It’s been over two months now since I made an update on how I’m doing since I got hurt on July 3rd. I’ve been wanting to post something. I just don’t know what to say anymore. I feel like old news. A burden.
“That’s just Joe again, whining about hurting himself. Don’t worry about him. Fuckin broken record…”
Such a wimpy little tip over turns into this life changing event for me… and it might seem silly to everyone; “Oh you broke your knee? Feel better! Heal up!”
Hell, that’s what I would have said. In fact, I pretty much HAVE said that before to at least two friends who have had a similar type injury. I didn’t know any better. I had no idea. I had no idea that 0.02% of people have the type of injury I have and that it’s so severe I’d be down for at least six months.
I had no idea about any of this. And I’m still struggling to come to grips with it still to this day. It’s fuckin bad. Everyone that messages me asking for an update and when I tell em, they’re always surprised. I guess everyone just thinks I broke my leg or something. I fuckin WISH I’d have only broken my leg. I’ll take 2 pair of broken tib/fib over this shit. Hell, even throw in a broken arm and I’d be happier than I am now.
After all I’ve been through already, right here, right now, this exact second I would trade it all for two broken legs and a broken arm if my knee injury could be magically undone. I’d be all better in 6 to 8 week that way! At current rate of success, I might not ever be all better with my knee injury.
My last surgery was the beginning of August…the 5th, I think? I don’t know for sure. I was in such a drug induced state that I feel like my entire life was only a few weeks ago. Everything. All of it.
“When was it that you…?”
“Just a couple weeks ago,” is my reply.
“What about the time forever ago that we were…?”
“Yeah, that was a couple of weeks ago too. You mean you don’t remember?” I’ll ask incredulously.
One minute I’m dickin around on a buddy’s YZ250F that he’d just gotten, and the next minute, I’m yelling through pain and frothing and spitting in my “fuckfuckfuckfuck” induced hyperventilation of pain pleading with him to grab the heel of my riding boot and give it a tug it to relocate my knee. There was no delay in pain. It hurt a lot. It was absolutely dislocated…I just had no idea how bad.
Johnathan declined by the way. In the most calm, cool and collected way too, “Joe, I am not going to do that for you.” He didn’t even use conjunctions when he said it. Too fuckin cool for school, I tell ya.
We were throwing a party at our house. It was the kiddo’s first birthday 3 days prior. It was also a friend of ours from New York’s bday that day as well. We invited a bunch of friends over to celebrate a multi-bday extravaganza. The house was all decorated up. Bribri had been cooking for the better part of 24 hours, making sure everything was perfect so we could all celebrate in style leading into the 4th of July.
Then I fucked it all up.
I haven’t really sat down to “write” about it yet. I’ve only made posts on facebook…some more in depth than others, but never anything particularly in depth. Just a quick update of my thoughts and feelings and current condition. Ups and downs, wins and losses, etc.
I consolidated all of those posts in my last blog entry here with photos and videos of me crying and stuff: Joe’s Facebook Injury Updates Post
I suddenly felt a burning desire to write just now and I grabbed my laptop and starting pecking away at the keyboard. My desire is fueled partially by frustration, and partially in despair.
A week ago…I think? Or has it been two weeks? I genuinely don’t know…but recently, my ortho surgeon cleared me to start putting weight on my left leg. “Start small,” he says, “and by the next time I see you in 6 weeks, I want to see you fully weight bearing on that leg. I also want to see you at at least 90 degrees of flexion.”
Flexion, for the uninitiated (me, prior to July 3rd), is the amount you can bend your knee from straight out. Straight out being 0 degrees. Easy, right? A normal knee is around 130 degrees Range of Motion (RoM). The knee cap (patella), which is connected to the tibia via the patellar tendon, sits in front of the femur. When you bend your knee, the patella slides along that wedge shape at the end of your femur. Duh, right?
I’ve always been much more flexible than your average bear. I don’t know my actual uninjured RoM numbers, but I do know that at work, shooting photos, I spend a lot of time fully in a F.O.B. squat, with my heels touching my back pockets of my pants. My RoM numbers now? About 20 degrees if I’m being optimistic.
I severed my patellar tendon. The only other thing the patella is attached to is your quadricep muscles. Like a rubber band, my quad sucked my patella the fuck right out of my knee. *slurp*
I severed my MCL as well, which is the primary stabilizing ligament to the knee joint. I also severed my ACL, which is the ligament that keeps your knee joint from making left to right movements.
My surgeon also said that my meniscus had flipped upside down. I didn’t know that was possible, but that’s what he said. I also broke my tibial plateau, which is the top of the tibia…mine in particular, was the top outside ball joint looking dealie that snapped off. “Compound tibial fracture” says the doc. “It touched the air.” In my 3rd of 4 total surgeries, my surgeon attempted to plate it, but said the damage was too severe and the risk of infection too high and he was only able to set 3 long screws through it.
No biggie though. A broken tibia is/was the absolute least of my worries.
Now that that’s all out of the way, skip forward to today:
I was sitting in bed, doing some at home PT stuff trying to get some RoM in my leg and massaging out all the edema that makes my leg all lumpy and nerve damaged…and my knee joint is stuck.
I can put a small amount of bend in it—about 20 degrees—relatively pain free before it simply stops. Like when you try to close the door to the bathroom when you go to sit in the tub after binge drinking all night but there’s a dead hooker blocking the door. It just stops. It doesn’t hurt when it stops.
It just fucking full stops like that half written breakup text you’re too afraid to send cause you know, deep down, that your significant other is gonna smash your motorcycle to bits with that ax you shouldn’t have bought her for last Christmas.
I’ve been applying force with my arms to try and entice a little more bend out of it…but it doesn’t bend. Imagine trying to break a branch for firewood and it bends a little, but doesn’t break… That’s what’s happening to me. I’m fucking scared to push any harder. I can push to where it hurts, but it simply will not bend anymore. This is all she wrote.
I’m frustrated. I’m scared. I’m sad. I’m angry. I feel like no one really understands what the fuck I’m actually going through and how impossible recovery feels.
I’ve developed an irrational fear of knee injury watching people run and jump on TV. It gives me anxiety. I’m not the anxiety type person. This isn’t me.
I’m stressed out. I can’t walk, let alone work. I have no money coming in. I have medical bills stacking up. I can’t afford PT. Rent is due. Child support is due. Will I ever be fucking normal again? Am I going to need another surgery just to be able to bend my knee? Doc said when I heal up, he recommends my going back under the knife to fix my MCL and meniscus. How much more of this can I take? I’m just starting to be able to function on my own-ish and if I need surgery again, is my relationship gonna survive another bout of this shit? Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.
I try my hardest to keep my mind in today. To one day at a time. To focusing on here and now and baby steps. But how long can the human brain focus on only the now without thinking to ramifications of only being present and not forward thinking?
I’ve been having tons of small successes over the last 2 months while mostly avoiding social media. Like I said, old news. Broken record. Scratched CD. Groundhog Day.
This week I’ve been faced with roadblocks. The kind of roadblocks I don’t have the tools to break through and overcome. I’m feeling so fucking defeated. So tired of this. So sick of being hurt. So tired of not being a productive member of society. So tired of feeling so fucking negative.
This. Is. Not. Me.
In the last two months, lots of people have messaged me encouragement. I appreciate every one of you. It’s like 50 hands fifty feet above me, all reaching down to help me while I’m treading freezing cold water at the bottom of a deep well. I adore all of you for your efforts.
But I just need a fuckin rope.
Hopefully I have something better and more positive and more uplifting to write about next time. I haven’t given up. I’ll keep treading. But I’m fucking tired.
Ps – The kid started walking before me.