April 7, 2021 The Crash.
Dave lay there, cold sweats soaking the sheets of his bed. Sleep was hard to come by and his mind kept churning. Another wave of nausea clenched his stomach and he waited for it to pass. Food was a luxury he couldn’t afford as the meds they had given him continued to mess with his body. What was left of his body that is…
He saw the moment with a clarity that shook him to the core; the moment that changed his life forever. For a moment he wished he could change but one that would always remain there. It was more like a second than a moment, a split second that almost cost him his life.
He closed his eyes again and searched for some elusive sleep. Instead, he dreamed of that day five weeks ago.
It was an awesome day. The sun shone bright overhead and the blue sky reflected the crisp snow that covered Big White ski resort. He had connected with some friends and they were enjoying the freshly groomed slopes of the Gem Lake Express Chairlift. The snow was fast and firm and he knew every bump from years of cruising the glory that was always there to greet him like an old friend. Dave was in his element, he loved the freedom he felt as he carved lines down the steep slopes of his mountain home. After all the years of skiing Big White, he felt confidence and energy from the high-speed turns sweeping down the steep groomed runs.
Was it over-confidence? Or was he just a little too unprepared for the worst-case scenario?
It happened so fast he would never know until it was too late.
The fast-groomed run shot out onto the green run that led back to the chair. He was enjoying the speed, it felt exhilarating as he crouched down and readied himself for the flat traverse. He rounded the corner leaning hard.
In an instant, they were there.
He couldn’t stop, he was going to hit the two people that suddenly popped into his view. What the hell were they doing there? He was going to hit them!
Instincts took over and he carved left to avoid the collision.
And hurtled into the tree.
The man met the immovable object. He stopped with a thunderous impact that shook the snow from the branches. Wham! He fell to the hollow at the bottom of the large evergreen. It was over in seconds, like a slow-motion nightmare he saw himself lying there in a heap.
In his dream, it is always the same. In his reality, it was a blur, but in the dream, he sits outside himself watching the panic ensue. The two snow-boarders stood looking down over the edge asking if he was alright. From afar he saw his buddy scrambling down the incline to try to help, fear and anxiety visible on his face. It felt like a dream within a dream. He knew instinctively it was going to hurt but in those brief seconds when shock ruled all, he felt nothing but fear.
Then the agony struck.
Pain he never knew existed pulsed through him and he lay still piecing together his body with his mind. He knew it was bad. How bad he wouldn’t know until later on.
At least he was alive. At least he didn’t take out those stupid gibbers that had blocked his path. Next time he would go a bit slower.
There would be no next time.
He woke up again struggling to remain calm, searching for a place of peace inside. The last five weeks have been a blur of pain and frustration. His loving wife stayed by his side the whole way, nurturing him, loving him. Putting up with him.
They told him how close he had been to losing his life. Not only at the bottom of the tree well that day, but in the hospital afterward as well. Doctors practice medicine, they still have not perfected it. The internal bleeding almost lost him, but he fought on. Afterward, they told Dave he was quite the fighter and he beat the odds. His blood flow was so low that the only way it would have been worse was if it was no longer pumping through his veins.
There is a long road ahead, and everyone says he is strong. Everyone is telling him that he will come through this. In the darkness sometimes he wonders why this happened to him. In one second his life changed forever. He will never again feel the exhilaration of carving the slopes of the mountains. Now he will need all he has inside to return and enjoy the life he has been left to live.
It is a gift, one he needs to nurture. With the help of his wife and his friends, he will continue on. Every day feels like a mountain to climb, a struggle to regain a semblance of the man he once was. He will never be the same again. But with perseverance and love, he will find a way to move forward.
Dave hopes that others may learn from his story. In the long road to recovery, he hopes to create a new story and life will be good once more.