Everybody in the world has, or knows somebody who has, blown out their knee. Or so it seems. I did mine during preseason, and proceeded to hear about everyone else’s experiences and horror stories for the next month and a half. So now you get to hear about mine…
It’s a horribly common athletic injury. I tore my ACL (among other things) under completely normal circumstances and during a tackle that has probably happened to me a million times before. The only excitement was an echoing “pop” as I crumpled to the ground. I knew what I had done long before he x-rays and MRI made their way to the Colby Health Center.
Over the course of the following month I went from swinging along on crutches to being able to run in straight lines quite comfortably. By early October the swelling was down and my range of motion was almost back to normal. I was ready of surgery. (You are probably wondering why I am writing this on a neuroscience blog and not in my diary or an email to my grandmother. This is why…)
Surgery was a blast. The coolest part, for several reasons, was the Novocaine catheter they put in my hip. The anesthesiologist used ultrasound probe to find the bundle of nerves that end at my knee. He attached electrodes to my hip and sent electrical impulses down my leg which made my muscles involuntarily flex. The first time he did it my calf muscle tightened. Next my quadriceps. On the third try my kneecap and the muscles around it flexed. He then fed a small rubber tube into my hip that would gradually drip the numbing medicine from a small pouch onto this specific nerve bundle over the next four days. As I felt the strange sensation of uncontrollable leg muscles, I saw the nerve bundles firing on the ultrasound screen. It’s not everyday you get to see waves of action potentials shoot down your nerves. Shortly after I was wheeled into the OR and was given “some medicine to help [me] rela-…”