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Announcing a new blog! AC's ACL: A Gymnast's Journey Back from a Torn ACL. It'll be her, me, maybe dh. I have a post up, so does she.

ETA: leaving this post sticky at the top for a while.
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She's as beautiful as she always is on meet mornings, with the... different look of hair tightly pulled back into a pony tail.

But today, she's pale and nervous, poor sweet.

She'd use to go off to meets with a happy unconcerned attitude, today, not so much.

It's her first meet back.

It won't be stellar, she's still not 100% back. Heck, it's probably going to be mess.

She's stressed. Very very stressed. She needs two minimum all-around scores to be able to compete at State. In previous years? Piece of cake? This year? Her season was short, so she has three meets to make those two scores, which of course Freaks. Her. Out.

Because she might not.

And she desperately wants to go to State. Last year, she could have expected to place. This year, she just wants to get there.

But! I am SO freaking proud of her. SO SO proud of her getting through the pain of the injury, the fucking surgery, rehab, the months of not know how much she could do, re-learning to fly through the air with an enourmous brace on her knee, for getting to the point where she can even compete.

It's not a great photo, since she wasn't really in the mood for photos before she left.


I'm nervous. Dh is nervous. She is nervous. I SO hope it goes well.

I wanted to go. We'd have to bring Perry and Linnea and she said that having us there would stress her out. So I'm home. And stressing.

And so so proud.
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Her brace, that loathed piece of equipment, is gone! Yay!

And it's doubly gone because we recycled it with them, Dr S goes to Central America every year and takes stuff like that with him. (And at our next appointment we'll be dropping off the two immobilisers and the boot we have too... I should email the nurse to ask if they want more donations, because most gymnastics families have a slew of crap like that...)

But yeah, she's out of it!

She has a much smaller, flexible neoprene sleeve type thing which she will wear for the next few months until she is fitted for a custom device that she'll wear for all sports for a year. We'll have to glue jewels on it to match her leo! (Just kidding.)

A good appointment, all in all, He seemed very pleased with everything. Surprised at the tingling in her foot when she pikes because that is the sciatic nerve (we knew that) and he wasn't near that. So hopefully no nerve damage and just sequela from the awkward positions recovery forced her into. Next up is building back her quad strength. Stationary bike, which she can do at school or at home with my bike on the bike trainer, and jogging in chest high water.)

She'll be good for easy hiking towards the end of the summer. We'd been planning a vacation in late August to Yellowstone, and she'll definitely be able to do boardwalks etc there, and probably some of the easier hikes, so good stuff in that regard! She can start stationary biking soon, and biking on the trail soon after. Running as well, in a just a few months. She hates to run, so I'm thinking about challenging the kids to do the Couch-to-5k program, and running a 5k together. Anyhow.

And we didn't have to admit that she'd been hiking this weekend, heh. She managed to keep goatheads and basalt dust out of the brace! ;>

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I dropped AC off at PT today and found out that the whole office is talking about how fast she's making progress. Um... yay!?

She found out that they think they'll release her in July. July. This has got to be a bad joke. She's already standing on the leg, btw. She's not supposed to be doing that for a few more weeks.

She's had plans of challenging the "hop test", normally done at 6 months, by her one month followup. We all smiled and mentally patted her on the head. Now I fear she may attempt to talk the surgeon into it. If he suggests putting her in a full body cast for the rest of her recovery time, I may just support that.
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Will probably be cross-posted to the AC's ACL.

1. She's doing pretty damn good. No pain in the actual knee, but some in the rest of her body from having to compensate.

2. She persuaded the PT to allow her to go on a backpacking trip. Oh, she won't be carrying her gear, and it isn't a long hike in, but still. She'll be leading the trip, a middle school climbing trip, and I do SO hope they're well aware of her limitations. But the PT ok'ed it, and I'll bow to that, since the PT who did? Is pretty hard-assed about stuff like that. The PT's conditions were 1/2 mile walk in boots at the local wildland park, and while it wasn't at that park, AC pretty much blew that out of the water yesterday at Nisqually with a 3 mile walk.

3. Insomnia. The child is having a hard time sleeping. I don't think she's ever been this not-tired, to be honest. She's so used to regular, sustained activity, and now she's dealing with waking up in the middle of the night, and being unable to get back to sleep. I may have to take away the iTouch, even though it is her alarm: once she wakes up, she starts to play games, and that doesn't help her get back to sleep.

4. Normal people and crutches: normal people use crutches to help them get around while one limb is out of commission. My daughter? Was caught using the crutches to support her weight, while she was starting to get into a pike... Hard to describe, but she was planning on her body being at a 90deg angle, her legs up in the air, while supporting all her weight on the crutches/her arms. When asked WTF she was doing, she responded that she was "maintaining" her press-to-handstand fitness. Yeah, no.

5. Normal people also don't attempt to jog in place with no brace on, months before the physical therapy schedule allows that. At this point, she is, iirc, cleared to jog in the water, not a dry land. She said it didn't hurt. I was not impressed.

So there. She's recovering, and it's going to get harder and harder to hold her back. We've had some ups and downs, with some small bouts of depression, but she feels... confident right now, and I hope things continue to progress.

I love that kid so much, and I'm SO proud of her!
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This was yesterday's rant about AC and her hiking trip.

Well, she got the PT to agree that she should be able to do it.

I'm to take her to the wildland park I hike in every day and make her hike a mile, in boots, with a hiking staff (got one), and if she can handle that mile, she's good to go.

I'm certain she'd do it on her hands and knees if she... oh wait. She can't. I'm certain she'd scoot it on her butt if she had to go get to go on that trip, so it looks like she is going.
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[Loads of bad language]

Teenagers who refuse to listen, think they can do more than they should, and are planning on going backpacking in a week.


And who get pissy -majorly pissy- and defensive when you question their plans.


Deep breath.

She's supposed to lead a Middle School trip, as part of her Outdoors Ed class. I get that. I understand that this one supposedly is only a 0.5 mile walk on gravel. But I don't know that. And hiking is specifically excluded from the current status plan. So I'm not too happy about this. I'm not too happy that the trip is half way across the state. And involves climbing. Yeah, she's only supposed to be spotting the Middle Schoolers who'll be climbing, but still. I worry that the promises that "someone" will carry her gear won't materialise, and that she'll end up hauling her gear down the trail.

And she's being quite uncooperative about everything.

My feeling is that we should pack our gear and go there too. We can stay away -mostly- but be there for the walking portions: not because she needs help, but because our presence will help her walk responsibly. I realise that isn't going to happen, to be honest, but the thought is tempting: hiking down on the Columbia Gorge sounds like a plan to me.

Dh wants to call the surgeon's office. AC is needless to say against that because she knows they'll nix it sight unseen.

One idea is to email the instructor and make sure he's aware of AC's limitations. When I told her that, for example, he needed to be very clear on the fact that she'd not be able to help evacuate someone who got hurt, she screamed at me that that is the whole point of being a trip leader. Yeah, I get it. However, I said, she can't carry a stretcher. To which she screamed again that yes, of course she could. Um. No.

Other idea is to meet with the instructor, dh, AC, and I. She insists on being there because she's positive we'll tell him "stupid things". This is the child who told her teachers that she was allowed out of the boot to play soccer when she broke her foot. I want the instructor to understand that the brace? Needs to stay freaking on no matter how much she wails.

Anyhow, stress and loud voices at my house tonight. Tears were shed too, but mostly by me.
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The child had a meltdown tonight.

She has a major project -well, a major part of her big research paper- due tomorrow, and she missed the instructions on how to do this part, so she was already nervous.

She had PT today.

Anyhow, she asked if she could take off her brace "to get comfortable" so she could work. Um. No, sorry.

Meltdown followed.

Wailing, sobbing, her hips hurts, her back hurts, her toes are tingling, and she's sick of everything.

It was a freaking miserable hour or so.

She calmed down somewhat eventually, and went to bed.

Felt so bad for poor little gal!
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Non-compliant teens make me scream.

The damn brace needs to be on her damn leg all the time, unless she is in the shower, or actively doing her PT.

That isn't complicated, is it?

So why the eff do I seem to be spending gobs of time yelling at her to get the damn brace on her damn leg?


In better news, she had her 6 day follow up today. It went well. She's doing great, everything looks nice, if still a bit puffy. They were pleased with her mobility, and she's at or ahead of where they want her, yay! She's within 5deg of full extension on the knee already (she's at full extension, actually, but since she hyperextends, she still needs to get there, I guess.), and I think almost at 90deg for bending so good stuff. But OMG is the screw in her knee big. I mean... Check this out!


The next one is interesting because it shows the washer, the radio-opaque thing on top by her femur, that holds her new ACL in place. The surgeon was very pleased. I liked pleased surgeons!

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Wow. Wiped.

Let's see... we unwrapped AC this morning! Down to the steristrips then she was able to take a shower. Everything looks nice, no oozing or swelling. Later, she had to put the ACE bandage back on, and the cryocuff... and the brace.

Then she hightailed it Out of Here to see the neighbour. No crutches, fully weight bearing.

Next challenge for dh and me: Keeping the damn brace on the non-compliant teen.

After, dh and I took Perry to REI to get him a... a new bike. Ignoring the basic principles of the arms races, MAD, and biking with children, we bought him a nice road bike, which is, to be honest, better than either of our mountain bikes with slicks.

He can go wicked fast with that thing.

Came home, got everything ready, then dh, Perry, and I headed out for a 30 mile bike ride. Which we did. Fast, by our speed. As in, averaging about 2mph better than on shorter rides on the same bike trail. The kid can go and go and go....

Here he is, going slowly so dh could get a good shot!
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Well, it is step-shuffle-step, but the child is mobile sans crutches. She can't go far, but she's putting weight on the actual leg, and not whimpering in pain.

We did have some pain issues last night... not from the knee itself, but her hip etc were all spasmy from the posture she's forced into. She had a bit of a panicky time, and it was miserable.

I removed -me!- the nerve catheter this morning, so she's free of that.

She looks better today. Still seems to need the pain meds, but better.
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I've been surgery focused, but I want to dial back a few days to Sunday...

First, though, an AC update. After last night's misery, she's doing better. A few more details here. We did keep up the med schedule. It seems the pain was just really bad.

But back to Sunday.

We decided to go on a picnic. The weather was supposed to be pretty nice, and while hiking was out, a picnic was not. So we packed up the car and headed up to Deception Pass.. It is one of our favourite places. The beach we usually go to has tidal pools to check out, there are some short hikes, rocks to throw in the water. Fun. Sunday we decided to go to the state park on the other side of the channel, just because.

It was fun. We ate lunch, threw some rocks, walked down the beach, and did our usual geology/marine biology commentary, to the extent of our abilities.

I love this photo.
April 2012 021

More photos at the Flickr set.

After the park, we headed to the Skagit Valley to see what was blooming. We only expected daffodils, and indeed, that was it, the tulips are nowhere near bloom. What was disappointing, however, was the lack of fields of unbloomed tulips. I don't know if it's just my impression, but it seemed like much less acreage in tulips than in previous years.

Anyhow, dafs, with Mt Baker in the background.
April 2012 037
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My poor baby is awake, in tears from the pain. Sigh.

We gave her her breakthrough meds.

I guess the nerve block, with the catheter that is still inside, isn't going much good.

God, it makes me sick to know she's hurting enough to cry. AC does not cry.

Fingers crossed that the additional pain meds are enough to get her to sleep, and to take her until she can have her next full doses. Which is 4 am. I was going to give her stuff when we got up at 6, but I think I'll set an alarm to do it at the earlier time.

FTR, adding a new "acl" tag.
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Once we got to recovery, things went quickly. I'll write everything up later, but she's home, on her own couch, currently sleeping.

Poor baby looks exhausted, though right now the only thing she's complaining about is one of her eyes that is very irritated.

Thank you all so very much. It meant a lot, the support we've gotten here. A lot.
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I should have just put up one post and updated it.

Surgery went well we talked to the surgeon he is pretty happy.

She is in recovery we are waiting to get to see her.
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I guess they are a bit over half done and everything is going well.
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Well she is asleep and back there. Her knee has been initiated, the pg test was negative and she has the iv etc.

They marked her for latex allergy because of the avocado.

She was nervous poor baby. You'd not tell based on demeanour but her heartrate was over 100, for a kid more used to 65.

Now we wait.
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Outta here in a just a few minutes. We'll drop Linnea off at school, and then head to Children's.

I'm freaking out.

It'll be ok.


I'll update here in case anyone is interested.


8 Mar 2012 20:15
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Dh is taking AC to the hospital. She twisted her knee really badly, last minute at gym.

Poor crying baby. AC does not cry. I could hear her sobbing over the phone.

And I'm here, not there with my poor little girl.

She'd been doing so well.... it was looking like she might place at State, in two events.

I guess not.

That kid just can't seem to catch a break.

Sick to my stomach here. My poor baby.

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