April 22, 2013

For Anyone Who Has Ever Wrecked Themselves...


Someone recently suggested this Ted Talk to me. It features a young female athlete who is hit by a truck and overcomes unimaginable injuries. It is good medicine for anyone who has ever wrecked themself.

April 18, 2013

Recovery


My room mate and friend JoyAnne recently painted this for me. It's from a photo that a client snapped during a trip to Peru back in 2005. The words Never Let It Get Me Down are painted under the kids feet.

It's been 64 days since I crashed in to the side of Lady Mac at 50 km/hour. Since then, I've had a lot of time to think about the event, watch movies, read, beat my fists in pain, lose sleep, consider the future, harass friends and family, punish my liver with copious amounts of narcotics, and well - heal.

A few days ago, I sat down with local pilot Will G to shoot the shit and figure out what went wrong. What was different about Feb 14th that caused me to go in to the ground? What did I miss? After describing the events of the ill-fated flight to Will, it seems safe to say that there was way more of a northerly component to the wind than I had anticipated. With the strong wind that day (30 - 40 km/hour), this put me in to a dangerous, leeward scenario. The resulting rotor and turbulence played heavily in to the crash. The accident occurred on my 240th flight. Until this event I had not had a close call. 

 Nowadays, the question I'm asked most is, "How's the recovery going?" Answer - really well. I still can't walk without crutches or even put weight on my left leg, but that should start to change next week when I visit with the surgeon in Calgary. In general, my pain has gone way down, I'm taking less pain killers, I'm sleeping well, my strength and range of motion are improving, and most importantly, I feel lucky and positive about the process. That's not to say that I don't have moments of self-doubt and pity, but I really try not to spend too much time there. Like many things in life, it's easy to get overwhelmed with the situation when I think about the big picture and the long road ahead. But luckily, the cure for this is simple: stop thinking too much about tomorrow, next week, next month and bring it back to the the present.

Still, every now and again, a wave of dream-like disbelief washes over me, and for two seconds, I'm awash in questions of my own mortality: Did I really crash? Am I still on crutches? Is it possible that I don't make a full recovery? Did I just spend the past two months recovering? I can't just get up off this bed and walk away? I almost died? 

For a change of scenery, I've been lucky to spend the past week hobbling around at my winter home - CMH Bugaboos. The staff has been awesome and the house girls have spoiled me rotten. I feel extremely lucky to be part of this family.

Thanks for checking in,
Andrew


Feb 14, 2013. The K-Country Cavalry packaging a broken mini-wing flyer on the side of Lady Mac.


High times at the Bugaboo lodge earlier in the season.


Prepping for a civilized flight from Lady Mac two days before the crash.



All that remains of the Sup Air Radicale Harness I was wearing on Feb 14. Between the rescue team and the ER Docs, I was cut out of every single item I had on that day.


Poor Millet puffy was the first layer to get the chop.


It's safe to say that this Ozone Firefly will never see another flight - especially since the risers got cut in half.


Ladies watch out! The Wexler men lurking in the Peaks of Grassi - Canmore. The tall fellow in the middle is my Dad. This was his first trip to the area. Sheesh, the things you gotta do to see some people.


Pretty fun when it's done right.