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two knees, or not two knees

Editors note: yes, I went there on the title. Yes, I studied English in college and no I'm not ashamed of the cliche turn of phrase.... maybe a littleYou go in there My first reaction was to laugh, I think it caught my doctor off guard. "It's the ACL," he said shaking his head. The look on his face was earnest disappointment at the diagnosis. Maybe it was the eight weeks that had passed since the injury, or the fact that I skied out the rest of the season, but my only reaction was laughter. And, when you consider the circumstances, it is pretty funny.

Last April, we were out in Vail on the first day of a week long trip. My dad and I separated from my mother and my wife to go ski outer Mongolia in some soft but quite nice spring snow. Since he had the video camera, I had him go first with the intention of rocking through the bumps and getting some ego footage. I had a great run and took my time coming to a stop at the relatively flat bottom. As I was coasting slowly I lost my balance, the back of my ski dug in to some lose snow and I went over like a slinky. I heard a pop, shouted some choice words and lay there in pain for at least 10 minutes.I managed to ski down the front side of Vail, mostly on one ski (thanks years of race training for that useful trick!).

(I documented a lot of that process here and tagged posts as ACL) I had the reconstruction at home and this winter was back on the snow, skiing better than before the fall. It was a painful surgery and the rehab was hard - mostly because  it was boring and time consuming, not all together painful. On the one year anniversary, to the day, of that fall we were out in Steamboat. Same story- the old man and I hitting the back bowls. On our way back to the front, we came upon The Boat's section of double black diamonds. So I did the reasonable thing and sent my father ahead with the video camera. My thought was to get a video to send to my orthopedic doc to show him my full recovery. What would be a better testimonial than me flying down an impossably steep double black one year after my injury and reconstruction?

Right as I was taking off, Dire Straits' Espresso Love came on my iPod. For the whole year, I had avoided listening to that song. It was playing when I went down last year! But I was in mid turn, and off to a nice start and decided to ignore it. I skied a fairly iced out steep pitch nicely, although not as gracefully as I would I have liked. I took a pause and came to a gliding stop and thats when it happened.

The same, exact fall. Right knee this time. Same pop, but not nearly as much pain and no loss of range of motion (no swelling) I again skied off the mountain and even skied the rest of that week; followed by another two trips out west of some seriously hard skiing. In fact, I even bought two new pairs of skis this year because I was skiing so well. Unfortunately this right knee just has not changed. It is no worse, but no better either, there  is a constant dull pain. I've been in the gym pretty hard (squatting 360lbs often) and it feels stable when I run. Walking is another story, it does not totally slip out like my left did pre-surgery, but it locks up a bit with some significant pain at random times.

I broke down, had the MRI and consult. The diagnosis is a torn right ACL. Surgery seems imminent, and I am begining to make peace with that. My hope is, since I did not swell and do not have the resulting muscle loss, that I can do an abbreviated PT schedule and get back into the gym sooner. I'd rather not lose the ground on the weight loss and fitness while I convalesce for another 6 months.

So add this to the list of posts on this blog tagged with ACL... lets home this does not become an annual feature!