Learning to Ski was a lot more dangerous than I expected
So after concluding another amazing trip to Mexico I was making my way back to the UK to visit my family and friends for a little while before returning to my Job at Wilderness Tours, in Ottawa. I just made a quick stop off to visit a few friends in Kamloops, BC. One of the days I was there I had the chance at trying Skiing. Since it is a sport almost everyone who knows me has told me I would enjoy, it seemed inevitable that I would give it a go at some point, and this seemed as good an opportunity as ever.
My day started pretty well and I felt like I was getting the hang of making turns quite well, although I must admit my slowing down and stopping skills were still not quite perfect, far from it in-fact. Undeterred and with a few green runs under my belt my friends suggested that our last run down before lunch should be down a blue run, a more difficult grade run but they assured me I would be fine, based on what they had seen of my abilities so far, and I mean who was I to disagree? After all they knew a lot more than me.
Immediately that I set off I had the bad feeling that I sometimes feel on the river right before something bad is about to happen. Compared to the first runs I had done this one felt like being launched off a cliff. Steeper, and faster than I had been expecting. I tried to slow down with the snow plough I had been learning earlier in the day, but it seemed to be doing almost nothing to help me, perhaps I wasn’t doing it right. My next move was to try and begin a turn to help reduce my speed, but somewhere along the line I was sent tumbling. I heard a loud audible crack from my leg. When I finally came to a stop I was laying on my side. Training deep within my brain whirred into action and I began to mentally examine my body for injuries, without moving. My leg was painful, worse than I have ever felt in my life. But thankfully there was no pain elsewhere. I wiggled my toes, a good sign I thought, probably not too bad then. Looking at my feet I could see both skis still attached to my feet, but my friends were by my side quickly to take them off for me. The pain was subsiding as long as I didn’t move. Luckily for me this crash had happened relatively close to the start of the run and the Ski Patrol were with me very quickly. At this point I was feeling much more confident that my injuries were not that severe, I began looking around and moving which I know I am not supposed to do incase I have an underlying spinal condition but I do it anyway. The Patrol guys quickly and efficiently completes an initial exam and gets me down to the bottom of the hill in the back of a sled, which was actually quite fun.
From there I had a more detailed examination and was allowed to leave. Later that evening I took a trip to the hospital where they concluded it was not broken, and I would be able to fly home the following week. They sent me away with some crutches and I got on with it. Spending most of the time resting, with my knee iced and elevated. This gets pretty boring after about an hour and a half. In those first few days I hobbled around exploring my limitations which I quickly found were extensive.
Getting home I began the long process of finding out the exact problem with my knee. After three frustrating weeks of waiting and making alot of phone calls, I finally made some progress. This week after an MRI scan a specialist has concluded that I have a torn half or two thirds of my MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament), completely severed my ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) and also have a Meniscal tear. (see diagram)
The treatment for this is going be a two surgery process, first repairing the MCL damage then reconstructing the ACL and dealing with the Meniscal Tear. The recovery time is the real killer. My knee will never be as strong as it was and recovery times can vary up to 18 months.
Although it was tough news for me to hear at first, I feel a lot better now that I have a plan. Injuries are just speed bumps, some take longer to get past than others but they won’t stop me for good.
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