|my quad squad|
He quickly spotted the terrain park with a half-pipe and jumps and wanted to try it. I had to make a decision. He was very passionate about wanting to check it out, and I decided to let him, because I knew that if the jumps looked too big, we could ski around them.
He successfully made it down twice on our first trip, once with Tim and once with me. The jumps are pretty big, but I was happy to see that he slowed himself down at the top of each one so that he just got a little bit of air.
I might refer to Reed as a "wild-child" or say that he "has no fear," but those phrases actually over-simplify him. He is not fearless, and he does have control, and he does have some limits when he's snowboarding. I very proudly watched him tackle these obstacles with both bravery and good sense.
--he wanted to snowboard without a jacket because he noticed some older snowboarders wearing hooded sweatshirts.
--he wanted to go back to the terrain park and try the half-pipe and the jumps again.
|It was almost 40 degrees and sunny, so no jacket for Reed.|
|such a beautiful day in the mountains.|
After about our 4th run, we decided to head to the terrain park and then break for lunch. Skyler went down a different trail (thank God) with the Carvers, and Reed and I dropped into the half pipe.
He did a few little turns in there, and did great. The next section, below the half pipe, has 4 jumps. He took the first two slowly, not much air, with sloppy landings. Third jump, a little more air and landed it perfectly. I saw him pump his fists in the air and I shouted at him that next time, I'd get out my phone to get video.
On the 4th jump, he got a little too much air and went flying.
Too much speed. Too much confidence. My brave boy in the air, blue blue sky in front of him; if only I could hit the pause button just there and we could reflect together on the price of being over confident...
I watched to see if he could pull off that landing, but he disappeared behind the jump. He landed flat on his back right under the jump, and wasn't moving. I got to him quickly and was frantic to get him out of the way, because we were both now out of view of the snowboarders flying down toward us, and I thought someone would land right on him.
He was gasping for air and crying but not able to move. "Is he hurt?" someone shouted. There were 3 or 4 people standing to the side of the jump. I said: "Nope! Just looks like he got the wind knocked out of him." I leaned over him and said, "you're okay! you're okay!" I got someone to help me drag him over to the side of the jump, and just in time to avoid a flying snowboarder coming right toward us.
People started to gather and look. "He's fine! Just scared"! I must have sounded like a crazy woman, insisting to everyone who asked, that he was okay, while he was flat on his back, crying and not moving. Meanwhile, he could barely get a breath and he was gasping. He said to me: "I can't get down from here. But I want to go inside." I kissed the tears off of his cheeks. "You're going to be FINE."
Someone radioed the ski patrol and time contracted, so next thing I know ski patrol was there, asking Reed questions, doing an exam, taking vitals, calling for back up on the radio, referring to spinal injury, possible fracture: "8-year-old boy. Code 3." (I have since learned that Code 3 means "serious injury/ fracture.)
At this moment I told myself that I could not panic. As an already anxious person, not panicking was a near impossible feat. I started to cry but I stopped myself. Reed was right there, hearing my voice, and hearing the way I was answering questions. "Are you mom?" Can you describe what happened?" I knew that his state of mind was inexorably linked to mine, so I somehow was able to remain calm and made sure my voice was clear.
This brave boy needed a brave mama.
I next had to bring Suzanne and Sandi into the loop. They were skiing with Skyler, knowing Skyler would freak if she knew how bad this was. I wanted to keep her calm so that she would be okay staying at the mountain while I would, as was becoming increasingly clear, ride in the ambulance to the hospital with Reed.
The first text was me still in denial. But when I read the rest of these texts, I think: how did I manage to do that? My hands were shaking as I typed these.
I skied down behind Reed on the ski patrol toboggan. Halfway down, the ski patrol stopped to check on Reed, and he then turned around and looked at me and said: "You're doing a terrific job, mom." We watched all the concerned faces and parting crowds as we made our way past the lodge and down into the clinic.
Sandi, our dear friend and favorite nurse, met us at the clinic and was standing there waiting for us when they brought Reed in. Sandi did two things that gave me information about how to feel: she had tears in her eyes (not good), and she took a huge breath and thanked God when she saw that Reed could move his hands and feet (very good).
The next few minutes were a flurry of quick decisions about leaving my car, finding my insurance card, and handing over skis and gloves and helmets to Sandi. I managed to pull off one key task before I left. I called Suzanne (eating lunch in the lodge) who let me talk to Skyler and I knew I needed to get through what I had to say without crying, otherwise I would've scared her. I told her: "You go ahead and ski with your friends for the rest of the day. We have to go to the hospital just to be double sure that Reed is okay, but I think he's just fine." She said: "Okay mama." I can't believe I did that without crying. Brave kids need a brave mama.
I climbed into the ambulance and said to the driver: "How far are we going?" I assumed ten minutes. He said: "About an hour." An hour on the curviest, bumpiest mountain road to the nearest hospital in Farmington.
The EMT in the ambulance (bless him!) let me sit next to Reed, and one more miracle is that I did not get car sick on that road; I knew I could not, so I did not. Reed was so uncomfortable strapped to that board. He is high on the spectrum of wiggliness to begin with, so this was torture for him, and it made his back hurt worse than it already did. The EMT said that those hard back boards are "archaic" in the level of discomfort they cause, but a necessary precaution.
By the time we were getting close to the hospital, the EMT said to Reed: "You know all the girls at school are going to love this story," to which Reed smiled and then replied, "I am not wearing this thing to school, am I?" His breathing was better now and he was able to talk. He even smiled. He then started talking about school, friends, terrain parks, jumps, and the trail he wanted to start on next time we come to Sugarloaf. The EMT said: "I love this kid." I exhaled for what felt like the first time since the jump, and took this picture so I could show him later.
|en route to the hospital|
|Aw bud, the back board did not do good things for your hair.|