May 2019 480.632.7373 jensenlawaz.com
Rub Some Dirt on It My Recovery From a Bad Leg Break This Winter
Growing up in ranch country, the mentality to get back on the horse after you get bucked off is always on my mind. My sons have frequently heard me tell them to rub a little dirt on their injuries and get back on the field, but I don’t think any amount of dirt could have helped me with a recent injury. This Christmas, my wife and I decided to take our boys skiing in Flagstaff for three days, and the conditions were perfect. Growing up in Idaho and Wyoming, my wife and I were frequent skiers, and we wanted our desert-grown boys to experience a classic skiing holiday. As I finished a late third-day run, I saw my wife and boys hopping back on the ski lift. By then, the hill had cleared out from the day after Christmas crowds that were enjoying a sunny day on the Arizona slopes, so I decided to go once more. I wish I could say what happened next was a better story, but ultimately, as I was flying down the hill, I caught an edge while turning and the next thing I knew I was tumbling head over skis down the hill. When I landed, I knew something was out of place. My left knee was screaming with pain, and my boot was level with my ear. I thought if I could just get myself untangled, I could make the painful ride down to the bottom of the hill. A passing skier stopped to help me, and as soon as he helped me get my boot out of the ski binding, I knew this was something worse than a bumped knee. The skier made his way down the hill to alert the resort’s patrol, and all I could do
was plop down and embarrassingly accept defeat as I waited for a ride of shame down the hill. After years of telling my kids to rub some dirt on it, they didn’t waste any time telling me to do the same when I got to the bottom.
None of us had any idea how severe the injury would turn out to be.
In the emergency room, the doctor informed me that I had fractured my left tibia, and on a scale from 1 to 6 — with six being the worst break it could be — my leg was at a six. With that blow, I accepted that I was going to have surgery, which is nothing new for me. Longtime readers will remember I was born with a congenital heart defect, which meant I underwent multiple surgeries throughout my childhood and within the last decade. But as I learned, heart surgery was nothing like a broken leg. After heart surgery, I was walking within hours, but I had no such luck with my leg. bone. However, due to serious swelling, the doctors had to preform emergency surgery to relieve the swelling in my lower leg. Two incisions were made to drain the fluid in my leg and I had to go in for surgery every other day until finally, a week after breaking my leg, the surgeons were able to repair the bone with two plates and 13 screws. Since then, I’ve been non-weight bearing on my left leg, and I recently began physical therapy to gain some mobility back. I was wheeled into surgery the next morning for what I thought was surgery to repair the broken
Throughout this process, I’ve been extremely grateful for my family, employees, and clients who have sent their well wishes and support. I was bummed that I had to spend the kids’ break in the hospital, and I missed New Year’s Eve at home. But this whole experience has given me more appreciation to have had two mobile legs for most of my life. You never realize how important your legs are until they fail and you’re left immobile. I’m now fully back in the office, and I’m grateful for how understanding my clients have been, especially since they are in the middle of one of the hardest things they will go through. Moving forward after a divorce can be stressful and difficult, but if there’s anything I’ve learned from this experience, it’s that you have to get back up. And if you can’t do it on your own, there’s always someone willing to help you get down the hill.
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