Today, I teared while attempting my first Leg Day in the gym. Yes, I’m a crybaby and a loser. Yes it hurt like a little bitch, but real (wo)men don’t cry from pain. I was just feeling really amazed by the fact that how quickly I’ve progressed since my langbei post-op days 10 weeks ago, when even breathing hurt.
I’ve been talking to friends who have gone through their recon, and some of them told me how they struggled even in the second month just to walk and cycle. You know, talking to them really made me feel very, very fortunate. While I was supposed to be set back on my rehab schedule by 6 weeks because of the meniscus shit, my current progress shows otherwise, and I’m actually getting my ROM much faster than expected. I’m thankful. I’m thankful for my amazing (and handsome) surgeon. I’m thankful for having such an AMAZING (and handsome? OK LAH QUITE LAH QUITE) physio, who got me to do things that I wouldn’t have dared to do it myself. Like walking without my crutches 1 week post op – something which I would never thought I could, with the amount of pain. Like getting me to squat, cycle and do sick stuff like aqua running. Like making me forget about having a bad knee after some physio sessions. And most recently, getting me to kneel – which I thought I could not do any time soon with that weird swelling and pain in my knee.
Here’s the lil shitty moments I’ve gone through for the past 10 weeks, in chronological order, as far as I can remember.
This was the first day after I got discharged and had to shower. The worst feeling ever because what is bending? I cannot. And I also made a dent in my shin. Floaty jelly ex-ACL that was vacuumed out of my knee. Watching my video 1 week after the op was pretty cool, and make me thank god that I was not awake. And I also got really excited to find out that the thread to sew my meniscus was in a nice shade of turquoise. I know.. You must be thinking like.. WHAT? .. But haiya, it’s pretty cool what! Two weeks post-op and YAY NO NEED TO STICK THE PLASTERS. But the gel thingy they applied to keep my wound waterproof stung like a bee man. Very ouch. SEE. It is disturbing because it is so reflective and ugly, but wa, FREEDOM at last. While the discomfort was gone, walking was still a pain in the ass. 2 weeks on and I could not really walk for more than 5 minutes without perspiring and drowning myself in the world of agonizing pain. Being able to go through this shit for 2 weeks felt like an accomplishment by itself, but looking forward to the next 4 weeks felt like 4 months ahead. It was possibly one of the most agonizing moments of my life when I was dying to do something, yet I couldn’t. I wanted to let time pass by quickly, but the more I wished, the slower it got. This is how my leg looks up till now, even when it’s fully straightened. It’s pretty cool to see my knee going back to its original shape, with the normal dimples and contours instead of one lump of fat shit.
I couldn’t stand being a sloth on my bed for more than 2 days, and decided to really, really stop moping and being depressed, and start working out so that I wouldn’t suffer when I start going back to my routines when I’m more alive. Since I could really only bear weight on my left leg, I decided to work on my pistol squats, something which I’ve tried and failed since 10 years old. And hey, I finally did it, and it’s pretty easy lah, once you get it, you get it. Just like doing push ups.
I also started on my daily night walks about 2-3 weeks into post op. With crutches and without crutches, but everything just felt extremely painful and I would break into sweat within the first 5 minutes of walking. Especially so when I needed to laosai on one of those nights.
But I’m a firm believer of practice. I’ve always believed that the more you do something, the easier and less painful it gets, and walking did feel much less of a chore at the end of week 3.
I meant it when I said I feel like I’m progressing everyday. I was and I still am. I do this without fail everyday. Everyday feels like I could bend more. My degree of flexion has improved from 10 degrees to 119 degrees now. Just 21 degrees more to match my left, and I can feel my calf touching my hammies now. So THAT IS DEFINITELY MORE THAN 119. I’m sure. HAHA! Week 4 was also about the same time I could actually SIT LIKE THIS for the first time since my knee got crapped out. Wow. It is very comfortable sitting with my leg bent even though up till today, I still habitually sit with my leg stuck out first. Eeee yucks damn freaking gross.
But.. Week 4 was probably the time when I got hand itchy and peeled out the gel thingy, and realized that OMG. I got no visible black scar!But.. No. Still can see the scar. And the wound still hurts, even in week 10. WOW. I experienced dry needling too! It was cool, but REALLY uncomfortable at times. Until now, I still freak out when he says he is going to use the needles. I just got my posterior chain needled on the last session, and it was. PAINFUL. Week 5 was also the first time I went for Hydro and ran in water. Oh gosh. So tiring, my hip flexors were BURNING but the pool has became my best friend since. And my mobility has increased so much from that. See what I mean by I can’t thank my physio enough?
I stepped into the gym for the first time in 5 weeks too, and tried cycling because I could not even go 1 revolution in week 4. It was more than depressing because cycling is really the easiest thing anyone can do really, but I could not even cycle without extraordinary pain. But I did it eventually, like 3 days later, and to my amazement, everyday I tried, I was able to bring the seat lower and lower, and within 5 days, I was cycling in normal human range. Pretty crazy.The long awaited week 6 came by. Brace off because my meniscus seemed to be healing up well, but I CANT SQUAT FULLY FOR THE NEXT ONE YEAR? WHAT?! Go overseas no sitting toilet how? DIE LOR. I was relieved, yet apprehensive. It was like shit, so what’s next? What do I look forward to from now on? I decided that improving my mobility was the next goal and of course, getting that VS model sized leg back in shape. I’m quite reluctant though, NICE WHAT. HAHAHA!
The next few weeks flew by with school, hydro and gym everyday. See I become so black!
Sunig came along, and I broke down once again. I thought I got over this really, but watching from the sidelines and knowing that you could have done something, just stabs me in my tiny little heart. Accept what I can’t change, and change what I can. EASIER SAID THAN DONE REALLY. But still have to do it. Suck thumb and get stronger lor. I struggled with a lot of pain while squatting and my attempt to deadlift 1-2 weeks ago. Today I completed 3 sets of my leg circuit:
1. Leg Presses (40kg x 12)
2. Single Leg Presses (8kg x 12) – I REALLY DIED.
3. Deadlifts (25kg x 12)
4. Hip Thrusts (15kg x 15)
5. Front Squats (7.5kg x 12)It is bearably painful, it’s like oh my gosh, what is this pain. But okay, bearable lah, quit whining. I managed to finish my sets so it is bearable.
I then finished off my workout with my single leg cycles, and really, in retrospect, I’m fascinated at how fast everything has progressed for me, and how time really passes by much faster when you decide to get up to do something productive, instead of drowning yourself in your own bubble of sadness.
Being on crutches and shit were the crappiest moments of my life, and there are several things I’ve learnt and experienced while I was going through hell. I made sure to note them down during the 6 weeks just for this post.
- MOST Singaporeans are assholes. ASSHOLES. Fucking inconsiderate ASSHOLES. Yes you heard me right. People can watch you die and struggle on the public transport and they just stare. And at times, I was just standing right in front of them WHILE THEY ARE ON THE PRIORITY SEAT OKAY. Wow you wouldn’t believe it right? But yes, it happened. The cold and unfeeling world out there. I swear to be more empathetic these days.
- You can’t text while walking. Can’t open doors. You can’t order llaollao and eat while on the go, wait. You can’t even pay for llaollao, because NO HANDS to hold cup.
- Oh you know handicapped toilets? They are really perfectly designed man. Those handrails are a lifesaver. And if you haven’t realized, the doors are always swinging outwards because pushing the door to get out is more MORE convenient. Wow. The little things we take for granted.
- I also became example for mothers, because I overheard 2 bitches telling their kids to not run around, otherwise later fall down and become like that *points*. Ya, ya also go ask your kids to don’t do sports, otherwise become like that “points”.
- Crossing my legs suddenly became the top on my life goals list. YOU KNOW HOW IRRITATING IT IS TO NOT EVEN BE ABLE TO CROSS MY LEGS WHILE SITTING DOWN?!
- Not only sitting. Sleeping was probably the toughest shit to do in the first week because I had my brace on and I had to sleep like a log, literally. You’ll wake up in the middle of the night, feeling like your hip has just been detached from its socket and it will take you probably another 1 hour to fall back asleep again.
- Lastly, well… It needed quite a bit of getting used to at people checking me out ALL THE FREAKING TIME. Skin must be thick.
I also written the point that I don’t think I would say “I won’t take walking for granted again”, because aiya we always take things for granted one. BUT eh, nowadays I walk ALOT. More than usual, because I feel so liberated every time when I walk. It’s like I’ve got to use my legs as much as I can. OMG.
Actually, I don’t really know what’s the point of me writing this post for. I guess, maybe, just maybe, one day I’ll look back upon this and come to a realization that if I could go through this shit, and stayed patient throughout the 6 weeks + the next 9.5 months, I could go through any other lengths of time as well.
On some nights, ESPECIALLY DURING THE SEASON, I still get flashbacks of what happened. It makes me empathize with people with PTSD because, if this little minor setback can bring me such experiences even after 2.5 months, the intensity and frequency of their intrusive thoughts must be so, very debilitating for them. Besides, knowing the fact that I’m going to recover fully and go back to basketball one of these days, makes me truly appreciative and relieved at the fact that I’m just so fortunate to have suffered from such a minor injury. But fuck lah, take damn long, a lot of effort and hell lot of pain to recover. Fuck.
Yet, all I can say is that I’ve truly gained so much from what I’ve lost.