Friday, March 13, 2015

Crashing into trees and the hospital

As many of you probably know I had a little incident with a tree about two weeks ago, right before the IBU cups in Canmore. On the official training day before the first race I was doing a prerace loop and going down one of the bigger hills on the course that has a rather sharp corner. The conditions were such that there was about two inches of corn/sugar granular snow on top of ice. As I stepped around the corner I had no trouble making the turn but there was just not enough friction with the ice to hold me on the snow and my skis slipped out from underneath me and I flew off the trail airborne down about 4 meters where the first thing I touched was a tree. My back hit the tree and I fell to the ground. At this point I was knocked unconscious and was awaken by my teammate Ethan who was skiing with me. Once I was awake he immediately went for help. I could not move and realized that I should not even try to move because I had actually hurt myself. Finally the event volunteer medical staff arrived with my mom who was at the event as one of the coaches. I was very glad she was there because she has been an EMT for many years and knew the right things to do. After what seemed like a very long time of laying the in cold snow the ambulance and paramedics arrived, they started an IV, loaded me on a backboard, put me in the tracked 4-wheeler, and drove me to the ambulance. From here I was taken to the Canmore emergency room where they inserted a chest tube into me because I had punctured my lung and had severe internal bleeding. I then received two blood transfusions and was loaded back into the hospital to be transported to the Calgary hospital which is a level 1 trauma center. I was on lots of good pain killers by now and everything was a little foggy but the doctor in Canmore told the ambulance driver to get to Calgary as quickly as possible, we went full lights and sirens. Despite my blurred state from the trauma and pain medicine when the doctor said, get to Calgary as fast as you can, I knew things were very serious.

After arriving in the Calgary hospital ER and getting lots of tests and scans done it was determined that I broke almost all of the ribs on my left side, my left shoulder blade in multiple places, part of my back; not the spine but there are some little bones off the side of the spine which I broke most of and I punctured my left lung. Luckily because of how the breaks were none of my bones were displaced and I did not have to have any surgery.

The doctors in the ER in Calgary were debating if they should put me in the intensive care ward or not but decided to put me into a special care room of the level 1 trauma ward instead, this trauma ward was one step down from the ICU ward but I was still monitored very closely. From here my recovery began. The first day I was in the hospital, the day of the accident, I only sat up in in bed but was not able to get out. The second day with help from the nurses I was able to get out of bed and sit in a chair which was much more comfortable then the bed. Each day I progressed more and more, the two big measures of how I was doing were how far I could walk and how long I could talk with visitors. The first time I started walking all I could handle was going to the bathroom and back, then eventually out to the nurses desk, by day six I was able to do a full lap of the ward which was about 100 meters long. Around this time I was moved out of the special care room and into a general care room but still in the intensive care ward.

After eleven days I was released from the hospital but spent another three days with a family in Calgary before I was allowed to travel home to Washington. Now I am just resting and trying to recover as much as I can at home, but this is still going to be a very slow process. For example this morning my big outing was walking around the driveway for about 10 minutes which was pretty much exhausting.

So many people have been very helpful with their thoughts, prayers, and visits. Having a huge support group has been very nice, thank you to anyone who has helped and continues to help.

Chilling in the Hospital

The hill I crashed on, I went off the trail where the orange fence is, unfortunately it was put up after my crash, I hit one of the trees on the left side.  

1 comment:

  1. so glad you are home Casey and let the recovery begin! Rehab is a hard process but your fitness level and attitude will carry you far. I will yell at you as I bike past your place!