Merlin59's Surgery Experiences

From: Russ McGrady (aka )

Received: May 20, 1997

The infection turned out to be staph, much to the surgeon's chagrine. After nearly a full month on antibiotics of one form or another I was able to regain the lost mobility and the swelling was significantly reduced. Although I was able to cycle and use the Nordic Track, I could not run. I tried a few strides from time to time but the pain of impact was too much, and I also was leary of pushing my luck and jeopardizing the entire rehab. I had to struggle at times to maintain a positive mindset, the truth is that I was beginning to feel nagging doubts that I'd ever be able to run for any appreciable time and distance. Because i had initially been told that I would be able to do some light running after about three weeks, that figure stuck in my mind so that when three weeks came and went, then four, I was pretty disappointed.

Finally, the night before the five week mark I got extremely restless and decided that I was gonna push the pain a little (in the interest of science of course). I started off on the asphalt and, sure enough, the pain began almost immediately. I was starting to make the turn for home when I decided to try the grass, and voila, I could run almost comfortably. I felt encouraged then and ran on thre grassy and sandy shoulders of the roads for about three days in a row, never more than three miles though. About four days ago I ventured onto the asphalt for the first time. Although I had to hit the grass every mile or so, I was able to get in four miles with very little pain. So now I'm running four to five times a week for no more than four miles per day and no more than 20 miles per week.

Received: April 19, 1997

I went in for the procedure on the morning of April 9th at 8AM. I had to be there at 5:30 for processing and of course the usual pre-surgical anti-infection procedures. I was taken to the O.R. at 7:30 and actually entered the operating theater before any anesthetics were administered. I had previously been told that I would have a choice of anesthesia; either general anesthesia or a "spinal." For me the decision would have been easy, having worked in a medical environment for several years I have seen enough spinal procedures to know that I didn't want one. However, given that the procedure was to last an hour or more, the anesthesiologist was insistent on general, and that suited me fine. The I.V. began after I was on the table (chatting with the surgeon, who turned out to have a pretty good sense of humor after all).

I woke up in the recovery room. The procedure lasted just under an hour and consisted of two parts. The first consisted of the arthroscopy of the lateral and medial menisces, in which no abnormality was seen. The second procedure was the partial resection of the ITB, directly above the lateral epicondyle. I was later informed that this was performed fairly easily, with the only area of concern lying in gaining assurance that the ITB would no longer contact the epicondyle throughout the normal range of motion. The Dr. informed me that my ITB had thickened and become "tubular" in this area, and he apparently removed this particular section.

I had little pain after being released from the hospital. I actually taught class at an area college where I am an adjunct professor the next morning, albeit on crutches. From there the rehab was rapid. Within 2 days I was walking without crutches as long as the leg remained straight, after four days I walked with very little limp and nearly a full range of motion. The dressing was removed and revealed a 4 to 5 inch scar running at a 45 degree angle over the epicondyle, which had been closed with 12 staples.

One week after the procedure I did a 2 mile walk with my wife at a leisurely pace and with minimal discomfort. The next night I walked again, 1 1/2 miles this time at a faster pace, again with minimal discomfort. However, during that same night I was awakened by strong pain and found the leg to be very stiff. The condition worsened throughout the morning with additional swelling and increased pain. A visit to the surgeon confirmed my fear that infection had set in. I was immediately sent home with a Rx for Cipro 750mg, to be taken 2 times daily.

If the situation doesn't improve by Monday I will have to re-enter the hospital for further treatment, which could entail re-opening and irrigating the wound. So, I'm on my back for a few more days, but remain confident that I am getting closer to rejoining you all on the roads and trails with each passing day. Happy running!

( Send some good karma my way if you can spare it!)


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