The road to recovery

Mallory Gross, Campus Editor, Part two of two

Finally it was the day of the surgery. Was I scared? Sort of, mostly because of the quantity of pills prescribed for every six hours after the surgery. Other than that I was ready to rock and roll. I was excited to get out of the hospital and have the long operation over with. Nurses and doctors explained the surgical procedure of basically ripping open my leg, and by that time I really wanted to leave.

It was 2:00 p.m. and the operating room was filled with fancy medical equipment, monitors, and long tubes. As they placed me on the operation table, I noticed how quickly my consciousness had begun to descend. My thoughts quieted. The anesthesia was working and surgery soon began.

Waking four hours later, I tried to twist onto my side to sit up. I immediately stopped after a jolt of pain invaded my body. The staff gave me some apple juice and crackers, even though my appetite wasn’t strong enough to finish the small portion she gave me. I tried to pick up the glass of juice, but I was too weak to even pick up a glass lighter than a three-pound dumbbell. That was nothing compared to the weight I lift during soccer season.

Surgery is never fun. It is nice of the doctors to knock me out during the procedure and provide strong pain medication during post-surgery, but sitting in a bed for a week is difficult. I’m lucky that it really was only one week of pain in bed.

That whole week after my surgery I laid in bed and slept, a LOT. Except for the occasional bathroom breaks and cleaning up, all I did was color in the coloring books my parents gave me, and, when I wasn’t feeling nauseous, watched TONS of movies. I got really tired of watching the entire Harry Potter saga (not a super big fan but my sister made me watch it since I was too limp to oppose). The second day of post-operation is apparently, according to the doctors, the worst day for pain. They were right! The third day post-operation, I ate a full salmon from Famous Dave’s. It was the first big meal I had eaten since the day before the operation. At first it tasted amazing but the second time I tasted it, not so much….

The rest of the week was a breeze. Friends came and went with ice cream and activities.

One week after the surgery, “Operation Remove-Bandages-And-Clean-Leg” began. Hobbling into the Northwood’s Physical Therapy office, I noticed a table arranged for the bandage removal. The physical therapist, Stacy, said she was going to clean me up and take out my stiches. Yikes! I was glad I took my pain medication! The PT started to take off my brace, followed up by the giant attached ice pack and then unwrapped the ace bandage. It was like my leg was finally released from a long period of imprisonment.

I celebrated the end of bed rest with a big ham-and-cheese melt from Foster’s Cheese Haus followed up by banana cream pie, mint pie and strawberry pie. It was National Pi Day and I was on the brink of starvation for a week.

PT didn’t start until that very next Monday. Once again, I took my super-duper strong pain medication to help with the pain. Leg raises, knee bending, and stretching were all part of the course. I was surprised to see sweat dripping down the side of my face at the end. I hadn’t known how much energy it took just to move so little. Collin, my physical therapist, stated that school should be okay for the week. They taught me how to correctly use crutches, apparently I was doing it wrong, and assigned me a handful of workouts to do at home.

One month into PT, the crutches are gone and I can’t stop walking. It is nice to walk without help – it makes you feel accomplished.

I know for a fact that I am not the only player that gets hurt, but I am one of them. How would you react if, after so much effort and struggle to get to the place you are at in your sports career, you got hurt and couldn’t play with the team? To know that if you had not tripped while running, or gone for that basket at the last second before the buzzer, none of this would have happened. You think about how you can still participate on the team and continue to be a part of the program.

After you see your team play game after game, it is difficult to not get angry at what had happened. What I have found out these past two spring soccer seasons is the only thing you can do is continue to be positive and support your team. It is only a matter of time before you can see the field, track, rink or court again.

During my pre-operation period, Coach DeRusha sent this quote in an email. It has provided me with a sense of relief: “Work hard. And have patience. Because no matter who you are, you’re going to get hurt in your career and you have to be patient to get through the injuries.” – Randy Johnson, Major League Baseball player.