Stirring the pot, raising hell and rearing children in the Bay Area

Posts Tagged "accident"

“Of Course I’m Not Allergic to Salsa, I am Mexican.”

Posted on Apr 6, 2009 in Ski Like A Girl |

…and other ditties from the dark side of post surgery

Post surgery with new ACL
I knew that ACL replacement, 80% meniscus removal and a full lateral meniscus repair wasn’t going to be pretty. I had heard horror stories of out of control pain. After a lunge exercise during physical therapy sent my knee into a Bucket Handle Tear, I also knew that surgery sounded like a walk in the park compared to the unbearable pain of last weekend.

I can remember asking La Gringa to take photos. I can remember the nurse who was cool enough to tilt the bed up so I wouldn’t have a double-chin in the pre-op pics. Then I remember screaming, screaming from a really not so good place inside. The surgery was over. The pain overwhelming.

Six days have gone by since the surgery, with blurs of friends and visitors and family. Blurry is the right word. Mostly I’ve been nauseous, dizzy and overwhelmed by how much it hurts to take the short walk to the bathroom (on crutches, non-weight bearing). I remember praying for a bed pan and for the pictures in my son’s bedroom to stop looking at me. At one point I started what I thought was a seriously artistic collection of iPhone pictures of Saltines. (I’m not kidding).

There is an ice machine that runs constantly through my leg and equal running of La Gringa to Rotten Robbie for ice to put in it. There’s a range of motion machine that I am supposed to use four to six hours a day.

Then there are the drugs. So many drugs. Percocet and Ativan. There was also one dose of Celebrex where I broke out in severe hives all over my body after the doctor on-call asked me if I was allergic to salsa. When I told him, “Of course I’m not allergic to salsa,, I’m Mexican,” he took that as an all-clear that I am not allergic to “sulfa” drugs. For the record, I am freakishly allergic to sulfa drugs and still Mexican.

Last night, I took myself off everything except Vicodin. I realized that the pain wasn’t going to feel better. I wasn’t going to feel better. I was going to have to decide to put a stake in the ground and move, however slowly, forward from there so I could look back and prove that I am better.


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Pop Went the Weasel

Posted on Mar 30, 2009 in Ski Like A Girl |


I’ve been rolling along pretty aggressively in my goal to be as fit as possible before ACL replacement, meniscus clean up surgery. Stationary bike, swimming, weight lifiting… I’ve been feeling great about my progress. Until Friday.

After finding out from my GP that I’d had a major concussion from the ski accident that had gone undiagnosed (but was reason for my odd behavior, dizziness and headaches), I headed to the gym for two back-to-back workouts.

I was winding down a workout at physical therapy with monitored squats in the afternoon with a therapist. It looked text book, first one went well, second one fine. On the third, my knee collapsed with a loud POP and a pain like I’ve never have known. I thought I was going to throw up from pain.

Turns out the meniscus floating around in my knee got “incarcerated” in the knee and has completely locked the knee into a bucket handle. It is the most pain I’ve ever experienced in my life.

Dr. T saw me at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, injected me with some local and tried to manipulate the tissue out. It didn’t work. He put in me in a full length brace from my hip to my toes and locked the brace at the position that it was stuck in. This helped control the pain by restraining movement. He also prescribed me some serious drugs.

As of today, I’m completely immobile. No walking (I can’t even stand on my right foot), driving, swimming. No going to the bathroom or getting dressed by myself. We have moved into Thing 1’s room and have set up a virtual hospital room in there. Losing control is the only thing worse to me than this pain. Having both is crazy talk.

Today is my pre-op appointment. Wednesday is surgery day.


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Balancing the Scales

Posted on Mar 20, 2009 in Food, Ski Like A Girl |


We’re starting to settle into Operation Hurt Mama status in our house. It’s getting hard to balance the time, the priorities and the needs of the family. @La_Gringa is working double shifts between work-work and picking up the slack for me. I keep saying, “This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon,” but it’s hard not to want to have the same pace as before I tanked it. Face it, I’m as efficient as a stoner at a Grateful Dead concert.

Yesterday was hard, painful, exhausting. Thing 1 found me trying to get down the stairs in tears and asked me if I was dying of cancer. Thing 2 has had relentless nightmares this week. Again, trying to balance these scales for everyone is so unexpectedly difficult.

Normalcy is a blur. Returning to normalcy is my immediate goal.

I’m thrilled with the surgeon we picked. He’s colorful, direct and well-known for his work with athletes. This week he drained my knee (about a cup of pretty fluid) and yesterday put in steroids, which are working great. We got a diagnosis: My ACL and both parts of meniscus are toast. My ACL will have to be completely replaced with that of a cadaver. I’ve got plenty of bone bruising, contusions, bleeding and strains. You need about 20% meniscus to function, we’ll see how it goes after Dr. Thabit gets in and cleans up the garage sale floating around in my knee.

Somewhere in between talking about cadavers and recoveries and the reality of not being able to run long distance again, my surgeon told me I could never be fat. Lovely. He felt the pressure on my knee would be just too much and could cause problems if I didn’t stay super fit. I don’t plan on being fat, but I didn’t like being told I *couldn’t* ever get fat. I wanted to slap him and eat a Twinkie.

I figured I’d be a failure at bulimia, so I started using an iPhone app called “Lose it” for caloric/exercise management. I’m not going to try and lose weight, but I have no idea how my highly active body is going to respond to being sedentary. The program, if you have an iPhone, is just amazing, smart, intuitive and right at my pocket. It is going to be key for me over this long haul.


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I am a Runner.

Posted on Mar 18, 2009 in Ski Like A Girl |


I am a Runner. I have always been a runner, even dating back to winning my age category in a 5k run around the Forum in L.A. when I was 8. Running is my sanity, my peace, my social life, my pride. As I’ve aged, my times have improved. My one New Year’s Resolution for 2009? Run six 1/2 marathons (one more than last year) and break 2 hours (two minutes faster than my PR).

On Saturday I took a serious fall skiing on our last day in Snowbird. I’d been skiing double black diamonds all week; I fell at the top of a beginner run. I wrecked my knee and tore up my body pretty bad. So, I’m not going to be running 1/2 marathons this year afterall. And, it appears, maybe ever. That’s okay by me. It’s not okay-okay, but it’s okay. I’m alive. I was literally thrown into a reality check of my life, and it’s pretty rosey from where I sit (in a wheelchair at the moment).

I’m facing a big knee surgery in the next couple weeks — my ACL, MCL, meniscus and some other ditties are all blown in my right knee. I can’t stand on my knee at all. The pain, for lack of a better word is, exhausting. I took some Vicodin the first two days, but really, who are they kidding, I’ve got kids and kids with Vicodin is just not smart. Courtney Love, I ain’t. But I hurt. All over.

From moment one I’ve been in a decent mental space about it all. My mom had a premonition about the fall before I had it, my daughter was supposed to have been on the hill with me and wasn’t and, finally, I was wearing my helmet (this is my first season wearing it). Considering Natasha Richardson died of an injury to her head the day after my injury, you can only imagine how fortunate I feel. Wear a fucking helmet. Did you hear me?

I’m trying to chronicle my rehabilitation in photos and have a set started on Flickr called

You can follow my recovery there too.

I’m a runner. And a skier. And sometime not so long from now, you’ll see me out there doing both. Just watch.


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