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  • Writer's pictureNicole Yap


Day 1

Today was the big day—surgery time!

It’s been about two months since I tore my ACL; I initially spent the first few weeks on crutches, then transitioned to wearing a functional brace to support my knee during my day to day activities. In that time, I also started some prehab PT to help regain more range of motion in my leg as well as strengthen my muscles prior to surgery.

It’s been quite the journey so far, so I was extremely excited to finally have my ACL reconstruction surgery. For me this marks the official start to full recovery.


Surgery this morning was at 7AM at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), with an arrival time of 5:30AM. Being an early bird, I’m really grateful that I got the first appointment of the morning with my surgeon.

Check-In: Consisted of paperwork


  • Typical check of height, weight, blood pressure, temperature

Surgery Preparation

  • Changed into my hospital gown and shorts (I think these shorts are so funny, but also extremely practical- I asked for a few pairs to take home)

  • Nurse washed my left leg, as well as shaved the surgery site

  • Given an IV filled with electrolytes to help keep me hydrated

  • After that, my parents were allowed to come in and wait with me

  • Anesthesiologist gave more information about what would happened for the surgery

  • My surgeon came in to re-cap the injury to my parents, and to also re-confirm the details of the procedure

  • She asked me what body part the surgery was for, and after I answered, she signed that knee. She also signed my hospital wristband to confirm me. As funny as it is to see her signature on my surgery knee, I really appreciate the additional confirmation to ensure that the right knee was being operated on…. Better safe than sorry right?!


Surgery Details

  • Body Part: Left Knee

  • Surgery: ACL Reconstruction using a hamstring autograft

  • Surgery started exactly at 7AM.

Nurses rolled me into the operating room, put me to sleep, then the rest just HAPPENED. I woke up back in the room I started in, with my left leg wrapped in a bandage with my long Bledsoe brace locked straight. I didn’t feel any pain. It was such an interesting feeling to wake up and not be able to move or feel the rest of my body. Slowly, movement came back one by one, the last being my feet (though fun fact, I’ve never been able to move my toes sooooo lol).

With the additional movement, came the slight feeling of pain around my knee. To help limit the pain for the rest of the day, I was given pain medication. As part of my recovery, I have a bunch of medication that will help manage the pain over the next few days- this is something I actually picked up at my local pharmacy prior to the appointment.

All in all, ACL reconstruction surgery was a success!

I plan on documenting my ACL recovery; will be daily at first, but eventually will switch to a weekly update. I’m doing this so I can share my journey with others (but also thought it would be a fun way to keep myself preoccupied while I sit at home). Long first post, but I’m looking forward to sharing my recovery story as I get back to 100% and more!

Cheers! –Nicole


ACL Recovery Metrics (only one for now lol, may or may not add some to track my improvement as time goes by):

Pain (Scale of 1-10, 1=no pain 10=most pain): 3

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