It’s Father’s Day. Like a lot of modern families my brood is “in the wind,” as they say on The Wire. Amelia is in London on business, Hilary has just arrived there from New York to begin her new career and Catherine is at Thredbo for her first skiing experience since getting the plate out of her leg following her tibial plateau fracture and surgery. I am desperately keen to know how she is getting on but there is no point ringing. I have had a very quiet Father’s Day wondering what all the other fathers in the world are doing. After coming home from the Sunday morning swim at Balmoral Beach club had a sleep and a walk and then at 530pm judged it would be okay to ring London – 8:30 AM their time – good time for a Facetime chat. They did not seem that impressed at me ringing at 8.30am although I regarded it as a civilised time. They had been out seeing the London nightlife until the early hours of the morning and were deep in repose, at least Hilary was. I think Amelia had jetlag and was a bit more mobile. Hilary was supine and talking to me with one eye open. They both seemed in good spirits. I heard later in the evening that Catherine had had a difficult time at the snow. This photo belies the notion that she has fully recovered. She looks happy on the chairlift, but on the snow it was a different situation. She found that on well-groomed slopes or in soft snow she didn’t have a problem. As soon as she got in the crud or moguls her injured knee really reacted. This is very very disappointing as this was the situation in Japan earlier this year before the plate came out. I hoped that the removal of the plate and the surgical tidying up of her meniscus, meant that she would now ski pain-free. Not so.
It’s worthwhile looking at her timeline as even the very young struggle to get over this peculiar injury.
- February 2013 – fractures tibial plateau at Snowbird, Utah. Age 23
- February 2013 – reduction and fixation surgery in Salt Lake City to repair tibial plateau. Plate and screws inserted. Flies home to Australia
- March 2013 – diagnosed with DVT. Clexane for 2 weeks. Rivaroxaban 20mgs for 9 months and compression stocking
- December 2013 – advised that she is not strong enough to ski over the Australian summer/northern hemisphere winter Age 24
- December 2014 – cleared to begin skiing again and undertakes one week skiing in powder snow in Nisekko, Japan. Considerable pain in injured leg despite two years elapsing since surgery Age 25
- March 2015 – plate and screws surgically removed from site of tibial plateau fracture and remedial surgical work carried out on frayed meniscus
- September 2015 – first skiing trip following removal of plate and screws. Considerable pain still evident on hard-packed, un-groomed snow or moguls. Age 26
It is evident that despite 3 1/2 years elapsing between the surgery in February 2012 and skiing in September 2015, her leg is not fully recovered. Catherine admitted later that she is probably partly to blame as she had not been as disciplined in her physiotherapy following the removal of the plate she had been previously. We both agreed that we would never again be able to ski without doing significant gym work beforehand. I also observed that age is not as relevant as I had first thought. She is very young and experiencing much of the same difficulties as I have and she seems to be healing at roughly the same rate. We both agreed that neither of us had really understood how serious an injury this is and how long it takes to recover. Possibly the medical profession should emphasise this more when people suffer tibial plateau fractures as it might make all the subsequent rehabilitation a bit easier to understand.