Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Vail's victory

Bright-eyed and eager during my first snowboard attempt, I took on the Colorado mountains, but I'm afraid that the mountains got the best of me. I feared a broken leg, so a non-displaced fracture distal radius somehow seems like a blessing.

I wish that I had a better story to share regarding my accident. I'd like to be able to say that I lost control on a double-black-diamond run in the back bowls of Vail. Sadly, I never made it off of the bunny hill (ahem, beginner slope, if you prefer the PC term). Luke (my brother and snowboarder extraordinaire) talked me into snowboarding instead of skiing. He served as my babysitter personal instructor and did an awesome job except for failing to advise me to wear wrist guards. Brad and I had hoped for two full days on the slopes, but myriad travel complications cut into our time and we only completed one run down the bunny hill at Beaver Creek during our first day. Luke taught me how to put on the snowboard, stand up, edge, and utilize the falling leaf technique to get down the hill. Granted, I think that I spent more time on the ground than standing up, and I'm a little embarrassed to admit that it took Brad and me AN HOUR to complete our first run on the bunny hill (hey, it was the longest bunny hill I've ever seen), but we had a blast and eagerly anticipated our full day at Vail the next day.

We arrived early and enjoyed some time on the bunny hill before it became packed with ski school kids. Much to my dismay, Luke insisted on teaching me to do heel and toe turns on the snow board, which I never mastered. I loved the falling leaf technique, but he warned me that solely using falling leaf to get down the hill could easily become a bad habit, like skiers who only snowplow. Anyway, on my THIRD run down the bunny hill in the midst of a toe turn, I took a bad backwards fall and landed on both wrists. I thought that I was going to throw up because the pain was so bad initially. After a few minutes of sitting there stunned, my right wrist began to feel better, but my left wrist was useless. I could barely lift it. I removed my snow board and walked the rest of the way down the hill to catch the chairlift. Luke and Brad set me up in the lodge with an icepack and a cup of hot chocolate. I iced my wrist for about two hours and after lunch, I visited the medical hut in hopes that someone could wrap my wrist tightly so that I could hit the slopes again. After all, I had paid nearly $100 for my lift ticket; three runs down the bunny hill was not my definition of getting my money's worth!

The medical assistant took one look at my wrist and suggested that I visit the ER. He accompanied me down the mountain in the gondola to the Vail Valley Medical Center, located conveniently one block from the entrance to the slopes. I will say that this was my most pleasant ER experience to date. The hospital is really nice and the friendly and laid-back staff could have cared less that I didn't have my insurance card on me (note to self: stick my insurance card in my pocket the next time I brave the slopes). I was in and out in less than two hours, doctored up with a Velcro splint for easy use until I can visit an orthopedist. The fracture is very, very fine and luckily, the bone is still aligned, so barring any other complications, recovery should only take four to six weeks.

This was Brad's first time on skis and I have to admit that he's a natural. He seemed to pick it up really easily and he loved it, so I have a feeling that Luke will now have regular visitors every ski season. I loved Colorado. Vail and Beaver Creek were gorgeous and soooo nice. I can't wait to go back. And I will even try skiing and snowboarding again, as soon as my wrist heals. I don't like for anything to get the best of me.

In the meantime, I'll wear my lovely new accessory out tonight for New Year's Eve with pride. My navy blue splint clashes with the black dress I plan to wear, but hopefully our favorite restaurant will still admit me.


kerryandtorey said...

OUCH! Sorry you got hurt on you vacation but glad to hear you will have a quick recovery. We need to get together soon.


Smiling Mama said...

Oh my goodness! And this after your Christmas bug. SO sorry! Hope you heal quickly!

Amy said...

So sad. I'm glad you are ok and not discouraged to try again!