I had knee surgery today.
I’ve had so many people wish me well, and I appreciate it more than you know. Only one of my five cousins called to see how I was, so the fact that any of you would give a damn makes me feel really good. I say this without any sarcasm or prevarication: Thank you from the bottom of my heart for caring.
I’m drugged right now, and I’m rambly, and it occurred to me that while everyone knows I needed knee surgery, I haven’t really given many details. So, if you want to know more about the injuries I’m dealing with, read on. If not, I promise I’ll post a writing-related something or other soon since I’m too stoned to write for real.
The knee surgery I had in April uncovered two massive, tattered, horrendous tears in my meniscus tendon. That’s the tendon that cushions your joint and basically keeps you from falling on your ass at any given moment. One of those tears had created a flap, and that flap would occasionally wedge into the space between my patella and tibia, which then caused the fibula and tibia to dislocate and go on a rampage of ow and oh fuck and you’re going to fall now. During one of those oh fucks last fall, my quad muscle tore.
The muscle was and still is in a state of atrophy. That will take some work to fix. But the surgery in April repaired both tears in the meniscus; one with stitches, one with an anchor that nailed that flappy bitch down and forced me to be on crutches for 7 weeks of my life that I’ll never get back.
But I’m not bitter.
The knee was getting better for a few weeks, and then one day it started going downhill again. That was four months ago. Little known fact: one side-effect of pain, despair, and frustration is writer’s block. Another side-effect is being a raging, moody bitch. FYI.
But I finally convinced my surgeon to cut me open again, because no amount of rehab, including electrical stimulation, was working. The surgery I had today uncovered another tear, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as the first two. The anchor, surprisingly, is holding. The tear was near it, though, and I’m praying that it was the cause of all those issues.
Today I am already walking with less pain than yesterday. When the block and the painkillers wear off that may no longer be the case, but right now I’m very optimistic. Now it’s on me to rehab hard and get the muscles back in shape. The beneficial side effect of that is ending up smoking hot after it’s all said and done.
Some of you are sitting there wondering what this has to do with Ty and Zane, but fuck you. Some of you are thinking, ‘yay, Abi, now go write, you lazy whore.’ That’s fair.
But as awesome as it will be to have my knees back, as soon as I’m better both shoulders will have to be operated on. I have a torn labrum in each shoulder. But that’s not the worst part, or the injury that will require them to make 3-4 inch long incisions when they go in.
Both shoulder joints have ‘chronic instability’, which sounds innocuous enough. But what it means is that about once a day, with little to no provocation, one or both of my shoulders will slip partially out of joint. It’s called subluxation. It doesn’t sound so bad, right? But imagine that you’re driving your car and you’ve just reached for the radio to change the station because you hate One Direction or whatever just came on. There’s a crunching sound and your fingers suddenly jerk to the left, out of your control. You hit the preset for talk radio and you immediately lose brain cells as you listen.
Pain shoots from your shoulder down your arm, invading your elbow and forearm, sliding into your neck and back, and bursting into your fingers to make them numb and unresponsive. The pain settles into a persistent ache that reaches from your shoulder to your wrist, and the only way to make it go away is to have someone grab your forearm and pull until the ball of your humerus moves and pops back into the socket where it belongs.
Basically, if you’re ever dislocated your shoulder, welcome to my world. Every. Fucking. Day.
This has been going on for about 4 years now. It’s an even longer story as to why I’ve been trying to tough it out, but short version is that the joint is loose again because I got pregnant. Every subsequent pregnancy would have done the same thing, so fixing it before I was done having babies would have been pointless. Now that I’m divorced and my daughter is literally smarter than I am already, I think it’s safe to say I won’t be having more. So it’s time to fix these motherfucking joints so I can pick up my baby girl and toss her around and hug her as she lets her feet swing in the air before she gets old enough that she doesn’t want me to.
The really amazing thing though? When my shoulder was doing this in high school, I would have a teammate pop it back in and then go play more volleyball. WTF was wrong with me?! JFC, it’s no wonder I’m in constant pain now.
Anyway. That’s going on with both shoulders. My right shoulder is already a mess and has been since I was 16. The rotator cuff has been repaired twice. The joint has been tightened twice. The end of my clavicle has been cut off. The biceps tendon has been removed from where it attached and reattached lower along the humerus. I was told I would never be able to lift my arm completely over my head again, because that tendon is what does all the work to make it lift high. If you ever meet me, though, ask me to raise my arm.
Both shoulders will need this godawful surgery where they open the shoulder and tighten up the joint by cutting through everything and then sewing it all back up. The shoulder will be immobilized for 8-12 weeks, during which I will be in a device that looks like a sling but has a crank. Each day I will crank my arm and let it move away from my body a little bit more. When I finally get it where it should be, then I get to rehab and learn how to use the damn thing again. What does that mean for you, the minion who is obsessed enough to still be reading? It’s likely anything I write next year will be done with one hand, and therefore slower. So much slower.
It will take 6-12 months to get the shoulder back to full mobility. And then they’ll do the other shoulder. And after that, my friends, after that I will be able to run and jump and skip and play like a real boy again.
I’ve had a total of 10 surgeries now, not counting the kidney stone that damn near killed me. The first one was when I was 14. Four on my right shoulder. Three on the left knee. Two on the right knee. And one on the left ankle. Those shoulders will bring my total to 12, and those aren’t a question of if, but rather when.
You can add to those operations a slipped disc in my lower spine that occasionally slips and pinches the sciatic nerve, which disables me for a few days. That was from a collision at the plate during softball where this chick tried to plow me over and I lowered my shoulder into her and upended both of us. I have a pinkie finger that was dislocated and never properly set. Very inconvenient for typing. I have a torn intercostal muscle, which is the muscle between two ribs. It never heals, because those muscles cannot be rested due to the whole needing to breathe thing. I tore that when I was 17 because the torque I put on my body when I served a volleyball was so violent that it literally ripped my ribcage apart. It doesn’t bother me much anymore, but it will on occasion spasm and bring me down like a tree being felled by an orc.
I am also the epitome of bad luck and oddball injuries. Some you might see in past or upcoming books, because all this pain needs to be used for something.
- I once broke my nose by being headbutted by a dog, who happened to be a boxer, which made the story so much more fun to tell.
- I broke a rib last year during a practice drill when I was reaching into the ball cart and one of the girls on the other side of the net fell against the cart and rammed it into my ribcage.
- I fractured my kneecap when I was pitching batting practice too close to the plate and couldn’t get out of the way of a line drive.
- I fell down the front steps of my Granny’s house and rolled down the walkway because I was standing a step higher than I thought I was as I talked to someone on the deck above me. I wound up in a full leg cast and a cast on my wrist, but didn’t break a single bone.
- I wrecked my ankle while shagging balls during practice my senior year because a teammate kicked a ball on the other side of the gym and I stepped on it in mid-sprint as it rolled up behind me. (I played in the state playoffs two days later, and I was a setter which means lots of running. Seriously, how the fuck did I do that other than pure adrenaline and fuckyouitude?)
- I cracked my cheekbone in college when I opened up the windows of my apartment and caused a wind tunnel that forced the front door to fly open and slam me in the face when I turned the knob.
This is my life. I don’t even know how to conclude this other than to take another pill and go to bed.