Stone Cold

“Oh my god!!!” Everyone in the men’s restroom turned around and saw me, dazed, laying on the floor. But the cry of shock and come from the hallway outside; I had fallen just inside the doorway and the door still stood open, held there by my body.

I couldn’t say what happened exactly, but my ski boot had gone out from under me on the slick, wet stone floor. That’s all I remember. I was dazed and shocked, I was trying to process what happened. All I had shared this horrific fall with this chorus of onlookers. We shared a common feeling of disbelief and relief that I had fallen that hard, bouncing my head hard off a solid brick wall. Hard enough that the impact caused my head to bounce the momentum to toss my entire body to one side.

There is no doubt I would have been severely injured had I not been wearing my ski helmet. But even with the helmet it was a miracle that my neck had not been broken. The weirdest thing was that I was not embarrassed in front of the onlookers, or even sheepish. It was their reaction…we had all shared the same experience and shock together, in fact, they more so because they could see it unwinding. The fact that I was uninjured caused a murmur of thankfulness that I too shared.

Someone helped my up, I took a few pats on the arm and they watched as I maneuvered my way to the nearest couch in the lobby where I sat in front of a roaring fire, sorting things out. It took a few minutes before I realized I was not seriously injured; a few minutes to start thinking clearly. I knew even with the helmet I could still be concussed and I had enough wherewithal to get myself up and walk over to the ski patrol station.

I had been seriously injured on a ski hill before, breaking my shoulder in two places but I didn’t go to ski patrol. I just had a friend take me to the airport so I could get home and go to the doctor, so this was going to be a new thing for me. The ski patrol area looked like a small emergency room. One of the patrollers made me lay down while he peppered me with questions designed to test my brain function. They, the patrollers, were all wonderful but to be honest I was feeling foolish for doing something as lame as falling in a bathroom. After all, this was for people engaging in a risky sport that made a misstep…not for clumsy oafs who couldn’t navigate a lodge floor. But then one of the patrollers said it: “I told them that floor was a stupid idea.”

After sufficient time, they told me I was free to go, to take it slow on the hill the rest of the day and thanked me for trusting myself to their care. They also tried to recruit me into ski patrol; at 60 I was a good candidate as smaller resorts usually look for seniors and retires with time to spare who want free lift tickets. While I told them ski patrol was something I always wanted to do, living 8 hours away would be a long commute. We all had a laugh, shook hands, and parted ways. I took a couple of careful runs down one of the moderate trails and then forgot all about the take it easy part.

© Glenn R Keller 2022, All Rights Reserved

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