Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bracing for reality

***I'm posting some arthroscopic pics near the end of this post, fair warning for queasy readers.

This time around has had an interesting start.

By the second day after surgery, the knee was bearing weight unusually well when compared to my first two ACL reconstructions. Thursday I got stitches out and did a round of physical therapy. Quads are firing well, straight leg raises are strong, about 70 degrees of flexion and a degree or two of hyper-extension. The slight hyper-extension is a most pleasant surprise, usually that doesn't come along until much later in the game.

I was approved to go without an immobilizer brace during passive activity, such as working at my desk or around home. I'm supposed to continue wearing it as a matter of security until this week's session when my gait will be re-evaluated.

Tomorrow I return to the real world, going back to work for the first time in 2 weeks. We have overlapping responsibilities in my department, so I have all confidence that my partners have provided due diligence in my absence. Hopefully I won't be drowning in backlogged work to do!

Truth be told, I've done just about everything I can around the house, got a few 'administrative' things out of the way after many long delays. I'm ready to get back into a routine, although it won't include Karate for somewhere around 14-16 weeks.

I plan to continue my bench-time tradition of watching sparring classes on Monday nights to help keep me connected with my fellow students, and help satisfy my craving for Fight Night. It helps to keep me focused on what I need to do, and the encouragement from my friends on a regular basis is truly a balm for the soul.

I have made the very difficult decision to stop sparring for a long time. Sparring is part of the curriculum, but for folks over 35 they will adjust requirements for black belt as necessary. I don't plan to give up sparring forever, but 3 major injuries requiring surgical work and 2 other injuries have cost me well over a year of time.

By many accounts I would be screening for black belt later this year, but reality says it'll be some time in 2011 at the soonest. I'm tired of the annual re-set of my training and want to remove the one activity most responsible for my injuries.

There are no guarantees in life, but I need to start stacking the odds more in my favor if I want to continue with Karate for the foreseeable future. I'm damned good at open hand and weapons forms, time to focus on those strengths. I'm not any more afraid of sparring than before, but I am concerned that my reflexes are telling me to move in ways that are dangerous.

1st time: I was falling backwards, torn ACL from trying to stop a fall.
Lesson: Just fall.

2nd time: I was landing from a powerful tornado kick, torn ACL from a planted foot on landing.
Lesson: Don't go overboard on fancy kicks when you're tired.

3rd time: I was ducking under a punch way too far, torn ACL from trying to explode upwards.
Lesson: Don't go overboard on moves you haven't drilled on.

I don't want any more of these lessons.

As promised, here's 2 pics:

This one is of the floater found while inspecting the meniscus. Looks like a tiny bit of meniscus that had torn loose, not a big deal.

Here's the ACL. It starts at the top left looking great, the rest is simply a shredded pile of silvery ligament spaghetti.


Michele said...

Sounds like you are well on your way to a speedy recovery.

BobSpar said...

I hope that you become inexperienced in ACL recovery for the rest of your life!