Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Life Goes On

Our winter-spring transition has been full of ups and downs. A very dry period following Christmas allowed us to climb and hike, activities normally reserved for warmer times of the year. But as February rolled through, winter made its presence known by breathing life into a slowly dying ski season. The ski areas were pleased, as were the many local skiers, and I managed to do a few excellent ski tours because of it.

Elise's first ski tour near Cayoosh Peak in the Duffy Lakes area. She skied 3 km to the cabin!

After the birthdays in early February, both Elise and I came down with a nasty stomach flu, one that hung on for a number of days. Through a series of unfortunate events, Elise developed a negative association with skiing (ski school in particular) due to her illness and this propagated throughout the remainder of the season. Although she was skiing as well as ever, her lessons did not go well leaving a big question mark over how to proceed the following year.

Last day of ski school. Waffles at the Crystal Lodge on Blackcomb.

Ski tour to Red Heather just north of Squamish.

Our two-week Spring Break trip to Pentiction was the next winter casualty. I took a bad fall two days before we were set to leave turning our plans upside down. I bruised a rib and injured my wrist quite badly making it impossible for me to climb or do much of anything. We scrambled for a Plan B, but in the end decided to just stay home and make the best of the situation by walking, beach combing, socializing with friends, et cetera. However, the worst was yet to come.

On the last day of Spring Break, Pam took Elise to ski school in Whistler. Pam skied powder with her friend Jen in the morning and then met Elise for lunch. Elise was having another terrible day at ski school so Pam signed her out and they went skiing for the afternoon with Jen and her son, Eric. Elise loves to race, so Pam agreed to do the GMC race course with her. The light was flat and the snow was sticky. Elise took off and while Pam tried to keep up, she caught an edge and took a bad fall, injuring her left knee. It was bad enough that she had to be taken off the mountain by toboggan. Jen got the kids and then drove everyone to Squamish where Pam was dropped at the emergency room.

Pam ski touring near Mt. Decker about two weeks before the fateful day.

After X-rays and an MRI the following day, it was determined she had a complete tear of the ACL and a grade 1-2 tear of the LCL (the lateral collateral ligament). We consulted with our GP and the knee surgeon from Whistler to formulate a plan. At the surgeon's advice, she was put in a brace to help mend the LCL before undergoing ACL surgery in May - her tentative date is set for the 20th. The irony of all this is Pam was set to have meniscus surgery on her OTHER knee the week after the accident. We cancelled that surgery - a very tough decision - so she now has two injured knees, although the old injury is still quite functional.

Assuming she does not have to have LCL surgery (the worse case scenario) the ACL repair will take approximately 6 months to rehab, so we've cancelled all summer and fall plans. Our trusted physiotherapist in Vancouver, Paolo, has put Pam on a muscle building routine at the gym to prepare her for surgery. This has given her focus and helps fill her days. She's on disability and will likely not work again until next fall.

On the Spearhead Traverse with Jim Sandford. We did it in just under 8 hours,a highlight of my winter.

To help pass the time, we went to Penticton over the Easter holiday weekend and camped with a group of Squamish friends. Elise had a grand time raging in the campground morning, noon and night. The kids brought their bikes and raced along the trails between games by the lake shore. Most did some climbing, but the highlight was definitely the Easter egg hunt in the forest on Sunday morning. The Easter bunny brought lots of chocolate to Penticton.

The campsite at Banbury Green in Penticton.

We are now back at home catching up on work and household chores. Pam has a follow-up appointment with the surgeon in early May to determine whether the LCL has stabilized. This will determine whether or not the May 20th surgical date gets confirmed. Until then, we are trying to find ways to fill our time. Our normally active, outdoor-oriented lifestyle has been put on hold for the foreseeable future.

I'll update as we learn more...