Taken down by Toddler

My new nemesis, which is actually a blue run.

My new nemesis, which is actually a blue run.

January 13, 2015; Chaffee County, Colorado

Steph, MRI looks pretty bad, see attached. We will do referral to ortho. Keep icing, elevated. Might do better on crutches if you are not already as there is a bone contusion.

This is the e-mail message I received recently from my doctor, Matt, who typically makes me feel neurotic during my regular checkups or my kids’ checkups. In his laid back way, he’ll look at me quizzically and say things like:

— “You have constant headaches? Try drinking more water.”

— “This is some type of viral condition, and it really just needs to run its course.”

— “Sometimes kids throw up for no real medical reason.” — “Yeah, I don’t think you have anything to worry about.”

My MRI results. I still don't really know how to identify issues, but my ACL is supposed to be in the image and it's not because it's completely torn.

My MRI results. I still don’t really know how to identify issues, but my ACL is supposed to be in the image and it’s not because it’s completely torn.

He’s a very good doctor and has a great sense of humor, but sometimes you feel like a hypochondriac when you leave his office. So the phrase “looks pretty bad,” in his e-mail, indeed, alarmed me. Then I looked at the MRI results of my knee, which stated I had….

  • a complete anterior cruciate ligament tear
  • a tear in the posterior horn of the medial meniscus
  • a bone contusion along the posterior lateral tibial plateau
  • a strain of the lateral collateral ligament

Whoa!! A bone contusion? (which is really just a bruise) That sounds hard core. And all that resulted from a fall on a ski run named…Toddler?

December 2014, Monarch Mountain, Colorado

Monarch Mountain, looking all pretty and inviting....

Monarch Mountain, looking all pretty and inviting….

On Toddler: A nine-year-old swooshed past me spraying a little glaze of powder as I laid in the snow on my back with my legs up in the air, boots and skis still attached. The little twinge I felt in my left knee moments earlier after I landed was not a welcome sensation. I had done something to it. And next, I did what most other skiers who had only made one run of the day would do. I got up, skied down leaning on my right leg and went right back into the chair lift line.

Sitting down as the chair lurched forward, I discovered immediately that I had made the wrong choice. While my knee seemed to be stretching by the second from the weight of my boot and ski as well as having gravity pull down on it, I knew I needed to get back to the lodge and off my skis.

To make a long story short, because I fell two days before we were scheduled to roadtrip to Minnesota for Christmas, I did not see a doctor. Three weeks went by before I mentioned to Dr. Matt (during my son Eddie’s appointment) that I may need to have him check out my knee since I had done “something to it.”

An X-ray and MRI later, I found out. And of course the question everyone asks when they see you with a knee brace and find out you need to have surgery is: How did you do it? 

Now here’s the interesting part. There is really no way to make “I fell on Toddler sound badass. So, I could lie and drop the names of other Monarch runs and state: “I didn’t quite land my jump off Sheer-Rock-O.” That is a legitimate hardcore run that has exposed rocks and multiple protrusions. Sheer rock o Or I could fabricate a different fall version and say, “I was ripping it up and wiped out on High Anxiety.” At least that confirms, indeed, there is anxiety involved with that run. high anxiety Even some of the other runs could have intriguing plot lines. Like, “I danced with the wrong mogul on Tango.” Or “I should have had my head examined after I launched into a 360 on Examiner.” (I don’t really have anything for LOBO or Upper Christmas Tree.) But even “Upper No Name” is shrouded in some baddassery. After all, it doesn’t even have a moniker because nothing is extreme enough for its terrain. That, at least, sounds plausible. upper no name 2 But I’m not a good liar and most people would know that I wasn’t hucking off Sheer-Rock-O or catching intentional air off Examiner. So, perhaps, I could incorporate Toddler into the story and modify the tale slightly.

  • For example, I could propose that “I fell on a toddler” or “I took out a toddler” but that essentially indicates that I am a big meanie.
  • Perhaps I could say, “A toddler took me out,” and anyone who has gone through the terrible twos with a child knows this is not only possible but also painful. However, ultimately, it still sounds pretty lame.
  • The only story that sounds remotely cool is to claim, “I fell as I saved a toddler from impending doom on the mountain.” But really, hopes here are ultimately dashed. The rescue angle still implies that you were skiing on the same run as a toddler.

Again, there is no way to weave in any wickedness, so I might as well own this nice oops and say, “I fell while skiing on Toddler.”

Toddler with Eva

My friend Rebecca’s daughter, Eva, posing next to my nemesis.

Update: Surgery was a success and I’m recovering with all my Terminator leg gear on, which, I might add, is pretty “badass.”  Steph's leg

16 thoughts on “Taken down by Toddler

  1. That’s a nasty injury to get. We call it footballer ‘ s injury because it is a common soccer injury caused by twisting the knee during movement. All the best with the recovery.

    • Thank you so much — I have run into so many people who have torn their ACL/Meniscus in soccer or football injuries as well as skiing, of course! I’m starting physical therapy tomorrow, which I know is key! Thanks again for the well wishes! Cheers.

  2. Oh dear! Isn’t it the way, the simple things in life can be deceptive! I broke my arm while riding a horse, oh did I neglect to mention it was standing still at the time. Mum never got that picture, not for lack of trying! She tried the old adage ” you just have to get back in the saddle” but I was already heading towards the car telling her to take me to the doctor. And then there was the other break in my arm which resulted in surgery, yep fell off a fence. Oh yeah, it was stationary too and actually kind of a toddler, very low!

    Hope the recovery is smooth and doesn’t hinder any upcoming travel plans. Might be a chance to pop your feet up and spend some guilt free time blogging!

    • Hi Leanne — thanks for the well wishes! Wow, getting back in the saddle – it’s real! I love how you were already on your way to the car while your mom is not giving up on the horse ride. I think the stationary falls are the worst. A toddler fence. I better stay away from that. I hope your recovery was quick.


  3. Lol, that does sound like a story. I too injured my ankle on holiday but didn’t get it checked out until I returned because I didn’t want to bother. It turned out that I sprained it while running down the escalator. Haha…hope you feel better!! 😄

    • Hi Sha — wow you sprained your ankle while running down the escalator. I hope you didn’t get anything pinched by the “stairs.” I’m sorry you were injured on holiday, but I love how you didn’t want an injury to get in the way. You’re a true traveler! For me, I was actually at our local ski mountain, so at least I could recover at home and didn’t have to worry about wrecking any plans although I guess we still roadtripped anyway.
      Thanks for the well wishes!

      • Haha, everyone was scolding me though! I was travelling alone and was just hobbling around by myself without getting the ankle checked out. I was lucky it was just a sprain but yeah, you kinda don’t really want to lose out on all the activities that you have already planned out..haha..but yeah, you have a good rest so that you can get better soon…😄

  4. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry ….a bit of both?! Poor Steph, what a horrible thing to happen. I hope that you are now on the mend. Knees are a B*&^h to repair so I’m wishing you all the very best for a speedy recovery. P.s I think you are marvellous even having a go at skiing, I’d poop my pants before even attempting the Toddler….xxxxx

    • Lottie! I’m definitely on the mend, but yes, knees are a B*&^h to heal. I need to channel my inner Zen master and be patient. Speaking of pooping pants, I think you might find this funny, Lottie. I actually did just that after O.D.ing on stool softener. I was taking Percocet (pain killer — don’t know if it has the same name in British English) and one of the side effects is constipation. Well, I avoided that, for sure! Thanks for the well wishes xxxxxx

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