What nearly 7-year-old boy doesn’t want to take a ride in a helicopter?
It was supposed to be our time to get away, our time to unplug from the world, take in some of nature’s goodness and let the cares and stress of the world at home go free. It was supposed to be that way, but like most things in life, even the best-laid plans can change in the blink of an eye.
We were out camping at Lake Dowdy, which is located a little over an hour into the mountains from Fort Collins Colorado and is about 7,900 feet in elevation. We’ve all been looking forward to this trip since March when we made the reservations. Charles’s goal was to do NOTHING, to relax; the kids wanted to fish, climb and hike. Me, I just wanted to sit and read for fun, which is in keeping with my usual camping tradition.
And it started off as the best camping trip in recent memory. There was no stress, no drama – and we even commented on how relaxed everyone was. Camp was set up with our usual quickness and efficiency; the kids were having a blast, making new friends and fishing to their hearts content.
After dinner, the kids went fishing one more time and Charles and I enjoyed a peaceful conversation, catching up with each other. Just as the sun started to set, Charles and I heard a huge ‘thunk’ of someone hitting the ground in the near distance and then BW’s voice as he started to scream the most unholy of screams. In seconds JB was running towards our camp as fast as her little feet could carry her, and Charles and I were running with lightening speed towards the boulder spit.
BW, who’d been fishing from the topmost boulder at the spit, had lost his footing, slid over the edge and fallen about 11 to 12 feet to the ground. Fortunately he never lost consciousness, and there were two EMT’s at nearby campsites who were able to help.
The Red Feather Lakes sheriff and fire departments were called, and after 45 minutes to an hour of emergency care, BW was secured to a backboard, moved to the ambulance and driven to the fire station, where a “Flight for Life” medical crew and helicopter were waiting to assess him.
The only visible injuries were a large ‘road rashed’/ gashed area on his head, and a very painful wrist, but given the severity of the fall, his age, the rural location and the fear of shock, BW was medivac’d to the Medical Center of the Rockies (at our request – they originally wanted to fly him to Denver’s Children’s Hospital). Because of the thin air, none of us were able to fly down with him – and the drive from Red Feather Lakes to Loveland (about a 1-1/2 to 2 hour drive) was one of the longest we’ve ever experienced.
At MCR they ran full body CT scans as well as manual manipulations to determine if there were any internal injuries, fractures or concussions. Given the height of his fall, the doctors, medical staff and we were all extremely surprised and relieved that the scans all came up normal.
They found that he did indeed have a fracture in his right wrist as well as a dislocated bone in the joint. After giving him some medication, they were able to manipulate all the bones back into their correct places. I hope we never hear screams like that again. They assure us that he didn’t feel anything, but we sure did. A splint was placed onto his the wrist to stabilize the break. His gash is pretty big, and it’ll probably take awhile for it to heal – hopefully just in time for school pictures.
BW goes in on Monday to get a fiberglass cast that will be on until the bones in his wrist heals. We’ll need to keep an eye on him over the next couple of weeks to make sure that there aren’t any silent concussions that weren’t detected on the CT, but in the meantime BW is in fine spirits, and is giving JB a run for her money.
Wish us luck. We are all a bit worse for wear. BW for his injuries, JB for having witnessed it, and Charles and I for the stress of seeing a child injured, the fear of what the medical bills are going to be.
With school starting on Tuesday, and his writing hand in a cast – it’s going to be an interesting month!