In the past five years I’ve had just one summer season and the other nine were spent immersed in the dark depths of the winter blues, so the thought of altering this strange lifestyle was not necessarily high on my priority list especially after coming off of such a successful snowboard season and sitting pretty on the World Freeride Qualifying Tour Priority List:
2012 WFQT Priority List. I was sitting in 5th, reppin for NZ and the USA
After a few subtle, or not so subtle knee-pop-out-of-the-joint maneuvers back in November, I was recommended to get an MRI by legendary physio-therapist Gin Bush. Within two weeks I was on a plane to Auckland knowing that the photograph would hold determine whether I would be Europe bound by New Years or if I’d be going back under the knife.
Sure as shit, the results came up positive with a medial meniscal tear, but fortunately, because the tear was clean and I’ve got dangerously sexy knees, the surgeon recommended a repair, meaning that I would hopefully have a 100% healthy meniscus for the rest of my life rather than option b minus. Also, because it was repairable he was able to apply for urgent care within the NZ Public health system, meaning that I could expect to be on my ass within 4-6 weeks (pretty amazing when you hear of other people on ‘the list’ for years…)
Waiting to see the surgeon in Auckland in the ER with a temperature of (39.6C / 103.3F)
The decision was an obvious no-brainer but the stress leading up to the MRI triggered a dormant yet re-occurring abscessed tonsil in the back of my throat. Having experienced a peach sized lump in my throat thrice before I knew what sort of agony was in windpipe-line, but lucky for me, I was already at the hospital with time to spare, so diagnosed two problems at once checking myself into the emergency room. With an empty IV bag dangling from my arm, penicillin/pain prescription drugs, and looming knee surgery, I was prepared to get on my way home to kick off what was left of this summer season surprise. But, I was wrong. This time the infection didn’t react to the penicillin and at about 2:00 AM on the fourth morning of the cycle, I decided I was no longer comfortable with the size of my airway nor with the fact that I could barely open my mouth, so I used my remaining speaking capability to hook up an ambulance and wound up in the Dunedin Hospital by about 9:00 AM the following day.
To put this into perspective for those of you familiar with the east coast, it was kind of like checking into a hospital in Florida, getting discharged with an antibiotic prescription and a plan for knee surgery, flying to Maine and when unable to sleep that night, calling the ambulance and getting a ride to the hospital in New York City.
So, I spent the next two and a half days in the hospital, getting pumped on morphine, extremely large liquid antibiotic injections and intravenous fluids! Oh yes, I forget to mention this took place over Christmas…and the medical student who popped the peritonsilar-abscess in my throat also popped her peritonsilar-abscess cherry – lucky me! But, to be perfectly honest, I thoroughly enjoyed the hospital trip and was absolutely humbled by the empathetic Christmas Carolers that strolled through the Head and Neck Ward on Christmas Eve.
Christmas Breakfast at the Dunedin Hospital!
Following my Christmas banger in the hospital and my weeklong antibiotic injection hangover, I put forth a supreme effort to enjoy my first summer in a long long time!
Stevenson’s Island New Years Party. Boat/Canoe/Heli access only
Lots of biking to strengthen the legs
Wazza gets some on a rarely surfed West Coast river mouth
Casual double overhead swell running at a 16 second period
Ya, it was pretty good….
Just another bait ball of Kahawai
Just another canoe trip in NZ….
Doyle sends it into the Matukituki River
Welcome to Wanaka!
Unfortunately this photo rather than the one before made the local newspaper.
Then of course the time came for me to hang my hat and get comfortable with horizontal living for about six weeks. I flew to Auckland and walked into the hospital on two good legs, knowing that it’d be six months before that may happen again. But knowing I was in good hands and the NZ government was footing the bill I was willing to make the necessary sacrifice.
Post-op at Ascot Hospital. Let me just mention their breakfast was superb!
Fortunately the surgery went to plan and I am now three weeks into my recovery with good progress already under way. I have really great flexion thus far in my knee and have already accomplished heaps of projects that wouldn’t have otherwise been attended to. Although my blog has been a bit of a boring space lately, I plan to keep fresh posts coming up, though it may not be from current activities because my reading list and things to do list is really not that exciting…
Big shout out to everyone who helped me out during my multiple hospital trips and recovery – Kaz, Schwarter, Gav, Hayden, Waz, Sofi, PG, Lucy and everyone else!