Saturday, July 26, 2014

Justin (Part 2)

If you have not read part one, you can go back and read it here.
(Remember Justin just fell 75 feet. Let me say that again, he fell 75 feet!)

As I hit the ground I remember being limp and tried to "tuck and roll".  I hit feet first and went forward onto my face.  I don't remember hearing or feeling anything break.  I didn't lose consciousness either.  The wind was knocked right out of me.  As I laid there face first in the snow it was all I could do to get my breath back.  Once I was breathing again I tried to roll myself over and couldn't do it.  I heard someone ski over to me and they asked if I was ok.  I told them I thought I blew out my knee and needed them to help roll me over so I could get my face out of the snow.  They were about to help me when I heard my brother in law yell out "don't touch him".
   When my brother in law got to me he gave me a quick assessment and kept talking to me until the ski patrol got there.  They put a back board on me and rolled me over and that is when I knew I was hurt a lot worse than I had thought.  They began to cut my clothing off to get a better look at my injuries.  First my boots an on up to my sister's jacket liner, I told you that would be important.  I wanted to just take it off, but when your hurt and being worked on by EMS nothing gets taken off, it gets cut off.  I was trying to pay attention to what they were saying about my injuries.  I was flat on my back and my head strapped down so I couldn't move it.  When they were looking at my left ankle I asked, "How bad is it?"  My brother in law answered with, "Ummm n o t too b a d".  Now I knew I was in bad shape.
 Then they loaded me onto a sled of sorts and quickly slid me down the mountain.  Here I met an ambulance which drove me about 100 yards to a helicopter.  All this time I was in some pain but nothing that should have been appropriate.  Adrenalin is a wonderful thing.  Not long after we were in the air I remember the flight medic asking me about pain and giving me morphine.
   When I arrived at the nearest hospital the prodding and probing began.  I can't remember how many x-rays or how many times I was poked in places we won't discuss.  Finally a doctor came over to me and said, " We can't fix you here, we have to send you to a learning hospital".
   I replied, "I don't want to go where they have to learn how to fix me, send me where they already know what to do".
   "You are going to need that sense of humor" he said. " Do you prefer UNM or Arizona?"
   I said, "UNM" and the splinting commenced.
   Mean while my brother in law, sister, and Corey had made it to the hospital.  The doctor let them know what was happening and the phones calls started going out.
   When they had finished splinting and padding me they began to load me onto another helicopter to take me to UNM Hospital.  As they were rolling me to the helicopter I told one of the medics, "I need to write my sister a fat check".
   He heard this and turned to my sister and said, "He said something about his sister a fat chick".
   Not Cool!
   They attempted to load me in the helicopter and kept ramming my splinted feet and ankles into to bubble of the helicopter.  They did this several times.  Much to the displeasure of my onlooking family and friend not to mention the pain.  I simply would not fit.  So they made arrangements to have me flown out on a fixed wing aircraft. So one more ambulance ride and off I went to UNM Hospital.
   After landing in New Mexico yet another ambulance ride to UNM Hospital where it seemed 

like the assessments, x-rays, and prodding started all over again.

   Finally after 12 hours on a backboard, ouch, I was put in a bed and told the extent of my injuries.  Let's start at the bottom.  Left ankle broken requiring hardware to fix it, left tibia and fibula also requiring hardware to fix it, right heel crushed, 6 pelvic fractures causing internal bleeding, 2 spinal fractures at L5 and T6, a laceration below my chin caused by my watch, and small laceration in between my eyes.
   I spent 9 days in the trauma ward of UNM Hospital while undergoing multiple surgeries and nearly needing a blood transfusion. It was here that I was told I might not walk again and my recovery would be largely left up to me.  Then 2 days in the orthopedic ward.
   I can not even begin to describe how well I was treated at UNMH.  The nurses and doctors were great.  I was always treated with care and compassion.  In fact to this day whenever I have business at UNMH I make it a point to thank the people who work there, even if they had nothing to do with my ordeal.
   I was then moved to a rehabilitation center where I learned how to live life in a wheelchair, and that physical therapists are well intended torturers.  I spent 2 weeks here.  I had done some difficult things in my life, but this was the toughest most challenging task I had ever been asked to complete.  It was not only physically difficult but mentally and emotionally difficult as well.
   The next year of my life would become the most challenging yet.

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