Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Life on Pause

As much as I like to have everything planned out, unfortunately you can't plan for everything. I definitely didn't think that my annoying knee would ever affect my plans this drastically!

I tore my ACL in October in a ballet class, 2 days before I was supposed to move to Israel. Thankfully I was still able to start my studies as scheduled, even though I had to delay my flight for a few days until I could walk a little better. The doctor told me that I would have to have ACL replacement surgery at some point in the future but that it would be fine to wait until I was done living in Israel.

Until February, my knee was doing great and was almost perfectly healed, besides a little stiffness. We had a 6 week long break between semesters. My parents suggested that I come home to get the surgery taken care of, but I decided that it would be much more fun to make use of my time living abroad by taking a Hebrew class, planning an amazing trip to France, and having them come visit me.

Well, I hate being wrong, and especially in this case... a few weeks into the semester break I hurt my knee again. It was actually a lot more traumatic than the first time because a lot more people witnessed me falling flat on my face, and it hurt way more. I won't go into the details because I don't want to relive that experience, but it involved stepping down off a bus. Yep, that's it. I much prefer the getting injured during a tour jeté story.

I couldn't walk at all for a few days, and it was all very stressful figuring out what to do... all while I was supposed to be studying Hebrew for 5 hours a day. I managed to make it to a few doctors there but they weren't helpful at all and it was too complicated to try to see a specialist (socialism...). 

After the second injury, my knee never healed very well and I was worried that I would keep hurting it again and again. It's just not very fun not being able to depend on your leg to work while you walk, trust me.

Thankfully, I was able to walk enough to still enjoy my trip to France. Let's be honest, that was by far the thing that was the most important thing to me. 

After thinking about all of my options, me and my parents decided that the best one was to ask permission to take a few weeks off of school to come home and get it taken care of. There are several holidays in April in Israel that made it so I wouldn't be missing a ton of class if I came home for a month.

The day my parents left after their trip to Israel, I was granted official permission from my university to miss class for a little while. We bought my flight a day after that. A week later, after only attending the first week of classes, I was on a plane home!

I had my surgery a week after that, and I survived! I now have a new ACL, taken from my parts of my hamstring. And yes, I realize that is gross. 

The sad part is that during the surgery they also found a tear in my meniscus (from the second injury) that wasn't previously known about. We knew that I hurt my knee again, but we didn't know officially what happened inside there. Unfortunately, it was something that required further surgery and they had to put stitches inside my knee to repair it (again... gross, right?).

The really sad part is that the meniscus stitches significantly add to the recovery time. With just the ACL surgery, the expected recovery time was 3-4 weeks, and I would have been allowed to start walking the same week of surgery. With the meniscus stuff added in, I'm not allowed to put any weight on my leg for 4 weeks, and the recovery time is more like 8-12 weeks. Soooooo, it doesn't look like my flight back to Israel in 4 weeks is going to work out. I need to be at least mostly healed and be able to walk without crutches before I go back.

So basically, I have to skip this whole semester of school! I'm pretty disappointed about that because I absolutely HATE to have to change my plans and I'm already dying of boredom here not being able to walk. I'm still planning on finishing my MA program eventually, so right now it looks like I'll go back to Israel for summer semester in July, and then I'll have to stay for one more semester, either for fall or come back in spring. It's really not ideal because I was looking forward to graduating in August, and it's not seeming appealing to me right now to go back for that long... but that's the plan for now.

To rub a little salt in the wound, right now I was supposed to be leaving on an amazing trip to Athens and Santorini. I don't think this sentence really fits in right here, but I just wanted to complain about it somewhere. Forgive me ;)

I wish I could have gotten a warning from the doctor in October that another bad injury could happen or a warning from the surgeon that depending on what they find it could really change the recovery outcome... but oh well. I've never liked doctors anyways (at least they're way less evil than dentists, but considering my opinion of dentists that's not saying much). I need someone to blame, right? haha

Getting surgery was interesting since I've never had to do anything like that before. I've never even had blood drawn. When I got stressed I just tried to pretend I was on an episode of House. It was a great coping strategy. The actual day of surgery wasn't too bad besides being annoyed that I was required to remove my nail polish. It was such a weird feeling to wake up from anesthesia and feel like no time had passed. 

The first two days afterwards there wasn't a lot of pain because they gave me a nerve block and numbed my knee. I did feel pretty tired and weird from the anesthesia though. After that, I could definitely feel more pain. Thankfully, it's fine when I'm not moving. It just doesn't feel good when I have to move around. Who needs to move, right?

I'm feeling much better now because after FIVE DAYS I was finally authorized to take a shower. It was a super awkward shower that left me exhausted, and going up the stairs took 10 years, but it felt wonderful.

It for sure gets a little better every day. Now, a week later, I still can't do much... but I'm not suffering or anything (besides being bored!!). So please don't worry about me :)  I'm uncomfortable with sympathy haha. I'm told it's a Houdek trait.

I'm trying to focus on the positive and enjoy unlimited TV, books, Daisy, people bringing me custard, and finally being waited on like the princess I always thought I was in my head. Just kidding... mostly ;)

Don't worry Israel, I'll come back to you someday!

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