ACL Post-Surgery: Day 1

I have been waiting 5 days to write this post. 5 days! I wanted to write about my ACL experience for anyone else that will have to go through this surgery in the future, so that they know what the expect and to plan for. However, I was not anticipating how out of it I would be from the medication, so it has taken me a little bit to log on. I had my mother take care of me the first few days, and she wrote down every single vitamin/medication I took as well as every oil application she applied. Thank goodness, or else I would have nothing to blog about. Below is a recap of what happened the day of surgery, pre and post. I will write separate posts for days 2-5, including my first check up with the doctor.

Day of Surgery:

  • Do not eat any food OR drink anything, even water, past midnight. I was PARCHED when i woke up – you will just have to wait until after surgery.
  • bring bag with id, insurance card, cash/check/credit card/flex spending account card
  • wear loose fitting shorts + loose pants (my boyfriend bought me tear-away pants – these are essential)

Arrival at Surgery Center

  • Did one last handstand in the parking lot at 6am

Handstand

  • Registered at front desk, filled out paperwork & paid surgery fee

PreSurgery with mom

Going into Surgery:

  • I was taken back into a room and given a gown, cap & socks to put on. I had to take everything off, but could leave my shorts/underwear on. I also had to pee in a cup for a pregnancy test, so wait to pee until you get to the room.
  • The nurse repeatedly asked me what leg the surgeon would be performing on, and what type of surgery he would be performing. I then had to sign papers and write it down, then initial the knee the doctor was going to operate on with a permanent marker.
  • my mom and boyfriend then came in – they couldn’t stop laughing and just HAD to take a picture:

Pre Surgery ACL

  • Someone else then came in and had my mom and boyfriend leave shortly after to administer the nerve block. This is when things got a little hazy.
  • I was then wheeled into the surgery room.
  • In the surgery room, there were a few people moving around, and an oxygen mask was put on my face. I kept asking questions.. then the next thing I know, I was out of surgery.

Post-Surgery

  • I woke up feeling nauseous, and the back of my leg hurt pretty bad. The nurse brought me water and ice, and she gave me some medicine for the nausea and pain.
  • My mom applied a balance oil blend to the bottom of my feet while I was still at the hospital – this is supposed to help restore the body/nervous systems after trauma.
  • My nausea was not going away, and I didn’t want the nurse to give me any more medicine, so my mom put a drop of peppermint oil under my tongue – this really helped the nausea go away.
  • The nurse gave me 1 pain pill right before I left the hospital
  • After surgery, the doctor came out and explained to my mom everything that happened. He showed her pictures and told her a few things:
  1. my kneecap looked great (usually people my age/runners have a more worn-down knee cap)
  2. My meniscus was a clean tear – the doctor called it a “pinch and tear”
  3. part of my hamstring and cadaver was used to create my new ACL
  4. my tibia bone was soft (Not good!!!) – this is a sign of pre-arthritis

Meniscus Pictures   ACL Pictures

  • I had my mom take a picture of me – I was really out of it.

postSurgery ACL


Arriving home

  • There was a slight issue getting home – I live on the second floor of an apartment complex. I couldn’t put any weight on my leg, was really out of it and my 54 year old mother was not about to carry me up the stairs. So I sat on my butt and inched my way up. Not the best way, but pretty much my only option. Here is a picture – I look like one of the 3 blind mice:

PostSurgery_ComingUpStairs

  • Once I got home, my mom hooked up the ice machine to my leg – the game ready wrap was already on my leg under the brace. [Edit: My PT said to freeze small water bottles and use with a little bit of water instead of ice – this eliminates the need to constantly be changing out the ice all the time/having to store so much ice in your freezer.]
  • Also – please note that I set up my living quarters the night before – this is super necessary, because I was a mess coming home. I would have slept on the floor if i didn’t have anywhere to lay down.

couch prep

  • Once the ice machine was set up (30 minutes on, 30 minutes off), my mom began applying oils:
  1. Sprayed a mix of frankincense, lavender and helichrysum on my right knee at: 11 am;2:30 pm;5:30 pm; 7:30 pm
  2. Diffused frankincense & flu oil blend at 12:30 pm, balance at 7:30 pm (to help kill off any germs/infections)
  3. on both feet: applied birch, white fir  at: 1:15 pm; 3 pm; 4 pm; 7:30 pm
  4. on right knee – 1 drop each – marjoram, wintergreen, lavender and peppermint at 4:05 pm; 7:45 pm
  5. Applied stomach oil blend on stomach at 2 pm; 4:30 pm (to combat constipation from pain meds)
  6. Applied cypress and basil to knee (over bandage) at 1:30 pm; 4:30 pm
  7. Applied sports oil blend to both feet (on pain/knee pressure points) at 5:20 pm
  8. All oils were applied on top of bandage of left knee at 9:30 pm
  9. Mom did an aromatouch massage on my hands at 8:30 pm

Mom spraying oils on my bandage & boyfriend applying oils to my feet below:

KneeSurgery_Oils   PostSurgery_Oils

  • began taking 1:1 ratio of calcium and magnesium (for bones)
  • Began taking multi-vitamin
  • I did not want to take the antibiotic given to me, so I made one of my own: 2 drops of melaluca, oregano, thyme and flu oil blend in an empty capsule. I took this 3x day for the first 4 days, then only 1x day for the rest of the week
  • I was afraid the pain medicine would make me super constipated, which is what everyone kept telling me, so I drank some natural laxative tea the first night. I am so glad I did – I was regular the entire first week and had no problems (the stomach oil blend also helped with this + I took my normal probiotic in the morning & at night on an empty stomach)
  • My nerve block began to wear off the first night – so I upped the pain medicine to 2 every 4 hours. This made me SUPER nauseous, I had trouble sleeping and my mouth was extremely dry. The first night I woke up every 2-4 hours to take the medicine, and haven’t stopped since. The pain was the worst on the second and third day. However, I felt like there was a break in the swelling, which went down on the third day finally. After the 5th day, I am down to 1 pain pill every 2-5 hours.

The biggest/best advice I would give to anyone on their first day from ACL surgery is this:

  • Ice and elevate!
  • Elevate your leg, with pillows under your heel, NOT your knee – gravity will pull down your knee to straighten it. This is KEY to your recovery – if you do not get your leg straightened as much as possible the first few days, you will spend the next few months trying to do this. It will be uncomfortable, it will hurt – but it is only for a few days that you will have to do this. After I was done icing, I would give my leg a break and not elevate it for a little bit. But once the ice machine went back on, up went my leg.
  • Keep up on your pain medicine – you will immediately regret missing taking it. And make sure you eat something before taking it!!!
  • Do not be afraid to ask for help! Have your mom/significant other stay and take care of you the first few days – I honestly don’t know what I would have done if my mother had not been there to help me

I hope this is helpful – having lots of friends and family to help out was super critical in my recovery. I never complained once, even when the pain was bad. Yes, I cried a few times, but all I ever thought  about was how grateful I am to have a new ACL. Positive thoughts help speed up recovery – so be as upbeat as possible, no matter what. I love the quote below by Eckhart Tolle – I truly believe this is happening in my life for a reason, and I can already see so many amazing things coming out of this experience. The pain is temporary and the recover may take a while, but I am truly growing in my relationships, trust, etc and and am so grateful for everything that is happening at this exact moment.

Eckhart Tolle

Lots of edible arrangements, gift baskets and special gifts from friends, family and coworkers made me feel so special!

EdibleArrangement_1    EdibleArrangement_2

Gifts_1   AntiInflammatory_Basket

PLEASE NOTE:

The information I have provided is not intended to be used in place of professional medical advice. This is information that I have gathered on my own through a variety of sources, and if you decide to use/apply any of the ideas from my site, you are taking full responsibility for your actions. This information is not meant to diagnose or to treat any medical condition. Please consult with your primary care physician holistic doctor to diagnose/advise of any medical condition if you have any questions. I am not liable for any damages or negative consequences resulting from any action by any persons reading or following the information on this site.


This e-book was created as a guide to help everyone – Adults, Kids, Athletes, and Non-Athletes – recovering from ACL surgery. After reading this guide, you will have a better understanding of what to expect, surgery options, costs & insurance, and a detailed timeline for recovery.

Improve your range of motion, increase your strength, and feel more confident post-surgery with a 2 month yoga progression plan.

ACL Surgery

Hi all!

Since I found out about my ACL surgery, I have been reading up on what to expect (ACLRecoveryClub.com & ACL Recovery FB groups have been amazing resources!), talking with friends who have undergone the same surgery and gathering as much information as possible. I want my recovery time to be miraculously fast, so I have been preparing my body the best that I can before going under the knife. I have been eating strict paleo and using essential oils to help aid & prepare my body for the surgery – you do not have to do this, but I highly recommend doing your own research to help prepare yourself before undergoing any type of surgery. Below are lists of Surgery Prep for what to expect, nutrition, using oils, questions to ask your surgeon, insurance and what to prepare for and expect 1 month leading up to surgery all the way through 1 week post surgery. I will be updating this as much as I can as soon as I go in for surgery and making any changes afterwards to add anything I missed.

ACL  ACL2

1 Month Before:

  • Began drinking homemade bone broth (grass fed) on a daily basis – I drank 1 quart a day. This is packed full of minerals & nutrients, heals your gut and strengthens your immune system.

2 weeks before:

  • Stock up on movies & books!
  • 1-2 aromatouch massages a week – this is supposed to help prepare your body for the trauma it is going to go through! (My mom is certified, so she did this for me 1x week about a month before my surgery)
  • Tie up loose ends with insurance
    • Coverage on you brace, crutches, ice machine, physical therapy, surgery fee, anesthesiology fee, doctors fee, surgery recovery room fee, MRI, etc

1 Week before:

  • Begin adding a few drops of lemon/lemon oil to your water – this will help cleanse and detox your body in preparation for the surgery
  • Apply a flu oil blend to the bottoms of your feet (before bed) – to help with toxic protection
  • Schedule your 1st physical therapy session (within 4-7 days post surgery)

2 Days Before:

  • Apply a flu oil blend, Frankincense & basil to your knee (or wherever you are having surgery). This will help reduce inflammation in the area, protecting against toxins and bacteria or MRSA.

Day Before Surgery:

  • Do not eat or drink after midnight prior to surgery, including gum & mints
  • Meal prep/stock up on groceries (if you live alone, don’t have someone to help you around the clock or have a special diet). I heard Pineapple & Tumeric are great for inflammation! (not necessarily together)
  • Stock up on Ice for your ice machine – this is extremely important, as you will be changing out the ice in your ice machine every few hours for the next week or so. [Edit: My PT said to freeze small water bottles and use with a little bit of water instead of ice – this eliminates the need to constantly be changing out the ice all the time/having to store so much ice in your freezer.]

Day of Surgery:

  • Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothes
  • Bring a small bag to put your insurance cards, photo ID & pain prescription in – this will be helpful to whoever is going to be picking up your prescription post-surgery

Arrival at Surgery Center:

  • Park in rear of building at “Surgery Patient” Parking and enter at the circle drive. The Surgery Institute is on the right when you walk in (These were instructions for where I was getting surgery)
  • Register at front desk with insurance card & photo ID
  • Fill out paperwork & consent forms
  • Meet with nurse & begin health assessment (if necessary – I had my doctor send over my most recent physical, so there was no need for this)
  • Change into gown & slippers
  • Meet with anesthesiologist/physiologist
  • Have nerve block administered (all of my friends that have gotten their ACL repaired said this is a MUST)
  • Chat with Doctor before going under anesthesia
  • Diffuse Frankincense and a flu oil blend in the room.  If they are do not allow (mine did not), make a small spritzer with a few drops of each and 2-3 tablespoons of water and spay your bed and area with the mixture. This will help kill bacteria/germs during/after your surgery.

Post-Surgery:

  • Wake up in recovery room – plan to stay for 1-1.5 hours
  • Pick up prescription for pain medicine
  • Figure out a way to get up the stairs to your apartment that is on the second floor

Arriving home after the surgery:

  • Set up Ice machine
  • Depending on whether or not you got the nerve block/you begin to experience pain, take your pain medicine
  • Apply Cypress and Basil to the area of surgery. This will increase blood flow and circulation to the area, aiding healing.  If there is any excessive bleeding, you can apply Geranium or Helichrysum instead.
  • (If you can’t get to the (surgery area) because of cast, bandage, etc., rub on the opposite arm, leg, knee, etc. and the (injured area) will receive 65% of the benefit. This is called Sympathetic Response. The body understands where the essential oil is needed and will send the recovering (surgery area) what’s needed).
  • Diffuse Frankincense and a flu oil blend in the room several times per day.  If you do not have a diffuser, make a small spritzer bottle with a few drops of each and 2-3 tablespoons of water and spay your bed and area with the mixture several times per day
  • As soon as is possible after surgery, start the AromaTouch technique again doing it at least twice over the next week or more. This can help balance your nervous system and reduce the physiological impact of surgery trauma.

The Days Following Surgery (Advice I received from friends who have already undergone ACL reconstruction):

  • Ice!
  • As soon as the nerve block wears off/you feel your leg, begin quad squeezes!
    • Flex your quad & hold for 5-10 seconds. Do 10-20 squeezes every 30 minutes (set a timer!)
  • While icing, put pillows under your calf/ankle. Gravity will help pull your knee straight

Questions to ask your surgeon before going under the knife:

  • What type of graft will I be getting?
    • Patellar, hamstring or cadaver – see the differences here: http://www.aclsurgery.us/patellar-vs-hamstring/ (My doctor recommended hamstring with a little cadaver, before I did any research. If I had done my research beforehand, I would have chosen the same thing, or just a hamstring graft. It’s ultimately up to you on what you want!)
  • What type of screws will be used? (mine used bio-composite interference screws – it depends on the doctors preference. I just wanted to know out of curiosity – you can do your own research on what you would prefer)

Did! I miss anything? Please feel free to comment and add anything 🙂 I hope this is helpful for those preparing for their ACL/knee surgery!

Sources:

PLEASE NOTE:

The information I have provided is not intended to be used in place of professional medical advice. This is information that I have gathered on my own through a variety of sources, and if you decide to use/apply any of the ideas from my site, you are taking full responsibility for your actions. This information is not meant to diagnose or to treat any medical condition. Please consult with your primary care physician holistic doctor to diagnose/advise of any medical condition if you have any questions. I am not liable for any damages or negative consequences resulting from any action by any persons reading or following the information on this site.


This e-book was created as a guide to help everyone – Adults, Kids, Athletes, and Non-Athletes – recovering from ACL surgery. After reading this guide, you will have a better understanding of what to expect, surgery options, costs & insurance, and a detailed timeline for recovery.

Improve your range of motion, increase your strength, and feel more confident post-surgery with a 2 month yoga progression plan.

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