Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Back Flip that Wasn't

Just as Michelle and I were finishing up the funeral potatoes and rolls for our family Karaoke party tonight, I got a call from Dan (about 2:00 p.m.). He had just got a call from the paramedics at Park City and said Chris had injured his leg and Life Flight was going to take him to the University of Utah hospital.

Life Flight.

I couldn't quite comprehend what he was saying. What happened? Life Flight?

Dan assured me that his injury wasn't life threatening. His leg was either broken or dislocated at the hip. It was his femur that was injured. They didn't know if he would be going by helicopter or ambulance but would call Dan when they decided. Dan was on his way home to pick me up.

Life Flight. Not life threatening.

For a moment I felt like I couldn't breathe. Courtney and Michelle were in the other room. I went in to tell them what was happening and started to cry.  Chris has broken his leg. He's going to be fine, Ii said. I'm not sure why I'm crying. I think it's because I'm relieved. Relieved that it's not life threatening Life Flight. Because at first Dan said, "Life Flight."

Michelle said lets gather the kids and say a prayer. So we knelt around the Family Room ottoman -- Me, Michelle, Courtney, Marty, Nick, Ethan. I can't say it, I said. I'll just cry. I'm not sure who said it.

And Dan came home in the middle and they called him to say we they were taking him by helicopter to the U. Marty and Courtney got some things together for Chris in a bag and Marty followed behind us so that he and Dan could give Chris a blessing.

We called Matt on the way. Should we hope it's dislocated? He said, no. That means torn acl and mcl and several surgeries instead of just one. A fracture is better.

We arrived just as the Helicopter did. We watched it land on the parking garage but couldn't see anything after that. In the Emergency waiting room, they had us wait. During that time we got a text from Michelle that she'd sent out to everyone in a grouping "#prayforChris" explaining what had happened. We got a text from Courtney that she'd received a screenshot from Taylor who had seen it from her brother who had gotten a Snapchat of Chris lying on the mountain with his foot up by his ear. It was unbelievable to see, really.

Then she sent a video that was from the same friend that had been Snapchatted of Chris skiing down expertly to a huge kicker and going for a backflip but it shot him up so high and so far out that he flailed in the air on his back, turned at the last second and landed hard. Both were very difficult to look at.

When we finally got to see him, he was in unbelievably good spirits. It hurt a ton, but he had an IV access to pain meds that helped immediately. The helicopter pilot couldn't believe how brave and tough he'd been. In the video of the Ski Patrol "putting his leg in the correct anatomical position," they said they couldn't believe he wasn't screaming in pain. The hospital residents also couldn't believe he was smiling. He's a pretty tough kid, we already knew that. But this was a new level. I suspected shock or adrenaline.
How is he smiling?
Marty and Dan gave him a blessing. It's pretty neat to have Marty hold the Priesthood now.  And I'm proud of him for being willing when asked -- I think Chris was really glad to see Marty there. Marty blessed him that he would recover well and that his schoolwork wouldn't be affected.

And then we had a really long wait for the rest of the evening to determine what happened next.  Marty and Courtney had put lotion in a bag of things for Chris because everyone knows Chris can't survive without lotion. He had me rub his feet a bunch to help him feel relaxed and comfortable.  The residents and nurses were really great. And we knew this kind of thing takes a long time, so we weren't expecting to go anywhere fast.

Chris started to feel hungry -- he'd only had a couple of pieces of bacon at 10:00 a.m. before he headed up skiing. They were going to get a late lunch on the way home. So they didn't want him to eat anything else in case he had surgery that night. But by about 8:00 they decided to put him in traction and surgery would be in the morning.

Getting ready to go into surgery for traction.

After, with a 15 pound weight hanging off his leg. (I actually can't remember how heavy the weight was!)

We ran out to Cafe Rio to grab us some dinner and Chris a quesadilla. We had just sat down when they said they were done. It went really fast and well. And should help with Chris' pain.
Of course now that he could eat, he took a few bites of quesadilla and shake and didn't feel hungry at all.  Soon we got to his room and helped him get settled in for the night.  Dan was going to stay the night with him so he could help him with bathroom and privacy issues.  We headed home around 10:00.
Chris' room for a couple of days
When we got home of course everyone was dying for details and information. It was so good to have so many people to talk to with experience. Rachel's nursing, Brent's own broken hip experience, Michelle's caretaking of Brent. Matt, of course, by phone.

Of course we postponed the party until tomorrow. I still want to have it. These are the times when it's good to be surrounded by family. #prayforchris

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