After sustaining a serious knee injury it was concluded that I’d need to undergo a double level derotation osteotomy, tibial tubercle distilisation and medialisation and MPFL on both legs to regain my capacity to walk. I have decided to document my recovery. Click here to read part I and here to read part III.
My body and I have had a troublesome relationship for as long as I can remember. A disjointed love affair with many highs and lows.
I have been able to travel around freely and have so far enjoyed a good health, but even so my bones and joints have hindered me on and off. By giving up unexpectedly. By dislocating brutally, turning careless joy into agony when least expected.
My body has also always been a reliable mirror of my mind. An unwelcome gift at times. A brutally honest friend I could never hide from. An inescapable indicator of my state of being. At times numb, but so very alive on the night I fell.
Initially, the betrayal of my knee felt like a punishment. A reminder that the more you rise, the deeper you can fall. Should I have ventured out so freely knowing I might injure myself again? Should I have committed so much time to doing something so physical knowing my patella has the tendency to wander? Had it not been unnecessarily risky to challenge my body like this on my mission to find a way to keep my mind at peace?
“I see dance being used as communication between body and soul, to express what is too deep to find for words.”
These wise words from American dance pioneer Ruth St. Denis capture precisely the solace dance offers me. How swirling around lifts me up until I feel light again. How the tangible connection with another frees me from the false sense of isolation that keeps me trapped. It felt tragically ironic to me that my body would react so aggressively to something it had begged me to find for so many years.
I needed to hear that my injury had been unavoidable to know that my desire to dance wasn’t to blame. That listening to my body’s call for movement had been the right thing to do. Because now that I have tasted the freedom of movement, I know what it is I’m fighting to return to. No matter the pain, no matter the fear.
That’s what I remind myself of when I lie awake at night. It’s what has helped me bite through the agonising pain during the first two weeks post-surgery. It’s also why I wholeheartedly answer that I will dance again when asked that question after telling how I injured myself.
- After an operation of around two hours long, I woke up feeling nauseous. Despite being given an anti-sickness medicine, I kept feeling poorly all day.
- For the first day and a half a big part of my leg was numb. The other part hurt quite badly, though a selection of painkillers suppressed most of the pain effectively.
- My blood pressure was really low for the first couple of days, causing me to feel faint as soon as I moved minimally. This meant it was quite difficult initially to learn how to move safely using crutches.
- I learned really quickly that the physiolab ice machine would become my best friend for the next month or so.
- I returned home after spending four days and three nights in the hospital. While I was technically able to move at this stage, it was excruciatingly painful to do so.
- The first thing I regretted after I arrived home was not having pre-ordered the ice machine I had grown very attached to during my hospital stay. Whilst renting one was by no means cheap, it was worth the investment because it was literally the only thing that kept me going through the next couple of weeks.
- My leg was insanely swollen and bruised from my mid-upper leg until the ankle. I had to wear a tight brace around the leg whilst moving. The pressure this put on the swelling and the fact that the pain would rush down my leg whenever I got up meant that it was almost impossible to move. This gradually got better at around the 2 week mark.
- I was unable to do anything other than rest, eat, ice, elevate my leg and take medicine. I had hoped to binge watch the series I had saved up for weeks and to read the pile of books I had collected. My concentration levels were gone however, so I only managed to re-watch the Lord of the Rings, the films I love most dearly.
- Throughout the day I would try to do the exercises the physio therapist in the hospital had given me.