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Comment : The Whole Story - Finally
Posted by Ann_P on Tue 1:01pm 20 July 2004

As promised, here is the whole story from the beginning, complete with catchy tag-line:

“It seemed so easy on the trampoline, but…”

One would think that any sensible 32-year-old woman would know better than to pretend she’s 13 again. Apparently not me. Back when I was indeed 13, I was a relatively decent gymnast. I worked out frequently, was a whole lot more flexible, and weighed a good 25 pounds less than I do now. But you can imagine my excitement when I learned that this summer, my local community center was offering an adults’ gymnastics class in association with a real gymnastics training center. I signed up – what ex-gymnast wouldn’t?

In this gym they had a wonderful thing known as a tumble track. Basically it is a long, narrow trampoline designed for series tumbling. It’s springy; it’s soft; it’s REALLY REALLY EASY to do just about anything on the tumble track, even for an ancient ex-gymnast like me. I had been practicing front handsprings. Then I had been practicing front handspring/front flipflop series. Did I mention how easy it was? So logically(?) I figured it would be fine to do just the front handspring out on the floor exercise. The gym is a modern facility – it’s a standard floor ex platform: springs, plywood, a few inches of closed-cell foam, blue carpet. Plenty of lift, plenty of cushion…

Unless you land that perfect-form front handspring with completely straight legs.

That’s the most sad feature of this whole experience. There was no accident. There was no slip, crash, no equipment failure…nothing. I did this to myself…more-or-less on purpose. Until I failed to bend at the knees. A few tenths of a second later, I was flat on the floor; I remember hearing a loud and sharp crack in my left knee and seeing my lower leg flail out vaguely too-far-left, unnaturally far. As I was lying there, answering questions to which I figured the answers were obvious - “Do you want an ambulance?” (yes) “If we help, can you move off to the side of the floor?” (no) – I remember being awfully calm. On the other hand, I was also conscious of the fact that I was holding my leg together with both hands, and some part of me knew that I wasn’t getting away with anything simple like a destroyed ACL. I mean, yes, my ACL is indeed destroyed, but that’s totally trivial.

That was July 7th. Today is July 20th – I got home from the hospital yesterday. In the intervening time I…(1) waited a week for surgery; (2) made a zillion pre-surgery visits to the hospital for tests and appointments; (3) spent 4 hours in surgery when the doctor had initially predicted 2 hours; (4) gained 9 new pieces of metal to hold those bones together (class IV tibial plateau, torn meniscus, avulsed ACL - the final verdict for those of you who missed my initial posts); (5) almost got released from the hospital after only 2 days, until they found an infection and were concerned that it could be resistant staph; (6) stayed for more antibiotics and finally got released with a prescription for the world’s most expensive antibiotic (linezolid). Currently I am fighting with my insurance company to get them to pay, of all crazy things, for antibiotics. They don’t object to a 5-day stay in one of the best hospitals in Boston, but they object to a prescription???

My S.O. and I rented a wheelchair today, with dreams of me being able to return to work half-time as soon as tomorrow. We’ll see… my first experience was not knowing how to control the chair on a slight downhill and crashing into the side of the car. I wasn’t hurt, but everything right now is so terrifying it made me cry anyway. At least they’re letting me live at home, go to work as much as I can, etc… Nonetheless, my whole life has been changed by something that took less than a second to do to myself. I’m trying not to be angry or depressed; just looking forward to walking again, even if it is 4 months from now.

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