Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Life's ups and downs

Getting in the sled.  Zoom, zoom!
Boyfriend and I went skiing on Sunday.  It was really warm up at Mt Hood Meadows, somewhere around 40 degrees.  They had just gotten pounded with snow recently and all of that powder was condensing and melting into what resembled giant piles of lumpy mashed potatoes with runnels everywhere due to the melt and freezing rain the day before.  Some runs were pretty crappy, but others were pretty glorious spring skiing on corn snow.  We had already made 4 runs when we noticed that the ski patrol just opened up a run in Heather Canyon, the "sidecountry" of Meadows.  We raced over there and were some of the first people through the gate.  It was glorious! Steep with a few inches of soft corn snow covering the pristine untracked hillside.  We quickly made our way down the first pitch hooting and smiling all they way at our good fortune.  As we approached the runout at the bottom of the slope the snow got stickier and lumpier.  Boyfriend is always ahead of me and stops to wait and watch me come down the hill.  This time was no different.  I noticed him waiting for me at the top of a little knoll and once he saw I was having no trouble he continued on.  I was slightly disappointed as I was looking forward to a little breather as the thick snow made quite a workout for me.  I decided not to take a little break to catch my breath and rest my legs and pushed on wanting to catch up with him.  Then it happened.  As I made my turn my left ski tip plunged into a thick sticky lump of snow and since I was leaning a little too far forward my ski tip sank straight down all the way to the tip of my boot.  The rest of my body, being already in motion, continued to fly forward in a contorted pretzel with all of my weight and momentum being concentrated on that one left leg.  I cried out in pain as I felt all kinds of things go wrong in my lower leg and ankle.  My skis did not release this time as the fall was slow comparatively speaking to other falls I have taken.  I was stuck, head facing down the hill lying on my stomach with my legs twisted unnaturally underneath me.  I tried to push myself to a more natural position and pain seared through my left ankle and lower leg.  My first thought was that I had fractured or broken my femur, bad news.  Then I thought that perhaps my achilles had been completely torn from its anchor under my heel, again, bad news.  As I tried to push myself up, my arms would punch through the soft snow and I would fall back onto the injured leg again crying out from the pain.  I heard boyfriend call my name, "HELP!" I yelled in a feeble voice.  I shouted louder again "HELP!".  I finally righted myself and released my boots from my skis.  Assessing the situation the best I could I deducted that I hadn't seriously broken any bones.  I was afraid to take my boot off for fear of what I would find there.  People stopped to see if I was ok.  I directed them to boyfriend so they could relay the message that I needed help and asked them to notify the  lift op that I needed ski patrol.  Ski patrol was there within 5 minutes examining me and asking me if I thought I needed a sled just as boyfriend came hiking up over the hill with a worried expression on his face.  I was going to try to be tough and ski on out but as I tried to put pressure on the injured leg I knew I would be riding out in the sled.  If you have ever had a ride in a ski patrol sled you know that as you make your way down the hill you get all kinds of curious and sympathetic looks from those out there who are contently shushing down the hill thanking their lucky stars that it is not them in the sled on the way to first aid.  The patroller, Stan, who was pulling my sled was a rock star!  We blazed down the steep hill passing other skiers and boarders along the way including boyfriend.  As the sled bounced past him at mach speed he said that I had the biggest shit eating grin on my face! I believe it! The sled ride was actually a lot of fun believe it or not!
Das Boot!
Later, after a few hours in the clinic and lots of ice and x-rays, the doctor determined that I did not have any fractures in my bones.  Good news! What I did do was sprain my ankle and tear my achilles tendon (OUCH!) that was where the majority of the pain was coming from.  I went to the clinic yesterday and got styled up with some crutches and a giant immobilization boot that actually feels really good due to the compression around my ankle.  I call it "Das Boot".  Since then I have been resting, icing, and elevating and I must say that it seems to be feeling somewhat better today.  Here is the bummer of the whole deal.  I am supposed to be moving in the next week.  WHAT?! That's right, packing, loading and unloading boxes and furniture.  All of my friends that can help work during the day and boyfriend will be gone to Chicago as of this Friday.  I am staying positive though and looking at this as the universe telling me that I needed to hire some movers.  I am hoping that I can scrape together enough money to be able to do just that, otherwise the moving thing will be extremely difficult at best.

It is strange how things happen sometimes.  I focused on getting out of this crappy government housing that I am currently in for months now, pretty much ever since the day I moved in.  It is so unhealthy here.  I focused on finding a healthy, affordable place to live and even got a much coveted section 8 voucher to help me out.  I found an awesome place that is only 1.5 miles from my current apartment.  I got accepted and submitted my deposit.  I started packing already as I expect to move within the next 7 days.  Then I got injured to the point where I can't walk without crutches making moving impossible.  So what do I do?  I could be angry and depressed about how life seems to be so unfair all of the time.  I could be bitter about how every time I seem to catch a break something happens to ruin it all.  I could do and feel these things but I don't.  I actually feel pretty damn lucky.  Lucky that I have no serious injury.  Lucky that even though I have stage IV cancer I am well enough to go skiing in the first place.  Lucky that even though I have been skiing and snowboarding since 1989 this was my first real injury and the first time I have ever needed the assistance of ski patrol.  Now I am going to focus on how lucky I am that I will be able to have movers do all of the hard work for me.

Sometimes life gives you ups, sometimes it gives you downs.  You can't have one without the other. How do you handle those? Do they make you grateful or bitter?


  1. OMG! What a story! I'm glad you didn't break any bones (and you got a fun ride down the mountain) but ouchers on the achilles! Sending healing thoughts for a swift recovery. Congrats on getting the new apt. but be careful moving! ;-)


  2. Thanks Renn! Nothing like watching others move all of your stuff for you...It will be exciting and I am afraid that I may get spoiled from it...nah :)

  3. Unbelievable! So glad you didn't fracture any bones. I'm so glad you are OK. And it's a perfect metaphor for life's ups and downs indeed!