April 18, 2013


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,

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.


the_absconder said...

MAINTAIN! Good to hear man. Thanks for sharing and get well soon!

Anonymous said...

Hey Andrew it's James Leeson. I've been following your blog since we met in the Alps in Summer 2011 and was gutted to hear about your accident. Just thought I'd drop you a quick note to wish you all the best with the ongoing recovery. I'm a big fan of this verse from Tennyson... seems to have some relevance to you and anyone else facing a battle:

We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Andrew Wexler said...

Thanks James! Really appreciate it. Great quote.