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 writing that there were no broken bones, and that he suspected an ACL tear. He didn’t know that an explanation of the injury wasn’t necessary, but—bless his heart—he told us a lot of things we didn’t really care to hear.

The minute we got home, the phone calls began. This means I both made them and answered them. I didn’t cry until I spoke with my pal Stephanie Hunley, who it might be fair to call my soccer wife. Actually, she’s that soccer mom—that best friend—we soccer moms make when our kids are so involved with a team that it practically takes over our lives. We have vested interests in each other’s kids, and love them like our own. We understand our kids’ health and the way they perform on the field has a direct impact on the success of the team.

“Can I lose it now?” I asked her.

“Go right ahead,” she said, and allowed me to talk through my fear and my tears.

It was a momentary, necessary lapse, and once I got it out of my system, I went into research mode. I needed to figure out HOW we were going to handle this injury.

One of the first calls I made
was to my friend, Gillian Borden, because we go to the same church and I wanted her to get Willow on the Sunday morning prayer list. (I knew we needed all the strength-to-get-through-this power we could get, and for me, this is what prayer is all about.) I had forgotten that Gillian is married to a physical therapist and had a lot of information about local, reputable orthopaedic surgeons. Additionally, she lives across the street from my former soccer wife/soccer mom and co-manager of a club team, whose daughter also suffered an ACL tear back in October. I scribbled furiously as Gillian provided names of surgeons and other necessary information. She was my angel and Gillian, please know how grateful I am to you.

The next day, Sunday, Willow and I drove to Casa Grande to watch her teammates win their second State Cup Game. Although they were now in the loser’s bracket, it’s a double-elimination tournament and all was not lost with the first game the day before. Meantime, soccer mom, Maureen Shields, gave us a handicap parking tag for our car so we could park right next to the field and she allowed me to cry on her shoulder before the game.

Willow Cozzens, on the sideline of Samba State Cup Game

Willow didn’t cry until after the game—until she realized how hard it would be to sit on the sideline and watch rather than be out there contributing.

In spite of the victory, it was a long ride home.

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