How the heck did you break your leg?!? Yes, I’ve been answering that question a lot lately. So, here you go, here’s the story…
I had plans to go kayaking after work on Monday, April 11th which was perfect! Even though I got out of work later than I was hoping, I was determined to get out and paddle. It was just after 6:15pm by the boats were loaded. My friend and I decided to paddle the White Salmon Narrows below Condit Dam. After setting shuttle it was a race to the put-in to get geared up and a race to have enough daylight. It didn’t take long to get the boats carried down the two ladders and lowered into the river canyon. With only precious daylight left, I was in a hurry to get to the water. Carrying my kayak on my right shoulder I was navigating over the slippery wet rocks when BAM… down I went. I felt something snap/pop in my right leg so I laid there for a minute before trying to get up. Once I stood up I knew I hurt my right leg pretty good. Seeing as I was only 15 feet from the river I proceed to limp down to the water.
My friend didn’t see me fall or know how bad it was, heck, neither did I. We decided to paddle for a little while at the base of Condit Dam to see how my leg was feeling. Needless to say after a couple minutes in my boat I was in a lot of pain. With some positive encouragement I did something I will forever be thankful for. I peeled out of an eddy, paddled in front of Condit Dam and, with the water flowing over the dam, it felt amazing to be at the base of a waterfall appreciating the refreshing spray against my face. I knew that would be the last time I would be in my kayak for a while so I’m grateful I spent my last moments absorbing the refreshing mist.
(Condit Dam - This was the last place I was in my kayak, amazing place. Photo courtesy of Northwest Rafting Company)
Once I got back to shore and out of my boat the mission to get out of the river canyon before dark began. I ended up crawling from the river to a rope that fisherman use to get to the river. I proceeded to pull myself up the rope using my good leg to help me along the way. My paddle was my crutch through the trail and the ladders were easier that I thought they would be. Thankfully my friend was able to hike both of the kayaks out so all I had to do was worry about getting me out.
As soon as we got back to the vehicle and got my dry suit off we saw how much damage I had done. After a quick look at my distorted ankle it was off to the Emergency Room! I thought since I was able to get into my kayak for a little while and hike myself out it couldn’t have been too bad. Well… needless to say I was wrong. At first they thought it was just my Fibula that was broken but after seeing a specialist I found out it was way worse than that. In that brief moment hurrying to the put-in I managed to roll my ankle out and break my fibula, roll it back in and break my talus bone.
After reviewing my x-rays and taking new ones at their office, I was referred to a nearby hospital for an MRI. It’s never good when your doctor says, “If it looks this bad on an x-ray it will be at least twice as bad on an MRI.”
Bad News: My fibula has gotten worse. If it continues to separate I will need surgery sooner rather than later. The results for my x-ray scheduled for Thursday afternoon (May 5th) will answer this question!
Good News: My talus break is better than he originally thought. I will still need to keep weight off it for 2 months but it could heal without surgery. J I’ll have another MRI in a few weeks to see how that healing process is coming along.
Awesome News: It could have been a lot worse! I have TONS to be thankful such as: my phenomenal friends & family, health insurance & being able to crutch around. J I love to take baths, now I’m forced to. I love to hike & kayak, now I’m forced to learn new things. I love the area I’m in, now I appreciate it even more.
Moving Forward: I’m currently residing in a camper with a beautiful view of Mt. Adams. My new tent set up and, thanks to some awesome friends, the top tarp is up too. I hope to move back to my life in the woods along the banks of the White Salmon River soon. The deciding factor will be how my appointments go and if I need surgery(s)…
There you go! Now you have the whole story or at least the part of the story that has already been written. I’m staying positive, in good spirits (especially since I’m off pain meds) and excited for what the future holds. I’ll be back on both feet in no time BUT… in the meantime, I’m going to learn some pretty sweet crutch moves. I’ve been on them for 3 weeks already and only have another 2-3 months to go!