As we approached Twinkle, I was excited. It was five o’clock, giving the mountain a twilight darkness, illuminated by halogen lamps lining the slopes. With a plan for finishing, I intended to focus and enjoy the final runs of the afternoon. The slope cleared, so we headed down the mountain.
Danielle skied to the center of Twinkle. I’d moved past my need to hug the slope’s edge, so I followed her to the middle. I’d started to think ahead, so I began planning my entry into the Lower Shuttle. Coming from the middle, I’d have enough speed to make it up the incline, but I wanted to zip through it.
We moved down the hills of Twinkle, turning left and right. Approaching the last hill before the shuttle, we positioned ourselves for the sharp left turn. Over the hill, I crouched into a balanced stance, then pushed hard on my right ski. My body turned left at once. Still trailing Danielle, I zipped into the Lower Shuttle.
Once in, we encountered a kid skiing through ahead of us. We shaved off some speed to avoid wiping him out, then skied next to him. Danielle complimented the kid on his skiing, which earned her a shy response. I anticipated the incline, realizing that I wouldn’t have enough speed to hit the top. I glided until I stopped, then trudged my way over to Danielle.
We chatted as we worked our way to the top, then continued with the short trip to Mistletoe. Once at the opening to Mistletoe, I paused to once more adjust my gear against the falling snow. Danielle skied ahead.
Standing by myself, I watched other ski by me. I scanned the bottom of the slope, noticed Danielle had moved to the chair lift, and prepared to join her. I set off for the bottom.
I skied left. I skied right. I skied left. I skied right. My left ski stuck in the snow.
I tried to recover control of my left leg, but couldn’t save it. I slammed into the snow, twisting to my left as I went down. I tucked my arms close to my body as I fell, driving my right shoulder into the slope. My head bumped the snow. I slid down the mountain, coming to a stop after a few feet.
I rested in the snow, laughing at my ineptitude. I sat up and looked around to assess the damage. I had control of my arms and legs. I knew where I was. I knew who I was. Everything was fine.
Verifying how well the skis were hinged to my boots earlier in the day, I questioned whether or not the ski would separate from the boot in a fall. I proved that it would. A man walked up to me, bringing my ski, as well as my poles. I thanked him and scanned the slope to determine how many people were behind me. I needed to move out of the way, but standing up with two skis was hard. Standing with one would be troublesome, at best.
I used one of the poles to unlock the other ski from my boot. I needed to get down from the slope. Once it was loose, I gathered my skis and poles in my arms and stalked down the slope. I wasn’t angry, but I wasn’t going to try to reassemble myself on a hill with others streaking past me.
At the bottom, Danielle saw me walking down the hill. I motioned to her to join me as I continued walking towards the lodge. Even though I wanted to continue skiing, I knew I should stop. That was the best decision I made all day. Give me that much credit.
I explained to Danielle what happened to me as we continued on to the lodge to return our equipment. Once in the lodge, we undertook the arduous task of removing our boots. Sitting on the bench, I realized how sore I was from being out-of-shape. No muscle group was screaming in pain, but a general ache had gripped my body. And we needed to munch some fine Indian cuisine.
We drove back to Danielle’s house, changed into dry clothes, and proceeded to India Gate. We nearly slept at the table while waiting for our food. We ate copious amounts of fine Indian food, though we missed the ambience of squinting, long-haired guitarists we’d experienced in the past. We drove back to Danielle’s house. We watched a little Canadian tv and fell asleep.
The next morning, I awoke and fell the same dull ache all over my body. Even though general soreness isn’t fun, it felt good to have exercised and moved around.
We enjoyed a lazy Sunday, floating around the house, eating some leftover Indian food, and looking at scrapbook pictures. In the middle of the afternoon, Danielle drove me to the airport. I caught my flight home and went to bed early again.
On Monday morning, I woke up a little more sore than I’d been the day before. This is common, so I thought nothing of it. I went to work, moved around as little as possible during the day, then came home. Once home, I watched some tv, talked to Danielle on the phone, and went to bed.
When I awoke on Tuesday morning, the right side of my chest hurt worse than almost any pain I’d ever felt. I couldn’t turn my torso. I couldn’t sit up without pain. I decided not to go to work.
Around 10am, I called my Mom to chat. When she asked how skiing had gone, I told her I’d had a good time, but I was sore and couldn’t go to work. Being a mom, she told me to go to my doctor.
I’m a man, so I didn’t need to go to a doctor. However, I researched chest pain on the web and discovered some potential negative side-effects to injured ribs, mainly pneumonia. I called my doctor and made an appointment.
At my appointment, I explained what happened. My doctor listened to my chest and said everything sounded fine. Then he placed a hand on my chest and a hand on my back, then squeezed. My chest lit up with pain.
He told me I’d probably broken a rib or two, because the “poor man’s test” suggested it. When squeezing my chest like that, it would only hurt if I’d broken something. He offered to refer me for an x-ray. I declined since it was a $75 confirmation that wouldn’t change the treatment.
I hope I never break another rib in my lifetime. The pain is awful and constant. I couldn’t sleep on my stomach for several weeks. The pain woke me up in the middle of the night. I got no more than 2 hours of consecutive sleep for the next 2 weeks. My ribs didn’t stop interrupting my sleep until late last week, 5 weeks after the fall.
I can’t wait to ski again.
P.S. I’m skiing at Kissing Bridge tomorrow.