Crash.

So much for my boring, non-blog-worthy life, which has resulted in no blog posts. Sort of wish it could have stayed that way for a little longer. (I don’t actually think my life is boring, but you probably would if you had to read about it on a daily basis.)

There has been an unfortunate incident. I’m sure this was bound to happen at some point, as evidenced by my brother’s epic adventure a couple of years ago, which ended rather abruptly due to an untimely run-in involving his tibia and the front of a motor bike. Luckily my incident involved exactly 0 nights in an Egyptian hospital and was nowhere near as severe.

There was a crash, and there was my knee. Initially, I thought things were bad. Really bad. Initially, I couldn’t talk, or move, or do anything other than yell and groan in pain. But then I could move, I could stand, and I could even get slowly back into my bindings to board to the next rest stop where ice and elevation happened. One test run later and I was back in the game, as boarding actually felt reasonably okay (walking significantly less so). One run after the test run and I was reevaluating this decision, so I moseyed back to the chalet and packed my gear in for the day. A couple of hours later, when the returning crew woke me up from my cozy dozing in the car, things seemed bad again. The dull throbbing in my knee had changed into an excruciatingly sharp pain at almost any movement. Even having a comforter over my legs put painful pressure on my knee. Not ideal.

So, some time off from the bar, some crutches at the cafe, some inconclusive physiotherapy sessions, and I was sent off for an MRI. Results came back positive: ACL is sweet, all tendons and ligaments are sweet, cartilage is sweet. Winning! What actually happened?

There is quite extensive bone marrow oedema within the medial tibia plateau, particularly posteriorly, and there is a subtle undisplaced subchondral microtrabecular fracture at the posterior aspect of the plateau on the T1-weighted sequence. There is subchondral bone marrow oedema further anteriorly without a definite fracture line seen on the T1-weighted sequence in this location.

 

There is a moderate-seized associated knee joint effusion and there is extensive surrounding soft tissue oedema.

MRI

Which seemed like good news to me. And it was, really, but I was still told to expect 8-12 weeks for recovery time. And then I’d be 100%. (When I informed my physio that this was good, as I had a a month of hiking and canyoning planning in New Zealand in December – which is longer than 12 weeks away – he looked at me as though I was slightly insane. Perhaps people’s definitions of 100% differ slightly. Mine means 100%.) Regardless, this seemed like an awfully long time for a non-broken, non-ripped-ligament knee to heal. But here we are. The downside of all of this is multi-sided. First of all, my knee hurts. I have to stop doing fun things. I miss these fun things immensely, especially when I go on trips where others are doing fun things and I become resident photographer. 55+ hours on my feet at work each week is not conducive to healing, so I cut my hours back at the bar significantly before quitting entirely in an effort to expedite the healing process. My insurance has a cap of $300 on physiotherapy which I have long since exhausted. I figured out that the additional costs coupled with the lost income means this knee has cost me roughly $2500. When I’m planning on a budget of $10,000 for 6-7 months in Mexico, Central and South America, plus a few extra grand for 3 months in Australia and New Zealand, that loss represents a significant chunk.

This is where it’s quite easy to fall into the woe-is-me puddle of self pity. Of course this is not ideal, but it could have been much, much worse. If I had needed surgery, I would have had to return to Canada, as my insurance wouldn’t cover it here. This, needless to say, would mean no more jobs and no more income for a much longer period of time. A friend of a friend ruptured his achilles shortly after this, and his prognosis of two weeks complete bed rest after surgery, and six months with no sport helped me put things into perspective a little bit. $2500 is a good amount of coin, but I would pay numerous times that in order to be in shape and able to do what I want to do once we actually start travelling. When grappling with the decision to continue work at the bar or not, I asked myself what was more important: A couple of thousand dollars to travel with, or the ability to walk when we start travelling. The answer is a no-brainer.

The good news is that I am happy with all the moves I’ve made and the way I’ve gone about it. A couple weeks after stopping work at the bar, and things are improving rapidly. My body, mind, and sleep reserves are benefiting massively from the decrease of work. Most excitingly, the countdown to unemployment and adventures is on! Just a few more days …

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