December 1st I got a brand new ACL!
Well, a gently used tendon from some very kind deceased tissue donor that my orthopedic surgeon fashioned into a brand new ACL!
I first busted my old ACL back in 2007 shooting a commercial on spec (way back before I had any guts or health insurance or understood workman's comp) and I never got it repaired because a torn ACL doesn't show up on an X-ray. I think they gave me crutches and a knee brace that first trip to the ER and since I'd never known anyone with that kind of injury, I just figured it would get better eventually. And it did, sort of. I'd reinjure my knee every 6 months to a year every year after that: once at the very top of a hike, so I had to kind of slide down the trail for a mile or so back to my car, and once at the very top of a show at the Geffen-- 500 children and their parents waiting expectantly as I tore down the aisle to start the show, turned to howl back up at them (I was playing a Coyote) when -POP- that was it. I went down, gave a for real yelp, changed all my blocking and did the best sit-down storytelling they ever did see.
And then cried all the way back to Urgent Care. Where they'd take an X-ray, say "well, nothing's broken..." and send me on my way. Over and over again. A couple of times I asked for a follow-up appointment with a doctor, which would be scheduled a month later, but by that point I could walk again and they'd say: "well... I mean, you're walking..." and because I'm the queen of being comfortable being uncomfortable, I'd say "OK!" and happily limp out of their office just resigning never to run or jump or do any of those pesky pivoting motions that always left me in a bone-crunching wobble and occasional shrieking pain.
Cut to one month ago!
I live with a really happy Labrador now and we've been walking 7 or 8 miles every week which has resulted in some really spectacular heel pain. So I asked my GP (I have health insurance now! And a GP!) for a referral for a podiatrist. The podiatrist fits me for some orthotics and can't figure out why one leg won't lock up properly. I say "Oh, I don't think I have an ACL." He says "Oh. Well, get one. Call this surgeon. I watched him do my daughter's ACL surgery." He's very matter-of-fact, my podiatrist.
I figured there couldn't really be a higher recommendation than the guy he watched operate on (as in sat in on the surgery of) his very own child, so I gave the guy a call.
That was November 6, and on December 1, I went under the knife for a total ACL replacement and meniscus removal.
Everything went swimmingly and 5 days later I was hobbling on my crutches well enough to get across town to perform in another edition of The Table Read Series - this time at Paradigm!
SO excited to have this brand new body part - so grateful to my donor, their family, my doctors, their staff and all my friends who've been helping me get around with all this. Really really looking forward to having a significantly more stable leg to stand on in 2016!