I broke both my tibia and fibula going down a small ice slide in an ice park in Fairbanks, Alaska. It happened on March 9th, exactly my second day in Alaska!
I'm a fit, 23-year-old female living in California. I exercise actively and have been mindful of my eating and overall health in general. I had just started skiing - thanks to the wonderful snow condition this year in the Lake Tahoe area. I was able to return home in no major injury after 7 days of skiing, woohoo! Yet I broke my leg on a tiny slide made of ice ... nothing but tragedy.
On a side note, I was diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency about 3 months before this happened. I've been taking dietary supplement since then and not sure if this had contributed to the break.
Okay, here's how it happened. My boyfriend and I landed in Fairbanks, Alaska on March 8th, hoping to spend 4 nights there in hope of seeing the northern lights. The forecasts were looking good, reporting a level 4 and two level 3's for the four nights we planned to stay there. On second day in Fairbanks, we somehow decided to spend the afternoon in a nearby ice park. There were lots of sculptures made of ice and lots of slide made of ice, too! They reminded me of a trip I went with my parents when I was 5 years old, where we saw giant ice sculptures and took pictures with them. So, I made the absolutely worst decision in my life - I asked my boyfriend to film me going down the ice slides, despite the fact that it's kind of embarrassing as there were only kids going down the slides. To make it even worse, we rented a sled from the ice park for $10, and started sledding down together on the same sled! The sled was a very lightweight, more like a thin plastic sheet. I have to admit that playing with the sled and the slides was really fun, for someone like me who's never seen a slide made of ice.
At around 6pm, we decided to go down one last slide on the sled. It was a small one but it goes into a pit about 2 meters deep. So here we go, two people on one sled kicked off from the top! At the bottom of the slide, for heaven's sake I stuck my foot out when I saw a little bump at the end of the slide, where it goes into the center of the pit. We weren't going at fantastic speed, but enough to have my leg caught underneath the sled. The two of us, together, ran over my lower left leg. I didn't even hear a crack as the sled was making so much noise with the snow and ice. The moment I took my foot out from under the sled, I noticed my foot was crooked in a direction that it should never go. Then the pain kicked in, something I've never experienced in my life. It was a steady, unstoppable pain from the inside.
After I waited helplessly in the pit for around 30 minutes, the ambulance came. Five guys from the university fire department carried me out from the pit onto the ambulance. I was given morphine and arrived at a hospital after 10-15 minutes. There wasn't too much swelling in my leg, but it was just too painful to move anything. They took some X-rays of my leg and contacted the orthopedics oncall at the hospital. I had a spiral fracture on my tibia 2-3 inches above the ankle, and an oblique fracture of the fibula in the middle of the leg. Ortho recommended surgery next morning. I was given another powerful shot of painkiller before they put on a soft splint on my leg. I cried a lot in the ER when there was no one around except for my boyfriend, called my friends and even my boyfriend's mom. It was like a shock that I just didn't know how to handle at all although I looked calm to the hospital staff.