MY ACL STORY - 9.2.14

I was skiing February 7th, 2014 with a group of ladies on a powder day at Jackson Hole Mt. Resort. I went over a small jump I didn’t see, fell & my binding didn’t allow my ski to pop off. I knew something was wrong. I laid in the snow for 5 + minute before I managed to get up and slowly make it down a short distance to the bottom. I immediately drove home to put ice on it. I limped around and thought it would heal. It never got swollen & was told that if I had torn it my knee would become really swollen. I didn’t ski much after that only 2 times with my kids at the end of the season but my husband had to be there because I didn’t feel stable and wasn’t able to help my kids with anything. Yes, I was a liability but I really wanted to ski as a family. I continued to workout but there were a lot exercise I wasn’t comfortable doing. I ended up going to spinning classes more and once the road became clear of snow I started running. I went to get an MRI and decided not to get it because I really felt like it was healing. But then one day in April I tripped walking into my house and was in a lot of pain so I reschedule the MRI. Due to other things going on in my life I wasn’t able to get the MRI until the end of May and then quickly scheduled the surgery for mid June. I considered waiting until the fall so that I could still hike, bike and run this summer but I realized that there were other ways to enjoy the summer so that I could still ski & not fear slipping on ice.

I also knew that there would never be a good time to have surgery.

My timeline:

Feb 7th – Injury

Feb 27th – 1st Knee Dr. visit – decided not to get MRI in hindsight I wish I had that day.

April 7th – Tripped walking into house.

May 29th - MRI

June 25th – Picked up “Game Ready” ice/compression machine.

June 26th – Surgery Day. I came home and slept all day. Can’t do anything without crutches.

June 27th- In bed except for going to the bathroom. I needed help at first but I quickly figured out how to manage on my own.

Dr. visit, the nerve block still worked so I wasn’t in too much pain getting there. Stairs looked like mountains. I had to get down 4 steps to the car. I feared the end of the nerve block.

June 28th – Figured out how to take a shower. Read a lot of magazine. Realized the simplest task of reaching for a towel was hard.

June 29th- Sat with my family in our living room drinking coffee and then went back to bed.

June 30th – Showered again and discovered that it was so much easier this time because I could put some weight on my leg.

July 1st – Tired of being home, off drugs, grouchy, felt trapped, could get ice for “Game Ready” but a chore.

(I didn’t know that drugs clog you up. Once I figured that out I was off the drugs)

July 2nd – Dr. visit, stiches out, smaller brace, 1st PT visit and started to drive again.

I was asked if I was cleared to drive and my answer was “Yes”. Yes, because I mentally needed to, I felt confident enough and I didn’t want to ask my husband to do anything else. So, I looked in the mirror that morning and said, “I am cleared to drive”. Hello freedom along with an instant flash back of getting my drivers license at 16.

July 3rd – Picked up my daughter at a camp and feared kids bumping into my leg. Started to be more active by picking up around the house and taking kids to get ice cream but it landed me in a chair all evening hooked up to the “Game Ready”.

July 4th – Stood and watched the 4th of July parade for 2 hours. Great to be out but then iced my knee the rest of day.

July 5th- Spent the day in a drift boat on the Snake River. I even rowed for 5-10 minutes before realizing that I couldn't quickly move if I needed my husband to take over the oars. It was a really peaceful day.

July 6th – Took kids to the pool but not allowed to get in so I sat on the edge. Off crutches

July 7th – Had friends over for dinner but my husband had to do most everything. I called my gym and undid my hold on my membership.

A friend asked me what the scar looked liked and that was the first time I had even thought about it. It’s not bad at all.

July 8th – I got cupping and acupuncture & stopped wearing the compression sock.

July 9th- I progressed in PT to be able to pedal all the way around on a stationary bike at a very slow speed.

Week 3 – I started to take my husbands surfboard to the pool and paddle for exercise. PT at least once a week and sometimes 2x + strength exercises at my gym

Week 4- I tripped which was a huge reality check that I need to be careful.

Week 5- I described the pain imagining it is like a broken bone and then I was reminded that screws were used to attach the graft

Week 6- I started to realize the importance of PT and putting in the time now and getting my leg as straight as the other one.

Week 7- I tripped again which was another reality check.

Week 8 – I realized while traveling through airports that the knee brace is very helpful when trying to get on an airplane where the gate door is already shut.

Week 9 – Started going on walks for exercise and really concentrating on not favoring my hurt knee.

TIPS: – Apparently taking the stool softeners a few days before surgery is helpful. – Renting “Game Ready” compression ice machine. - Prep prior to surgery, books & magazines near bed, change of clothes. - If you have insurance, find out how many PT visits you are allowed and take advantage of all of them. - Ice often

Yes, ACL surgery is a drag but it’s fixable.

SOURCES:Teton Orthopaedics & Teton Physical TherapyT2BB