Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Visitation Competition Update

Here's an update on the visitation competition. We're starting to run out of junk food! So my original goal of getting all of this food out of here is almost complete.

Alison is still dominating. I'm almost ready to call it.

My friend Ed received a half point last night for talking to me online for about an hour. You need to be over 40 years old or have a family to qualify for these special points.

Medical Expenses

This is my first major health related event in my life. I didn't really know how much health care cost before this injury.

My hospital stay in Colorado was not a small amount of money.
  • $5,484.60 for room and board
  • $5,750.44 for drugs
  • $431.20 for non-sterile surgical supplies
  • $19,000 for sterile surgical supplies
  • $11,900 for my fibula implant
  • $691.33 for laboratory work
  • $633.20 for radiology
  • $2,099.35 for my foot and ankle CT scans
  • $2,180.54 for full body CT scan
  • $15,395.54 for the operating room (they charge by the minute)
  • $1,284.10 for general anesthesia (I received a separate anesthesia bill for $2,000)
  • $898 for physical therapy
  • $323 for physical therapy evaluation
  • $488 for occupational therapy
  • $329 for occupational therapy evaluation
  • $3,397 for the emergency room stay
  • $545.14 for "pulmonary function" (I think this is what kept me alive during surgery)
  • $2,681.64 for the recovery room stay
This added up to just over $73,500! I was admitted to the hospital in Colorado around 11:45 AM on February 13th and I left around the same time on February 16th. It was about a three day stay.

It just blows me away how the health care industry works.

Fortunately, since hitting a tree on a snowboard is considered an emergency, my insurance covered everything. But what if I didn't have health insurance? I guess I'd still have a floppy foot.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I've been booted!

I asked The Closer if I could be put in a boot instead of a soft splint today. This was for a few valid reasons. Riding the metro in a boot makes me look cooler. Boots are resistant to direct ankle kicks. And, a boot forces my ankle into a 90 degree position. I've been told 90 degrees are awesome.

Now, I thought my foot would sort of be eased into position over a few days using the boot straps. When I came into the office, I couldn't get my foot up that high without tearing skin, tendons, and muscle.

I was incorrect. We worked the foot into the boot. Surprisingly, my achilles tendon has not yet burst. I went through some hilarious pain afterwards.

The wounds haven't really improved, unfortunately.

The top incision is doing great, but see that red bubble poking out of my foot on the right? That's tissue from inside my foot that's popped out of that leaking hole. Yep, still leaking.

Everyone's reaction to these wounds were mixed. No one really knows if this is an improvement or if it will grow into a problem. We'll see!

Awesome leaking hole! You can see the red bubble here too.

While I was at the doctor, our beagle, Spunky, got her teeth cleaned today. Apparently the vet took before and after pictures. That explains the bill. We only feed Spunky candy.

For those of you that have not met our dog, her breath smelled amazing. And by amazing, I don't mean amazing.

Nice and clean! I haven't done a breath check yet, but I'm pretty sure this mouth now smells like roses.

Friday, March 26, 2010

First Attempt at Cleaning Leg At Home

I realize I haven't updated the blog in the last few days as much as normal. This is primarily due to the two following reasons:
  1. March Madness.
  2. I'm trying to be more physically active.
I'm doing what I can to rebuild my endurance and gain some weight back. As of this morning I weighed in at 188 lbs. Six weeks ago, when I hit a tree, I was 220 lbs.

I can't remember if I said this before, but on our last visit to The Closer's office, we were told we could take off the splint at home and clean the leg and wounds ourselves. Brooke is trained to do wound cleaning, and for some reason, enjoys it. She just had to pick up a few things at the store to redress the wounds.

Last night was our first attempt at cleaning the leg ourselves.

How did it go? Hilariously, of course.

Remember my vasovagal post? Well, guess what? It happened last night! Awesome!

Here's the deal. I'm good at worrying. And I'm especially good at worrying about things I know nothing about, like orthopedic surgery.

You have to understand that my right leg, ankle, and foot look totally alien to me. I find it pretty difficult to look at in person. It freaks me out in its current state.

For good reason, I think. My right leg is incredibly tiny. My foot has been bleeding or leaking gross things for six weeks. The whole thing is usually hurting, especially after I'm physically active. And freakiest of all, I have zero feeling in my big toe, second toe, and the entire bottom of my foot.

Here's a comparison of my two legs. Not only is my right calf tiny, but I apparently lost the inside bony part of my ankle. That'd be the tibia. At my last doctor's visit, I asked if all of the tibia pieces they could salvage were put back where they came from.

Nope. I can't wait to try on a shoe. Hopefully that part isn't crucial to a good fit. So the Closer didn't have the best Lego pieces to work to begin with. That's on me.

You may also notice that I'm getting pretty bad foot drop. It's going to make physical therapy even more awesome.

Anyway, back to me fainting.

I was basically holding my ankle in front of my face while Brooke took the trauma scissors to the splint. I'm still draining like a maniac out of the left side of my foot, so we were trying to figure out how to get this wrapping off of my foot without taking some skin.

Here's what I saw. Only I was in the bathtub because I was going to shower with the new ankle for the first time. Now seeing this bugged me just a little bit. But when I started trying out the new ankle, that's when things got weird. I tried pushing the foot up, and I didn't make it very far.

That, in combination with all of the thoughts in my head about my freak leg, got the whole thing started. Brooke immediately got up and went into a prevent defense. All signs pointed to me fainting. I was ghost white pale (more so than normal). I was sweating. I could barely hear. I could barely talk. Oh, and I was seeing red.

Now, the good news is I didn't faint. I was seconds away. The bad news is I did throw up.

So eventually I recovered. We moved the wound cleaning operation to the bed. It's more difficult to harm myself if I faint in a bed.

Here's a good picture of the top incision and a bunch of holes in the side of my foot. The holes, where screws were inserted into my tibia internal fixator, are probably my biggest problem right now.

Brooke said these open wounds were looking better. I actually agree with her on this one. This does in fact look better. This incision was made six weeks ago.

These holes in my tibia were made six weeks ago as well for my external fixator. They look infinitely better than the three holes in my foot.

So it's probably good that I didn't go into the medical field. I'm really not capable of dealing with this injury without a trained professional -- my awesome nurse-wife. I really did marry the right person. If we have sons, it's a guarantee they'll be having similarly stupid injuries. It's in my genes.

My dad has a metal plate in his head and a wicked knee surgery scar. I think he found out recently that he might have to have a prosthetic knee sometime in the future.

I'm pretty sure he went vasovagal when he found out.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

First Day Alone

I found food. I found water. I didn't die.

Brooke was at work and Mom took off early this morning for the airport to fly stand-by. She's back, though. No openings all day.

My PAs yesterday recommended I start doing something other than sitting on my butt. I agreed. I tried some sit-ups. I got to 30. I tried some "girl" push ups. I got to maybe 5.

Now let me very quickly tell you why this makes me extremely mad. I was on my second attempt at the 100 push-ups goal. I was on week five and dominating. It took me maybe 9 weeks to get to week 5. I was even doing push-ups in Colorado, where there's practically no air. Now, as soon as I get back to work, I'm going to be made fun of, a lot.

I suppose there might be a joke or two in there about snowboarding into a tree. I earned that.

My appetite was awful this morning and throughout the day. But as soon as Brooke got home from work around 8:00PM, I chowed down. Hopefully I can keep that going. I think I've lost close to 30 pounds.

All muscle, of course.

Sweet new diet! Snowboard into tree and lose 30 lbs., guaranteed!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Video of Staple Removal

Today was staple removal day, as you know. The YouTube vidoes are ready.

First, before you watch the video, I'd like you to first watch a video of our dog, Spunky. This will prepare you.

Now that you are prepared, here is the real deal. You can hear me talking to one of the PAs, Josie, about this blog. There was a recent episode of House where a patient had a blog. Now I'm the patient!

Though, unlike the House episode, I'm smart enough not to ask all of you about what I should or shouldn't do about my ankle. Then again, I wasn't smart enough to avoid an immovable tree on a snowboard. Go figure.

Some of them hurt, some of them didn't. Look how she gets her arm into it and really wiggles the staple remover to get them out. Apparently, when they removed the staple from the right side of my foot, the wound opened up to reveal ground beef. And apparently that was just fine. I don't understand medicine.

You may also notice she's holding gauze against my leaking, bleeding, draining foot. It was really going by this point.

Good day out there today. Good day.

Just Returned from Doctor's Office

I had my doctor's appointment this morning. Instead of seeing The Closer, I saw two of The Closer's Physician Assistants, Kim and Josie. They were extremely nice and very cool. Josie walked in and asked, "so you're the snowboarder?" Yep. I'm that idiot that snowboarded into a tree. Come check out my gross leg!

So how did it go?

Well, it had its good parts and its bad parts. Brooke uses Zipcar and got one of their cars for a few hours. On the way to the appointment, Brooke had to stop short due to some traffic in front of us. This, in turn, caused one of the backseats, the kind that can fold down, to come loose and hit my injured ankle. This, in turn, caused me to scream bloody murder.

It was hilarious.

I was then forced, against my will, to take a 2 mg dilaudid (pain medication). So much for quitting opiates. I shouldn't have screamed like that. Dang it. Later on I was happy I got it. My ankle got manhandled.

I chose to go this time without the wheelchair. I wanted to test my endurance on crutches. I barely made it down my hallway before I died. I'm extremely out of shape! This was my first sign that I may not be ready to return to work.

Once I was called in, my leg was unwrapped. I have to warn you, what you're about to see is exceedingly gross. Of all the pictures we've taken thus far of my leg, I've found these the hardest to look at. I don't know why. Others may think differently. We'll see.

This is Ashley taking my leg splint and dressings off. So far, so good, right? You can see the top incision from my last surgery. It actually looks good. But what about that stuff on the left side of my foot? How about we get closer?

YES! That is gross. As you can see, my ankle is still draining. I've apparently continued to leak gross things out of my ankle.

Yep. Gross leakage.

I no longer have a calf muscle. It's atrophied like crazy.

Here's the right side of my foot. Remember last time, how we were a bit worried about skin necrosis? Well, the good news is I don't have it.

The awesome news is I now have these two giant open wounds instead. Both the PAs and Brooke said it looked great. In fact, Brooke said it is supposed to look like ground beef inside. Well, I guess it does. Delicious!

Here's the final picture. My top incision without any staples. Every single one of them were removed, along with a few stitches.

I've got a video of my staples being removed. It's awesome. As soon as YouTube is done processing it, I'll post it.

So at first, they told us I was going to be thrown in a cast. But after a review of my open wounds, they decided to keep me in a soft splint. I have another appointment next week. I talked to my PAs about returning to work. We all decided I'm still a few weeks away.

Now we get to treat my wounds at home and re-wrap it after I shower. We neglected to tell them how often I currently shower. We might have to increase those coveted showers now.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Allow me to introduce you to Snow Tony. It snowed in Tulsa over the weekend, and my Dad thought it would be nice to create an injured snowman in my honor. I hear I'm doing much better than Snow Tony. At this point, his fibula and tibia have probably melted.

Also, it looks like everyone guessed correctly on the mystery device. Believe it or not, it's a tobacco enema from the 18th and early 19th centuries. Good work, everyone. I'm extremely happy I live in this century.

Finally, I stopped taking all of my pain medications a few days ago. I quit opiates cold turkey. I no longer feel pain in my ankle. Why should I continue to take dangerous, addictive opiates? Maybe I should have eased off of them. But I didn't see any reason for that. They make you feel weird and sleepy. I was done with them.

A friend of mine told me that I might go through a bit of a withdrawal.

Wow! He was not joking.

I spent Saturday night, Sunday, and this morning in a constant state of sweating and feeling awful. It didn't matter what the temperature was. I was just sweating. It was amazing. I also had zero energy and no appetite.

But I think I'm through the worst of it. I took a long nap and woke up feeling pretty good. No more sweats and now I have a pretty good appetite.

No one really explained to me that this might happen. But then again, I didn't follow directions and ease off of them.

But that's one criteria down for getting back to work. My doctor's appointment is tomorrow. Hopefully I'll get a good grade and a better idea of when I can return to somewhat of a normal life.

Another friend of mine pointed out that the horror film, Misery, had a poster I should own.

I feel your pain, James Caan. Going through opiate withdrawal is indeed misery. And so is apple saucing your tibia and fibula.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mystery Device

A friend of mine from work sent me this. Instead of telling you what it is, I'll let you try to guess. Here are two pictures.

Here's picture number one. This is the one my friend from work sent me. I cropped out the description.

I found this one after confirming it was real. If I say anything more (trust me, I want to), it'll give it away.

So I'll do something I rarely do. I'll shut up.

Visitation Competition Update

We had a number of friends come by this last week! It was a great alternative to what I do normally, which we all know by now is nothing.

As you can see, several friends are gaining up on our leader, Alison.

We had several visitors this week. Chris and Joe came by and made some awesome queso dip. We played some cards and had a good time. Ed from work and Lindsay from Nebraska came by to do their part to cheer me up. Ed even brought me some interesting gifts.

Among the many interesting gifts were some puzzles. Now, I've been away from work for a while, so maybe Ed forgot. I'm an idiot. I hit a tree snowboarding. How will I be able to solve a complex puzzle like this?

Thanks for the gifts, Ed!

We also had Crystal and Troy drop by to say hello. They couldn't stay long, both are in school and had homework to do.

What I'm about to tell you is fact. Troy's project tonight is to get one of our friends to drink 40 shots of beer and determine which shot is fresh beer and which shot is old (from Christmas) beer. Something tells me that after 30 shots, it won't matter. Most of our friend's faculties will be gone.

That's his statistics project. Approved -- no, endorsed by his professor.

Oh, wow. Rabbit ears. That's hilarious, Troy. Is Crystal flexing?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Leg Update

Yesterday was awesome. I felt great all day. I had slept perfectly that night. I don't know if I've reported this yet or not, but I'm no longer fighting a fever. By reducing the medications I've been taking, both the fever and nightly sweats have been eliminated.

So this is basically my routine. I rest, ice (or bag of peas), compress, and elevate the leg every day and night. It doesn't really change that much. Sometimes I try crutching or wheelchairing out in the hallway for exercise.

Oh! We did just install a new Nerf basketball goal. It's the best!

Here, you can see me about to make another 3-pointer. Guarding me, a little too closely I might add, is my dog, Spunky. I'm using my gimp ankle to hold her off. And, ready for the Alley Oop, is my wife, Brooke. But that's just in case I air ball, which I didn't.

Last night, for some reason, was just awful. Sleep was hard to come by. And this evening was a little brutal with respect to pain. We've been weening myself off of the pain medications, and unfortunately, due to the pain breakthrough, we had to un-ween myself temporarily.

We had some visitors earlier today, and I felt fine while they were here. I don't think it had anything to do with them, though I'd love to blame one of the shorter visitors. By the way, for those of you participating in the visitor competition, updates will be made every Saturday.

While these moments have been happening since the first surgery, they do start to become less frequent and less painful. That's great! I can tell they're getting less frequent. I would like to go a few days, say four or five, without another breakthrough pain day. That would be awesome.

I'm healing, I think. I'm getting better and actually looking forward to getting my staples out. I'm even starting physical therapy on April 2nd.

I'm sure it's going to be extremely painful. I'm really looking forward to it.

During my next doctor's visit on the 23rd, I'm going to ask for permission to drop by work for a few hours just to say hello and get some of the pranks out of the way.

But, like we found out during the last visit, The Closer means business when it comes to my leg. He worked his butt off fixing it, and he doesn't want me to get so impatient that I do something stupid and set myself back months in healing.

He's got a point. But I really want to find out what my new nick name is at work.

NCAA Bracket Picker Tournament

On Monday, since I had nothing to do, I created an NCAA basketball tournament picker league on There were 21 people that signed up. It's a classic bracket tournament. Except the winner gets to Photoshop our friend, Binoy, and I'll post it up here.

He hates having no control over what pictures of himself wind up on the Internet. That might be why we're doing this to him.

Allow me to share with you some of the team names. My team name is Expert Snowboarder and Picker. I thought it was funny and well thought out, given that I'm currently tied for 3rd with 20 correct picks and I snowboarded into a tree.

I hate the Big East.

But let's see what some other friends of mine chose to name their teams:
  • Watch for Trees...
  • Unbroken Ankles
  • WillBreakYourAnkles
  • Big scary immovable tree
And these are some of my best friends? Another one of my best friends, Ken, picked his team name to be Ken. While very stupid, he and I have a creative bet that ends tonight. Well, actually, it's pretty stupid, too.

Ken (as seen above) and his lovely wife, Cari, live in Portland, Oregon. Brooke and I live here in our nation's capital. We made a bet before the NBA season started regarding each of our city's teams. Another one of my best friends, Andy, played a role in getting this bet to happen.

You know Andy. Click on any one of my posts' comments and you'll probably see something stupid he's written.

Back to the bet. The Portland Trailblazers and the Washington Wizards play twice this season.

The bet.

If your city's team sweeps (wins both games) the other team, the losing city representative must travel, with wife, to the winning city.

For those of you that don't follow the NBA, this was an awful bet for me to take. The Wizards are horrible. You've heard about them in the news, I'm sure. It probably involved guns.

The first game between these two fine teams occurred on January 18th at the Verizon Center here in DC. Amazingly, the Wizards dominated. I can't remember exactly, but i think we won by a lot. It was pretty brutal.

The last and final game started tonight at 10:00PM EST at Portland. If the Wizards win, we'll be seeing Ken and Cari in Washington, DC. If they lose, then nothing happens. I keep sitting here with a painful ankle writing stupid blog posts, waiting to heal and get back to work.

Just checked, the Wizards are up 4 to 0. Should be a good visit with Ken and Cari.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

New Book

I got a book. I'm not going to tell you the title of the book. I'm not going to give you the author. These are all things you need not know. There's only one thing you need to know.

You give me a book with a foreword by THE Rosie O'Donnell, and I'm buying that book.

Snowboarder vs. Outside

After we got home from Colorado, we immediately realized I needed a wheelchair. I could not stay upright on my crutches. I continue to struggle with it.

The reason: about 86% of my blood flows to and pools in my right foot. My toes turn an amazing color. This is probably due to having a hugely swollen ankle with several metal plates and screws that haven't completely healed yet.

This picture was taken after being upright for about one minute. This started to hurt pretty bad, so we decided to discontinue the picture opportunity. I thought about photoshopping this, but it looks bad enough without any modifications.

Today, Brooke had a great idea to take me to our apartment's third floor terrace in the chair. I mean, I'm inside every day staring at a swollen, painful ankle. Getting outside would be a nice change.

I am definitely way more mobile in the chair, but unfortunately I still run into the same problem. Since my leg sits below my heart in the chair, the blood still finds its way down to my foot -- just much more slowly. So I get about a good 15 minutes in the chair before I need to get back and RICE my ankle.

No problem! I'm enjoying the great outdoors on my cement-covered third floor terrace.

I was able to practice my sweet wheelies. It serves two purposes: looking awesome and keeping the ankle high above the heart.

But soon enough, I needed to get back upstairs. But before we left, check out how sweet my wife and I are.

Look, I know these types of pictures aren't funny. But I've got family that read this blog. You know how it goes, sometimes you have to throw out some "awwww" pictures.

We both got our exercise for the day. I wheelchaired myself upstairs to my apartment. Brooke ran six miles.

Oh No, They Have to Remove These Staples!

I don't know how I could have missed this. How could I forget?

I woke up this morning and realized that, at some point, the 4 million staples in my ankle and foot have to be taken out. What's worse, I don't think I'll be under general anesthesia at any point in the near future.

They'll be removed while I'm awake!

Actually, something like what you see below was probably used in both of my surgeries, not Milton's red stapler as seen above. But that doesn't matter. Staples are serious and deadly. It's a proven fact. Google it.

The last time I had incision staples removed, I was under general anesthesia. It was March 1st and it was awesome. I didn't feel anything, and, I didn't die.

Since I'll be awake next time, there's a chance that a.) I'll feel something awful and b.) I'll die. Think I'm over exaggerating? Let me remind you of what my foot and ankle looks like.

I have 16 staples on the top of my zombie foot. I have 3 staples on the left side and 2 on the right side. The 2 on the right are barely containing the skin necrosis explosion in place. One wrong move and that stuff could spread to my face.

That's a total of 21 staples that have to be removed. While I'm awake with the ability to feel pain and hear metal tearing skin.

Meet my enemy, the skin staple remover.

As you can see, he's been specifically designed to kill the patient while the staples are removed from the skin. I'm not making this up! Look at that picture.

My next doctor's appointment is on Tuesday, March 23rd. There's a chance I might be killed during this visit. In fact, there are 21 opportunities due to each staple embedded in my corpse foot.

Dang it! Brooke just did a walk by and look over of what I'm writing. It's one of her classic moves. She says, "you're an idiot." I think she's referring to me. She also says, "most patients feel relieved when skin staples are removed."

Being married to a nurse has yet again been proven to be a good move on my part.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I Hate Crosby

And my family up in Pittsburgh knows this. I usually try to point that out in most of my cards to them, even my last thank you card. I mean, he single handedly ruined America's chances at Olympic Gold.

For those of you that don't watch NHL, I'm sorry for you. The Washington Capital's and the Pittsburgh Penguins are giant rivals. I got a chance to see the Caps destroy the Pens in overtime just before I destroyed my ankle. What a game!

Pittsburgh 4, Washington 5.

Then my family sends me this. How am I supposed to let my ankle heal with this kind of ridiculous paraphernalia laying around?

The Latest on Ankle Surgery Technology

Katie Wey brought an interesting article to our attention earlier today. Appearing in the Washington Post yesterday, this article, discusses the author's struggles with her severe ankle osteoarthritis she developed from years of lacrosse.

It's a very interesting read and, obviously, it's relevant to the apple saucing I did to my ankle by hitting that tree. Fortunately, right now, I haven't been diagnosed with osteoarthritis. During the second surgery, however, The Closer warned I was on track to developing it rather quickly if he had not rotated the tibia bone fragments 180 degrees.

Sounds painful. It was painful. But hopefully I avoided the osteoarthritis.

The article warns that of all the parts in our body where we could get a prosthetic replacement, the ankle is the worst one. Almost every other joint has a simple job. The ankle is complex, making replacements awful.

As it stands now, the goal for my right ankle is to reach that 90% level of usefulness. This ankle needs to get me around, help me drive my car, and most of all, get me back to snowboarding!

Our second surgeon, The Closer, did give us some good news about the soft tissue situation in the ankle. He said it was in pretty good shape, so hopefully I'll still have some cartilage to burn on the slopes.

But I suppose the most important thing I need to do is maintain and take care of my reconstructed ankle for about 15 to 20 years. The more time I get on this amazing new ankle, thanks to two awesome surgeons, the more time I get for research and development to improve ankle replacement technology.

And, of course, I get more time to dominate the slopes snowboarding!

I took away some other things from the article. Maybe I should start taking some supplements, such as glucosamine sulfate. I used to take that for my knees back in college and it seemed to help. I also really liked the idea of an orthopedic massage!

The author mentioned she also tried acupuncture.

It's funny, one of my friends suggested this to me several weeks ago. I'm still not sold on the idea. I hate needles. I don't know how needles -- several needles -- are going to relax me and relieve my pain. I'm just not seeing it, Eastern Medicine.

The article was great and it gave me hope for that moment 20 years from now when my doctor tells me, "it's time for a new ankle." Thanks, Katie, for sending it our way.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fever and Drug Update 2

Last Friday we discussed the fever and night sweats with The Closer. He had an idea to get me off of the approximately one million pain medications I was currently taking and reduce the dosage of the remaining meds.

Pictured above is just what I take before going to bed at night. I take even more in the morning! The result of his idea to reduce my medications has eliminated my fever! This guy knows what he's doing.

The night sweats aren't nearly as bad as they used to be, which is awesome, but my ankle becomes extremely uncomfortable at night. I'm concerned this will be par for course for the next several months.

Finally, I'm still trying to wrestle with the fact that I almost lost my leg. I'm pumped that both Brooke and my Dad withheld this information from me during the first and second surgeries. I would have worried myself to death, like I am doing right now.

What else are they withholding from me?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Post-Accident Snowboard Pictures Are In!

Two of our best friends, Eric and Mandy Marshall, have been taking care of our snowboarding gear since the accident.  It made it easier for us to travel back to Tulsa.  We owe them a huge debt of gratitude.

I asked Eric the other day if he could take some pictures of my snowboard.  He also took some pictures of the sock they cut off of my right ankle.

No blood in or on the sock, which is great!  You can also see they cut at the top and just started tearing around the toes.  At this point in time, I was under conscious sedation, trying to figure a way out of calling my wife, "morbidly obese."

With Jim's crochet gift, I could easily repair this sock!

Now, onto the snowboard, which Ski Patrol said was totally untouched.

Wow, it looks absolutely untouched.  No scratches, no cuts, not a single sign that I hit a tree at 45 MPH.  Looking at this picture, my right foot binding is on the left.  That's where my right boot is secured into the board.  And, that's where the tree impact took place.

No damage.  But then I looked closer!


It appears that four screws or their inserts, highlighted above with X's, were pushed through the some of the layers of my snowboard!

Let me explain why this is insane.  All snowboards are sandwich structures, consisting of typically eight different materials:
  • A Top Sheet (with a printed graphic)
  • Fiber Glass
  • Wood Core
  • Base (with another graphic)
  • Steel Inserts (for screwing in bindings)
  • Resin (glue)
  • Rubber Foil
  • Carbon Fiber
Here's a picture resembling some of the many layers that go into a snowboard.

The wood core is central to the whole board and receives the steel inserts.  All of these pieces are basically glued together with resign and then placed under a great deal of pressure to make one strong structure.

Like I've said before, Ski Patrol has said they've never seen a broken snowboard from an accident.

I almost broke my snowboard!

Now, I won't be able to confirm it until we ship the board back to us, but I have a feeling that I did some serious damage!

The Visitation Competition

As I mentioned in Visitation Hours, we have somewhat of a competition on our hands.  Not surprisingly, it's being dominated by a certain friend of ours known for her desire to win at every competition known to man -- even if it hasn't been thought of yet.

Before I display the current standings, let's go over the rules.  Family members are disqualified from participating in the visitation competition.  It's an unfair advantage.

Rule 1: If a visitor stays at our apartment one or more nights consecutively, the visitor is still only awarded one point.

Rule 2: In order for a visitation point to be valid, the visitor must consume at least one treat or gift food item.

Rule 3: Finally, only one visitation point can be earned during one day.  This means if a friend visits three times on a Tuesday, he or she is still only awarded one point.

And before I continue onto the standings, I'd just like to thank again The Breckenridge Team for their multiple visits in Frisco, Colorado.  You guys are awesome and gave both Brooke and me an uplifting and mustache-filled visit. 

You guys rock! You helped me get my recovery started on the right foot (I will continue to use this pun for at least one year).

Because you're all in Tulsa, I'm sorry you can't participate in the visitation competition up here in our nation's capital. But, you totally won the Colorado Visitation Competition hands down!  Congratulations!

Now on to the D.C. standings.

You'll probably need to click on the image to get a larger view of the other people, but I think we can all see that Alison has a substantial lead without clicking.

Now, I won't give away anything, but I will mention that multiple plans are in motion on the part of various competition players.  It's still anyone's game.

The game ends on my first day back to work, which at this point is still undecided.  It now looks like it will be sometime in April.

Please continue to respect our need to maintain scheduled visits.  Email works best.  This is necessary due to all of the doctors appointments I have and Brooke's schedule.

Now let the best man or woman win!