I live a life of extremes. Extreme joy, inexplicable happiness, I have lived out my wildest dreams, regularly, I get to do what I’m passionate about for my job. I often feel like the luckiest girl on the planet. However, with all that fire comes the ice. The danger is real and the consequences can be heavy, I have been recently faced with the hardest physical hit I’ve ever taken. And I lucked out, should have been a lot worse, I’ve seen worse, had friends go through worse, but I’m still here. Here is what happened.
Fire and Ice- Suz Graham Injury Report
On Feb 14th I had a really bad, and really scary skiing accident while filming with my ski company, Fischer in British Columbia, I impacted the uphill side of a boulder after skiing off a cliff, pretty much just like hitting a stone wall going 40 mph. I ended up breaking my leg- a compound fracture in my tib/fib- my fibula, the smaller bone in your lower leg was sticking out the back of my calf!- some broken ribs, a massive contusion on my hip, mild concussion, and lots of other bumps and bruises. I am a lucky, lucky girl considering how bad my crash was. It should have been a lot worse but for the second time in the past few months someone was watching over me. (I rolled my car and ended up upside down in a river in December!)
I was transported by helicopter to a hospital in Revelstoke, where unfortunately they couldn’t treat the severity of my injuries, so I was then flown in a little fixed wing plane down to Vernon, where I was rushed into surgery that evening. I was on a backboard for 6 hours after the accident, and didn’t have any kind of pain killers until I arrived in the first hospital 4 hours after it happened. They used a bone saw to cut my ski boots off, put a rod in my Tibia, and set my fibula back into place. I then spent the next 4 days alone in the hospital- where I had to share a room with 3 other men, only separated by sheets hanging from the ceiling, no phone, no internet, and no TV. Oh, I was in a C-Collar neck brace for 3 days straight so all I could look at was the ceiling anyway. Socialized healthcare is a different world… since you aren’t a customer up there, “customer service” doesn’t exist either. Going to the hospital is like going to the DMV, take a number, sit around and wait, and you get what we give you.
Thankfully, 5 days after my accident, I was able to fly back to the states, a miserable day of traveling, but I just needed to be home. My team manager from Fischer, Matt, and some other teammates got my 130 lbs of luggage checked in and sent me on my way.
As soon as I got home, I called my orthopedic doctor here, Dr Charley Marshall, who is amazing. (The surgeon up in Canada said all I had to do was go to an instacare to get my stitches out, no follow ups, no physical therapy, nothing…) But I just needed my doctor who I trusted to take a look and tell me a little more about what was going on, and get his opinion. The moment he pulled my new x-rays up on the screen he just started shaking his head. Said something along the lines of “I hate to say this, but this isn’t great. You can clearly see as well, there is a 1.5 cm gap and the bones aren’t alligned…” We had to do something about it because if we left it how it is, I would have been out for a year at least, if it healed at all. I wouldn’t have skied next season either… My doctor got a bunch of opinions from other ortho’s and a few days later we decided our only choice was to completely redo the surgery. I was scared of another big surgery so soon, and it’s so much trauma to my leg… but I was prepared to do whatever it took. I’m just so fortunate to have a phenomenal surgeon who truly went above and beyond to get my leg fixed up perfectly. Dr. Marshall, I can’t thank you enough, I owe you everything.
My second surgery went really well, and my awesome surgeon even wore a GoPro, so get excited for some sweet surgery footage. It’s super bloody and gnarly and awesome. I spent another few days in the hospital here, and now I’m back home and finally on the road to healing!
Here is a comparison of my first surgery and my second. The one on the left in the surgery I recieved in Canada. The one on the right is the surgery I had done here. Big difference huh?
Here is a photo of the first rod that was put in my leg in Canada. There is a similar one in there now.
Hey look, I’m even a big deal when I’m broken. Ha! Good think I hadn’t showered in 6 days… cute.
My ski boot after they used a bone saw to cut it off.
So what now? I had a busy season lined up, and am super bummed to be missing out on the rest of the winter. But hey, it’s all right, season enders are by no means career enders. I’m sitting on a large pile of footage right now too from the past few months so expect some cool edits popping up. I have some projects to keep me busy as well. Plus, I’ll be back in no time! I’ll be blogging regularly (now that I’m out of a drug induced in and out of hospital haze…) about my recovery and I’ll try to keep it interesting!