Friday, February 22, 2013

bubble wrap

Our ski season began typically enough with our annual trip to Squaw Valley. The kids all had new (used, but new to them) skis of their own for the first time and we were to spend the long weekend with a skiing friend and her 3 kids. It was a beautiful sunny day in the mountains the friday before superbowl Sunday.

A fun family photo at the top of the chairlift before our first run.

On that first run we encountered more ice than any of us really liked so we took Squaw's gondola up higher and found some fun intermediate terrain to warm up on.  

Then a little while later as we headed to another chair lift, Kate came towards this sign too quickly and had one ski go on either side of the pole that holds it up. She hit it hard with her right leg and collapsed on the spot, yelling. My friend's boys returned to the scene of the crime later on to tell the offending sign what they thought of it.

Kate is a good skier and she wasn't skiing anywhere very steep or crowded and it was just a really terrible example of some really bad luck. Once she was transported down the hill and to the little ski clinic doctor, her leg was quickly discovered to be broken and we had a ticket to ride to the nearest hospital in an ambulance. 

Kate's leg was stabilized there and we rode the same ambulance to a much better, 
further away hospital that afternoon. 

Fortunately, her prognosis changed when we changed hospitals as well. She went from needing a full body cast for many weeks after surgery to needing a soft removable velcro cast which she would remove to exercise her leg each day. 
The next morning she had surgery and now has a leg full of some nice hardware which must be removed in a year. 

One of my best friends took Allison and Erin for the day so they wouldn't have to hang around the hospital and drive us crazy. A&E went out to lunch, got to ride my friend's daughter's horse, made cupcakes and a nice get well sign for Kate too.

Kate did well after surgery as long as she didn't have to move. She had been on morphine since seeing the first doctor at the ski clinic and was kept pretty comfortable. She stayed home during the following week and her class made her a huge get-well banner which everyone signed. 

Erin brought home her work each day so she never got behind and she had a lot to learn about using crutches, exercising her leg, and doing things independently. By the following week she was pain-free without any medication and was good enough on her crutches to return to school. Physical therapy sessions are ongoing but generally Kate has been making good progress.

Different people have let me know how much smarter they are than I am. "That's exactly why I would never let my kids ski!" I've heard more times than I can count. Which is a great theory, except skiing is something the vast majority of people do without breaking their legs and this is Kate's second broken bone and time spent in a cast. She was nearly 4 when she broke her arm by falling on our lawn from the towering distance of about 12 inches from the ladder of the playground structure. So I guess I shouldn't let my kids play in the backyard  either. Or let them ride a bike, or in a car, or many other things where injuries happen every day. I guess I should keep them all in bubble wrap.