.: Ski XCOttawa.ca :: Skiing in Ottawa and Gatineau Park

My BAD/GOOD luck day!
By:  Megan McTavish   (2009/08/17)


Last Sunday was one of those days that I should have just stayed in bed. I had been a bit sick but was feeling better so I went to the XCOttawa practice which was an 8am rollerski from P8 in Gatineau Park. Given my recent cold, I skied slowly and when we did our sprints, I didn't go all out.

About three sprints into the workout, Karl pulled off to the side. His rollerski shaft (circa 1998) had finally bit the dust. This came after another rollerski incident a week and a half ago where his classic rollerski wheel bearing seized when he was a good 1:40 (and a $30 cab ride) away from the car.

Anyway, Karl slowly and carefully double poled back to the car and the rest of us continued our workout. We moved to a spot near Keogan (5km ish away from our cars) to do some more sprints. I was working on ankle flexion which I think put me in a more forward position than normal.

Then it happened....my pole went between my skis instead of where it should go, on the outside. I tried to recover and lifted up my arms, but I wasn't quick enough, and my weight was too far forward (which I guess is a good thing!). I went down, spread eagle, flat on my face. At first I thought I was fine...I wasn't going THAT fast, but then when I tried to get up, I realized that my left arm was NOT ok. In fact, the shoulder was seriously dislocated with no chance of being popped back in without professional help. I tried to stand up, sit down, lie down...but nothing felt good. It felt like someone was trying to rip my arm off and they wouldn't let go! Given that the parkways were closed to traffic, I was in a bit of a jam. How was I going to get out of there quickly and get to the hospital?!? Some people stopped and tried to phone for help, but the cell phones didn't work where we were. Sheila rollerskied back to the car to phone the NCC to get them to open the gate at the bottom of the hill. In the mean time, I tried to walk....in my Ape position (bent over with injured arm dangling). I didn't make it very far though. It was much too painful.

Just as I was thinking..."there is no way I can take this!", my guardian angel came along, in the form of an orthopedic surgeon named Dr. Giachino who offered to reduce my arm (ie. pop it back in)! He was out for a bike ride with his wife and came by within 10 minutes of my fall. He got me to lie down on the side of the road and spent what felt like FOREVER pulling on my arm, pushing on my armpit with his foot, trying various angles, getting our coach John to assist with the arm pulling, while Nurse Anna talked me through it. Finally it went CLUNK and suddenly I felt much better! I was then able to walk down the hill and met Karl at P10.

Afterwards, I got Xrays and luckily there were no signs of chips or fractures, so now I just have to be patient and do everything that I'm told by the athletic therapists at Carleton who are helping me with the rehab.

So...my klutz reputation continues (http://www.xcottawa.ca/articles.php?id=532), but now it is the upper extremities! Not really a big surprise given my "general ligamentous laxity" diagnosis I received from Andrew (our former Aussi teammate and resident physiotherapist) a few years ago. Now I get to learn a whole new way of adapting my training. So far it is one pole ski walking, easy jogging with one arm held still, legs only skate rollerskiing, leg weights and water running. Hopefully I can add in the bike and move my arm a bit more this week!

THANKS to Dr. Giachino for coming to my rescue! Also, we have since decided that it is probably a good idea to carry a cell phone in the park and put the NCC number in it. It would have been much faster for Sheila to just rollerski to where the phone worked, rather than all the way back to the car. We also found out (after the fact of course) that it would have been faster to radio the NCC from the cabin at Keogan. Something to keep in mind!

All for now....I will try to stay out of trouble for at least 365 more days. That seems to be the current trend.

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