Planning to Have Your Knee Cut Open Creates Stress

October 3, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Posted in ACL recovery, attitudes, Move to Park City Utah, Self Esteem, siblings | Leave a comment
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Planning to have your knee cut open creates stress. Planning to try something that isn’t accepted in your own country adds to the stress. Having a bossy little sister can put you over the edge. Yep-Tensions are high in my house right now with leaving for Canada tonight for surgery.

The past week we were on the edge of being manic- all energy and actions upbeat and full of excitement. Jamie did a few weeks of schoolwork. We happened to be going to Taylor Swift on Wed night. Jamie filled Thursday, Friday, & Saturday with being with friends. She had a great week.

But underneath it all was the upcoming trip- The trip to have her knee re-repaired. Now of course she isn’t the first to have this issue, nor will she be the last. But when it is you [and for me- my kid] you seem to feel that the whole world revolves around this. And this morning there is nothing but the upcoming surgery.

What must be going on in her head? Fear- “Will it work? What about ten years from now? How much will it hurt? When will I be able to really walk? Am I crazy for doing this? What if I get there and something happens? OMG I am soooo scared. Will my knee have huge scars? [Oh that is the least of my worries, but still…] Will I really be able to train and compete this winter? Am I going to still have my career?”

Oh the fears that she must be having right now.

And not too much she can do about them, except have them, own them, talk about them, ignore them, and have them be overwhelming.

Here’s the thing some stress is good for you- And when you have too much stress you have to do something about it.

Just when I was writing this Jamie came down. We talked about her fears. I acknowledged them without going over board.

In her wellness college class she had to take a stress test today- After taking the test she told me, “Just incase you are wondering. I have really high stress today. And to reduce my stress I need to laugh-

So I now have to do some damage control with the little sister who reacted to Jamie’s stress by being a bossy you know what. She is the best at being funny-

The bossy little sister made a 180 degree turn around. You see her emotions were a reaction to her surroundings. All fear around her created fear in her, but since she really didn’t have any fear and couldn’t relate to the fear she acted out in bossy, controlling actions.

By both of them seeing the fear for what it was- completely real, yet surmountable they were both able to let go of the attached stress-

Then Jamie had some new thinking- You see her fear wasn’t the top priority anymore. Even though we couldn’t take it all away, it was manageable now.

Her new thought was filled with strength and determination. By dealing with the fears head on, not as an excuse for any negative emotions or actions or ignoring them, Jamie had power again.

Now my stress is less. Time for lunch, a few last minutes details to make home life smooth while I’m gone, a run and off to surgery.

Along with all the Emotional Turmoil, We Had to Decide About Surgery

September 23, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Posted in ACL recovery, attitudes, Move to Park City Utah, Self Esteem | Leave a comment
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Along with all the emotional turmoil we were going through we also had to decide which doctor to do the surgery and even if Jamie wanted to do surgery again. We are now living in a mecca of ACL surgeons. All of whom are thought to be excellent, the best, none better. We went to a couple with the same result. Just what we knew anyway- Surgery with six months of physical therapy before going back to sport. And no better than an 80% success rate- with extreme athletes it lowers to almost 50%.

This was dismal to Jamie (and me for that matter.) Not only how would she stand it, but how could I, as her mother, watch her just hang around another winter.

So here’s the thing. When Jamie first tore her ACL last Dec she told me about a synthetic ligament. I was totally dubious, and guided her to the tried and all American method of using human grafts, either autograft or allograft. Autograft is the fancy term for using something from your own body. Allograft is the fancy, polite term of using something from a cadaver. And cadaver is the fancy, polite term for a dead body. The term for getting the tendon is called harvesting the tendon.

Anyway, Jamie harvested one of her hamstring tendons already.
So we were looking at using an allograft.

She began to study in earnest the synthetic ligament. There were some drawbacks. First, it wasn’t FDA approved. This could be serious or it could be all the red tape it takes to get anything FDA approved. This leads to the second drawback. It wouldn’t be covered by insurance. So it would certainly be costly! The third drawback would be having to travel for the surgery. The fourth drawback would be the fear and emotional chaos of trying something not well known to those around us or us. And the fifth drawback is the fact that this technique is only 15 years old.

Of course there would be perks and advantages of using the synthetic ligament. First, it would be stronger than a human graft- either autograft or allograft. As a matter of fact, it would be lots stronger! Second, the recovery time would be cut in half. Thus meaning that Jamie would potentially be able to ski this winter- possibly even competing. Third, the rerupture rate is almost nonexistent. Fourth, Jamie knew people who have this synthetic ligament and are truly thrilled with their recovery.

I started to really investigate this possibility. I scoured the Internet; read every article, blog post, and blurb I could find; watched YouTube videos by athletes who had had the surgery.

I was set. I had my ideas confirmed as well. Using the synthetic ligament with an allograft was the perfect answer.

We contacted coordinator of the Canadian doctors to discuss Jamie’s case.

Still I needed more. Many consider me a leader, but in my heart I want to be a follower just like everyone else.

So I contacted, vie email, blog, Facebook, and twitter, every athlete I had heard of with the synthetic ligament. And low and behold I heard back from some. They had only positive things to say about the whole process of going to Canada, the man who coordinates everything, the doctor who does the surgery, the physical therapy, and the strength and stability after words.

The only thing no one could talk about was the longevity, because no one had been longer than two or three years.

Then we heard back from the dr. He would do the surgery, but instead of the allograft he wanted to do another autograft using a piece of her quad tendon.

Now came decision time. I was torn. Would this harvesting of a tendon affect her strength or stability? Once again I sought out athletes who had had this exact operation. Most of these athletes had already had at least one ACL reconstruction.

Everyone agreed 100% to go ahead. I even had a mom contact me; she was very supportive of the results for her daughter.

So yes- I wired the money for the surgery today, bought our airline tickets, and we head off to Canada Oct 4.

We Weren’t All Happy, We Weren’t All Satisfied, BUT We Were Determined

September 20, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Posted in ACL recovery, attitudes, Move to Park City Utah, Self Esteem | Leave a comment
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Saturday brought one new complication. Jeanee had a ramp competition in the afternoon, which Jamie had been planning on entering as well. Jamie was past hating her sister. But I really didn’t know if she was ready to face the place where she had her injury or watch the other athletes have so much fun in the competition; I knew she was able to support her sister.

I took Jeanee for precomp training and went back to the house. I announced very clearly and strongly. “I am going to watch Jeanee in the comp this afternoon. You can come with me or stay here. I WILL be going to see Jeanee no matter what you decide.”

Jamie didn’t answer with anything other than mumbled words. Of course it was a tough decision, and I knew why. But rather than voicing these, I left it for Jamie to sort out.

Fifteen minutes before it was time for me to go I went up to Jamie’s room. “I’m leaving in 15 minutes. You can come or stay it is up to you.”
“I don’t know if I can go.”
“Then stay here. I am leaving in 15 minutes.”

I left the room.

Ten minutes later I went back and told Jamie I was leaving.
“OK, I’ll go. I want to support Jeanee. I want to see her do some sick tricks! And besides if I stay here I may just hurt myself”

I told Jamie that I thought it was braver to go than to stay home.
“How can it be braver. If I stay here I may do something terrible.”
“Anyone can hurt themselves in private. It’s going out in public, to the place where you long to be, seeing people do exactly what you wish you could be doing that takes much more strength.
“You’re crazy. But I’m going anyway.”

When we arrived at the Utah Olympic Park Jamie had real second thoughts. But we were exactly on time for the comp. There was no going back. I wasn’t going to miss Jeanee to take Jamie home because she chickened out.

I told Jamie, “You can get out of the car now, or wait in the car. The choice is yours.”

She got out of the car. We got ourselves on the some grass near the athletes. I held Jamie’s leg up to keep the swelling down. Lots of people came over to say hi. After Jeanee’s first jump- which was great by the way- Jamie had to go to the bathroom. She decided to go on deck, where the athletes were.

I knew at that moment Jamie had passed from the depressed, desolate, injured athlete to the injured, coming back, dynamic Jamie that finds the way to do whatever comes in her path with energy, style, gusto, and as full of life as there is to live.

She spent the next hour talking with athletes and coaches, all smiles.

Jeanee came in second for her age group. We left a different family.

We weren’t all happy, we weren’t all satisfied with the turn of events, but we were determined to get past this, to make the best of it, and most importantly love and support each other no matter what circumstances got in the way.

The Worst Moment was seeing the Love and Devotion Being Torn Apart

September 19, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Posted in ACL recovery, attitudes, Move to Park City Utah, Self Esteem | Leave a comment
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That evening when I picked up Jeanee after ramping, she was all excited about what she had accomplished that day. It was great to see her so excited and bubbly. And it reaffirmed to me that her interest and involvement in freeskiing was pure, just as Jeanee is with everything she does.

Still I wanted to warn her about Jamie. I just had this feeling that if I could have a moment of hating Jeanee, then Jamie might have an uncontrolled outburst of hating Jeanee. And her hatred would be just the same as mine- Not at Jeanee- It would be 100% misplaced anger with Jeanee getting the brunt of it.

Jeanee understood how Jamie might be mad at her, even though she had nothing to do with Jamie’s injury. I told her this might come up in the next week or so. I told her about my feeling the day before. And how it was really displaced anger.

And that great and wonderful kid smiled and told me she would probably have done the same. “It’s OK mama- I know you are just confused and upset- It’s not me you are angry at. And you can’t be angry at Jamie. And if you got mad a Jilly- Well, that would just be terrible with her temper.”

We walked in the house and Jeanee went upstairs to say hi to Jamie. Who screamed, “Get out of my room. I hate you. You took everything from me and now I have nothing.”

Jeanee left the room, which incidentally the girls actually share so it was as much Jeanee’s room as it was Jamie’s.

This was the worst moment for me, seeing the love and devotion that those two girls had for each other be torn apart. I couldn’t blame Jamie for her anger, disappointment, and even hatred. And even though I had told Jeanee about this possibility, how would she really take it? Could she let it roll off her? Could she really understand from her heart what was going on? Not just from her head- we can often understand from our head what our hearts have no idea how to handle.

I could do nothing while this was going on- but hope and pray that somehow Jeanee would be OK and Jamie would get over this.

For dinner Jamie stormed down the stairs (and with crutches this makes quite a scene!) and hollered at Jeanee once again.
“Get out of here. I HATE you. If you don’t go someplace I will hurt you.”

Jeanee quietly went upstairs. Jamie sat at the table with horrible, negative, dark energy swirling around her. She ranted for a few minutes about how much she hated Jeanee. I told her I could understand her feelings. I understood why and how she hated Jeanee.

As tough as it was, I never negated Jamie’s feelings. I allowed them. I didn’t encourage them though. I just let them be.

It was my instinct, and it was right. After only five minutes of this ranting Jamie started to cry.

“I can’t hate my little sister. She didn’t cause my accident. She is so sweet and wonderful. I love my little sister. I love Jeanee!”

Jeanee came back down and dinner went on- Yes we were quiet, not our usual talking bouncing all over the place conversations. But what we had was unspeakable. It was deep love and respect.

Later I told Jeanee that I guess I was right on target about Jamie, only I didn’t think it would happen so soon. I asked her if it helped that I had warned her.

“Oh yes- I’m not sure how I would have handled it if I didn’t have your warning.”
The rest of the evening- and late into the night we watched funny movies.

Things were getting better for sure.

Her Dad Was Able to Express His Feelings of Despair

September 19, 2011 at 11:01 am | Posted in ACL recovery, attitudes, dads, Move to Park City Utah, Self Esteem | Leave a comment
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Friday was much the same as Thursday, starting with physical therapy at 7 am. In the afternoon we went to another Dr in hopes that he would say there was some other alternative than surgery and six months of rephab with the same risk factor as before.

Jamie’s depression was severe when we left the second Dr. And I had had to ask for rides for Jeanee both to and from school. Man, I hated arriving in Park City and being so needy.

In the afternoon I really had to get away from Jamie for a little while. I had Jilly stay in the room with her- and I took Jeanee to ramps. I also called all my relatives again- giving them the update- which was still dismal.

The call with Jamie’s dad was still the toughest to do.

Giving the information was not so tough, but
“When can I call her?”
“I don’t know yet. She is acutely depressed and if you talk to her it could send her off the deep end right now.”
“I know she is depressed, but how would you feel if you couldn’t talk to her?”
“Terrible. There is no denying you feel terrible that she won’t talk to you right now.”
“I’m her father. I have a right to talk to her.”
“Yes you are her father and of course you have a right to talk to her. OR you can decide that as much as you hurt, you will respect her wishes and wait till she tells me to tell you that you can call her.”
“I’m going to call her today.”
“Of course you can. I will not tell you can’t call your own daughter, but I do think you may want to think about respecting her needs and wishes right now.
“I’ll think about it- Goodbye”

So of course he respected Jamie and waited till she was ready to talk to him, that was not till Sunday- two days later. I am sure that being the parent that has to wait is excruciatingly painful. Either way, being the parent of a child that is injured is tough. I am so grateful that her dad was able to express his feelings of despair to me and still be able to respect Jamie- Not easy to do for sure.

Even I Have Moments that are so Wrong and Out of Place

September 18, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Posted in ACL recovery, attitudes, Move to Park City Utah | Leave a comment
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I wanted to share my feelings about Jeanee because of course I don’t hate her. I love her. I wanted to share that even a “great” mom who has been working with parents for over 20 years as a counselor in all kinds of capacities has moments that are so wrong and out-of-place. My feeling of hatred was 100% misplaced anger- And lucky for me and Jeanee she never felt it. But let me tell you this- That moment of hatred at Jeanee really helped me to help her, which I’ll get to later.

By the time I picked up Jeanee from school I was well past any feelings of hatred toward her. We had a great ride home. She was very happy with her classes. It was her fun day- art, dance, and science. And she had lunch with a ski friend she had made a couple of years ago. All good.

So back to the screaming that was going on in the morning. Oh joy! Jamie was not any more hurt than before. She was just awake knowing that it was real. She really had blown out her knee again. I put ice on her, gave her meds, and fed her. She was now asking all the questions I had been asking myself. I gave her the same silent treatment I gave myself. I didn’t, and still don’t, have any answer why a person who did everything possible to be strong and ready physically and who is a really fun and happy kid would have this happen to her- again.

After a few minutes Jamie calmed down. Well, she didn’t actually stop being upset. She just became bitter. The meds began to take effect and she dozed off. Right after I got back with Jeanee, I had to keep things going smoothly for Jeanee and Jilly. Needy mom had to call others to help her- The girls needed a ride to the ramps. Well, it wasn’t really necessary, but I did think it much better than having them stay home and do nothing. Jamie and I left to go to physical therapy and the DR. She cried her way into physical therapy. Her wooden leg moved 15 degrees- and was constantly in pain. While waiting for the Dr, Jamie stoically took out her kindle and read.

As is the usual case, sometime much later than our appointment, we entered the space that just might give Jamie her freedom. There was anticipation, hope, deep desire.

The Dr and his assistant were pleasant and efficient. They had three other re-ruptured ACL’s that very day. We were in good hands. At least that was good. And with great care the Dr tested the ACL. Nothing. Loose- no tight locking. It was gone. Jamie felt her life was over. Doomed to be someone who never was.

During the day I forgot-I did go shopping and get more food. I also got up the courage to call my family. Not easy. And her father. It took all my abilities to tell him. I knew he would be crushed. I had to hold onto that. And not listen to the words that came out of his mouth. All he was doing was being crushed. “How did it happen?” he demanded. “Oh my poor Jamie- hurt.” is what he meant. “Didn’t anyone tell her to stop?” he barked. “I can’t stand it.” He meant. And so on for about five minutes. Finally I said, ” I know you are as upset as I am about this. Please give Jamie the respect to not call her till she is ready.” And instead of continuing to grill me on what happened and what was I going to do, he said OK and let me hang up the phone.

Dinner that night was terse. The food- who knows- I didn’t even have a pantry with supplies in it or a freezer filled with home made meals. The conversation was about as palatable sawdust. But we made it through.

That night Jamie had a huge change. She made it clear she did not want pity. She was sure her life was over. “What’s the point? No matter what I do I will never be able to really feel free again. I am now just trapped in a body that can almost do something, but will always stop just before- scared to go on.”

At this point something snapped in me. No pity for sure. But this kid was taking this a bit too far. For God’s sake she was walking, talking, and angry. But her life was far from over. This was too much for me to take any longer.

I put on a funny movie from netflicks and began to move that block of wood. I massaged from the foot down. I wiggled the toes. And I talked.

“You know Mommy- there is no point in doing this. The Jamie that was injured is dead.”
“I know. And now there is a new Jamie.”
“Well, this Jamie has no optimism in her.”
“That’s OK. She can be a pessimistic, negative, nay sayer for all I care.’
Yeah, well there really is no point in doing anything.”
“Look here- You may hate everything right now, And I don’t blame you. But you have an obligation to this new Jamie. You must give this new Jamie the same chance the old Jamie had. And unless you kill yourself or have a fatal accident you have very little choice but to live for about another 90 to 100 years.”
“What’s the point? I’ll never be happy. And this will haunt me for the rest of my life.”
“So you think that George (My uncle who was in the Olympics twice and injured both times who went on to become a multibillionaire) was haunted his whole life that he didn’t make it all the way in skiing?”
“No but”
“There is no BUT. He lived on. And made a wonderful life for himself. He is one of the MOST happy and satisfied people I have ever known. Oh, and how about your Aunt Eleanor? Over 80 and hiking all these mountains with the ease and energy of someone your age?”
Yeah, I know.”
“So no pity. You owe this new Jamie a leg that moves, is strong, and will keep up with her energy- happy or angry. That doesn’t matter. You can’t give her a gimp leg.”

And for almost 48 hours I had to keep moving her leg, keep talking to her with strength, rationality, passion, and absolutely no compassion, sympathy or pity.

Still I couldn’t leave her alone. She was in an acute depression. Those days were exhausting! But the worst was yet to come.

Dead Silence. There was No Answer. Then Came the Screams

September 18, 2011 at 9:27 am | Posted in ACL recovery, attitudes, Move to Park City Utah | Leave a comment
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And Jeanee – OMG again- Jeanee. “Jeanee starts school tomorrow. Her first day of school.” Now this first day of school wasn’t just the norm for any all American 15 year old kid. No, Jeanee was going to school for the first time ever. She had been home schooled all her life. One reason we came to Park City was so that she could participate in school part time and home school the other part. We had things arranged so that she was in school from 7:30 to 12:30.

And what a cool course load- Dance, art, and Science one day and Spanish, computer tech, and her dreaded math the next day. We are still doing English and Geography at home.

So mixed in with the tragedy of Jamie’s injury I needed to be all excited and up for Jeanee to be going to school. I felt really terrible about not having a special dinner for her, or some kind of thing to honor this big change in her life.

But I didn’t pretend that I could make it up later. Life hardly has real make it up later opportunities. The opportunity is usually NOW.

So, I somehow managed to get a special dinner and have a special feeling of excitement for Jeanee going to school the next day and at the same time I was suffering and in total agony for Jamie.

That night I slept on the futon in Jamie and Jeanee’s room while Jeanee slept in my bed with Jilly. Our only beds so far.

I was up most of the night. Either trying to make it stop being true, soothing Jamie in anyway I could, fixing her ice contraption that I brought with us as one of those insurances that if I had it we wouldn’t really need it. I guess it didn’t work.

But in the morning I had to jump up from what was finally being a sound sleep, know it was horribly real, and get going on getting Jeanee up and off to school. No huge fanfare. No excitement from the sisters. Just the two of us getting off- almost like it was an ordinary event we had been doing for years.

Oh, and when we got to the school I did mortify her by insisting on taking a picture of her at her first school. We went into the school, did a bit more paper work, and off she went. I was to pick her up at 12:50. That was fun. That was why we came here. I felt like things were as they should be.

Then I got in my car. I had called no one. I knew I had to call my family. But how? What would I say? How could I even say the words out loud? By calling I made it all real. But I could wait a little longer. I didn’t have to call just yet. I could pretend for another hour or so.

So I went home ready to pretend that life was just the way we planned. I’d let Jamie sleep as long as her drugs let her. And I would get Jilly up to do her schoolwork. Jamie’s knee was just a small bother. I mean we didn’t know for sure that the ACL was torn again. And when we went to the Dr.…- OH yeah- I have to go home and schedule that appointment now. No forgetting, no pretending, nothing the way I hoped, planned, dreamed.

Then I had a strange feeling. I hated Jeanee. Why was everything being so perfect for her? She didn’t even love skiing like Jamie did. Competing was just a side part of her life. Her real love was the social that’s part of all these sports. “Wohoa. Now that is just not allowed. You should be totally ashamed of yourself! That sweet girl deserves to have just as much wonder and love of life as Jamie. So what if she got in this for different reasons than Jamie?” It was that voice again. “Yeah, I know. I love Jeanee. Really I do, but why did this have to happen to Jamie?”

Dead silence. There was no answer.

All this on my short drive home. Again, something new that we didn’t have in NH. All drives home were a long trip of over 25 miles.

When I got in things were quiet. I called the Dr. referred to us at the ER. They squeezed us in.

Then came the screams.

Arriving at the Hospital had an Eerie Almost Surreal Feeling To It

September 17, 2011 at 11:52 am | Posted in ACL recovery, attitudes, Move to Park City Utah | Leave a comment
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Even though I was calm on the outside, I was a whirl of energy on the inside. I’m sure my blood pressure was soaring (at least for me). “We just moved here. It hasn’t even been a week. OMG- How can this happen to Jamie? I don’t know anyone who was more dedicated to their physical therapy than her.” And so on all the short way to the hospital.

I drove behind the ambulance, sending Jamie my best energy. I left Jeanee and Jilly at the UOP to have someone take them home. And a sinking thought that passed through me- “Again asking for help and not giving it back. Will all this ever end? Will I ever be able to give as much as I need?” But I left that thought quickly, deciding that I definitely needed help right now and will be able to give back to this community in ways I never could in NH.

Arriving at the hospital had an eerie almost surreal feeling to it. I knew this was fake. Totally out of context and simply had NOT happened. Why would it? We- everyone of us- had done completely everything we could both in the concrete world and in the world of energy to have this be the beginning of our dream come true.

But then I had to STOP my thoughts. There was Jamie- screaming in agony. Not just pain, but loss of her life. Everything she was, dreamed of being, had aspirations for, just plain loved with all her heart seemed to be ripped away from her. With no options. No alternatives. Her life as she knew it, gone.

No, this wasn’t a dream. This was not even a nightmare. It was cold hard life smacking us in the face and gut with full force. I almost puked, my head felt woozy. And there wasn’t even any blood. “Whoa Grace. You have a serious job here and falling apart is simply not allowed.” “Who was that talking to me?” You know that ‘other’ self in you? That’s who. I actually thought it was someone else. I didn’t even recognize me. Anyway I knew that speaker was right- even if it didn’t feel like me. I really wanted to run away, hide in a corner, or better yet, magically make it all better, make it never to have happened at all.

Jamie was the only one in the ER when we arrived. The Dr was funny and happened to sort of know Jamie. He actually went to the ramps himself, just for fun. Jamie and Jeanee knew his young son. I liked that feeling of connection.

Still Jamie was hysterical. No MRI because the MRI machine was not available. But x-rays were done. We hoped with all our hearts that there was a break. Our only hope of real recovery and healing. Another ACL tear and Jamie would forever be on guard.

Dr came back with a smile- X-rays reported no break. The shriek from Jamie was piercing. Somehow the Dr thought that no break was a better option. He quickly realized that he had actually given a death sentence.

Morphine was in order. Both for pain and for emotions. We left in a daze of confusion and pain.

Now I had to regroup my thoughts. Food, pain-killers, icing, and the girls. We had no food in the house. I had been having fun being able to so easily try out all the many different grocery stores in Park City- even more easily accessible than in Westport, CT. And pain killers- OK got that done at Whole Foods. No need to get ice- we actually have an icemaker again. Rational thoughts were coming back. I was able to function. Oh I HAD to function. Other people depended on that, Jamie, Jeanee, Jilly.

Her Eyes Were Darting Around Looking Wildly in All Directions

September 16, 2011 at 11:08 am | Posted in ACL recovery, attitudes | Leave a comment
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I came around the fence and I guess someone opened the gate- really I was already in a tailspin. Not totally sure of what I was doing or who was doing these mundane things. All that I could see was Jamie and her sisters at this point. Even the paramedics had vanished from my vision.

She was conscious. Her eyes were darting around looking wildly in all directions. She was a wild animal scared and in pain. People parted as I came over. All movements were slow and sluggish, like walking though a sea of mud. I could hardly breath myself- no wonder Jamie had oxygen.

Her knee was trapped. OMG her right knee- It really was her right knee- trapped in a huge splint, already trying to get as big as a watermelon. The young paramedic, trying to smile, was holding her splint and standing on the trampoline.

When Jamie saw me her eyes pierced me. Glued me to her. I know she was asking, no begging me to make it all go away. Make the time go back. Make the pain stop. Make everything all right.

Now I was trapped. I could do nothing. I could simply be with her. Still I couldn’t show ANY emotion of fear, despair, anger, frustration. There was only one thing for me to do at that moment. LOVE Jamie. That moment, which may have been a second, or may have lasted all of four seconds, was a lifetime of support for Jamie.

Then the practical me took over. A quick assessment showed me that the young man who was holding her knee was letting it drop. I can’t tell you how I knew this. Maybe Jamie was able to express this to me; maybe I saw it move down. All I know, is that I knew from instinct that her knee was not as high as it needed to be.

With complete assurance I took over, nothing hysterical about me. “You need to lift her knee two inches.”

“Oh I must have let it fall a bit- I’m really sorry Jamie.”

Another paramedic came to see what was happening. He stepped on the trampoline.

“You need to stay off the trampoline. When you step on it you move Jamie’s knee.”

The paramedic quietly and carefully got off.

I was still OK. I was giving Jamie strength by being able to know her needs and make them known to others and even to herself.

Then came the ambulance.

In my head I screamed- “This can’t be true. Why is this happening to Jamie? This will kill her. I knew something was going to happen to her today. Why didn’t I tell her to stop when I was here before?”

You see, I began to shift blame to me- to see what I could do to make things better. Yet I needed to be completely calm, to have everything in some kind of order. I knew this was best for Jamie. And what was best for Jamie was also best for me.

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