14 May 2008

Friday13th May, unlucky for.... me!

Its exactly one year since I thought “skydiving, what can possible go wrong?” and ended up with a broken leg. It’s been the dominant theme of the last year of my life and its still not right.

It all started when, in the middle of the student field class, I was arranging all their day off activities. It was the usual selection of biking, jeeping and rafting. The climbing contingent were sorting themselves out. While I was playing travel agent I thought, “I’ve done all this, twice and then some; I need something different”. And as if by magic I drove past a sign saying “Skydive Moab”. I decided there and then that a tandem skydive over Canyonlands was just what the doctor ordered.

I called them up and the guy said that they had availability the next day, but there were three conditions: 1) was I over 18 – yes no problem; 2) was I less than 200 lbs – no I said I wasn’t, more like 210. So he asked if I was fit and I said yes and he said it would be fine. We never got around to the third thing…

Next morning I was pretty psyched so I headed to the airport. Signed away my life and paid some cash. Met my instructor who was a small Canadian guy (very small!). I made some comments about him being pretty small for a big guy like me but he just laughed and said it would be fine as long as I did what he said. He also pointed out that I since I was big, if I/we couldn’t hold a stable position once we left the plane, he’d pull the chute and we would glide around for a long time…

We climbed into the plane and the flight up was fine, nice views but a bit windy. Then it came to jump and we sat in the door. I was really excited, not at all scared just really psyched. We jumped out and the wind was howling past. I managed to get and hold the fly position and I could tell that the instructor was pretty happy, I think he had expected a having to wrestle a big whale in the sky.

The free fall was awesome, I loved it, then he pulled the chute and we glided in. We chatted a bit as we came down and he pulled a few twirls, he seemed really pleased with himself.

We came in to land and we were coming in fast, I would say too fast but I am not an expert. I let my feet down thinking they would skip the hard ground and I could come in on my arse. The next thing I knew I was face planted into the ground with matey boy and all his weight on top of me and my ankle hurt like hell.

Instant reaction was that I had sprained it and I was thinking about all the hassle that was going to create for the upcoming field season. I lay there going fuck, fuck fuck… not because of the pain but because I didn’t have time for a sprained ankle.

He got off me and said “hay buddy, that was a bit of a rough one, are you ok?”. I said I had sprained my ankle and I needed some ice before I could drive back to town. By this stage he was standing up and I could see by the look on his face that I was not going to be driving anywhere for a while! I looked down and my left foot was totally folded under. I was fucked.

I tried to get him to film it, figuring that if I was this messed up I might as well get something to put on youtube for a laugh, but he refused and kept pointing the video camera at my face until I said I was ok, probably some sort of insurance thing! Then they hauled me into a van and drove me off the airfield while the next lot of costumers looked on in a very frightened and sceptical way. I guess this sort of thing is not good for business!

At the hospital they x-rayed it and confirmed what I already knew – it was fucked! Chatting to the doc he told me they had a score sheet for broken bones by activity each year. I was the first sky-diver (oh the privilege!). So far this year they were on 6 mountain bikers, 2 climbers and 48 ATV riders. Rednecks rule! They then reset the dislocation; knocking me out with the weirdest, most unpleasant drug I have ever been given. It was really scary; I couldn’t breathe and felt like I was drowning. I tried to shoot out convinced I was having an allergic reaction but then I blacked out. Came around in an ambulance on my way to Grand Junction.

Had another op there and time passed in a bit of a blurr until Tor came to rescue me. Was told not to fly for a week so I went in the field sitting in the back of Turid’s car and pointing at things that she should go and measure.

Fly home a week later, the builders were still in my house and if I had known then what the next year would entail, I might just have topped myself then! But then you have to think this is only an ankle, people do much worse things to themselves all the time and get over it, its not that big a deal . but by god it felt like it…

No comments: