Tales of Blue Aweigh travel blog

New powder skis

Father and son on the mountain

Tree skiing on a gorgeous winter day

Tibia spiral fracture

After the surgery

My broken fibula was the least of my worries

So 2014 started out like most other years for us. Like so many others we were filled with hope and optimism and a big bang to ring in the new year.

For the first time we bought full season passes to Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort. It is close to home, convenient for staying in our mountain house and very good skiing when the weather cooperates. Normally we can get our kids to visit and join us. This year was no exception. Our normal routine is to hit the slopes by 8:30 am to be one of the first sets of tracks down the mountain and finish up by early afternoon and call it a day, yes, almost every day.

For Valentines Day we decided too buy each other some new custom skis made just for us by Community Skis of Mammoth Lakes. I decided to make mine pretty as a peacock thanks to Kristen and her artwork at the shop. Mike went for the stock design. The new skis are longer, more flexible/active and a blast to ski. After about a week on them I had a bad day, well in truth a really terrible day and honestly one of the worst in my life. Whilst skiing Santiago bowl on the back side of the mountain I hit a bump and fell to my right. My uphill ski released from my boot but the downhill ski did not. So my right leg with both boot and ski attached started flying through the air like a helicopter. I can still see it in slow motion. I immediately knew it was broken. If I wasn't sure, the position of my leg and ski in opposite directions in the snow once i stopped would have confirmed it.

After an hour of gyrations with ski patrol assistance I was transported onto a gurney and towed to flat ground, then attached to a snowmobile and ultimately an ambulance. Upon arrival it was determined I did not have a compound fracture. Lucky me!! What I did have was 2 breaks; a fibula break near the top of my boot, and a spiral fracture on my tibia.

In spite of all this bad luck something good happened. A talented team of professionals at Mammoth Mountain Hospital got my leg out of my boot (4 people) and the surgeon, Dr. Karch, a U.S. Olympic Ski Team doc was on duty. A few hours later with the help of lots of morphine, I had a titanium plate and 10 screws installed up my right leg from just above my inside ankle bone up about 10 inches. Typically a rod is used however my break was so close to the ankle, (1/2") a plate was a better choice.

I can't begin to explain just how painful this experience was/is. My leg and foot were so fat and bruised I couldn't wiggle my toes. Fortunately, I did have feeling in them. When Dr. Karch came to discuss the outcome a short time later I became so overwhelmed at my situation I began to get teary eyed. He immediately informed me that my situation is what it is, and warned me that going forward every day will be a battle....and warriors cannot go into battle crying! I must say, 3 months later I still hang onto these words of wisdom. Although no more tears have been shed, my battle is not yet over. Though I moved from 6 weeks of crutches to a cane, a tendon injury due to over compensation, to very good walking once again with continuing swelling I know I still have a long way to go.

I do however need to count my blessings. My husband was awesome through it all. I couldn't have asked for a better partner.

As for skiing again...let's just say I may need a year off to get my head around all this.

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