Think Snow!
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Shattered bones, broken dreams

I've always considered myself to be unbreakable, kinda like the Bruce Willis character in the M. Knight film. I rarely get sick. I never get hurt. Aside from a broken arm when I was 7, I've never been to an emergency room...until last night.

The two crabs are currently on a week´long ski trip in Val Gardena, Italy. We've had a fabulous time up until yesterday when I joined my nephew, brother-in-law, his brother and brother's wife and their 6-year-old daughter on the Sella Ronda, a 40km ski circuit around the Sella Mountaing Group. It#s a beautiful ski run and not too difficult, but takes stamina and a day-long commitment to complete. We were having a great time, and stopped for lunch at the restaurant on the top of the world near the village of Arabba. When we came out of the restaurant, it was snowing. HARD. And the next run was the most difficult of the day, involving a very steep descent on a mogul-filled slope. I followed by brother in law, falling here and there but nothing too bad. And I was getting better and better. But the snow was getting harder and faster to near white-out blizzard conditions. I was nearly 3/4 of the way down the hill when I missjudged the distance of a mogul, landing on top of it rather than behind it, and i tumbled forward into a summersault. My right ski fell off as I tumbled and i when I finally landed, i hit the ground on my right shoulder. SNAP. I heard what sounded like a twig breaking. I screamed out in pain and a few profanities. I knew immediately I was F*cked. I stood up and sucked it up and drove on. Somehow, miraculousluz, i made it the other 20 km back to our hotel, falling a lot along the way. I thought at the worst, It might have been a pulled rotator cuff or a sprained shoulder. But as the night went on, it got worse and worse. Speckled Hen convinced me I had to go to the hospital.

Mind you, we're in a tinz village one hour from the nearest big city with a hospital. Hen found a orthopedic surgeon right in town and luckily he saw me after hours. He made his diagnosis in about 10 seconds, confirmed by xrays - fractured clavicla (collar bone). In TWO places including one that was a complete break.

My ski dreams are over for this year.  I'm now wearing this hideous brace that looks like a man-bra to keep my shoulder blades pulled back to allow the bone to set. Doc says it will be about 4 weeks until i can remove this hideous contraption. But it could have been a lot worse, like my neck. The only upside was that i had to cancel my upcoming trip to Baghdad because there is no way I can lift a suitcase, let alone a 25 pound body armor and 50 pound rucksack.

I got a partial refund on my lift pass and ski rentals. Whoop-tee-doo. Incidentally, the doctor charged me just 195 Euros for the visit, which included two xrays, the brace and consultation after-hours. I can get the entire bill reimbursed by British National Health Care System when I return to London... In the USA, that same emergency room visit would have easily been $2,000.  US medical system SUCKS. 

With my ski trip over, I'm just chilling in the internet cafe, exploring the village while SPeckled Hen continues skiing like a champ with my sister. At least I had 4 good ski days, including tackling a couple of black runs. But I haven't given up. I plan to ski down that mountain again next winter. You cant keep a ski addict down!