Submitted story from Stuart on 10/29/2019
In the summer of 2013 , recently having turned 65, my wife and I were boating in British Columbia’s Gulf Islands. On the Friday afternoon of the August long weekend, whilst sitting at anchor, she suggested we search for a Geocache on a nearby islet. Mission accomplished, we were returning to our dinghy when I slipped and dropped down a meter and a half, my right leg trapped beneath me. My full weight dropped onto my right ankle; something had to give, my right quad tendon! Looking down, and seeing my kneecap displaced downward and inward, I knew I had a problem, although I did not then understand its gravity.
I asked her to return to our boat and radio for help. Initially this came in the form of two coast guard inflatables, then shortly thereafter our hovercraft, which transported me to Vancouver Island and a waiting ambulance. By 11pm I was in hospital with a diagnosis of Quad tendon rupture. At 8.30 the next morning, Saturday, I was in surgery. My surgeon was pleased with the outcome, but informed me I was to abstain from hiking, my exercise of choice, for a full year. I told him that was not going to happen! He said at least six months. I replied I would make no promises. He insisted I remain in hospital overnight, as he felt I would require IV painkillers to sleep. These I refused.
Releasing me on Sunday, he insisted on giving me a prescription for 40 Oxycodone, which I subsequently tore up. Before I returned to Vancouver I entertained the attending physicians with the story that I would be at work on Tuesday morning. They, being self employed also, sympathized with my position. Sure enough I was at work by 7am that Tuesday. My Physiotherapist, being at the time away, I did not start treatment for two weeks. On my first visit, having examined me, he directed me to an exercise cycle, and asked me to see how far round I could pedal, forward and back. I managed a quarter revolution each way.
A week later I managed a full revolution, and never looked back. Six weeks to the day following surgery, I did my first post surgical ascent of Vancouver’s Grouse Grind. The attraction of this hike, recommended only for the physically fit, is that the descent is effected via an aerial tramway, avoiding the trauma of going downhill.
To those who would dismiss my actions as irresponsible, I should mention that my PT was chief of Physiotherapy for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. My Sports Medicine Specialist who was Medical Chief for the games, commented that he would probably have done the same, in my position, being himself similarly “driven”!
I submit my experience, fully aware of how fortunate I have been, to put forward what is possibly a “best case scenario”. It was only possible, I believe, because I experienced absolutely no pain, allowing me to avoid the use of painkillers, and their debilitating side effects. Six years later I live a normal life, slowed down only by non-related arthritis.