A New ACL

Football (soccer) had become a regular event in my weekly routine. Every week, a few of us from work would play a game during lunch or at the end of the day. It turned into one of the things that brought our teams together at work, and made making friends easier.

At first I was pretty bad, but what do you expect from an American who played baseball and wrestled throughout high school and played random sports during university?

As time progressed I noticed myself playing better. I was almost able to keep up with everyone else, albeit they were still better. I even scored a few goals. Wait... I mean one left-footed goal.

Finally the sun decided to show itself in London, so a game during lunch was set up. Warm-ups progressed as usual and soon we were playing. I had no idea what lay ahead.

I got the ball on the first play, sidestepped, started shooting, and CRUNCH. All of a sudden I couldn't walk without a major limp and standing hurt.

As I hobbled off the field I knew something had gone horribly wrong. It was time to see a doctor. This was the first time I needed to see a doctor since being in London. What is the process for these sorts of things?

Luckily, my employer pays for private health insurance, basically allowing employees to have quicker access to health related services than if we were going through the NHS.

Using this I saw a GP within a few days and was referred to a doctor specializing in knees. From there a MRI was taken, and I would go back a week later to get the results. Hopefully they were good!!

Unfortunately, the results did not come back as expected. My most recent injury from football was a torn meniscus. I thought that was going to be all, but the doctor went on telling me that my ACL had snapped some time ago.

I assume this happened while skiing in Jackson Hole over a year ago, but I can't be sure. The doctor called people like me "copers," and was extremely surprised my knee hadn't given way.

Long story short, I went to see a surgeon, and he agreed surgery was needed in order to save my knee for the future. I didn't want arthritis to start around forty, so it was an easy decision for me.

As the surgery neared I started to get nervous. I wasn't nervous about the actual surgery, as I've had plenty of those, but more so about the recovery after.

I was given phases I'd go through during my recovery; the last one getting my knee to 90% of what it used to be. That was 9 months away. HOLY SHIT, I would be limited in things I could do for 9+ months.

Summer was just starting and it was finally sunny in London. I wanted to get out, go do things, exercise, etc. but it looked like I would be extremely limited for a while.

Surgery came and went. I ended up staying at the hospital overnight and got on with the nurses quite well. I think I was one of the few that didn't complain too much and made them laugh.

The first few days after surgery were the worst. Normal things were not easy anymore, if not impossible. I would have gone out of my mind if not for the painkillers.

As time passes, everything has started to get better. I can finally sleep well and doing normal things, minus exercising, is getting easier.

I have since come to realize that this was a blessing in disguise. I am relatively young in the medical world, and this was my chance to clean the slate relative to my knee.

I am also relieved this happened during my time in the UK, while working for Salesforce.

An operation like this in the USA would have set me back at least $7,000 (the amount I have to pay before the health insurance company starts paying for things). In the UK, this surgery ended up costing me £115 in total. Yes, I do pay more in taxes, but it feels well worth it, as I don't have a crippling medical debt like most Americans after stuff like this.

While I was worried about recovery, I have since started physiotherapy and it's going well. It's a long road ahead, but was definitely worth it.

Until next time...

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