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***THIS STORY IS FICTION. PLEASE DO NOT THINK IT IS REAL!***
Chapter 1 – The Accident
A couple of years ago I had the perfect winter vacation planed. I was 14 at the time and my family and I were going to Colorado and going skiing for a week. I even got to bring my friend Mike along. We were renting a cabin in the woods. The day of the trip I was so psyched! It was going to be my first time on an airplane! Everything went fine on the way over, except for a little turbulence. I almost pissed my pants during that. When we got to the cabin I was amazed. The place was huge! Everybody got their own room. We were all tired from the trip so we ate and went to bed. The next day we would go skiing. The only person not skiing was my mom because she didn’t want to hurt her back, but she came along and watched everybody. The place wasn’t that busy, which surprised me. We all had to pass a test and I passed with flying colors. My friend Mike had to try it a few times but he got it. About half way through the third day Mike and I had the idiotic idea to go down a double black diamond. Even though I passed the test good, that doesn’t mean I’m the best skier. Ok Skier + Double black diamond = BIG TROUBLE! We started off ok, but then Mike accidentally sped up and got ahead of me. In result, I tried to catch up and ran into him. We tumbled about 2/3 of the way down the hill. On the way down I heard a lot of weird snapping and cracking. I thought I would never feel the pain in my body that I did. I looked over at Mike. We both said, "OW!" and passed out.
Chapter 2 – What Happened to Me
We woke up in the hospital, side by side in beds. Mike woke up before me. He was already watching TV. I felt really dizzy. I saw Mike was awake and watching TV.
“What happened to us?” I asked.
He answered, “Don’t you remember the ski accident?”
It all came back to me. We had tumbled down the hill and I had heard a lot of really weird breaking. I remember we stopped and we both said “OW!” It was at this time I glanced down at my body. Both of my legs were covered in elastic bandages and padding. The bandages also came up around my waist and middle torso. I tried to touch myself when I felt a very sharp pain in arm. I tried to look over but I couldn’t move my neck. I figured I had bandages on my arm too and something restraining my neck. Again I felt very dizzy.
“Are you ok man? Ok stupid question. I mean you look like you’re going to throw up!” Mike said.
I almost did too, except I passed out instead. I woke up about 5 minutes later with a nurse standing over me.
“Brandon? Brandon? Brandon can you hear me?” said the nurse.
I said yes.
She said, “You’ve had a rough few days. Let me tell you what happened.”
What she told me I almost couldn’t believe. She said that when we fell down the hill we had both broken a lot of bones. I had somehow broken both my ankles in the ski boots, broken both the tibia and fibula in several places on my right leg, broken the fibula in many places and cracked the tibia in my left leg. In my right leg I had also broken the femur and broken both my hips. I had broken a total of 4 ribs; 3 on the left side, 1 on the right. My neck was broken too. I had broken my hand, thumb, all fingers, the radius and ulna in two places each, and my upper arm on the right arm. I had dislocated my shoulder on the left arm, broken my elbow, two bones in my hand and my thumb. She also said that tomorrow I would be placed in a cast. She explained that because I broke so many so many bones in certain places, that I would probably be put in a type of body cast. This body cast would start at my feet, covering them totally excluding the toes unless I wanted the toes covered. The cast would completely cover my legs and come up over the hips, covering the torso. The cast would continue covering my whole torso, casting the neck coming down the shoulders, arms, and covering the fingers and thumb seeing they were also broken. She said on the left arm they might leave the fingers un-casted, but I complained that they hurt. She checked them over and figured they were probably also broken. So I would be put in a full blown body cast, everything but the head. Great right? WRONG!
Chapter 3 _ What I Would Get
I couldn’t believe this. I had been interested in casts for a few years and dreamed of having a cast, but not like this. I was going to be in a freekin body cast! The nurse said I would be in a cast like this for at least 8 weeks. I would be laid up, not being able to sit up, bored and stiff for at least 8 weeks, probably longer. After that I would be in 2 long leg casts and 2 long arm casts, this time covering only my thumb and hand, not fingers, but after 2 weeks the cast would be taken off my left arm but have a type of elbow brace on. I would also have a halo brace on. After a period of 6 weeks, I would get new casts. This time I would have a long leg cast on my right leg, short leg cast on the left, and either a type of long arm brace or cast on my arm and the brace would be removed off my left arm after 4 weeks and that would be it for the left arm. The brace would also be removed from my neck. I would still be casted after 4 weeks of that but only the right leg which would then probably be reduced to a short leg cast. I would have something called a CAM walker of my left leg then but I could take it off. My right arm would be in a short arm cast then after that time would tell, but I was looking at least 6 months in casts and braces. “Great” I thought. Just what I always wanted, turned into something bad, but at least I would have Mike to talk to…
Chapter 4 – Mike’s Injuries
Mike wasn’t in much better shape than I was. He broke both of his ankles like me. He broke both his tibias and fibulas in several places, although the left leg was worse. He didn’t break either of his femurs but did break both hips. He broke both of his arms in several places too. On the left arm he broke his wrist, thumb, all fingers, the radius in 3 places and the ulna in 2 places. On the right arm he broke his wrist, thumb, all fingers, the radius in 4 places and the ulna in 3 places, and broke his elbow. On either arm he didn’t break anything above the elbow. Like me, he would also be in casts/braces for at least 6 months.
For the first 8 weeks he would be in a body cast similar to the one I would be in except his wouldn’t go over the shoulder, although they were debating going over the right shoulder, so his arms would be in two long arm casts. If they did decide to put the cast over his shoulder, they probably would put it over the left shoulder too seeing he would only be able to move his shoulder anyway. After that he would be in 2 long leg casts, and if they put the body cast over the shoulders, he would be changed to 2 long arm casts, otherwise his casts would just be changed to another set of long arm casts. That would last about another 4-6 weeks and after that it was hard to tell.
Mike said that his neck hurt when he moved it. After undergoing more x-rays, it was discovered that he did have 1 vertebra broken in his neck. He was given a halo brace for the time, and it was decided that because of this, he would be put in a full body cast like me. Tomorrow we would get our casts. We would have to pick our colors before hand because they were going to give us sleeping gas because of the pain of setting the bones. All I really cared about then though, was when I got to go home, and in 6 months when I would be free of casts and braces. Oh well, I thought, I guess I’ll have to deal with it. I have always liked casts, maybe I’ll enjoy this one……..
Chapter 5 – Family Time
It turned out that we’d been in the hospital for 3 days. Tomorrow, our body casts would be applied. Mike seemed kind of scared but I couldn’t really tell. The nurse said her name was Jenny.
THE REST OF THIS CHAPTER HAPPENED WHILE MIKE WAS GETTING X-RAYS ON HIS NECK!
I told her I wanted to see my parents.
“Oh yes of course. I’m sorry, I’ve been sitting telling you about all this and I completely forgot about them. I’ll go get them for you.”
Apparently Mike’s Mom flew in right away. She was a little upset with my parents but they didn’t blame them for what happened. The first person that walked in the room was my mom.
“Brandon, It’s so good to see you out of your coma,” I guess that’s what she called my earlier condition. “But I’m not happy to see you like this.” What she was referring to was my current body look.
“You mean you don’t like new fashion? It’s all the rave on the ski hills.” I tried putting some humor into the situation.
She just ran over and hugged me.
“Mom! Stop! OwOwOwwwwwww!” I immediately felt pain everywhere in my body. Well more than I was.
“Oh I’m so sorry honey. It’s just I wanted to hug you and touch you. They wouldn’t let me touch you for the last 3 days.” She started crying. It was at this time my step-dad and half brother came in. They didn’t say anything.
“It’s ok mom, just don’t do it again until after my body cast is on.”
“Body Cast?” said both my mom and step-dad.
“Umm, yeah, didn’t the nurse tell you about our casts?”
“Well Jenny said that you would be casted but she didn’t say what. What kind of body cast will this be Jenny?” (She was also in the room now.)
“Oh sorry for not telling you two. He will actually be in a full body cast for at least 8 weeks, probably more. It will be everything but the head. His neck will be casted too along with his fingers. It’s up to him about the toes.”
My mom fainted. I heard 3 loud SNAPs! It sounded like the snapping on the way down the hill. A cold chill ran down my body. I tried to look at my mom but I couldn’t move.
“Honey? Honey? Come on Kay wake up”. Said my step-dad.
She stirred. The nurse called for a stretcher. They lifted her up and I could see her left arm dangling. She woke up.
“I’m here honey”
“It’s my arm, it hurts so much.”
The nurse looked at me. She didn’t even have to say it. I already knew. My mom had broken her arm. Some techs wheeled her out for x-rays. Mark went with her. She was so tough. She didn’t even cry. Neither did I but I was also passed out at the time. Mike was wheeled back in. I saw his neck in a halo brace and I said, “Oh you too?” We just laughed.
Chapter 6 – The Colors
My mom had broken her arm in 3 places. The radius and ulna right above her wrist and the radius mid way up her arm. Her cast would be applied back in Minnesota but for now she had a sling and a splint. Mike’s mom was back at our motel but came back a couple hours later. Before she got back we both fell asleep. I woke up about 10 minutes before Mike did. His mom was in the room. Jenny filled her in about his neck and the cast. She didn’t faint like my mom but did go bonkers for a couple minutes. When Mike woke up she was right by his side.
“Hi honey, how are you feeling?”
“Mom, hi! I didn’t know you were here. It’s so good to see you. I’m feeling ok considering. I know you probably want to hug me but please don’t, you can ask Brandon, he’ll tell ya.” I just laughed.
My mom and Mark went back to the hotel. (They had gotten a hotel because it was closer than the cabin to the hospital.)
Jenny said they wanted to apply the casts right away tomorrow morning so we should pick out our colors for the casts tonight. They had quite a selection. They had white, cream, yellow, blue, light blue, red orange, pink, purple, black, green, bright green, maroon, and glow in the dark. I decided to make it look like I was wearing pants, a t-shirt, and shoes. I decided to include my toes in the cast also. My mom didn’t have any say in what I chose for my cast because she wasn’t there. For my feet I chose white. My legs and waist would be representing pants so I went with black. My torso would be a t-shirt and I went with red. It would cover my whole torso, not the neck but the upper arms almost down to the elbows. The rest of arms and my hands and fingers would be glow in the dark and went with white for the neck because I thought glow in the dark would keep me awake because it was right by my head.
Mike decided to go with a summer look. He would have shorts, shoes, and a t-shirt. He decided to cover his toes also. He would have black feet, and would go up just above the ankles representing shoes. He would then have white on his lower leg and knee. He chose blue for the shorts look and that would extend to just above the knee and cover the waist. For his t-shirt look he chose bright green. That would cover his torso, not neck but the upper arms to just above the elbows. The rest of his arms, hands, fingers, and neck would be white. Jenny said she had never seen anyone do something like this with our casts and thought it was very funny. I just said, “Hey, we’ve gotta do something to try and be fun.” After we hate, or rather were spoon fed, we drifted off to sleep. To morrow would be a new day, and a new look.
Chapter 7 – Count Back From 100
We woke up at about 9:00. Both our parents were there. They wanted to see us before we were given our new hard wear. My brother was there too. He said he was mad at me because I had ruined his vacation. He did say get well too. We wouldn’t tell our parents what we chose for our casts and it really bugged them. We knew they would make us change it if they found out. We were wheeled into the casting room. We were also told that in two days we would be flown back to Minnesota. The doctors there were really nice and showed us all their equipment and the casting supplies. I was getting excited. Mike had told me that he was actually excited to get his cast and that he was into casts. I told him I was too and we were both shocked, yet happy. One of the doctors told us that in about 4 weeks the casts would be changed back in Minnesota. This was to get clean and “air out”. These mask type things were placed over our nose and mouth. We were told to relax, breath normal, and count back from 100. We did as we were told.
“100, 99, 98, 97, 96, 95,” I was becoming very relaxed and sleepy, “94, 93, 92, 91, 90, eighty nine, eighty eight,” I could feel the halo brace and ace wraps coming off. “Eighty seven, eight y six, ei ght y fi,” I was out.
Chapter 8 – Waking Up
I woke very slowly and very groggy. It probably took me about 20 minutes to completely wake up. I felt something soft, yet hard on the back of my head and around the top. I tried to touch it to find out what it was but my arms didn’t comply. I tired again…no response. I tried to sit up, but again no response. I was becoming very panicky. Now I tried to move my legs, but nothing happened and all of a sudden I felt the soft-hard feeling again this over my whole body. I freaked out. “MOM! MOM! HELP! WHAT’S GOING ON? I CAN’T MOVE!” I heard foot steps.
“Brandon calm down. You’re ok. This is normal, let me explain this too you.”
“EXPLAIN WHAT!? I CAN’T MOVE FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! By the way, WHO ARE YOU AND WHERE AM I!?”
“Brandon, just clam down. You don’t remember the last couple days but you will in a minute. I’m your nurse, Jenny and you’re in a hospital in Denver, Colorado.” You were in a skiing accident with your friend Mike, and you both wound up here. Please try to be a little quieter so you don’t wake Mike up. Do you remember any of this?”
“Hey don’t mind me, I’ve been awake for about a while now. I just don’t know how long since I can’t move either.”
“O, good afternoon Mike, I didn’t realize you were awake.”
I started to remember. Then I suddenly remembered it all. “I’m sorry I freaked out, I just forgot for a little while.”
“That’s ok. It’s very normal for this happen. So how do your casts feel?”
“Well umm, ok I guess. It feels soft yet hard. I’m really trying to move but nothing happens. It’s really strange,” I said
“Yeah me too,” said Mike, “I know we have body casts on but what’s the feeling behind and around the top of my head? It feels like the cast.”
“Oh yes, that. The doctor decided to put the cast behind the head and around the top your heads because it gives more stability. The muscles in your neck might start to hurt if that wasn’t there. So your heads are also casted. All we see of you is your face and your ears.”
“Oh goodie, all the more cast. Yea.”
“So what do we look like? I want to see my cast,” Mike said.
“OH, hold on, I’ll go get a camera, you’ll be able to see yourselves in about 10 minutes. Hold on, don’t move.”
“Like we’re really going to walk off,” I said.
I was getting excited to see my cast. I wanted to see myself, and I especially wanted to see my head. I may ask for a different color to be applied to my head and neck now that I’m totally covered. Mike said the same thing since he also had white. We would have to wait and see. I wondered where my parents were. I wanted to see them. I wish I had a button I could press. Then again, I can’t move!
Chapter 9 – More Color
The nurse came back in. She had one of those cameras where you could see the picture about 5 minutes after it was taken. She showed me mine first. I thought I looked really weird considering. My feet looked like casts that you would see in cartoons because I chose to have my feet covered also except you could see the very tips of my toes in the cast. I didn’t realize the black would be so black. I noticed I had a couple machines hooked up to me so I could go to the bathroom. I liked my torso. The red looked really cool, and the glow in the dark looked like white, maybe a little different. The casts on my arms came all the way up past my fingertips, but you could still see the very tips of my fingers if you looked directly down. My neck and head actually didn’t look too bad. White looked ok. I actually looked kind of bald. It was really weird seeing only my face. You could see a little of my hair by my ears but not much. The cast came almost all the way to my eye brows. I was a little hard to talk. I thought I looked ok. I decided that my neck looked fine, but I wanted to make my so called hair look a little wild. I told the nurse that I wanted some different colors applied to my head. She asked what I had in mind and I told her. I wanted 3 strips of color running down my head; bright green on one side, orange in the middle, and blue on the other side. She thought it was funny, agreed, and went to get the colors and a couple techs to get me and mike up so she could put our colors on. Mike said that he wanted to be different. He decided he wanted to have black “hair” and an orange Mohawk. The nurse came back with 2 techs and some casting stuff. She said she would do me first. I switched my colors to have bright green in the middle and orange on the other side since mike was having orange in the middle. The 2 techs carefully lifted me upright, careful of my machines. The nurse dipped the blue in warm water, squeezed it out, then put strips of color on the right side of my head. Next was the green. She repeated the process, this time on the center of my head. Now for the orange. She first measured out how much she would use on me because she would use some on Mike too. She repeated the same process on the left side of my head. My head was now done. The techs put me down and went over and did Mike’s new head colors. They left us to chat seeing that was all we could do. I wondered how long 8 weeks was going to be. I didn’t want to think about that now. Now my mom walked in. She broke down in laughter as soon as she saw us.
“Finally,” I said, “A smile on your face!”
Chapter 10 – Going Home
The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. My mom and Mike’s mom said they liked our look. We got to go home tomorrow. I was so happy. My mom asked if she could get her cast applied before we left because she didn’t want anything to happen to it. She came back 20 minutes later with a white long arm cast on her left arm. I told my mom she was boring. She really didn’t care. We all went to bed. Tomorrow we would go home.
I woke up around 7:30 the next morning. Mike was already awake and our parents were already there. We found out then where we would be going. We were being transferred to Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids, MN. I told my mom I couldn’t wait to be home. She told me I wouldn’t actually be going home. Mike and I would have to stay at the hospital so we could be monitored. We were really bummed. I missed my cats and my dog…and my BED. This was our 6th day in the hospital. Only one of us could go at a time because we were so heavy and we were being brought back in a helicopter. I told Mike he could go first. There would actually be 2 helicopters, the 2nd one leaving Denver 1 hour after the first one. Mike’s mom and my brother went with Mike. “Bye Mike!”
1 hour later my mom, step-dad, and I took off from Denver. It took us about 3 hours to get to Coon Rapids. When we got off the helicopter the temperature was about 18OF. I didn’t get cold except for on my face. I guess the cast really worked against cold too. The hospital already had a room set up for us. I guess my step-dad or somebody called our school and let them know what happened because there were tons of flowers and cards and stuff in the room. A little while after we were settled in someone walked in the room.
“Hi guys, how are we feeling today?”
I recognized the voice immediately. It was someone who I had completely forgotten about. My girlfriend.
Chapter 11 – More Surgery Means More Cast
I couldn’t believe it. I’ve been going out with Sarah for six months and over the last week, I had forgotten about her. All of a sudden I wanted my face to be covered with the cast.
“Hi Sarah!” I said.
Mike didn’t really know her that well and didn’t recognize her at first.
“Oh Brandon how are you feeling?”
“Umm, ok I guess considering. My jaw and mouth are starting to hurt though. I don’t think I’m supposed to be talking a lot.”
“You, Talk too much? Never!” Sarah said sarcastically.
Sarah stayed for about another half an hour then the drugs kicked in again and I felt really tired so she left. She gave me a kiss before she left.
2 weeks went by with Sarah stopping by every day to check on us. It was time for x-rays again and I was glad because my neck had been hurting a little the last week. I went first. It took a while to get x-rays on everything. A while after we were done our doctor came in to give us the results. I had them focus a lot on my neck to be careful. I didn’t want them to miss anything. What they found I was not happy with. My neck was not healing properly. In fact, it wasn’t healing at all. They were going to run some tests and then if they had to, go into surgery to fix it. There was another thing wrong. I right fibula had not been set properly and was now healing wrongly. They knew right away that they had to go in and re-break the bone.
It ended up being that they would have to do surgery on both my neck and my leg. Mike turned out fine. I would go into surgery the next day. They have to cut the cast off of my right leg and my head down to the shoulders to be able to fix it. They would then reapply and reattach the casts after the surgery.
The next morning at 9:00 I was wheeled into the operating room. Once again the mask was placed on my mouth and nose and I counted back from 100. I heard I weird sawing noise as I drifted off into sleep.
I snapped awake all of a sudden. This time I remembered what had happened. I tried to talk to mike but couldn’t move my mouth. I then felt something running down my throat and taped to my mouth. Also I noticed the soft hard feeling on my face. I became very worried. A nurse came to check on me and saw that I was awake. She told me what had happened. The doctors wanted more stability on my head so I wouldn’t disrupt my neck. They had completely covered my head with the cast so I couldn’t talk. She told me I had holes for my eyes and my mouth and that was it. She told me that had also had a tube running down my throat to help me breath. I also had food automatically given to me. I would be in this state for about 3 weeks. After that my whole body cast would be changed. That was a week later than originally planned. They had used plain white fiberglass on my leg and head.
This was great. I was completely covered in a cast from head to toe, I can’t talk, I can’t breath on my own, I can barley see, and I have to use a 1 blink yes and 2 blink no system. Great. Hopefully this would only last for 3 weeks! At this point, I thought Mike was lucky.
Chapter 12 –NEW CASTS!
The next 3 weeks went by. I slept most of the time since I couldn’t do anything else. The doctors gave the OK to remove the respirator about 2 weeks later. I still couldn’t talk though. That wasn’t cool. I like to talk. A LOT!
Sarah came by a couple days a week. She couldn’t make it to be there every day which was fine. I understood. We were in our freshman year of high school so she was pretty busy. Mike didn’t really do much. He didn’t bother talking to me because he there was no point. He did complain a lot though. I would have too if I could have.
Finally the day came that our casts would change. I was happy! I wanted to talk! Removing the casts took about an hour and 15 minutes. Mike went before I did. They didn’t apply the new casts right away though. I had to do x-rays first. While I was not in casts, I was still immobile. They had all sorts of various braces on me so I wouldn’t move. They also had this diaper thing on me because I couldn’t be hooked up to a catheter while they were moving me around. That did not feel good. I actually had to go during that time. NOT FUN! I felt like a baby during that.
When the X-rays came back, I got some good news. I wouldn’t be placed in a full body cast! I would be put in something called a double hip spica. My ribs and hips were pretty much healed, but my legs were still healing. So It would cover my legs, chest, and because of my neck injury, my neck too. My right arm would be put in a long arm cast. It would go above my elbow and up to my armpit. My fingers and thumb were ok now, but my hand was healing slowly, so it would go above the first set of knuckles on my fingers and entire thumb for that reason. The same type of cast would be put on my left arm except it would barley come above my elbow so I could move it a little bit, but I still wouldn’t be able to move it all for a few days because it had been locked for 9 1/2 weeks. These casts would be done in plaster not fiberglass, because it was cheaper. It would also be a lot thicker and hotter……and itchier. So the room would be a little cooler. My legs would be bent at a 45 degree angle. And I decided to cover my toes again. This time though because of the thickness of the plaster, it would have a hole at the top, but I wouldn’t be able to feel it, so it was ok. But one thing that was the same as last time…. I had to go to sleep. 100…99…97…..
Chapter 13 – Freedom (Somewhat)
When I awoke, it was very sudden. I noticed right away something was different. Actually many things were different. I guess the doctor changed his mind about some things. First thing, they didn’t use plaster. They just used white fiberglass. This was just fine with me. Also, I wasn’t lying straight. I was somewhat sitting in my double hip spica. What changed about the spica was it didn’t go up around my neck. It came up to about 5 inches below the armpits. This was surprising to me. But, my neck was not free. I could feel some sort of brace around it. I couldn’t see though seeing as it was on my neck. I couldn’t move my arms yet because the body cast had locked my shoulders for so long, but I could still see some and feel the casts. My right arm they had left as they said it was. The cast went up to my armpit. It covered my fingers to the second set of knuckles and my full thumb. My left arm though did not have a cast on at all. I had on this weird brace thing. It too came up to my elbow, and covered my arm and hand like a normal long arm cast would. I would need to ask the doctor about this. This reminded me that I should be able to talk now. I moved my jaw around. It was a little sore, but I could move it. The first thing tried to say was “Mike.” Amazingly, I talked! Something else, Mike responed.
“You awake?” He asked?
“DUH! O my god this feels good! I can finally talk! Thank God!“
“Glad you can finally communicate with me.”
We talked for a while. He had been put in 2 long leg casts. On his left arm he had a short arm cast and a long arm cast on his right arm. In a little while the nurse came in. We asked her for the doctor and she went to go get him. He said that he had decided to not have my spica come up around my neck. Apparently I would be in the spica for 2 to 3 months and he didn’t want my neck immobilized that long. So I would have the brace for about a month. My left arm was healing pretty quickly, so this brace would be worn for a while. The elbow part has the capabilities to be locked at different angles. About every week they would change the angle. My right arm would have this brace in 6 weeks. That is how long I would be in that cast. Mike would be in his sac for 4-6 weeks, the he would be done with casts on that arm. His lac would stay on for 6-8 weeks, then have a brace like mine. He would have his 2 long leg casts for maybe 2 months, but time would tell. A therapist would be coming in everyday to help us get back the use of our uncasted joints every day from now on. Goodie. That’s all I have to say.
***TO BE CONTINUED***
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