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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Kneecap Dislocation

If you're interested in my kneecap dislocation story, you can find my other posts here.
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Let me begin this post by stating that I either saw this coming or jinxed myself. Just a week ago I was saying, "this is the summer when I push my body to the max, either I'll break or get incredibly strong". I was saying this because I was invited to play on two ultimate teams this summer, which equates to a lengthy 6 hours of ultimate frisbee a week. I was also reluctant to give up weightlifting and bouldering, two activities that make me feel strong and powerful.

Well, this past week was the first week of the season. Between Tuesday and Thursday I had played three games of ultimate frisbee. I also got in my weightlifting at the gym on Saturday, and by Sunday I was impressed at how I wasn't feeling stiff at all. I was invited to toss a frisbee around at the park for a study break and figured it would be a good way to refresh my eyes.

Nothing seemed out of the ordinary as we tossed the frisbee around. As a ran to catch a throw, I suddenly fell to the ground. I don't even remember falling, I just remember hitting the grass after feeling something shift in my leg. I grabbed my knee immidiately and upon first glance I assumed I had broken my leg. It was very clear a bone was out of place, and I turned to my friend and told him I needed to go to the hospital. I quickly ruled out a broken bone since I could move my leg, so I came to the conclusion that my knee cap was in the wrong spot.

For those who might be worried about me, I promise I wasn't in much pain thanks to my strange pain tolerance. As my friend called 911 he told the phone operator that I was in good spirits and wasn't in any sort of shock. We even took pictures of my injury because I just couldn't believe it was happening.




There I am waiting for the ambulance to arrive at the park. Unfortunately the position I landed in was the position I ended up staying in for the next 5 hours. The dislocation created a dull ache where my knee was supposed to be, and only really hurt when I had to be moved. At most I gave the pain a 2 or 3 out of 10 when the paramedics took my vitals.

I'll also include a picture of the knee, but please don't look if you're squeamish with bone injuries. Hover over the black box to see the dislocated knee, or click the image if you're on mobile.



Overall, I think I spent 5 hours in the hospital getting processed and treated. Unfortunately the bone had to be dealt with the old fashioned way: the doctor had to push it back into its normal position. I was overly anxious for the relocation, and all I had to get through it was a painkiller and some laughing gas. Much like the original fall, the relocation wasn't exactly painful, but moreso alarming.

The good news is all the staff seemed optimistic about my condition. I was given a pair of crutches, a knee brace, and a referral to a orthopedic specialist. In the coming weeks I'll begin my physiotherapy and see whether or not I'll need reconstructive surgery. Today is the end of day two for my recovery, but I've already seen some improvement in the strength of the knee. There's still a great deal of swelling, but as that improves I'll be able to see just how much long term damage there is to my mobility.



The biggest downside to this injury is it's timing. Next week I was supposed to go on an amazing ecology field course to the Central Coast of British Columbia and speak to the Heiltsuk Nation about current issues. Perhaps this is a blessing in disguise though. The fact that this injury occured without any impact or warning makes me think it was probably just a matter of time before my ligaments gave out. Had this happened during my field course, I would have had no medical access and would have required an emergency flight to the nearest hospital. So maybe I dodged a bullet!

That's all I have for now, but I'll keep you updated as I learn more about my injury.