…Torn ACL, MCL, and Meniscus! Oh My!…
It was a Wednesday afternoon. None of us had been to the new trampoline park in our little beach town of Gulf Shores, Alabama- but it was the talk of the town! All of the kiddos were SO excited and lots and lots of people were going! I cannot recall the reasoning, but one Wednesday afternoon in May (May 25th to be exact) My husband and I decided we were going to try out the new Gulf Shores attraction.
I called my sister Tiffany and invited her and my nephew. The more the merrier right?
We arrived at the Indoor Trampoline Park, were directed to some computer screens where we signed our lives away (LITERALLY), and with a few clicks we were well on our way. To our surprise when we made our way to the counter we were extra delighted to find out WEDNESDAY IS HALF PRICE DAY! YAY!! How could we get so lucky? We were given a color coded armband and were set to jump during the next 30 minute wave.
As we made our way to the dome filled with Trampolines and eagerly awaited our jump time to start, we watched as the place became packed. Apparently everyone else was fully aware of half price night! I couldn’t believe the amount of people.
Finally it was our jump time. I jumped on the large yellow trampoline in front of the foam pit watching my kiddos swing from the rope into the foam pit. Within 5 minutes, I jumped from the large yellow to the side wall trampoline and jarred my back. This slowed my fun down from then on.
From there we went over the ninja warrior style obstacles and tried our skill on those. And then we followed the kids to the main jumping area. I jumped lightly (afraid to hurt my back anymore than I already had), and watched in amazement as teenage children did running Olympic style flips from one trampoline to another. I also watched with a tad bit of fear that one of these big kids who were flying from one end of the park to the other were going to collide with another child. This place was no good for my anxiety and worry wart Mom syndrome from the beginning!
Lightly bouncing and just watching all of the action going on around me, I saw my sister go down from the corner of my eye. She yelled out in pain and began to cry. Both my husband and I ran to her, and she said she couldn’t move and was in excruciating pain. I looked up at the large digital clock looming above us. 11 minutes in. We had jumped 11 minutes- and then this.
She said she heard a pop and a sort of crack or snap and her leg gave out. She was simply going from the landing pad to one of the small square trampolines and instantly went down.
My husband and one of the young men working there helped to get my sister off of the Trampoline and to the side, out of the way. She sat there moaning in pain, yet assuring her son (who was very upset and worried about his Mommy) that everything was ok. She didn’t want to worry him, she was being strong for him but knew something not good had happened.
A worker brought her a bag of ice. Instantly her knee was the size of a kickball. It looked absolutely awful. The little ziplock baggy of ice sat on her bulging knee for about 30 minutes. We tried to get her up. The slightest touch of her toe to the ground sent her into a scream. She tried to put weight on it, but it instantly hyper-extended. It wasn’t good, we knew this. We got her up into a chair from the floor where she continued to sit.
She had contacted her husband and he was on his way. She didn’t want to go the the emergency room and was hopeful all would be ok. They decided she would go to the urgent care facility in Gulf Shores. Her husband got there and an employee and my husband helped to get her into a wheelchair and we began to wheel her out the front door, but not before another employee came rushing up “Wait! You can’t leave until you fill out this incident report.” Once that was completed, she was wheeled out and helped into the car. Off to urgent care she went.
I took her car and her son, and waited back at my house for news of what had happened. Why did I invite her to go? Gah. The guilt.
At the Urgent Care, they did an X-ray. They determined there was no broken bones. The Dr. there put her in an immobilizer and told her if it was not feeling better in a day or 2 to make an appointment with an orthopedic doc. They didn’t have any crutches to fit her so she was sent home hopping on one foot to get around with the assistance of her husband.
Of course it didn’t get better. She was stuck in her bed with her leg elevated for days.
She got in to see Dr. Eslava on May 31st, 6 days after her injury. The Dr. then told her that a MRI appointment was needed in order to find out what the actual damage was.
On June 2nd her insurance approved the MRI and it was scheduled for the next day June 3rd at the Imaging Center in Gulf Shores. During the time preceding this, she was stuck in bed all day alone, with only friends and myself able to stop by to help her with things. Everytime I went there, there she was sitting in her bed in the dark with the tv on.
On June 7th, Tiff had a follow up with Dr. Eslava to go over the MRI. The finding was that she had torn her ACL, her MCL, her Meniscus and also had bone contusions (bone bruising). Surgery was scheduled for June 24th. She could not get into surgery any sooner because they needed to make sure the swelling had gone down before it was performed.
(This is a screen grab of what a ACL/MCL tear looks like- as it is happening…) WWE injury- yes! Fun Family Trampoline jumping?- NO!!!!
Since this particular injury was able to be done via scope and her whole leg didn’t need to be opened up, she was able to be scheduled for outpatient surgery. The surgery was supposed to be about an hour. Actual completion time: almost 3 hours. Her ACL was completely gone by this time (per the surgeon), the body had absorbed it. He had to take part of her hamstring and make a new ACL for her.
For about 2 weeks after the surgery, Tiff was having an enormous amount of pain. She was unable to get the pain under control and was continuously having to have her meds bumped up. Finally at the two week mark she was starting to get a handle on the pain.
From there- to now- this was Tiffany’s timeline:
- After surgery she was moved from the immobilizer to the hinged brace- but the hinges remained locked.
- started physical therapy 3 times a week 5 days after surgery (friends or myself would have to take her, as she could not drive and her husband was working)
- followed up with Dr. Eslava every two weeks for progress
- After a follow up with the Doc on July 19th an ice machine and cpm (continuous passive motion device) was ordered due to the fact that despite ongoing PT, her progress with bending her knee was not progressing well.
- At this time her pain meds were again bumped up to something stronger because the percocets were not touching the pain.
- Tiffany resumed work on August 22, almost exactly 3 months after her injury (and one week before my husband’s injury).
- Although she still was not confident or comfortable in her ability to walk she returned back to work because her FERPA had run out and her job would not be protected any longer.
Tiffany is now 5 month post trampoline injury. She is unable to walk at a normal speed. She still has to physically THINK about how she is placing her foot on the ground with each step that she takes. Due to her work schedule she has to do her own PT at home and is doing what she can to try to progress her healing- but still wears a stablizing knee brace when she is going to be on her feet for extended period of time, still has swelling, still has intermittent knee pain, still cannot feel the skin or area around her knee.
It is unknown at this time if her knee will ever be the same again, and if it is- when that day will be.