This is Optional, But It’s Not Really An Option

When the surgeon did a “wet read” of my MRI results, he said the injury was worse than he thought. The ACL is shredded, and said he wanted me to strongly consider getting an injection of my own platelets into the injury spot. Yes, he warned, it would be a very painful shot, and it would make my leg swell and hurt and ache. And after it is all over, I cannot have ice or pain meds for ten days. Those interventions would interrupt the natural healing process. After that’s done, then we can look into surgery.

To which I immediately replied, “NO.  I’ve been through enough, and no one is touching my very, agonizingly sore ACL.”

I didn’t even know I had an ACL before this, and now I’m protecting it like a mother cat with her kittens.

Except the doctor was still there, and was still waiting for my reply.  I started to sweat. He said, “you will be happy for the rest of your life if you have this done,  The stems cells will start to work, and begin healing the tissue so fast, and you will be back on your feet a week sooner.”

“I don’t care about a week.  I’m not interested in more pain right now.”

Meanwhile, a very silly, but well-informed person in the room, that should’ve known better, was actually agreeing with me, saying that she’s seen full-grown athletes grab the sides of the bed and thrash about because they couldn’t take the pain from this shot.

So, what more did the doc need to hear? I wasn’t getting the shot.  Except he wasn’t leaving. And he was still looking at me, waiting for my answer, as if he really didn’t hear my “no.”  My no didn’t register with him. And, just like that, as he waited for me, the entire atmosphere in the room changed,

I still don’t know what the trigger was, but my no, transformed into acquiescence, as I asked for a blanket to cover my toes, propped my pillow under my knee to prepare, and I signed the consent form.

A nurse came to draw blood from my arm, and I asked how long it would take for me to create new blood.  They took the vial of blood, and spun it in a machine for ten minutes, and it was transformed into a clear vial of platelets. My very own concoction of stem cells. Then the doctor poked around my knee and asked which spot hurt the most.  He only had to drop his fingers a few millimeters lower to hit the agony spot, but I didn’t say a word,  The spot he picked was close enough. The fluid went in, and burned. Just when I was preparing for the worst, he said, “All done.”

It was nothing, really.  When the person brought up the athletes who scream, I added, “that’s because they are men.”

As he walked out the door, the surgeon looked back at me and said, “Now you trust me.  You’re going to need that to get through this.”




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