For many of us, skiing is better than the best friend, family or a lover. When we aren’t skiing, we anticipate winter months as we crave the sweet solitude of the chairlift. We love going to the slopes. We count on the sport to quiet our anxieties, focus our minds, and make us happier, healthier, and saner.
You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy a lift pass!
My husband bought me my first private ski lesson for my 31st birthday. It was love at first slide. I grew to anticipate and appreciate the winter season. When I wasn’t skiing, I craved the sweet solitude of the chairlift. I longed to reach both literal and figurative new heights. But East Coast mountains were too small for my aspirations. And East Coast ski seasons were way too short. I dreamed of the deep snow and nearly endless winters of the West.
My husband and I decided to make our dreams come true. So, we moved to Colorado a few years ago. Now, we have easy access to some of the best ski resorts in the world! I love living in this winter mountain wonderland. I love going to the slopes and practicing the yogic skiing experience. My breath coordinates with my movements. I inhale as I extend my legs, and exhale as I bend and retract. Meanwhile, my mind keeps pace with the meditative rhythm of skiing. The views are spectacular; the sun is out, and the air is fresh, what more could you ask for?
Improving My Skills
I was very passionate with my skiing love affair. In fact, I took a lot of lessons with the most qualified instructors. Also, I incorporated ski-specific strength and dynamic flexibility exercises into my off-slope routine. When the mountain splattered me down her trails, I got up and kept skiing.
Wednesday, Feb 2, 2015, 10:00 AM.
I woke up to a sunny, powdery and brisk Wednesday morning. The new snow put a big smile on my face. So I did what any true Coloradan would do: I took half a day off work and headed down the slopes. After a few runs, it was getting a bit cold. “Oh just one more run,” I said to myself. “Then I can take a coffee break.” I made a turn and hopped back on the lift. During the ascent, my mind drifted toward some irrelevant nonsense. I caught myself, then refocused my mind on the upcoming trail.
Wednesday, Feb 2, 2015, 12:00 PM.
Yay Me! I skied the most challenging “scoop” on the trail. Although maybe I was going too quickly. CRASH! I’m yelling, cursing, crying and I’m. Upside-down. My left ski is still attached. Where the hell is my right ski? Voices around me: “What’s your name? Can you breathe?” Nathan from the ski patrol arrives. I’m placed on the sled and brought to the clinic. I am cold, pain is unbearable, but look on the bright side, I’m still breathing.
Wednesday, Feb 2, 2015, 1:30 PM.
“I am not my body; pain is in my mind”…Fuck it hurts…no Advil. Calling my husband – honey we got snowed in, I need to shovel. Pam picked me up, driving to the hospital. No fracture, need MRI lost consciousness…
Wednesday, Feb 2, 2015, 5:00 PM.
I am home on crutches. Everything hurts. In response to the pain, my body shakes like an autumn leaf everything hurts. What have I done? Crying, angry, frustrated. Can’t manage the crutches.
Friday, Feb 6, 2015, 10:00 AM.
I saw my first doctor and got MRI on Friday. ACL is completely torn, MCL is partially torn, bone fractured. My calf muscle hurts more than my knee – the doc said that it is probably a bruise. The doc#1 told me to go home and start PT.
Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015, 10:00 AM.
Saw the doc#2, was closed to canceling an appointment for the second opinion, but something pushed me to go through with it. The doc#2 sent me for an emergency ultrasound. Fuck, yes things can get worst…I have a blood clot in my calf. I could’ve died…more anger and despair and crying. It was bad, but it could’ve been so much worst. I could’ve skied into a tree. Death would’ve been my friend, but living paralyzed is not something I want to do. And I know that life force in me would’ve not let me kill myself – so here is my worst case scenario. I couldn’t believe the doc#one totally ignored a life threatening issue with my blood clot.
An important advice: If you injure your knee on the slopes, remove your ski boot as soon as possible. Pump your ankle to prevent blood clots. Take baby aspirin, and ice your knee for 20 minutes every two hours. You will also need to elevate your injured leg, but don’t make this common mistake. The pillow or cushion goes under your foot, not under your knee! Placing it under your knee keeps your knee in a flexed position. This will make it harder to regain full extension during physical therapy. Please talk to your doctor or other health care provider before making a health care decision.
Saturday, Feb 28, 2015, 9:00 AM.
It’s been over nearly three weeks since my ski accident. In a matter of a few hours, my life had turned upside down. That said, I am beginning to feel so much better mentally and physically.
Here’s the harsh reality. Even with the best physical and mental preparation, injuries will happen. They are an inherent risk in any adventurous sport. However, it’s your reaction to the injury that affects your ability to heal. And the sooner you recover, the sooner you can return to your sport.
You can choose to suffer, but you can also choose to heal.
Start by asking your doctor about safe activities. In the meantime, do your research. Keep in mind, this is not a linear process. Prepare for an emotional roller coaster and ride it out. You’ve got this!
thanks for reading, healing guide (coming up).
What’s your skiing story?