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Vicky : My sledding accident
Diary entry posted Mon 5:49pm 6 January 2003

On December 11th I went to night classes as usual at my community college. Afterwards, I met up with two friends to go sledding. There was no snow out here in Chicago at that time but they lived in an apartment community with ski hills and fake snow,etc. They had assured me that sledding was permitted on the hill we would be on. Okay, they live here, they know the rules about this place, let's go sledding. The hill was open, the lights were on, the fake snow machine was on. I got into a sled with my friend behind me and we took off. I had the horrible gut feeling that something was wrong-something bad would happen-I ignored it, something I will never do again. Halfway down the hill we hit ice, in fact the entire hill was a sheet of ice. We couldn't steer. We were aimed head on towards a huge light pole. I swear that my life flashed before my eyes. We were going so fast and I was convinced that the impact would kill me, and if not, then it would forever disfigure my face. At the last minute before crashing, my friend threw all of his body weight to the left and the sled tipped on its side. I slid off and had my right leg bent at the knee pinned behind me as I started flying down the hill on my back. I hit a section on the hill with big chunks of hard snow, maybe they were blocks of ice, who knows. Then I started to somersault, I was airbone at one point. I just remember crashing down time and time again. I landed on the left side of my face and then everything went black. It had felt as if time froze, it was quiet, I couldn't see, hear, or feel anything, but, I felt aware of what was happening. I thought at that very moment that I was dying. Suddenly, everything came back. I opened my eyes and my friend rushed up to me and asked if I was okay. I said, "I can't move my leg." Funny, because I had not even tried to move it yet. I picked up my ankle and it just flopped over and hung there. It was broken. I bent my right leg and straightened it, it moved. Suddenly, my tibia was loose and poking right under my skin. Great. I had broken my leg. I thought it was a nightmare. I never awoke from it though. I went into shock. The ambulance was on its way and I thought I was going to pass out. They put me in the ambulance and had to cut my clothes off, remove my boot, which I made them completely cut off to avoid the pain. They gave me morphine. I thought my life was over! I was taken to a hospital close by. I had lots of x-rays taken and a lot of people wrapping my leg in a splint. I really thought I would get a cast and be on my way. Wrong! I was told I would need surgery the next day. I ended up breaking my tibia, fibula and ankle. All together I had 10 breaks. It was a spiral fracture. The next day I saw my surgeon who said I would either have internal fixation or external. Luckily, I had internal. I now have a L shaped plate down the whole length of my tibia that extends into my ankle. I have 15 screws that attach to the plate, 2 screws on the outside of it, and one pin in the ankle joint. I was also warned that I may need knee surgery because I had also torn the LCL and MCL ligaments. Wonderful, a 6 day hospital stay, surgery, and my life put on hold...all this with NO medical insurance. The first 2 weeks after surgery were the most painful. You couldn't even tell that I had a knee at all. I also recently found out that my friends had lied to me about the hill we were on. Sledding was not allowed. I no longer speak to them. Had I known it was for skiing and snowboarding only, I would have never gone. 2 weeks ago I had a new cast put on. I was told I wouldn't need more surgery-thankfully! I have another Dr. appt. on this Friday, Jan. 10th. I get a boot put on but am still non weight bearing. All together, 8 weeks at non weight bearing for me. I have almost full range of motion back in my knee though. I'm mostly scared to see how my incision looks. I'm even more scared after hearing the stories of others who have pain from their hardware, who can't walk normally for 6 months! My Dr. said I would probably be running and horse back riding in 6 months. I guess I can handle that, I can't handle not walking though. To add to my stress is my $25,000 hospital bill, with more on the way. I'm looking forward to my appt. this Friday to see my x-rays and see how, or if, the bones have healed. I keep praying that this will be over as soon as possible.



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 Mon 5:49pm 6 January 2003
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