Sunday, September 19, 2010

Only One Thumb up, Mrs. Bodine

No surprise here, but you will learn what happened to me in the second sentence of this post. Long story short...I broke my femur, pretty bad. I was still in Yellowstone, about to enjoy my first day on the water at Hebgen Lake. I was slalom waterskiing, something I had never done before. I had skied with two skies plenty of times as well as wake boarded. I am a pretty athletic kid and was able to get up on my 3rd or 4th time. It was going pretty well until I decided I was done/let go of the rope and thats when it went bad. But it never looked bad to the onlooker.

The Break. Clean Break about 1/3 of the way
up from my knee. 

Once I hit the water, I instantly knew my leg was broken. Not only did it look broken, it felt broken, gone even. My leg was numb and I instantly knew this was not good. I was laying in freezing cold water, without a wetsuit(which later I would appreciate), and with a slalom ski stuck on my now swollen leg and foot. Mr. and Mrs. Helvey, who were watching me from a jetski came over not know what had happened until I told them. As I remember it, I calmly told Mr. Helvey that I had broken my leg. He sounded shocked and in disbelief, rightfully so. I told him again that my leg was broken and then stuff began to happen. The boat circled around and pulled up right next to me. In the commotion, the jetski got caught in my rope, leaving the jetski useless, for now. We left the jetski in the water to float to shore and retrieve, which I assume made it there. They pulled me onto the boat, got off the ski, which took a while because my foot had already swollen up. Mrs. Helvey and Mrs. Bodine huddled around me to keep me warm as we raced to the dock.

Before the accident -- I remember Mrs. Bodine asking me how much fun I was having on the boat, and she stuck up two thumbs, I did not say anything but did the same back giving her my smile. As we were riding back to the dock she jokingly asked me if i was still having fun and I said I was but only one thumbs worth. ;) I think she smiled. I did.

Once we got to the dock, they got me straight onto a pool chair and board to act like a gurney. They carried me up the flight of stairs and into the back of the Helvey's SUV. They loaded me in and everyone gathered around me. We prayed, and Mr. Helvey and Mr. Bodine blessed me. I vividly remember Maddie holding my hand and telling me that I would be ok. This was very good to hear. I remember Cam crying, or maybe I wasn't seeing clearly(I don't know if he would admit that today ;)).

A lady who lived in the cabin next to us happened to be an ER nurse. I am sorry for my language, but she scared the hell out of me. She was asking for rope, or bungie cords or something of the like. I was well aware of what that meant. I am an Eagle Scout as were most of the men there. I took Emergency Preparedness, and lets just say, I was not prepared for all of this. I will just cut to the chase and say, luckily she did not have to use them, but the entire time we were on that dirt path from the cabin by the lake to the freeway, I was afraid that she would whip them out any second.

I have never been so happy to see red and blue flashing lights and a siren. These lights are normally associated with traffic tickets, something I have received, once for speeding, and once for being on my cell phone(something most of your won't be surprised about ;-)). Ok, we arrive at the freeway right when the ambulance arrives. Irene, the paramedic is very calm and cute too. Major bonus points for the fire department in West Yellowstone, haha! Hi Irene! They put me on morphine, and quickly realize they can't find the pulse in my leg. This is not good. But is to be expected after breaking the femur. They put my leg into traction(which is where they pull the leg to straighten it out). After doing so they were able to get my pulse and put my leg into a soft, inflatable cast as to keep it in traction.

They load me into the ambulance and now we are off to the races! The ambulance races to the hospital in Rexburg, Idaho about an hour and a half away if driving the normal speed limit of 65 mph. I was later told we got there in about 30-40 minutes going 90 mph. Mrs. Helvey had to call Mr. Helvey and tell him that he could not follow that fast, even though we all know he is capable of it. :)

This kind of gives you an idea of how far West 
Yellowstone, Montana is from Rexburg, Idaho.

Thats going at the speed-limit.

After arriving at the hospital, I was kind of going in and out. I don't remember getting from the ambulance to inside the hospital. But I do remember getting my leg taken out of traction and then being re-set so that the ambulance could have their own traction cast back. I don't remember getting an xray of my leg, but I remember taking a picture of the xray and tweeting it to my followers which started off a frenzy. The last thing I remember before waking up after surgery was asking the doctor if it was ok if I took a nap. I remember asking multiple times, saying, "are you sure?". I am not sure why I kept asking. The next thing I know I am awake in my private room with Mr. and Mrs. Helvey and my leg has been set with a rod the length of my femur, 3 screws(2 at my knee and 1 at my hip), and 28 external staples, with a number of internal stitches as well. Oh, and did I mention that this day, August 9th was my Dad's birthday.

Here is my femur rodded. Like I said, 1 screw at the hip
and 2 at the knee. You can see where I broke it
 at that little black/ghostly chip.

Here is my leg in traction after surgery..
notice the weight at the end of the bed.

The next day my parents had arranged to fly from where we live to Salt Lake City, Utah and then take a shuttle to Rexburg where they would come stay at the hospital with me while I recovered. At first, I was not excited about this at all. I was hoping I would be able to go back to West Yellowstone and see Maddie in Beauty and the Beast too! Of course, this was not realistic, but for some reason I kept thinking I would be able to leave and catch the show and enjoy Yellowstone some more. In the end, it was the best that my parents came to stay with me.

The Helveys and Bodines got the cast to sign the 
Playbill for me! :-)
We have connections!

My accident occurred on a Monday, and I think it was Wednesday or Thursday, that I was supposed to leave the hospital. For whatever reason, and to this day the doctors are not sure about, my blood oxygen level dropped into the low 40s(it is supposed to be 100 or high 90s) and my heart rate shot up. This put the nurse into panic mode, and it brought a whole new group of doctors into the room. Cardic -surgeons or something like that. They gave me a cat-scan(CT Scan) of my chest to see if there were any blood clots in my lungs. The x-rays came back negative which was a great relief for us all. The rest of my stay which was extended two or three days depending on what day this occurred(can't remember), the doctors had me hooked up to an EKG, which is an electrocardiogram. It remotely monitors my vitals and such. They had to place these little sticky circles all over my chest, which was kind of a problem for a guy with some hair on his chest. So they had to shave squares all over my chest so they could get a good connection. Oh, by the way, my whole left leg was entirely shaved for surgery, its a very nice feeling, but not something I would want to do on a normal basis. You ladies and male swimmers/bikers can keep that one for yourselves. ;)

Also sometime during my stay in the hospital the a mixture of Helveys/Bodines came to visit twice, as well as Mrs. Helveys parents! It was great to have some visitors in the hospital. I also wanted to say, I loved my nurses, specifically, Brooke. :)

Jenn, Mallory, Myself, Cam, and Kyle. Of course 
Cam and Kyle take my bed, jeez! ;)

So, the day I was to return to Boulder, Colorado for my Sophomore year of college, I would return home, back to the Bay Area. We later decided that it would be best for me to stay home this semester and get my leg back 100%. During this time, I will be taking 3 online classes and doing physical therapy everyday.(I am sure I will be updating more).

Cam, Myself, and Kyle

AND I just wanted to thank everyone for all the support! You are all fantastic! Especially, the Helveys, the Bodines, and my parents, oh and Gina too. <3


  1. Yikes! Glad you are on the road to being 100% again. You had all of your twitter friends worried.

  2. vince.

    im glad you vividly remember me holding your hand.
    this is quite the post!
    how are you doing?

  3. thanks maddie! im doing well. finally off crutches!! :)