The days immediately following the procedure were rough, with a lot of pain, a lot of pain medication, and a lot of lying around. And still I was on crutches.
Two days after the month anniversary of the original injury that reduced me to a crippled waste, the orthopedist evaluated my post-operative progress. All is good, he said, and promptly removed my stitches. Of the five, only one hurt.
I've had my right kneecap completely covered in tattoo ink, and I know how bad that region of the leg can hurt when subjected to repeated injections by vibrating needles. It's not fun. But the removal of one stitch at the very top edge of my left kneecap put the tattooing to shame. I thought for a second I was going to die, seriously.
I take pain pretty well, and try to avoid pain medicine whenever possible. I fancy myself a tough guy when it comes to hurting. This was more than I've ever felt in my life, no joke. Luckily it only lasted a few seconds and the final stitch was out of my leg for good.
The doctor then brought me the best knee brace ever invented, because after getting the thing on (which felt GREAT after the stitches were removed), I strolled out of the office like it was nothing. For the first time in over a month, I didn't need crutches to walk.
The feeling of liberation is hard to describe.
I've been walking again for four days now, and though my leg is still extremely weak and sore, and there is still some odd swelling, I feel much better. I cannot yet fully bend my knee, nor can I twist it or put an exceptional amount of weight on it, but the progress I've made is noticeable.
Because I can move around without crutches, I'll be making my triumphant return to the gym tomorrow. Upper body only, of course, but it's a start. I'm dying to be back lifting weights again after losing a full month to this injury. I will be resigned to machines only, though, since I can't carry any kind of weight and therefore won't be able to load the barbells to work out with free weights for a while.
When I'll be able to start riding again, I have no idea. I can't yet complete a full pedaling motion with my leg, and putting that much pressure on the limb hurts too bad anyway. Hopefully soon I'll be back out on the road. We'll see.