Blog

Not In My Backyard

There are people who are supposed to be in my backyard. And then there are people who should not be there. By owning a resort on 45-acres of property with a sign on the main road directing traffic to it, I’m accustomed to keeping my eye on all who enter. Each time I spy a body, I ask myself, do they belong—i.e. are they registered guests? Are they visitors? Customers? Potential guests? Or, are they trespassers? We get our fair share of trespassers at Sandy Point Resort, particularly on hot summer days when the beach looks very inviting. Often I have neighbors ...

» continue reading

The Long Hot Summer Recovery Process

Bruce Valentine working with Willow in June According to Tucson’s best and Willow’s favorite physical therapist, John Woolf, Willow is rockin’ it as she recovers from her ACL replacement surgery. Because of her hard work over the summer in Wisconsin with two different physical therapists, a certified trainer and a sports medicine physician, AND her good-girl behavior (staying off the waterski / wakeboard and not running), she’s right on schedule to get back to soccer. Upon returning to Tucson in early August, she saw her surgeon, Dr. Tucker, and he cleared her to begin straight-line running. She had aspirations to return ...

» continue reading

ACL Diary: Let’s Get Physical

When Willow started driving, no one was happier about it than I. Primarily it meant that after 11 years, I no longer had to drive a carpool filled with smelly shin guards and crusty socks to and from soccer practice. A month later she tore her ACL, and after surgery, I was back to being her chauffeur. I wasn’t taking her to soccer practice twice a week, however. I was taking her to physical therapy. We chose John Woolf of ProActive Physical Therapy, as he came highly recommended by our surgeon, Dr. Tucker, as well as by trusted ...

» continue reading

ACL Diary: Embrace the Brace

Warning: Contains foul language At Willow’s pre-op appointment with Dr. Tucker, one of his assistants fitted her for the brace that would become a big part of her support system for the first stage of her post-op experience. It’s an uncomplicated device made partly of Velcro and plastic, but primarily of black, foamy material, on a par with a 7mm wetsuit, yet not quite as dense. Fitting her took less than five minutes. “How tall are you?” they asked. From there it was as easy as one, two, three. Two minutes later, a nurse came into the exam ...

» continue reading

ACL Diary: The Ugly, The Bad and The Good

Willow’s dad—the true videographer in the family—was out of town during the game when she tore her ACL. This is why I was behind the camera. I was recording for two reasons. One, so her dad could watch the game later, and two, because I was putting together college recruitment videos for Willow and another girl on the team, and I was hungry for highlights. Instead, however, I captured what can only be called a career lowlight. There was nothing pretty about watching through the focused lens of the camera as my daughter collapsed. My immediate reaction, captured on the audio, was ...

» continue reading

ACL Diary: Clearing Hurdles

The Surgery Itself Willow’s ACL tear happened during the first game of the 2011 AZ State Cup, which is the last tournament of the season, and the most important in terms of establishing team ranking. She was also in the midst of her school track season and had just posted her best time, three seconds off the previous week. Her event? 300 Hurdles. Little did she figure on a whole new set of hurdles ahead of her that would cover a span of months rather than yards. Clearing the hurdle over selecting what type of ACL reconstruction surgery to have, the next hurdle ...

» continue reading

ACL Diary: Pain and Percocet

“Has it really been less than three weeks?” On the news this morning, I heard that it’s been three weeks since Holly Bobo, the nursing student from Tennessee, was abducted in her front yard. These periodic abduction stories tend to upset my husband and cause him to worry about the safety of his own daughters. But this one, the story of Holly Bobo, really got to him. I’m not sure if it was because Holly’s blonde and beautiful (and bears a resemblance to Willow), or if it was more about the timing of the incident and how it coincided with fears over ...

» continue reading

ACL Diary: Patellar? Hamstring?

“Go With Your Gut” The first thing we learned is that shredded ACL ligaments cannot be repaired. They may, however, be reconstructed. It wasn’t until we saw the MRI images and our surgeon pointed out the barely visible frayed remains of Willow’s ACL, that we truly understood. Options for ACL reconstruction surgery presented to us were: • Patellar Tendon • Hamstring Tendon • Allograft (Donor Tissue) Given Willow’s desire to return to competitive soccer, Dr. Tucker ruled out allograft, indicating it was not the strongest option. He then explained the patellar and hamstring tendon techniques, citing both as ...

» continue reading

ACL Diary: Making Choices

"Someone, Please Tell Me What To Do!" One of the complications of living in the United States, and I’ve often made this observation when facing a big decision, is that there’s far too much choice. I may have first had this feeling when doing something as trivial as walking down the cereal aisle at the grocery store. Looking at an overwhelming wall of some 500 choices of commercial brands alone—and who knows how many generic—more often than not, I still end up choosing the tried-and-true yellow box of Cheerios. There aren’t as many orthopedic surgeons in Tucson as ...

» continue reading

ACL Diary: The Immediate Aftermath

A Hundred Phone Calls Willow and I sat for about an hour in the Urgent Care waiting room on the Saturday afternoon she went down, and our dear friend, Mike Smith—my sometimes second (soccer) husband—brought Willow a burger and a chocolate shake. It turns out that it was the most food she’d eat for the next several weeks. The minute she started taking painkillers, she booted her food and lost her appetite. Urgent Care can only do so much, especially on a Saturday when doctors aren’t on staff. A kind nurse named “Jim-bo” saw to her x-rays and put it in ...

» continue reading