I have a great scar on my left knee. I earned it while learning to ski. It was, in fact, my first day on a pair of skis. My husband is an avid skier so he spent a short time with me on the bunny hill. He insisted that I’d get hold of the idea after running down a couple of times.
Basically, it scared the crap out of me. I felt so very out of control. I had no idea how to steer, how to stop, how to have fun in the face of this terror but I soldiered on. This went on for about an hour, maybe two, I can’t quite remember…we headed out to the next level up.
It was only a short ride up the ski lift…another skill set altogether in my book. I could have spent the day learning how to get on and off the ski lift, to be honest. We took our first run down and I went PAINFULLY slow. I remember that well. My husband was a real sport about it, he truly was. I survived that run and felt a little more at ease with it all. I don’t know why I continued except that it was something I wanted to do with Dave. I wanted to be a person he could go skiing alongside. I was not really enjoying it yet but I continued on.
We went down a few more runs and I gained a little confidence. I was doing really well. I mean it, I really was. It’s important to me to say that. I was getting very tired though. It was getting cold on the mountain and we decided to take one last run before the slopes closed.
As we began the hill I was suddenly seized with fear. It was as if I stopped believing anything I felt I had learned that day. I froze up and then I fell. Badly. I went ski over ski and leg over knee and then I heard a “pop” and there was pain. I had been studying that weekend for my certification to become a Personal Trainer. I knew right away which ligament had snapped. I saw it report to me in my head like a ticker tape stock report, “Anterior Cruciate Ligament.” Damn.
It didn’t hurt that bad so I tried to stand up. No go. Dave flagged down a passing skier and asked him to send the ski patrol. It was getting dark. It had grown very cold. I had in the back of my mind the fact that Sonny Bono had died the day prior on a pair of skis. Honestly, that’s what I was thinking.
Ski patrol showed up and strapped me to a sled and we headed down. Once I got over the embarrassment of my predicament I suddenly felt freer and safer than I had all day. I trusted this young kid leading me down the mountain implicitly. I had to restrain myself from saying “Whee!” I wasn’t sure what he’d make of that.
So, down the mountain, up to the ER to confirm my suspicion and then back to the B&B to live out the remainder of my holiday on crutches.
I had it repaired a few months later. I call it now my bionic knee. A hamstring tendon resides where the poor broken ACL used to call home. It’s hard to explain but I’m proud of this scar. I’m proud for a number of reasons.
First, I’m glad I went skiing that day. I wish I had spent more time learning but that’s not what happened. What happened is that I did not spend time learning, I jumped ahead and then I suffered for that choice.
Next, we have already discussed here my phobia about hospitals and doctors and yet I had the surgery. I got my bionic knee. I guess, for me, this is about hope. I want wholeness. I want to ski again one day.
I suppose what this speaks to me in a bigger picture of my life is this idea of accepting what has been and keeping it close to me. Seeing where I made my mistake. Building up then where I am weak and being willing to live in the hope of what the next thing might be. I like this scar of mine. I feel I earned it well. It speaks to me even now about what the future holds…more challenges, more mistakes, more scars to be sure but perhaps I’ll grow wiser as I go, perhaps I’ll grow stronger and less fearful as I begin my next run down the snowy hill.