Hopalong

It’s surgery season again.

A month ago, while we were on holiday, I slid down out of the car and landed rather hard on my left leg. There was a sting of pain through the joint, and that was it…until that evening, when I looked at my knee again and it was a football. It got stiff and painful, and I strapped it as I’d been taught to do for my eternally wonky, non-tracking kneecaps. Only this time, it didn’t get better in the usual 3 0r 4 days. After a week, I went to a doctor. I explained what had happened, he wiggled my leg and the knee obligingly produced some gross clunking and grinding noises. Yup, that definitely doesn’t sound right. Here are some nice anti-inflammatories, you’ll need an MRI.

Once home, I saw an orthopaedic specialist, had the MRI. O happy day. I have comprehensively torn the meniscus at the back right hand side of my knee. The cartilage on the back of my kneecap is ragged and fluffy and there are floaty bits. Who knew getting out of the car could be so dangerous?

That thin white line in the meniscus is the tear, which runs all the way across

So, I’ve been in a knee brace for a month, the kind with metal bars down either side of the knee to stop it wonking sideways. I’ve been taking the Brufen religiously, but now, I’ve had to stop because surgery’s in 7 days, so the knee’s a football again. It’s going to be an arthroscopy: two small holes, one for a camera, one for the tools. They pump water into the joint space to expand everything, stitch the tear together, trim off the raggedy bits, remove the floaters, drain the water and close you up again.

Then the fun starts. 3-5 days on crutches, 2 weeks of restricted movement and probably no driving (gasp!), and then about a month of physio. It does very slightly increase the likelihood of arthritis in that knee. But I’m wagering real pain now against possible pain in the future, and I think it’s a good bargain.Β If the net result is a working and non-painful knee, I’m all for it.

The only question is, how long will it take me to get back behind the sewing machine?

67 thoughts on “Hopalong

  1. Moira says:

    Here’s to the surgery doing what it is supposed to do and recovery going well!

  2. elaine says:

    Oh my. From experience, do know that arthroscopic surgery is way better than the other. And recover is much easier. I did the same thing back in… oh my. 40 years ago. For granted, I was 10 (hahaha). I wish you super fast healing! Kick the leg up and work on one of your gorgeous quilts! β™‘

  3. magpiesue says:

    Oh dear. But this is what you were hoping for vs the alternative, isn’t it? We quilters may be able to exercise certain types of patience but when it comes to not being able to do what we love most patience seems to disappear!

    • katechiconi says:

      This is absolutely better than the alternative! It’s just the timing that’s slightly inconvenient. I need to have ST&D finished by the third week of April to get it to OCA in Melbourne for the big fundraising event…

  4. kathyreeves says:

    Maybe consider standing like Claire did when her sciatic was giving her grief? Wishing you fast healing and a clean job by the surgeons!

    • katechiconi says:

      That would work if I didn’t need to keep the weight off the knee for a week or so. I must apply myself to inventing a recumbent sewing machine, like the bicycles you lie back on! Thanks for the good wishes, and I plan to be a good and obedient patient.

  5. Lynda says:

    When I had my meniscus surgery I woke up in a strap on brace. I think I had that for only about 4 days. Then I went in and they took it off checked my stitches (three entry holes = three stitches) checked the swelling (your knee will be a football for a while longer) and then immediately started me on flexibility and range of motion exercises. I kept the knee propped up on a hassock to keep the swelling to a minimum and was able to sew and work at the computer without any trouble.

    I am a true believer in keeping the big gun meds they give you to a minimum. I only took mine for about 3 or 4 days. It hurt without them, sure, though not as bad as right after the surgery and I got over the pain much faster.

    Trust me, after your back surgery this will be a walk in the park! πŸ˜‰
    ❀ ❀ ❀

    • katechiconi says:

      I’m not at all anxious to go back on heavy meds, having weaned myself off them so painfully after the back surgery, but I suspect that like you, I’ll need them for a few days. Having been in a brace and on Brufen for a month now, I’m really dismayed how painful and swollen the knee is without the meds. I guess it’s just more of the same in the short term, isn’t it? At least I get our anniversary and Easter to enjoy before I have to go through it πŸ™‚

  6. Well crum! I’m sorry to hear the knee requires surgery. It’s amazing how minimally invasive these surgeries are now, but still, the pain and time off your feet is a drag. Wishing you a speedy recovery, Kate.

    • katechiconi says:

      Staying off my feet is going to be hard, and the stairs are not going to be fun, but if I do as I’m told hopefully it’ll mend quickly. I think not being allowed to drive for a bit is going to be the hardest part.

      • I had to stay off my feet for six weeks after major foot surgery in 2015. I had a knee scooter to get me around the house, but the surgery really took it out of me. What I did do is catch up on photo-editing pictures, reading, note-writing and things like that. It was also just before Christmas so I got cards signed and addressed too. Perhaps plan some things that require your seat in the chair. Also, is it possible to sleep downstairs on a couch or pullout bed for a few days? I had a friend who rented a hospital bed for the first week after surgery. It made all the difference in the world. Just a thought.

      • katechiconi says:

        I suspect they’ll want me walking and using it a lot sooner than that, so I won’t change my sleeping arrangements, I think. The stairs are do-able if I take one step at a time. It’s all just going to take longer, and really all I need is patience. And adequate medication.

  7. Nope – not liking this post… apart from the bit about them being able to mend you. I hope HoC is ready to pander to your every whim whilst you are recuperating!

    • katechiconi says:

      I’m sure he will when he’s at home… For the rest, I shall simply have to be clever about getting stuff ready to minimise the lurching up and down stairs on crutches bit.

  8. Close your eyes and think of England. It’ll be over sooner than you expect, and like Lynda said above, after your back surgery this will be a walk in the park. Bad analogy, of course. Sorry.
    Of course, we only have YOUR word for it that it happened while you were getting out of the car…;)

    • katechiconi says:

      Oh, you think perhaps I snuck in a quick game of soccer or some other highly athletic pursuit which *really* caused the problem? πŸ™‚ Perhaps in some alternate reality… I’m sure it’ll all be fine and will mend quickly, but I’m not looking forward to the process much.

  9. claire93 says:

    if you miss the deadline for the OCA event, then you miss the deadline, Kate! They’ll understand and their will be other fund-raisers later in the year. You only have one left knee, however and if it’s too painful to sew during convalescence, then you’ll just have to admit defeat.

  10. tialys says:

    What with Claire’s dodgy feet yesterday, I’m having fun with these scans at least. It looks as if you have one of Dr Who’s enemy aliens in your leg – probably feels like it too I’m guessing. I know that’s how you are but I do admire the way you go into the surgery details so thoroughly – I’m not sure whether I’d want to know quite so much. I’m a good one for Googling stuff that’s happening to other people but not so good when it comes to myself as I’m a complete wimp – I’m going to the dentist this afternoon and even them telling me it’s a 40 minute appointment is too much information. I will be keeping my eyes firmly shut throughout.
    I was also going to suggest Claire’s ‘stand up method’ of sewing but, if you can’t put any weight on your leg for a while, that’s not going to work. I don’t like to think of you having to stress about finishing the ST&D quilt all alone but, alas, most (all) of us are too far way to help out. I hope both the waiting time and recovery time aren’t too painful for you ((((Kate))))
    x

    • katechiconi says:

      I’ve always felt that if I live in this body I have to take responsibility for looking after it and getting it fixed if necessary. Which includes knowing what’s going to happen, and why, and asking lots of questions if necessary. I have 5 days left before surgery, and if I can’t make some decent progress in that time then I should be ashamed of myself. We’ll get there. I’ll operate the machine, you lot cheer me on.

  11. claire93 says:

    I was just thinking, it’s a times like this that we need a machine with the button option where it sews without the foot pedal. I know there are some models out there that do that!
    I’m going to try and get some standing sewing down before 13th because I won’t be able to stand for long either for a while . . . although I do have my little Elna Grasshopper which has a knee lever in lieu of foot pedal. Might work for me if I can sit, and might have worked for you too as it would be right knee lol.

    • katechiconi says:

      I’d be terrified of missing the button when I wanted to stop again! What I need is a mid-height sewing table and a misericord, one of those ledge-like monastic backside-proppers in choir stalls, where you neither sit nor stand. That way I can take the weight off, but as it’s not sitting I can keep the knee straight too.

  12. tonymarkp says:

    Another blogger with surgery coming up! You are number two. So, there’s a third one floating about the internet somewhere. I hope everything works out as planned and I’m sorry you’re living this, it sounds terrible!

    • katechiconi says:

      Oh, I hope not. Think of it this way, Claire’s having two feet done and I’m having one knee. That makes three, which is quite enough. It’s not fun right now, but give it a month or two and I’ll be skipping around again like a hippo in a tutu.

  13. nettyg says:

    Ouch, sounds awfully painful. Amazing how those little “landing the wrong way’ twinges end up being huge…well, football size anyway. Good thing they can get you in for repair so quickly, take the drugs, be good and do as the doc says, and you’ll be back at it before you know it.

    • katechiconi says:

      I was inclined to think nothing of it at first, but after it had gone on for ages, I realised there was a problem. It seems so trivial, but it’s actually fairly bloody painful. Roll on 4th April…

  14. manicmumdays says:

    Crikey! I see lots of hand stitching and rest in your future! Take care, hope surgery goes well! x

  15. kymlucas says:

    Wishing you a speedy recovery. It’s always the little things that get you – like getting out of the car. πŸš— 😏

  16. dayphoto says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with you for a speedy recovery!

  17. craftycreeky says:

    Hope it all goes well Kate, would it work to have your sewing machine tipped on a slant towards you, maybe then you can sit further back and have your leg out! Make sure you put yourself before your quilt, your recovery is more important than finishing the quilt on time πŸ™‚

    • katechiconi says:

      I’m thinking more that changing the seat would be best, like a bike saddle where your leg can go straight down to the side. On the other hand, I have no idea how much I’m supposed to be bending it straight away, and maybe I need to sit with it bent… I’ll just have to wait and see!

  18. gwenniesgardenworld says:

    I am so sorry to hear about this ! I hope all goes well and that you will be behind your sewingmachine soon !!! Have a Happy Easter and enjoy a bit of pampering by your husband !

  19. I’m CONFIDENT the surgery and recovery will go well for you. Wishing you the best, regardless!

  20. nanacathy2 says:

    Poor Kate. I hope the surgery goes well and your recovery is speedy. Hugsxx

  21. Hurry up and be well again!

  22. I was going to ask you about the surgery but my mind is a sieve so I thought I’d better wait to see if you brought it up. Still catching up here. Glad you are getting the knee repaired and if anyone can find a way to get the sewing done, you will do it. My son just had his fixed..again. Healing takes time to do it right. When you rush things, results are often sketchy. When is this surgery happen? I’ll keep good thoughts for you and the one doing the surgery. Did you just not want to get out of that truck? πŸ˜‰

  23. nikkibnb says:

    Hope it all goes smoothly and wishing you a speedy recovery! If you have something like a breakfast bar or similar then maybe sitting on a bar stool would help as you can straighten the leg out. Or a stool under the desk that you could lift your leg on whilst in a chair.

    • katechiconi says:

      Just sitting is fine, as I have a very nice recliner to loll around in, but I also have a small plastic step-stool I can install under my sewing table to prop up on while the knee is still stiff. I just have to get organised enough so I don’t need to be getting up and down all the time πŸ™‚

  24. Your art and writing are so fluid and graceful. May your knees catch up to who you are…

    • katechiconi says:

      Thank you! What a lovely – and morale-boosting – thing to say; you’re so kind and encouraging πŸ™‚
      I’ll be grateful if the dratted thing would only stop clunking and grinding…

  25. rutigt says:

    Oh no! That must hurt really bad. I hope the surgery will help! You better get used to use the “wrong” foot when sewing πŸ™‚ Or else, concentrate on handsewing!!!! God luck with the surgery!!!!!

  26. I’m in catch up mode, thinking of you today, in particular -as well as in general- and wishing you all the best β™‘

  27. Ouch! I am so sorry to hear about this (especially so belatedly). The brace alone sounds awful and uncomfortable – a flashback to the days of polio.

    • katechiconi says:

      Two weeks on from surgery, the brace is a thing of the past, and the swelling is much better. I see the surgeon tomorrow to get the sign-off (hopefully), and then after that it’s physio. It’s so much better than before, so I’m feeling hopeful πŸ™‚

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