A Cold Winter | Teen Ink

A Cold Winter

January 7, 2009
By Anonymous

As I was sitting in the first aid room, thoughts began rushing through my head as I began to realize that for the next four months my life had just been ruined. My friend beside me was speechless, looking as though he was going to faint at the site of my twisted arm. The people around me began to gasp, knowing that I would need quick medical attention to access my situation. My arm looked as though it had been bent in a ninety degree angle, and I could not help but convince myself that my arm was only dislocated. In my five years of snowboarding, I had not suffered any injuries besides a few bumps and bruises, and I didn’t think that today would be the day that all that changed. If it was in fact a serious injury, I would miss out on the rest of snowboarding season, and being as though it was only February vacation, it was a heavy loss. Not only was snowboarding at stake, but so was my upcoming lacrosse season. Conditioning was only three weeks away and I would not be able to play for a majority of the season. In a state of self denial, I began trying to snap the bone back into place, hoping that I would hear a sudden “pop” and I could get up and ride again. The harder I pushed, the more I started to realize that all I was doing was making the injury worse, and I would have to wait patiently for a doctor’s diagnosis.
A doctor walking by caught a glimpse of my arm and immediately pulled me into the back room where my arm could be x-rayed and analyzed. As the shock of the injury began to fade away, intense pain began to slowly creep through my arm and I was hoping that I would suddenly wake up, discovering that this incident had just been a horrible dream. After the x-rays had been taken, I was put into another room where the doctors began questioning me on where I felt pain and how the injury had happened. I tried my best to describe to them the fall that I took. I explained that it was my second run down the mountain and my friend and I came to a large battleship box that we decided would be fun to hit. After being pressured by all the other riders waiting in line, I rode up to the box and realized that I had bit too much speed and slowly began to lose my balance. Coming towards the end of the box, I caught my heel edge and was sent flying off the left side, six feet off the ground. To the best of my abilities, I tried to keep my arms close to my chest so that the full impact of the fall would not come crashing down onto my arms and wrists. After hitting the ground, I instantly knew that something was wrong and noticed that my right arm had been wedged behind my back and had suffered a tremendous amount of force upon it. The doctor explained to me that he was going to put on a temporary cast and contacted my parents to inform them what had happened.
When I returned home, my parents rushed me to a hand surgeon where he further examined me and gave a professional diagnosis. What he told me had happened sent me into a state of disbelief. I had broken one bone in my arm and severely bent the other bone in a sixty degree angle. He told me that I needed immediate surgery just two days later, and during the next few days I began to mentally prepare myself for what was to come. When I arrived at the hospital, I tried my best to stay calm as a nurse placed an IV into my left arm and explained to me the procedures that the doctors were going to take to correct my injury. They were going to re-break both bones in my right arm, make a small incision into my wrists and screw a metal plate into the bone that had been bent in order to insure that it would heal properly over the next several months. The nurse walked me into the surgical room, where I was asked to lay down on a bed and was told to sit still. An anesthesiologist slowly pumped the anesthesia into the IV and the next thing that I remember is waking up several hours later, sitting in an upright position in a large leather chair.
My vision was blurred and everything in the room was spinning. I felt as if I had just woken up from a deep hibernation and it took several minutes to regain enough consciousness to speak. I was told to stay seated for another fifteen minutes before I could get up and leave the hospital. I looked down at my arm and noticed that it was covered by a thick cast, wrapped in endless layers of gauss, and it was not going to be another three weeks until I could get a hard, smaller cast. The next few weeks went by very slowly, and all that I can remember is being in intense pain throughout the night and having trouble doing simple tasks such as brushing my teeth and showering. In school I was not able to write with my strong hand, and it took me hours to do a homework assignment that would usually take me ten minutes. Worst of all was the humiliation that came from having a broken arm. Everyone in school commented on how swelled up my hand looked from the surgery and I had to re-tell the story of how it happened countless times.
Before my injury, I had not realized how lucky I had been to have never broken any bones or had any other serious injuries before this one. I was starting to regret the daring choices that I had made on the slopes and since then I have become more cautious before attempting something that looks too dangerous and that will result in me making another hospital visit. Whenever I am on the slopes, the scars on my arm are a constant reminder of the dangers that snowboarding can bring, or any other activity that requires a bit of risk. Although the injury is now fully healed, it may still affect me later on in life. Having a metal plate in your arm means having a bit of trouble getting through airport metal detectors, an issue that I may have to face in the near future!

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