Vail Daily columnist Richard Carnes: Ambulance chasing, round 2
For the past six seasons I have diligently filmed my youngest son’s ski races, at times annoying the hell out of coaches and race officials but never failing to record what for him and his racing buddies will be cherished memories of their unique childhoods here in the Rocky Mountains.
They don’t realize that little tidbit of future fact yet, but they will in a few decades.
Hours and hours of limited-skilled recordings fill my hard drives, but I never dreamed one of those priceless clips would contain footage of a child immobilized on a stiff gurney with a neck and back brace, being loaded into an ambulance headed for an emergency trip to St. Anthony’s in Denver.
Much less that the child would be my own.
Yep, for the second friggin’ time, my wife had the pleasure of riding shotgun with an EMT driver, while her son was strapped in the back, being pumped full of kiddie morphine with Daddy following close behind, allowing his overactive and morbidly vivid imagination to run amok for what became the longest hour in my 51 years of breathing.
The first time was back in May of 2004, when my boy was “attacked” by a gang of monkey bars (a temptation-filled horizontal ladder suspended 6 feet above hard-packed Mother Earth that has since been outlawed in CarnesVille), and ended up with three 12-inch rods and a massive cast on his right arm for about eight weeks.
In what is perhaps the understatement of 2011, let me just say that once was enough.
But hey, kids will be kids, and ski racers will be ski racers and clip slalom gates, and every once in a while somebody’s going to get hurt.
But why him, again?
Accepting a rhetorical thought when I thought one, we dealt with the ordeal like most parents. We each panicked in our own unique ways.
My wife, who is capable of re-defining the phrase “drama queen” each time she has a hangnail, somehow admirably sports a methodical and analytical hat whenever the emergency is real and involves another human being, especially one she carried in her belly for nine months.
Me? The bigger the potential emergency, the calmer I become. The more everyone else is freaking out, the quieter I get.
But that is, of course, on the outside.
On the inside I’m a headless chicken desperately shouting hand signals about the oncoming apocalypse while trying to juggle a dozen eggs of potential disaster scenarios.
Anyway, a CT scan revealed no permanent damage, no broken bones, no nerve damage whatsoever, and after having a “severe whiplash” confirmed with a second opinion from the always astute Dr. Eric Strauch at Steadman-Hawkins, he was given a thumbs up to continue racing, playing soccer, head-butting his big brother, etc., as long as he felt “OK” doing so.
Well, at least he had the courtesy of falling right in front of Daddy holding the video camera.
As I said, the video is priceless.