. Learnt that being injured makes me v productive LOL cos I can’t exactly go out and it’s troublesome to move around even at home, so I just plop myself and my laptop down somewhere at the start of the day and mostly just stay there doing stuff.

I got a single room ward for the op which was rly nice!! The operating theatre was super cold haha but I was put on GA (general anesthesia) so the next thing I knew, the op was over and I was getting wheeled back to my ward. Was kinda groggy for a bit but was thankful for the company of my family and joe, plus clement zan yiqing stanley who came to visit me :’)

The doctor drew this diagram of my meniscus, he cut off the shaded parts because the tears are in the ‘white zone’ (no blood flow so it can’t heal, can only get worse if the tear is left there). My op was an arthroscopic partial menisectomy, arthroscopic = keyhole = the surgery involves 2 incisions only, one for a camera and one for the surgical intruments.

drawing

 

Had physio the next day then got discharged! At first I still had to walk with both crutches but can start to put weight on my left leg, then around a week later I started walking with one crutch. One week after that, I got my stitches removed and started walking without crutches! It’s been 1.5 weeks since then and I’m walking pretty normally now woohoo :D feels great to regain independence hahaha and be able to walk reasonable distances without getting tired. Improvement is not as fast anymore (still can’t climb stairs normally yet urgh) but nothing I can do except try to exercise and strengthen the muscles! And wait patiently cos as I’ve learnt, rushing recovery is a bad idea.

Random fact: muscles can degenerate super quickly but take a longg time to rebuild! After just 1.5 weeks of walking with crutches (ie. not using my left leg), my left thigh and calf are visibly significantly smaller than my right :x

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