So, its Saturday. Three years ago today I had a really bad day. I didn’t know it was going to be a bad day. Started out just fine.
I remember feeding the horses, and I have a clear view of Daisy sitting on the rug, waiting for me as I came back in. I told her as I went by that I had to work and couldn’t stay home with her. I took a shower, and I remember deciding to take my running stuff so I could run at the hospital, knowing that by the time I got home in the early afternoon I wouldn’t want to run (an unfortunate decision, as I lost my running gear).
That is my last memory for about a week. They tell me some idiot (driving for a school with kids in the van) ran the red light and slammed into my driver side door doing 50 MPH. Totaled my car. Paramedics got me out and took me to the hospital where I work (fortunately I was only about a mile from work at that point), and apparently I got a Life Flight ride to the bigger hospital down state. It does irritate me that I got a helicopter ride for the first time ever and I wasn’t awake to enjoy it!
My lung was punctured, ribs were broken and my pelvic girdle snapped in three places, along with various lacerations. After they stabilized me, my mom asked why my right foot was hanging at a really odd angle, and they realized my knee needed some help too. Strangely, that last thing they found is the longest lasting effect of the accident–besides me being a really bad passenger. I mean, seriously. You do NOT want to put me in a car and take me on the highway unless you have a lot of patience.
I was hospitalized for two weeks, one week in CCU and one week at rehab in my home hospital after my surgery for my knee. A marvelous surgeon rebuilt my knee, added some bone grafts and stuck a metal plate under it to hold it all together while I healed (he did another surgery a year later to take the plate out). I spent two months home, using a walker and unable to put any weight on my leg. I was very happy when my home therapist put a basket on my walker–I couldn’t even get carry a cup of coffee til then.
Gonna say, it was boring! And daytime tv is awful. The doc okayed me to put weight on the leg on a Friday and I gratefully went back to work the following Monday (with a cane). I used the cane until I started leaving it in patient rooms, then I decided I must not need it anymore.
I followed the surgeon’s rules (and added a few of my own), and have seen great improvements in my knee in the last three years. He thought I needed to look two years out before seeing how my knee would recover. I have actually made great improvements in this, my third year.
My best moment came when I sat on the floor and unconsciously folded my legs into a cross-legged seat. I’m short, and that was always my favorite position–on the floor, on chairs, wherever. It’s not a tight cross, but I am sitting with my knees bent. I never thought I could do that again. My running expanded this summer too, I ran better times and even a 10K this summer.
Not that everything is perfect. My knees (yes, plural) did not react well to my pushing this summer, and I had to take most of September off from running. My left knee has been achy too, probably the effect of taking the brunt of, well, everything in the last three years.
But I am fine tuning my workouts to keep my knees happy, and I believe that I am seeing the full ability that my right knee will have. I can’t bend it completely, but when doing a quad stretch, I can at least hold the heel now. I may not run a 10k again, but I am already planning my 5Ks for this summer. Now it is not so much about pushing my limits as much as it is just running.