Not one of my body parts has ever suffered major trauma before, so I was not prepared for all that it entailed. Each day held a new learning experience for me, and not all of them were good. I shall pass on my newly acquired knowledge to you, my readers, because I care. Based on the vast number of people who have seen me on my crutches and proceeded to tell me about their own knee injuries, I'm thinking there is a pretty good chance at least half of you will incur a similar injury sometime in your life.
Do ice your knee as much as possible for weeks on end.
Don't put that ice in a cheap sandwich bag that will leak all over your pants, blanket, and couch.
Mostly don't ask a 5 year old to put those leaky bags of ice on the kitchen counter. There is a good chance he will put them on the pile of bills and important papers waiting patiently for your undivided attention.
Do use your crutches constantly for several weeks.
Don't use furniture, handrails, children, or sinks to get around. You may just put your weight on the master bathroom pedestal sink, shift it off kilter, and snap the drainpipe, thus making your sink unusable. You will find yourself washing your hands and brushing your teeth over the side of the tub while sitting on the toilet until your knee heals completely and you can get to the store to buy a replacement sink.
Do get showered and dressed and brushed for the day before going downstairs.
Don't wear clothes with loose pockets. Thumbs have a tendency to snag in those pockets each and every time your crutches swing forward, causing you to lose your balance and practically kill yourself at least 53 times.
Do put your feet up and rest.
Don't plan on getting much sleep. While you can control your movements during the day, you will have trouble doing so while you sleep. The probability that you will bend your knee a bit too far when rolling over and wake yourself up screaming in pain is quite high.
Do listen to music while getting your MRI to cover the noises of the machine.
Don't listen to 80s music during that MRI. Your body is conditioned to sing and dance when it hears 80s music, which is completely against the rules of the MRI. So, on top of the torture of not being able to scratch the 19 different spots that suddenly itch like the devil, you will have to keep yourself from belting out your favorite songs. It makes for a looooong 35 minutes.
Do let others go to the grocery store for you.
Don't ask those kind people to buy anything besides cereal. Despite the fact they have been eating fruit and veggies and meat at every meal for your entire lives together, your offspring and husband will forget that such things even exist. The beautifully ripe strawberries, bananas, cantaloupe, lettuce, and grapes will go uneaten and moldy in the fridge. Oh, and they won't eat the eggs that are still flooding in from the chicken coop, either.
Do take advantage of the pity your family has for you. Let them do all the work while you sit on the couch and read.
Don't expect it to last forever. By week two, you may have a conversation like this:
Child: Mom, have you noticed we're all upstairs in our rooms a lot more than usual?
Me: Yes. What are you doing up there?
Child: Well, with you being unable to do much, we know that whoever can be seen is the one who gets asked to do the extra chores you and Dad want done.
Me: I know, Honey. Haven't you noticed that I've been calling you all in a rotation? I've known about this strategy of yours for years.
Child: Dad hasn't figured it out yet.
Me: No. No he hasn't. If I were you, I'd hide when he is home, too.
Do slowly start to venture out as your injury heals.
Don't take your injured children with you. No one, and I really mean NO ONE, can resist commenting when he sees a mom on crutches accompanied by her small child who happens to have his arm in a sling. "Did this happen in the same accident?" and "Did you fight each other?" and "What is wrong with your family?" are the most common questions. Those folks that don't ask questions give questioning looks, dirty looks, or smirks that end in laughter while they make fun of you. It's best to just leave the kid at home. Or let him take his sling off when you are out in public.
That's all I've got so far. I'm sure there will be more bits of wisdom before this is all over, considering I haven't started physical therapy or had surgery yet. I'll keep you posted. Naturally.
If you have had knee surgery before, do you have any tips for me?
Have a lovely day!