Sometimes I think we take for granted the ability to do so many things in life without even knowing the mechanics of it - to swing your knees up and down at ease, to get out of bed in the morning, to straighten your knees out on the long couch, to stand with the legs bearing equal weight. After my ACL injury, I found out the hard way that just by breaking a ligament that I never even knew existed could cause me (and others) so much inconvenience and stress, even to do simple tasks that were going on in the back of my mind everyday.
Let me recount some of the events that happened from the day of my injury to when I got discharged.
Feb 2 (Thursday)
This was the day I fell down on the ski slope. At that moment I was relieved when the nurse at the first aid center told me that it looked like no bones had been broken.
Feb 3 (Friday)
The next morning my right leg had swollen to the size of a baseball, so I did not protest when my friend urged me to cut short my trip and return immediately to Busan to consult a doctor.
The hospital I went to was Busan Korea Hospital at Daeyeon. After an X-ray determined that there was no bone fracture, the doctor assessed my injury by pulling and stretching it a bit, then using a syringe, he released the blood from my swollen knee. At that point the doctor still couldn't diagnose what was wrong, maybe a meniscus tear, and he advised me to get an MRI (medical resonance imaging) in order to get a clearer view of the tissue inside my knee. I was sent home with a splinter bandage to compress my swollen knee.
I was not supposed to walk around much, but after the swelling had settled, my knee was actually feeling much better and I was soon limping around town because I had two friends who were visiting me in Busan that weekend~!
Feb 7 (Tuesday)
It was five days after and the swelling had subsided. I returned to Busan Korea Hospital for follow-up and this time I decided to get an MRI after getting a go-ahead from my university insurance agent. And since I am on the topic I would like to mention here that the Pukyong National University's Office of International Students' Affairs together with the university insurance agent did very little to help me out, seeing that it is their job and responsibility to help international students. Anyway, I had to switch to the insurance panel hospital Good Gang-an Hospital at Geumyeonsan in order to get direct claims. Under the university insurance scheme, my medical fees would be covered at 90% and I had to pay the remaining 10% myself. Also, I found out that I had to be hospitalized for the MRI in order to get a better insurance claim, which was communicated so inefficiently to me that I ended up getting so sad and frustrated and ended up in me throwing a big tantrum, flinging my crutches to the floor and shouting hysterically at the front-desk, hospital insurance liaison and the university insurance agent. :P
Feb 9 (Thursday)
My MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) was scheduled today. I had admitted myself to the hospital the day before and had to abstain from food and drink since midnight.
My lower half body was pushed into the tunnel. Luckily not the full body, as I was getting a bit nervous and claustrophobic from the sight of the narrow and sterile tunnel. I felt like I was in an episode of House M.D. The MRI technician gave me a pair of headphones (like those used in a shooting range) and told me... "very loud, like gunshot, pang! pang! pang!", which did nothing to help calm my nerves. As I lay there and the MRI scan started, hmmm, I realized that the sounds were not as loud as I thought. And then I fell asleep after like 2 minutes. :P The MRI scan lasted about 45 minutes.
Feb 10 (Friday)
The doctor came in the morning and confirmed my injury - acute complete rupture of ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and therefore would need to undergo knee surgery - arthroscopic ACL reconstruction with allograft tendon. Btw allograft means the tendon is taken from external sources and not using the hamstring harvested from my other good leg. A "less" painful process, but don't ask me where that allograft comes from! Maybe a dead guy, or maybe a dead pig... I dunno. I even dreamt that my allograft tendon came from a marsupial, probably an imported kangaroo tendon for all I know. :P
More to be continued... leaving you guys with a gruesome picture of ACL rupture: