Had a pre-op appointment today for the arthroscopic surgery to repair my injured knee. Surgery is in eight days. All the paperwork is signed. The i’s are dotted. The t’s are crossed. Everything is in place to proceed.

There were a few small surprises. In talking with the PA today, it was explained to me that the restrictions for my recovery are going to be more extensive and last longer than I originally inferred.

All along the surgeon has been talking about, “This is an outpatient procedure and once the anesthesia clears, you’ll be walking out of the hospital under your own power. You shouldn’t even need crutches.” I inferred from his basic rehab guidelines that I would stay off it entirely for a few days. Would have a PT appointment about a week later. Would spend some time on a stationary bike for a week or two, have a follow up check up appointment and go on to lead my life. Today, it was explained…not so fast.

The first part is right. I’ll walk out on my own power. Spend the weekend on my back, but am allowed to move some and even run an errand or two as long as it’s not too strenuous. The general operating guideline seems to be, “as long as I’m awake, keep it elevated more than I’m on it and generally try to baby it.” There will be a PT appointment within a week of the surgery. The PA today seemed to think that I could expect to be on a stationary bike within a week. Perhaps graduating to an eliptical in week two, but there would be no squatting, no weights or most of what I would consider full-on Crossfit for 4-6 weeks. GASP?!

Guess I shoudn’t really be surprised. And in reality, I’m not particularly upset. Having literally limped through the Open in the month of March, I’m kind of looking forward to having a doctor’s note to lay off the barbell a while. There will still be plenty of ways to keep active while the knee is recovering.

Sounds like I’m going to get real intimate with the Airdyne bikes at CFD between now and the beginning of Summer. My ever-loving wife has spent over a year now volunteering with the Freedom Rowers, a group of adaptive athletes from the Duke VA. She knows LOTS of hacks and work arounds for how an athlete with an immobile leg can still log LOTS of meters on a C2 rower. some body weight work will be an option later in the rehab process and there’s ALWAYS core work. That’s not load bearing. So I’m going to get my sweat on for sure.

Daring to look ahead and hope that this all resolves without any glitches, here are a couple of things to which I’m most looking forward:

-) Not having to concentrate on foot placement wondering if my legs are going to hold me up or not as I try to rise up from the floor.

-) Playing freely with the kids, both in and out of the gym. For six months now whether coaching or just hanging out in the back yard, the trial and error (and pain) of figuring out what things I could and couldn’t do with the kids has been frustrating and draining. A simple game of tag was out of the question because I couldn’t stop and pivot. Two weeks ago I crumbled to the ground pitching wiffle balls to my daughter.

I acknowledge freely that these are little inconveniences and by and large, we’ve gone on about our lives unaffected. However, anyone who knows my story knows that I started Crossfit five years ago so that I could get in shape and keep up with my kids.

When I coach the first time visitors at Crossfit Durham and explain how the needs of athletes aren’t different but the degrees of those needs do; I use myself and my kids as an example. I tell those guests, “I don’t need to have a 500# deadlift. I need to be able to keep up with my kids. THAT’S why I Crossfit. Yes, I have goals and there are always new challenges that I want to accomplish in the gym. But at the end of the day, if I spend an afternoon running through the yard with my kids and they say, ‘time out, Dad. We need a break.’ then for me that’s Crossfit for the win!” It’s why I do it and that’s the degree of my need to exercise. An injury that compromises that ability at any level mashes on an old and apparently still kind of raw emotional nerve.

So hopefully, that will all be resolved soon. Fingers crossed.

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