Accident on the ski field
In late July I had a skiing accident. On a lesson, I ended up getting my skis entangled with the instructor’s, sending my leg around like a citrus twist in a martini.
I heard a crunch/pop and my mind’s eye received a visual – in a kind of brown and cream portrait – of my knee joint twisting, my lower leg moving around to the left. (I’ve since done some research and this could be an interpretation of proprioception, the mind-body mapping system that senses where limbs are in space. If anyone has heard of this, get in touch.)
As I grabbed at my knee, screamed and fell to the snow, that moment in time became so focused inwards, I was in my own cocoon hearing and experiencing nothing of the outside world. My hands held my knee tightly as instinctively my body told me what it wanted protected. And then, after five minutes or so, I realised that there wasn’t much pain but my knee was so weak that I couldn’t stand on it. It didn’t quite feel right.
What followed next — a trip down the mountain in the ski patrol skidoo with a lovely Canadian then being stretchered into the 4WD cruiser and off to the medical centre — sent me over an edge into what is probably best described as devastation.
At the medical centre the doctor announced, after some hands-on manipulative tests (enjoyable? no), ‘Claire, you’ve hurt your knee really badly. You’re going to need surgery and it’s going to take you six months to recover’.
Wow. Bam, just like that. My world changed in an instant.
“What…? No. I can’t be hurt that badly, I don’t want surgery. We are due to go on an overseas holiday in a couple of days!”
So many thoughts ran through my head: Oh no, I hate medical stuff. My partner only has a short holiday before he goes away for seven months. Argh I want to go back in time and change this…
What came next was a flurry of tears. I lay there on the bed waiting for the doctor to come back to tell me what comes next. As it happened an X-ray and then a leg brace and ‘we’ll get you walking out of here!’ jolly message from the nurse. Umm yes but walking out to what? To what future? Then the pain started to creep in…
My fiancé arrived, and the look of shock on his face cut through to my core. I felt a flash of guilt that through this accident, probably contributed to by my lack of coordination/muscle, he wouldn’t have the two weeks of amazing holiday that he (and I of course) had really been looking forward to.
He told me afterwards that he felt so bad for me and that when he saw me sitting in my curtained off area, I looked destroyed. Eventually we could leave the medical centre. I had so many questions: Do I really need to get the surgery? How long do I need to stay in the brace? How often can I take the Panadeine Forte? How many grades of damage are there?…
I think this was the rational part of me trying to process some of what had happened but really, the answers to the questions wouldn’t help me cope really with the emotional turmoil that came over the following days… And I wouldn’t remember a lot of what was talked about anyway as I was in shock. But more on that later.