Noodler -- You're one of my heros from the ESA video, so it's tough to hear you're out for the season. I wish you the best for a speedy recovery. Nice to know you're still part of the forum (i.o.w., glad the injury wasn't worse).
My Son never got a cast either. As you say, the rod is the cast.
He doesn't have any problems with airport detection either.
He also has had no side effects and the rod and screws are still in place even after three years. The Dr said to leave them in place unless they were giving him trouble.
I guess I didn't pray enough (see my sig). I was so worried about all my little aches and pains that I didn't consider the effects a major accident would have on my season. In over 30 years of skiing I've never broken anything. This past Saturday at Winter Park I shattered my lower right leg.
The day started out great with about 6-8" of fresh snow - powder runs on Jane and nice big soft moguls. I was trying out my new Elan MO2 skis which had just been re-ground flat so that I could reset the base bevels to 1 degree (I'll discuss the skis more in a gear thread). At about 11:00 a.m. we needed to head over to the main Winter Park area so that one of the guys I was riding with could pickup his season pass. So were were heading down Cranmer working our way down to the main lodge. We had been skiing powder and cut up on blacks all morning and the skis felt fine. Cranmer was my first go at a blue groomer for the day, but in retrospect the surface wasn't very firm. It was a "soft" groomer and had a kind of "groomer cut-up" on top of firmer snow. Even so, I felt pretty comfortable picking up the pace and wanted to see where the speed limit was for the MO2s. I was cranking out some pretty fast GS style turns with lots of angulation and hip drop (my impersonation of racer style) - that's when my day all went wrong.
In the middle of a high-speed right-hand GS turn I caught the outside edge of my inside ski. As my body kept going right, my right leg went left. I'm pretty sure I was doing about 45-50mph at the time of the crash, but unfortunately my GPS had run out of battery power about 2 runs prior (I have a pretty good feel of my skiing speeds since getting the GPS).
When the downhill forces blew through my right leg I was left with a shattered mess. I blew out of both skis and my right leg was just flopping about - I immediately knew I broke it and I knew it was really bad. It took ski patrol about 5 minutes to get to me and another 5 minutes for the meat wagon to get to the accident scene. They assessed me on-slope and then splinted my right leg in the boot. They put me on the sled and took me into the hospital clinic. The ride down to the clinic in the sled was absolutely miserable. It's no fun to stare at the sky when you're cold and in pain.
At the clinic they decided to do all of the x-rays with my ski boot still on. My foot was so numb and my toes were really cold, but I could still feel them. They wanted to see the x-rays first to know what they were dealing with before attempting any further treatment (read that as NO pain killers allowed yet). The x-rays showed what they call a "segmented" fracture. I called it a jigsaw puzzle. My tibia was in 4 pieces, my fibula in 3, and there is a large medial ankle fracture. With this information in hand they knew I was heading for surgery so they started an IV for me and hit me with some morphine. After about 15 minutes or so of the morphine they decided it was time to get the boot of my foot. I think I now know what giving birth feels like. Taking the boot of my injured leg was the most intense excruciating pain I've ever felt in my life, but it sure did feel better once they got it off.
It took hours to figure out what doctor was going to handle my case and what hospital I was going to. When they finally figured something out I told them "no" and to go figure out something better. They wanted me to see a guy who was going to put me in St. Anthony's downtown and who wasn't going to operate until Monday. Instead I got them to find a doctor who was at Swedish in Englewood (much closer for my wife) and who did the surgery Saturday night. The clinic wanted to ship me down in an ambulance, but I'm a stubborn fool who decided that I wanted to go back down with my buddies in my own car. So they gave me a big dose of pain killer, instructed my friends on CPR and what to look for to make sure I was OK and we were off. In restrospect I was in shock and made a stupid choice - the ride was fine and they got me to the hospital without any problems, but it was silly for me to add that level of risk to an already bad situation.
At Swedish hospital the doctor reviewed my films and looked at my leg. He decided that it would be best to go into surgery immediately and avoid the possible risks of waiting. In surgery he installed a titanium rod inside my tibia which was inserted through the knee. He also used a bunch of titanium screws to secure the rod, stablize my ankle, and fix my fibula. They haven't shown me the new pictures with all this hardware installed, but I bet it looks pretty cool . The doc said that the hardware will actually make the injured areas stronger in the long run, but if I'm "feeling" them he would remove the hardware in 6 months - my choice. He said that I should actually be able to heal faster with the added support of the hardware and he thinks I'll be up and around in about 8 weeks. Of course there's months of physical therapy to follow so right now I'm pretty much thinking that my season is over.
They released me from the hospital yesterday afternoon and now I'm just trying to figure out how to run my life with my leg elevated.