One nice thing about hanging around a bunch of ski patrollers while you’re nursing a recently-reconstructed ACL: There’s no shortage of experience with this exact injury. In fact, of the eight patrollers hanging out in patrol headquarters last weekend, seven had torn and rehabbed their own ACLs. Almost all of them spoke of an early burst of progress, then a frustrating plateau.
My plateau started last Wednesday, after a great physical therapy session and a terrific report at my second post-op doctor appointment. I was doing so well, my doctor told me I didn’t have to take my prescription anti-inflammatory anymore. Sweet!
The next day, I learned it wasn’t “sweet” so much as “swollen” and “sore.” Those anti-inflammatories were keeping both at bay, and suddenly, without them, I felt like I’d taken a giant step back. I was walking kinda funny. I was feeling weird little aches and pains. And as a result, I was very, very cranky.
Fast-forward to the weekend, when we traveled to Whitetail for our weekly ski-patrol training. Saturday actually turned out to be my classmates’ practical exam, after which they were awarded their red patrol jackets. I cheered loud and high-fived exuberantly, forced a smile in the group picture I begged not to be a part of, then demanded that Steve to get me to the bottom of the hill, quickly, so I could sink deep into a pool of self-pity.
I’ll skip the details, and say only that the crankiness and self-pity and forced smiles led to a huge emotional breakdown yesterday. In between pouting spells, I expressed my genuine excitement about and pride in Steve’s accomplishment (and tried to make up for my pouting) by making him pancakes shaped like the white medical cross on the back of his coat, and later a cookie cake with the same cross in white frosting (he proclaimed the latter more delicious than my “suck it up” cupcakes to celebrate the end of our medical training).
Today, I’m going to call my doctor to ask for one more refill of my anti-inflammatory prescription. I’m going to try my hardest at physical therapy, as usual. And I’m going to work on developing patience and acceptance, and try to remind myself that hitting a plateau means I’m that much closer to getting past it.
How do you deal with plateaus—in training, recovery or life?