Thursday, January 1, 2009

The pleasure...and the pain...of Piedmont

Yesterday, my faith in skiing was totally restored. Then it was dashed in a flurry of paternal pain.

The Duluth city groomer had been fixed. The temperature on New Year's Eve was climbing above zero. After a week of mechanical breakdown negligence, the trails were groomed and waiting. With only a bit of grumbling, the older son (12) and the younger son (11) got their windjackets and fleece on and came with me to the Piedmont ski trails. The sky was blue and the trail was totally freshly groomed. You just don't get "cord" fresher than this.

As we started in on the loop, spirits rose with every little hill and turn. How great to be outside, in the crisp air on beautiful ski trails having physical fun! I love it when the boys' cheeks get rosy and their spirits rise outside on a trail just as my spirits do.

Then, spirits got a little too high. We were a full kilometer into the loop, nearing the great overlook of the Duluth harbor. The older son started goofing around with different postures, gliding with his knee all the way down on the ski and asking "is this posture good?"

It turns out that his next posture, kicking one ski out in front of you so the tail sticks into the snow, can be very bad. In the middle of that one, he fell. Backward. And stopped his fall with his outstretched right arm. His first words? "I think I broke my arm. I'm not kidding."

Am I an awful Dad? It was two years ago I was skating with the younger son and he fell in the middle of a chase game and broke his arm.

I switched into first aid wilderness medicine mode. But what can you do? His hand could move, his wrist could move, but he was in pain. We were 1 kilometer into a 3 kilometer loop.

The victim kept his arm up inside his jacket, supported by the zipper. We evacuated, slowly and carefully, backwards along the trail. He actually stayed on his skis, though I carried his poles and he walked up and down the biggest hills.

After an hour or two at home to warm up and catch our breaths, he and I went to urgent care and got the x ray and the news: broken radius. Below is a image I found online similar to his x ray:

He was a total trooper through the whole thing, right up until he got the final word about the break from the doctor. He'll be in a cast for 6 weeks. He might be done with cross country skiing for a bit, but a good cast will get him back on the downhill slopes soon.

My son will be fine. Me? I'll be okay too, but I'm going to think twice about romping in the winter with my kids.


clairity said...

Bones heal. It is wonderful the way you take your kids out to see beautiful places. Happy New Year!

Ovidia said...

Exactly. Some parents even BREAK kids's bones. You are giving your kids the best gifts of all: you, love, attention, time, resourcefulness ... and the knowledge that someone always has their back. It's all good. And so are you.

Andrew Slade said...

Thanks for the support. I'm still the guy who took him out on the trail; he would have been safer back at home reading books. But...I'm okay with it. He's doing great.