On the last day of an amazing surf trip that brought us Deep into Southern Mexico we hired a fisherman and his crew to ferry us around the point to a protected break that could handle the large swell that had been building through the night. Early that morning, eager with anticipaition of the surf to come, we quickly loaded the 20′ Panga with surfboards and drinking water for the day ahead.
Preparing to launch I took a postition toward the bow of the boat and helped to push it off the sand as we scanned the horizon for a break in between the sets of waves approaching. Moments later it looked good and the captain shouted “Vamos! Vamos!”. I jumped in and he gunned the motor for deeper water neglecting to see the huge rouge wave that was quickly building on the outside… The captain revved the motor faster and tried to punch through but it was too late. The boat climbed up the face of the wave and became vertical, nearly capsizing and launching all of us skyward.
Time stood still in the microseconds following as I contemplated my options from about 10 feet in the air, then free falling looking for a landing spot on the crowded floor of the boat that was not occupied by a rusty anchor or the sharp fins of a surfboard… CRASH!! Everything spashed down with bodies bouncing off the hard fiberglass and wood frame of the boat. I landed, rolled over, and tried to get up but was unable to as I notice that my knee cap was in two from an abrupt impact with one of the boat’s cross beams… “Guys, I think we have to go back to the beach!”.
Fast forward through a long plane ride home, a morning of surgery form a fantastic team at Harborview Medical Center, and some amazing anesthesia including a nerve block that allowed me to be nearly pain free for about 24 hours following the proceedure. I made it home and everything was feeling manageable until the next day when the block wore off and my pain went from a 3-4 out of 10 to a solid 9+ out of 10! The vicodin that I recieved for pain management was useless and I wouldn’t be able to get a stronger medication until later that afternoon. In the meantime I needed to do something about the pain and decided to try some acupuncture on my leg to see if it would help.
Throughout my years of practice I have regularly treated myself with acupuncture whenever an ailment has come up but this was different, I was in acute pain and not really in the mood to doctor myself. I mustered up some strength and took out my needles. I chose a few distal points; Three on the medial aspect of the quadracepts and two on my feet that corresponded to the areas of my knee that I felt pain. Minutes after inserting the needles my pain dropped from 9 of 10 to a 4-5 of 10 and became significantly more manageable. The treatment worked! Exhausted from my ordeal and finally relieved of significant pain I fell asleep. Hours later following the treatment the pain slowly crept back up but never to the same intensity as before and I was able to get through until the stronger medication arrived.
Today is about 10 weeks out from the surgerey and I continue to treat my knee with acupuncture, tui-na massage, and chinese herbs combined with physical therapy by Courteney Bealko of Active Physical Therapy. My knee continues to improve everyday and I look forward to getting back in the water again soon. I am thankful for the powerful effects of Chinese medicine and all the great support I have had along the way.