Monday, 27 May 2013

shit happens

Judy Burgess always had a wise saying for every occasion.  One of her favourites, "into each life, a little rain must fall" was quickly re-coined with her humoured blessing into "shit happens".

Shit happened on 28 March when Jeff had a fall skiing on a foggy day in Sannenmöser.

I got a call from him midday, "I've fallen and my leg is fucked.  I'm waiting for help, but I have the car keys in my pocket, can you find a ride up here to meet me?" I could tell from his voice that he was in a lot of pain and that this wasn't going to be straightforward.

The helicopter couldn't fly so he endured an excruciating toboggan ride down the hill and a twisty mountain road ambulance drive to Zweisimmen.  A series of Xrays confirmed that he had severely dislocated his knee, fractured his fibula clean through and smashed his lateral tibial plateau.  Later, an MRI showed that he had also ruptured his ACL, PCL, MCL and both meniscus.  Never mind that he had not been hurtling himself down a hill at over 100km/hr or that he isn't racing World Cup these days.  They told us the injury was similar to Lindsay Vonn's, but worse.  It was a total blowout.

before surgery

He was moved to the Inselspital in Bern and the orthopaedic team took great care of him.  Four hours of reconstructive surgery and Ali nick-named him the Swiss Million Dollar Man.  He's plated, bolted, sutured and wired.  Much to their medical excitement, the surgeons were able to use a new technology to repair the ACL and his prognosis for a full recovery is good, albeit the time frame is long.  Within twelve months, he should be walking pain free and without crutches or his fancy, carbon-fibre brace.  If you ask Jeff, he'll be doing more than that.

after surgery
The road has been long and there's still plenty to go.  We know that it could have been much worse - a neck, head or back injury - but it has still been hard.  Jeff is determined and committed to getting back on his feet, looking after himself and regaining his active life.

It isn't the end to our Swiss adventure that either of us hoped for, but if you're going to wreck your knee, Switzerland is a great place to do it.  The six weeks he spent recovering here were full of wonderful care by his surgeons, home care nurses and physiotherapists.

Now he's back in Collingwood and as the kids and I start to close out our adventures here, Jeff begins our next ones there.  One step at a time....