Adaptation and Injury

When I was younger, I was injured multiple times. Some of these like broken fingers, broken nose, broken rib I recovered from reasonably well and have had no issues with since.

I have just had to start facing up to the more significant longer term impact of one injury though.

In school, aged 13, I tore my Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). Then an administrative error meant I was never put in for the surgery recommended for the tear and by the time they caught their mistake, they decided it was too late and I had intermittent physiotherapy that was often cancelled. I’ve walked with a slight limp in cold Winters ever since.

This year I turned 30 and I recently started suffering with a lot more pain, my knee giving out beneath me and swelling, redness and a burning sensation on the knee that wasn’t happening before. Those who are up to date on ACL injury research would have already guessed what the doctors confirmed, that these were symptoms of arthritis, which occurs in around 75% of ACL tears within 10 years of the injury.

I didn’t know this until I started reading up on my old injury. My parents had no idea either, they certainly weren’t told about the possibility 17 years ago. I don’t know if doctors really knew back then.

So I am having to adjust to the realisation that I have early onset arthritis in my knee. This could mean a knee replacement before I’m 45. It probably will mean mobility aids before I’m 35 if the current progression is anything to go by. I work in a physical job where I am on the move almost constantly. I’m having to potentially rethink what this means for my career just after getting it on track.

I know that it doesn’t mean everything comes crashing down and falling apart but when you combine all of the above with my enormous difficulty with change as part of my autism, it’s a big adjustment that is sending my world and my routine into chaos.

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