Winter sports are big here in NH, and we have enjoyed several of them. However, there are some that are cost prohibitive to large families. Skiing and snowboarding are fine examples. So when I read that there was a “Learn to Ski/Snowboard For Free Week” sponsored by the local ski areas, I was excited!
We signed up and eagerly awaited the day. The little girls were too young to attend, and sadly, Jillian got sick the day before. So the boys and I bundled up and headed for Gunstock.
We couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather. It was sunny & blue sky with temps just above freezing.
Because our family is so large, we were supposed to be split into two different classes; the big boys at noon, and James & I at 2:00. But when we checked in and the instructors realized we were all together, they said we could all go at noon. Sadly, this thwarted my plans…I wasn’t expecting to have to keep up with the teenage boys; my plan was to be paired with the 7 year-old!
We had great instructors, very encouraging and fun. My rental boots were rubbing a blister on my heel, and digging into my calves, but it was totally worth it, we were having a blast!
Turns out that like many other areas in life…I do it “goofy”…
In snowboarding, that means you put your right foot forward instead of your left. The boys of course found it amusing and somewhat predictable that “Mom does it goofy”.
After our lesson, James & I headed into the lodge to warm up and have a bite to eat while the 3 big boys hit the slopes. After our brief respite, James was ready to ride the chair lift and hit the big time.
I wish I could tell you that I shredded the mountain like a boss…but I’d be lying.
The fabulous blue sky and sunshine that we enjoyed conspired to turn the snow to ice. My trip down the mountain included sliding, falling, a little bit of snowboarding, a little bit of hiking and maybe a little bit of screaming.
As fun as it was, that blister on my heel was begging me to stop, so we headed back to the lodge to meet up with our friends the Platte’s who had a late afternoon lesson. After another bite to eat, James was ready to hit the slopes again, this time I convinced him to stay on the bunny hill while I took pictures of him & the big boys.
Some hours later Jeremiah dislocated his thumb…he had popped it back in place, but was still hurting, so I sent him to the first aid station. They taped him up and off he went again. About then James had finally worn out, so he & I headed inside.
I was basking in the glow of the warm lodge, sipping tea, knitting on a sock and visiting with friends when Jeremiah came running in…”Jonathan thinks he broke his arm!” I threw on my coat, expecting a long hike up the mountain to find my boy laying in the snow…instead he greeted me at the door holding his wrist, with his face twisted in pain.
One look at his arm and I knew it was broken.
We headed off to the first aid station where they put him in a splint and a sling for the ride to the hospital. Dawn & I traded cars, keys & kids…there was no reason for James, Jordan & Jeremiah to hang out at the ER all night.
You never truly appreciate frost heaves and how bumpy a rural NH road can be unless you’re in labor or have a broken bone. Jonathan & I can both attest to this fact…
As we headed to the hospital, I gave Jonathan the choice, Laconia was closer, but might be very busy so he might have a long wait. Franklin was almost never busy, but was further away. I knew he was in a lot of pain when he elected to go to Laconia. As we walked in the doors I immediately questioned the wisdom of that choice. The waiting room was PACKED and none of the people waiting looked injured…just contagious. The nurse who checked us in took one look at Jonathan and said “Gunstock? Snowboarding?” She recognized the cardboard splint and gauze sling, and apparently they see snowboarders in the ER 4 to1 compared to skiers.
With much trepidation we headed into the waiting room, not wanting to touch anything, or even breathe. Thankfully we had barely sat down when they called Jonathan’s name. A broken bone puts you at the front of the line. The rest of the evening was a blur of x-rays, Doctors, Nurses, IV’s, pain meds, and procedures.
Jonathan had great doctors and male nurses, all of whom were amazed when they found out he was one of seven. At one point before they set his arm, the Dr. asked him how much he liked the shirt he was wearing, Jonathan replied, “It’s one of my favorites”
“Well I guess we better not cut it off you then; besides, I’m guessing you’ve got some little brothers that will need to wear it one day”. It was SO refreshing to meet a doctor who ‘gets it’.
Turns out Jonathan’s break was pretty serious.
A wrist fracture involving both bones, he snapped off the growth plate. One of the bones was still in place, but the broken piece of the other one had slipped over the top of his arm and would require setting. Very seldom has a doctor asked me to leave the room, this was one of those times, and I think I’m glad they did. Jonathan was heavily sedated while they set his arm. When I was allowed back in, he was all wrapped up in a half cast with his eyes at half mast. Thankfully the meds they gave him also had an amnesiac effect. He has no memory of his wrist being set.
As we bundled him up for discharge, his doctor had some parting wisdom, “Good luck, and just to warn you, it’s gonna be really hard to wipe your own butt for a while”
Funny, that’s what the EMT at Gunstock said too!