Saturday, March 5, 2011

My Ski Accident

To all of my blog friends, I just wanted to let you know where I have been. A couple of weeks ago, my family and I went up to Lake Tahoe for a ski vacation. There was new fallen snow and Lexi was so excited to go to ski school.
On Monday, February 28, which is also our anniversary, we went up to our favorite ski resort, Sierra at Tahoe. We got Lexi in ski school and Jennifer and Ryan took a class. Bill and I went off on our own to ski.

The snow conditions were perfect and there weren't many people out skiing on a Monday. At around 11:00 we skied down to the children's area to watch Lexi ski. While down at the bottom, I called Ryan. He and Jennifer were having lunch at the lodge. I was anxious to meet up with them and hear about their class. The easiest way to get down to the lodge was to go back up the lift and ski down.

When we got off the lift, Bill asked me if I would be okay going down a certain run. It would be fine. I had been skiing steep runs that day and there was no one on that freshly groomed white hill but me. I had it all to myself. I am a careful skier, ski at an even pace and stay in control. But, I was anxious to see Jennifer and I wanted to get down fast, so I picked up my speed, stumbled and lost my balance. I knew that I was going to fall, that I would have the wind knocked out of me, get up, put my skis back on and continue skiing. But, this time when I fell, the binding on my left ski didn't release and the ski stayed on. I flipped over and over again, about 5 to 6 times and was wondering when I was going to stop. When I finally came to a stop, my upper leg flopped over to the side and I knew it was broken.

Bill had skied on ahead of me and didn't know that I was injured. I was all alone in excruciating pain and fear. I knew that I had to scream for help and hoped that someone would hear me. Fortunately, someone did hear my cry. Two people showed up to help me and they happened to be ICU nurses, a man and a woman. What are the chances of that on that quiet day? They knew to not move me and were very comforting. The woman was able to reach into my jacket and get my phone. She called Bill and told him to get the Ski Patrol.

When the ski patrol arrived, my head was facing down hill and they had to turn me around. My leg hurt so bad to be moved. They asked me if anything else hurt, my head, my back but I told them that nothing else had hit the ground.The lady nurse was so comforting and was able to speak for me when the paramedics were hurting me. Holding my head she told me that my leg had to be put into traction and that it was going to hurt. She told me to go to my happy place and scream if I had to. At that moment I let out the loudest scream ever. The paramedics had placed a metal bar up against my leg, turned a crank and pulled my bones apart. It was torture and all I could do was scream. It hurt so bad. They had to do this because of the jagged overlapping bones that could do damage to the major artery in my leg. Next they slid a board under me and put me on a sled. The ski patrol skied down hill while pulling me behind. He had to go down the steep hill, and fast.

When I got to the bottom, Bill, Jennifer and Ryan were waiting for me in the medical center. An x-ray was taken and then I was put me into a waiting ambulance. On the way to the hospital they gave me Morphine to ease the pain. I was taken to Barton Memorial Hospital, which is the best Orthopedic Hospital in the country and where Olympic athletes go.

When I arrived in the OR, I still had on my ski boot and asked them to remove it when I was put out. I was concerned about the pain that I would feel when they pulled that tight boot off. But, amazingly, they slid it off like butter. I guess they are quite experienced at this. And, then they took me in for surgery.

The break in my femur was a lot worse than they thought. It was broken in two pieces and the piece in the middle had broken off and wedged in sideways. They had to open up my leg on the side and reposition the bone. Then they went through the knee and put a rod in the bone. The rod is held in place by two screws in the knee and one at the top of my bone. I have 31 staples on the outside of my leg, upper leg and knee. I had lost so much blood from the broken bone, that I was severely anemic and my blood pressure had dropped to 60/30. Fortunately, I was able to avoid a blood transfusion.

While I was in the hospital, I couldn't stop thinking about God's hand in all of this. I wondered about the the two people he had sent to me. Were they angels in human form? And, was something so much worse suppose to happen, like paralysis but instead He took my leg? Why didn't anything else hit the ground. Why didn't the ski come off with all of that tumbling? Is it a miracle that Bill had skied on ahead of me instead of staying with me and possibly moving me? If he had, I might have died if the broken bones had sliced open the artery. I couldn't stop praising God in the hospital for breaking my leg.

I had the best care and was there for five days and have had to learn to walk with a walker.

I am at home recovering. We have a hospital bed downstairs in the family room and the bathroom is about 10 feet away from me. The sad thing for me, is that making it to the bathroom and back is about the only thing that I can do. And, it is very exhausting. This is my reality for now and I have to accept it and realize that it is not always going to be this way.


Laurel said...

My gosh, so sorry to hear that. Glad you are on the mend though.

paula said...

Oh Lori! That makes my stomach flip just thinking about that! I've broken both my arms twice, an elbow, and countless fingers, but NEVER have I had a compound fracture! YIKES! My sister broke her leg falling down the stairs (carrying a waffle iron and wearing flip flops!) and she was in a hospital bed for awhile. It is a long process and I hope you feel better soon! Sending hugs and well wishes your way!

Sheila Bennett said...

Oh no, so sorry to hear about your accident. Sounds like that was a very unpleasant experience having to re-set the bones while you were still on the slope. Certainly glad to hear that you are on the mend now.

Carla said...

Lori - so sorry to hear that!! Your injury sounds REALLY painful!! Ouch!! I've never really liked skiing - your story doesn't make me like it much more!! Hope you are back on your feet real soon!! and scrapbooking too!!

Dawnll said...

Oh how horrible Lori!
You make sure you take care of yourself and relax. Probably easier said then done right.
Sending you a big hug sweetie

Giffysk8s said...

I am heartbroken that you are going through this because of the pain and recovery. I am so thankful that the Lord spared you from a permanent injury and that He provided those nurses! I know your recovery will be long and hard~but you won't have to do it alone. You are literally surrounded by so many people who truly love you and want to help!

Glad you didn't break your fingers. What would I do if you couldn't blog, FB, text, or talk on the phone? LOL

Carol Labuski said...

Ouch! That's exactly why I never wanted to ski! I'm a sissy when it comes to getting hurt like that. I wish you a speedy recovery! Look at it this have lots of time to scrap! LOL

Becky B. said...

How scary and awful! I have never skied before, but have always thought that I'd like to try...rethinking that now! :) I sure hope you feel better soon and that you have a very speedy recovery! God bless!

Carolyn said...

OMgosh, So thankful you're alright and healing, and now you got some wheels!

Leslie said...

Lori, I'm so sorry about your accident. Reading about it brought tears to my eyes. I am glad you are able to get up for the necessities. Is Lexi being a big help to you, in your time of need? I'll bet she is being mother hen and nurse Nancy.

LeAnne said...

I was so sorry to hear about your accident and even more so now that I have read your retelling of the story. All I can say is OUCH! Glad you are on the mend and will be mobile again in time for convention.
Wishing you a speedy recovery.

pat said...

Lori...I am praying for a speedy recovery!! reading this brought tears to my eyes...I can't even imagine the pain! I have been a skier/snowboarder for many years and that has always been my biggest fear. I wish I lived close to you so I could come visit and help you out! I am looking forward to seeing you soon!
lots of hugs and prayers!

lake tahoe said...

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Jennifer said...

OH Lori! How terrible!! I cannot imagine the pain that you were in!

I broke my ankle the very first time I skied. There was fresh snow that day as well. My ski caught up in the fresh layer and down I went. Neither of my ski's came off......I did not know it was broken for a week when I finally went into the dr. cuz the pain was not right.I wore a boot for 8 weeks.

BUT 2 years later I had to have surgery as it did not heal right. I was on crutches, no weight baring for 10 weeks. I feel your frustration as I was the same way.....going to the bathroom was the exciting part of the day for me.

Scrapping or paper crafting was not happening on the couch that's for sure. Hang in there!

Sharli said...

Oh my God, Lori - how AWFUL! I'm glad you had high quality rescuers, but what a nightmare of an injury. Holy cow. I just can't wrap my head around it.

PLEASE take care and heal fast. Do what the doctors tell you to do - nothing more. I'm keeping you in my prayers.


Jayma Malme said...

Oh my gosh...I was just going about my business looking at all your lovely creations and BAM, this post makes me want to cry for you! I'm an avid snowboarder and go to Mammoth ALL. THE. TIME. I have never had an injury (knock on wood), but this hits all too close to home. I hope you're recovering well! ((hugs))

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