Here's what happened:
On 30 March 2001, with only a day left to go of the ski trip, Rona "bit the piste," as they say, coming down from La Masse in Les Menuires, France. A slow-motion fall in muddy slush less than 100 yards/meters from the end of the run, the total damage was:
Left Leg: Multiple fractures of tibia and fibula (the bones between the knee and the ankle).End result: Surgery on both legs, each lasting about four hours, putting the bones in the left leg back together and rebuilding the support for the right knee, leaving behind metal plates, screws and assorted other hardware.
Luckily, since the hospital was in the middle of the French Alps in a village called Moutiers, most of what they did there was putting skiers back together, so they knew what they were doing, and apparently did a good job.
Note: We had excellent travel medical insurance from American Express which covered us for everything, including getting us home in business class with a private nurse accompanying us. The insurance is relatively inexpensive ($160 for the two of us for a year (not per trip),$99 for an individual policy) and was worth it's weight in gold. For those of you who have asked us about how to get this, there is a toll free number (which is only good in the U.S. unfortunately) to ring to get information about the policies, which is 1-800-297-2900.
Since we had to bring the French x-rays home with us to give to the doctor here, we had a chance to scan a few of them in before we parted with them the morning after our return.
Below are small images of the x-rays. Click on any of them for a larger view.
And for those of you who want to see ALL the graphic details, here are some photos of the post-surgery incisions with all the staples. Again, click on the image for a bigger view, if you can stomach it.
Here's what the incisions look like now (21 May 2001). Click on the image for a bigger view. They actually don't look as bad in person, and should be mostly vanished in a year.
And here are a few pic's from the hospital:
(click on any photo to see a larger view)
And here's Rona at home, as well as out and about, doing just fine, thank you very much:
(click on any photo to see a larger view)
28 May 2001 Update
SHE WALKS!!! Well, almost. After a visit to the doctor last Friday, and a new set of x-rays, Rona has been pronounced doing well, resulting in:
2 July 2001 Update
First there was the boot! Straight from Star Wars Central Casting. (There was also a brace on the other leg, but it was a pain to put back on for the photo.)
NOW they're both gone! Well, the brace is gone, and the boot is only needed for "long distance" walking (i.e., leaving the apartment). But the doctor has pronounced Rona well on her way to skiing again, not to mention biking and even walking.
For those of you interested, here are the latest x-rays taken on 2 July (click on them for a larger view). On the left leg you can see the small spot that's still not yet healed.
September 2001 Update
And she's back on a REAL bike.
Physical therapy starts and she's back at the gym in spin class.
The scars are fading fast, and it won't be much longer until this is all a thing of the past. Thank Heaven. It's certainly been long enough.
March 2002 Update
Many of you have been looking for an update for a while. Sorry for the lack of news, but there was nothing really to report. Progress was slow but steady. Although the crutches were a thing of the past as of mid-November, walking down stairs remained a major obstacle, and there was still a not insignificant amount of pain. After a somewhat disappointing visit to the doctor in late November, Rona was told that NO she was not going to be able to ski at Christmas, which had been her goal.
Never mind. A bicycle trip to the California Wine Country with Backroads was a more than adequate substitute for the end of December. Fabulous hotels, fine dining, and 40 to 50 miles a day of cycling (no problems with that).
The early February visit back to the doctor pronounces her safe for skiing once again -- with the only caveat to "take it easy."
And so this will be the last "accident update" for this page. What more is there to update, after all?
November 2003 Update
The surgery was performed by said doctor on Wednesday, November 5, 2003. Everything went very smoothly with no complications. Overnight in hospital. Two weeks on crutches with no weight on the leg. It's tough to be a gimp again, but it's not the same long haul as the original accident. Expected recovery time: six to eight weeks, after which Rona should be "good as new." Then it's back to the slopes with no excuses anymore!
March 2004 Update
The best part is that the pain in the left leg is COMPLETELY GONE! What a relief. (However, it must be mentioned that physical therapy this time around, while very necessary, was NOT pleasant.) However, that's over now and it's feeling like nothing ever happened to it. Unfortunately, we didn't get to do any skiing this year because of our trip to New Zealand for most of February, but can't wait to hit the slopes next season.