Guest Blogger Steve McCord with a Touching, Swiss Alps Vacation Story
The Fall Poem
It’s all fun and games, Until launch time
Breezing down the Swiss Alps, Admiring snow-capped Jungfrau
Suddenly loose rocks upset my front tire
The body becomes airborne, an accelerating projectile
At point of impact
All my 175 lbs. absorbed by my right shoulder and hip
I bounce and cartwheel down the slope
All four limbs and groin muscle join in the fun
Is it a fall from grace
If it lands me in humility?
I usually love the breathtaking
Except when it’s from bruised ribs
A body at rest still wants to inhale
Becoming intimately acquainted with Swiss Alps terra firma
I marvel as the blood running down my legs dye my socks a brilliant shade of crimson
Now the perturbing question;
Can I gather the strength to get the bike and my battered body down the mountain to Lauterbrunnen?
Every few minutes I discover a new injury
Kevin at the bike shop picks pebbles from my hip, legs and elbow and hose me down and douses the lacerations with disinfectant.
The sting helps fortify my adrenaline for the remaining journey ahead.
I cannot stop the video replay in my minds eye.
I am not looking forward to sharing with Angie the new additions, the colorful array of wounds adorning my torso and limbs
Most concerning of all though is what internal wounds are speaking to me.
I am struggling for each breath as my right lung encounters swollen ribs.
Is there internal bleeding?
Unable to get settled in hotel bed, Angie stops trying to convince me and simply declares a cab is being called, we are going to the hospital.
Sanity prevails over cowardice and the real fun begins:
X-rays, blood work, abdominal sonogram, clean and dress cuts and scrapes.
Once the lab results come back I am admitted.
My heart enzyme is 19, normal range is below 1.5
The ole ticker sustained a concussion upon impact
I am fitted with a halter monitor to track cardiac activity and bp cuff that checks each hour and finger clip to monitor blood oxygen levels.
The first night; nurse visits, beeping machines and roommate snoring, sleep is impossible.
Grateful we purchased trip interruption insurance
Many decisions to be made with groggy brain.
My hospital stay is extended another night as my heart enzyme is still at 10
We celebrate the significant improvement and hone our surrendering and acceptance skills
Good news, my roommate is discharged and the beeping machine is replaced by one less noisy
I am able to visit dream world for several precious hours.
After being wheeled around the hospital for more tests, it’s time for breathing and physical therapy.
On the third day our spirits arose …
as my heart enzyme has dropped to 1.6
If my cardiac sonogram is normal, discharge here I come!
As Dr. Ulrich Ingold of Kardiologie watch the movie aka: my beating heart, the valves and valve walls appear to be functioning as God intended, the soundtrack is copasetic as well, still got good rhythm….
We discuss global affairs, I express my shock, grief, outrage re the country of origin on my passport; he says the mass population dislocations are opening up many old wounds between European and other countries.
Instability and uncertainty abound.
He gives me the good medical news and immediately writes up his report and provides me a printed copy along with a disc of the sonogram imagery for my cardiologist at home.
The halter monitor and IV line are removed and I am free to shower.
The whiff I get as I remove my shirt, well let’s just say, ripe.
A hot shower never felt so heavenly until I try to lift my right arm to shampoo my scalp.
I am told it could take a month or two before the rib pain subsides
And longer before my shoulder will be supporting a downward facing dog.
Gentle seated yoga will have to do for awhile.
$8,500 later we are free to leave hospital and make our way to Berne to rest for 36 hrs, gather strength for trip home.
Trip ins co arranges for a driver to get us to Zurich and a non stop flight home w upgraded seating suitable for the walking wounded (business class)
LAX arrival Sat. 16:30 hrs.
One takeaway from this ordeal is–
Never partake in a high-risk activity in a country you would not entrust to provide emergency medical treatment.
The Swiss were magnificent!
Gentle, Compassionate, respectful,
Patient, organized, methodical and very competent, all with an unhurried, easygoingness I have not encountered before in a hospital, much less an ER environment.
I certainly have never eaten such a quality of hospital food.
I made a friend in Reini, the physical therapist
We exchanged emails so that when I return to Interlaken, we can cycle the Alps together.
Yeh, yeh, call me crazy
It’s in my blood that
There is no use crying over when spilt.
At this moment
There is a strange surrender accompanying sensation of freedom from any compulsion to seek, plan, accomplish, produce anything … I now merely must rest, heal, do my gentle yoga, breathe, extend and receive love one day at time.
… Not quite the vacation story I was hoping to bring home, but damn grateful, it could have been worse.