Picture this – after several years of scheduling challenges, the stars finally aligned. My wife and I were able to take our two sons (ages 22 and 26) on a ski trip! It was family time that’s been long overdue.
Our sons haven’t been skiing in over 7 years, and it had been a couple years for my wife and I as well. We were looking forward to getting back on the slopes as a family. To prepare, my wife, oldest son and I all spent several weeks in the gym getting ready to “tame” the mountain. Our younger son... well let’s just say, he took a different approach. After spending several months working out with his buddy (who was getting in shape to walk on to his university's football team), he had hit a bit of a plateau and took a “break” from his workouts. I’m sure that had nothing to do with why he got cut off by a skier 200 yards into his first run snowboarding, causing him to cartwheel down the mountain.. but hey, what do I know?
After a trip down the mountain with the ski patrol and a “looks like just a sprain” from the medical staff, it was time to try to keep him comfortable while the rest of us kept skiing. Being the adult child of a PT/athletic trainer, my son was well trained in getting ice on his knee and ankle as soon as we hit the condo. Fortunately, we still had the plastic bags from the munchie run the day before, so it was easy to take advantage of the ice machine to pack both knee and ankle in ice. He followed the traditional 15 min on and 15 min off rotation, albeit, we did go through more than a few towels. The advantage of ice over reusable ice packs is all that melting ice has less risk of injuring the skin. It’s good to note that the reason for taking the ice pack off every 15 min is to let the skin rewarm.
You’d think after all the times they heard “The better you manage the swelling in the beginning, the quicker you’ll be back up and around!” while growing up, I wouldn’t have heard so much whining about how cold the ice was. It’s cold- but you have to get through it! The medical staff had given us a prescription for pain medicine, but he wasn’t big on taking it. Instead, we took a tip from the orthopedic surgeon who did our niece’s ACL reconstruction and alternated ibuprofen and acetaminophen, following label directions.
Personally, I’ve been amazed how effective this combination is in controlling pain of all types. It even worked after a couple of abdominal surgeries I had to suffer through. It took a little persuasion to convince my son it was better to use some medication, whether OTC or prescription, in the beginning to “stay ahead of the pain” so he would be more comfortable and able to stay more active.
I was waiting for this one…
My Son: Why did they send me home with these crutches?
Me: Hello? I mean, really. Did you not listen to me at all growing up? Yes, you probably can get around without using them, but what have you accomplished? You’re either hopping around and risking a fall or limping and reinforcing bad movement patterns that may make it even harder to get back to doing what you want.
The biggest advantage of the crutches, to me, is the ability to take some of the weight off the injured leg so you can try to walk normally. This helps the muscles be active doing their job like they’re supposed to without overloading the injured tissues and keeping them stirred up- an active rest, if you will. Now admittedly, this must have been a little easier for my child to understand as an adult, because I got the ”... why didn’t you tell us that before?”
If you ever find yourself with a sprain remember:
Ice it – 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off
Stay ahead of the pain – if you don’t want to take the prescription drugs, be sure to take something to keep you comfortable and follow the instructions on the label.
Crutches are provided for a reason and using them will get you back to doing what you want to be doing faster.
All in all, we got away pretty lucky. My son did miss the majority of the his first ski trip in years, but within 5 days from his injury was back at work. No small feat! We did miss out on some skiing, but being able to keep him comfortable and mobile while on the mountain meant none of the rest of us had to miss out on too much.
Anyone have any similar family trip stories?