I thought I would write a blog on something that has seemed to take over much of my last year. It has been exactly a year since I broke my left femur, and 8 months since I broke my right tibial plateau. The second break has been worse than the first, but it hasn’t been all bad. Broken legs is a pretty common injury when it comes to skiing, so I just thought I’d share some things I’ve learnt over the last year, and answer some common questions people have asked me.
Firstly let’s just start by saying, yes it is possible to break both your legs on separate occasions within 4 months of each other, but no I do not believe I got back on my skis too soon after the first break. Every
- Does it even hurt?
Yes essentially it does, but it’s not that bad – I guess mainly because you are in shock/adrenaline/confusion. For the left leg ski patrol were there in I think about 15 minutes – they handed me a ‘green stick’ and told me to puff away. I felt great, and actually remember having a good chat with them all on the way to the medical centre.
For the right leg, the morphine definitely helped.
- Did you know you broke it, did you feel it?
Before I broke my femur I had never fully broken a bone before so I had nothing to compare it to. But, I snapped my femur clean in half, and yes, you definitely know it’s broken.
For the second break, it was a bit more complicated and right by the knee so I really had no idea what I had done, ligaments, bones both, nothing?!
- Crutches – Can I have a go on your crutches, have you learnt any cool tricks? What are they like?
Yes you can have a go, it would be great not to see them for a few minutes (but don’t go too far because I can’t move anywhere without them). And no I haven’t learnt any cool tricks – I struggle to walk on the snow.
Crutches aren’t that bad, maybe if you’d asked me around March sometime I would have thrown the crutch in your face. But that’s the beauty of hindsight.
On a side note – Australia have the retro under the shoulder crutch, the wrist ones are better in my opinion. But the best part – crutches have crampons for the snow! I cannot tell you how helpful that is when you can’t put any weight on one leg. Those crampons gave me a social life.
- Did insurance cover it?
Insurance is VERY helpful. Although my insurance didn’t actually cover me in Australia (a miss understanding between myself and the insurance broker), luckily we have this great deal if you have a UK passport in Australia and need emergency treatment, your covered, and vice versa!
In France – my Carte Neige insurance and EHIC card covered everything.
- What’s hospital like?
Let’s be honest, I spent most of my time asleep, but when I was awake Canberra seemed nice, and had great staff who fed me pizza when I was feeling slightly depressed about my leg situation. Bourg hospital was also nice, slightly less modern than Australia, again, I was asleep a lot, but they were very accommodating considering I didn’t have much medical French to offer. I wouldn’t recommend spending New Years Eve there though, even with the extra chocolate.
- What do you do with your time?
For the first break, it was great because I could use it straight away so I was much more mobile. I was also in Australia with a friend and we planned to do some travelling. He was also injured (Acl & Mcl issues) so we both couldn’t do much, instead we essentially ate and drank our way down the East Coast.
The second break was a little (a lot) slower progress, no weight bearing and living in a high resort meant I couldn’t do a huge amount. Over 3 months on crutches. So what did I do?
Nap. I became a big napper, having never really napped before. It’s amazing!
I also started a lot of series and hardly finished any. Except Narcos. I then went out and spoke about how great it was to anyone who would listen. (Season 2 just came out on Netflix fyi).
I got a colouring book, and three packs of colouring pencils.
I became a lady who lunches.
I played Javelin and Golf with my crutches (it’s essential to play with someone as once the javelin/crutch is thrown you can’t go anywhere).
I went to physio twice a week for 4 months – it really is true what they say. You should do your exercises!
And eventually when I could do a bit more I went ‘gym and swim’. I even tried my first Aqua Aerobics class!
I skied again at the start of July (about 6 months after the second break). It wasn’t pretty, but still. Winter is only 3 months away now so let’s see how that goes!