January 23, 2007

Jo(e) Athlete

I am not much for going to the doctor's office. My husband has often mocked me for being the pioneer type, something he attributes to my childhood fixation with the Little House on the Prairie books. But pressure from blog readers and family members plus two days of physical pain finally sent me to the doctor's office today. I knew nothing in my leg was broken, but it wasn't just a bad bruise either – I am used to bad bruises – and I wanted someone to tell me just exactly what was wrong with my leg, why it hurt like crazy to walk up the stairs, what I needed to do to avoid long-term damage, and most importantly, when it would be okay for me to snowboard again.

When I called the doctor who does the school physicals for my kids, the cheery triage nurse said, "Oh, I can get you in to see Dr. Sports Injury."

Well, that made me feel important. No one has ever invited me to see Dr. Sports Injury before. I have to admit, I liked the novelty of having a sports injury. I mean, the phrase sports injury conjures up this image of a highly trained, super fit athlete. It made me want to go out and buy some spandex.

I tested the new phrase out on the phone with a friend earlier today. "I'm icing my knee," I said to her importantly, "I've got a sports injury."

There was a pause. Then she said, curiously, "You got an injury from belly dancing? I didn't realize it was a contact sport."

At least she resisted the urge to laugh when I told her that I got injured getting off the chair lift.

So this afternoon, I saw Dr. Sports Injury, a sadistic young man who kept twisting my leg into different positions saying, "Does this hurt? Okay, does it hurt now?" I am guessing he got his practice from torturing siblings; he must have been a fun little brother. Like most doctors I know, he kept hesitating to give me an absolute diagnosis. I swear, I know doctors who will look at a woman who is eight months pregnant and say, "Well, there's a 95 percent chance you are pregnant." Luckily, I find it very easy to be assertive with a doctor when he is younger than me, and I got the information I needed out of him.

He said that when I twisted my leg into that horrible position, I stretched a ligament (the medial collateral ligament, to be specific) and pinched the cartilage. He kept saying, "It could be much worse. Your knees are actually in great shape for someone your age." Someone your age? I wanted to slap him but then I remembered that he spends most of his time dealing with high school athletes, rather than their mothers, so I cut him some slack and decided to take the compliment.

He finally gave me a percentage; there's a seventy percent chance the injury will just heal on its own so long as I am careful to stay off it. The other thirty percent would involve physical therapy or surgery. I am of course assuming that I will be in that seventy percent category. My gut feeling is that my leg is going to be fine.

When he asked how I treated the injury immediately after it happened, I said, "Ice, elevation, and reiki."

"The ski patrol does reiki?" he asked, impressed.

I explained that the treatment consisted of me sitting in a snowbank and doing reiki on myself. "With mittens on because it was fucking cold out." I might have left out the part about me snowboarding down the mountain on the injured limb.

I kept badgering him to help me come up with a rule of thumb so that I would know when I could snowboard again. Finally, he said, "Okay, if you can run up and down a flight of stairs without pain, you are ready to snowboard again." That made sense to me. I've had injuries far more painful than this one, so I am confident it will heal pretty fast. I'd like to get back to the slopes while all this wonderful snow is still here.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Posts like this make yours one of my most favorite blogs to read.

I'm sorry for your injury, and sure hope it heals up well enough to hit the slopes before spring.

Liesl said...

I'm glad to hear you don't need surgery. I hope your knee heals up soon, and that there's lots of snow when you return to the slopes.

Anonymous said...

Okay, MCL is better than ACL and if you wait until you can run stairs, you will be better indeed. Whew.

Anonymous said...

jo(e), you are so funny. I can just see you not taking any stuff off this young dr. I love it!

kathy a said...

"I might have left out the part about me snowboarding down the mountain on the injured limb."

heh. you miscreant! don't forget the part he said about being careful to stay off it while it is healing, ok?

Anonymous said...

I liked the reiki with mittens.

Anonymous said...

That sounds like good news so far.

Anonymous said...

I'd use that sports injury line for all it's worth!

Anonymous said...

This post is hilarious, jo(e). Spandex! That really got me. If you ever do get spandex, I trust you can appreciate how we readers will need to hear about it.

Anonymous said...

When sarcasm becomes a sport, I'll have sports injuries. Until then, I'm just a klutz.

Mona Buonanotte said...

Okay, that's it then! I gotta learn reiki!!

Rana said...

That sounds like pretty good news! :)

(I second Mona about the reiki - especially since I blew out my back yesterday.)

YourFireAnt said...

Ohh, if you get spandex, we readers'll need to SEEE it.

;-D

(un)relaxeddad said...

I guess as doctors go, he was remarkably to the point. I mean, a diagnosis, a treatment and a prognosis all in the same conversation?

jo(e) said...

(un)relaxeddad: Oh, he was to the point only because I was assertive. I am good at bossing around young doctors.

Sara and FA: I am tempted to go buy some spandex now just so I can write a blog post about it.

BeachMama said...

Good for you for going to the Doctors. I too am not a Dr. fan and especially when you end up with one so young. Be sure to stay off that sucker or you might miss out on the snowboarding next year too!

Anonymous said...

Oooh, we just learned about the MDL today in Bio. You are very fortunate not to have injured your ACL at the same time.

Take care of yourself, okay?

Sarah Sometimes said...

I'm glad you went to the doctor!

Anonymous said...

The THIRD TIME I ever went skiing, I twisted and stretched out both my MCL *and* my ACL. I totally took advantage of the offer of a toboggan-ride down the mountain (in particular because of the exquisite beauty of Ski Patrol Guy and the way my heart leapt when he asked if he could strap me in a little tighter). But despite Ski Patrol Guy's allure, after six weeks of trying to get around NYC in a full leg brace and having every cabbie in the city refuse to drive me home to Brooklyn, and after six MONTHS of physical therapy with the Marquis de Sade, I decided that my skiing days were done.

That was a good 15, maybe 18 years ago.

You, Jo(e), are my hero.

Dr. Shellie said...

I've not only fallen off the chairlift, but also FAILED TO GET OFF the chairlift in time. I ended up still sitting in the chair, dangling 10 feet above the ground as the lift started to rise to make it's way to the next stop. The operator stopped the entire lift and told me he would have to reverse the direction so I could get off. Fortunately I managed to get my skies off and sort of slide off the chair until my brother-in-law could reach my legs and help me down, which was a slightly less embarrasing option! Good luck with your leg.

Manorama said...

I hope that your injury heals very soon.

I know doctors in general can be irritating, but I was thinking as I read your post that your comment about dealing with young doctors was reminding me of something else I'd heard, and then with horror I realized that it was reminding me of how some students treat young instructors (could be professors or graduate students) because they are young, coming in with assumptions about that person not knowing their stuff or justifying certain behavior toward the instructor by saying the instructor is young (I had a student say this to my face just a couple of weeks ago). Jo(e), I know that you certainly wouldn't support/perpetuate ageism, so I'm wondering what you mean by having to be assertive with young doctors. This question comes from curiosity, of course, not any kind of antagonism.

jo(e) said...

Manorama: I meant that it can be very difficult to get information out of any doctor. I am sure this is partially due to all the lawsuits and such. So I think you really have to be assertive with any doctor, regardless of age.

I was saying, sort of tongue-in-cheek, that it is easier to be assertive now that so many doctors are younger than me. It was meant as sort of a joke about my own age. It's definitely a sign of getting old when suddenly all the doctors are younger than you.

halloweenlover said...

I hope it heals asap. Drink lots of hot tea, I bet that will help too. And lots of relaxation. I'll send positive thoughts.