Yeah, I’m back in the Netherlands, about a week early. Sucks.
The bus left for La Joue du Loup with Husk travel on the 9th of February from Enschede. We arrived early in the morning on Saturday the 10th. We got the keys to our apartment around 3 in the afternoon and started moving our gear in. I hadn’t slept in the bus, so when my roommates went out sledding I stayed behind to catch some z’s. After dinner we went to the introduction party at ‘Le village pub’, which was really as crappy as it sounds. Our Husk tour guides gave us some information, we drank some beers, then we left while we were still sober so we could get out on the snow early in the morning.
About 50 meters from our apartment we walked on a downwards slope, iced over by the snow. Thomas, Evert, Huub, Jorik and Daniel were screwing around, pushing each other and sliding on the ice. Anita and I were taking it slow, trying not too fall on our face this early in the vacation. I didn’t do so well.
I remember putting my right foot down, feeling it slide away… and suddenly I’m on the ground. My friends pick me up and dust me off, but somethings wrong. I’ve got blurry vision, there’s a whistling sound in my hearing and my right arm hurts – bad. Evert tries to keep me steady so I won’t fall down again, but I slide around a bit anyway. I try to move my right arm, figure out why it’s hurting, when Jorik hears something crack – and now it hurts even more. Oops. My blurry vision and the whistling in my hearing immediately get worse. At that point I think I have a serious concussion, but the docs later tell me it’s my body shutting down its senses to feel less pain. We stumble towards the apartment, walk up the stairs and… black-out. I’m gone for about 20 (blissful) seconds, and when I come back to the world I’m sitting on the couch, my friends holding me up and getting ice for my shoulder. Marten, Daniel and Roderick examine my arm and figure I’ve probably dislocated my shoulder and tell me it should be looked at by a professional. They don’t think it’s broken, since the arm appears to have full mobility (later, the surgeon explained to me that this fracture doesn’t affect the motions of my arm, but hurts a whole fucking lot). As it’s becoming clear I’m not okay they decide to call the Husk tour guide, since the instructions from Husk tell us to call him for medical help. Fifteen minutes later Evert calls him again, wondering where the fuck he is, and hears pub sounds in the background. Great help. Another twenty minutes later he’s in our room, examines me (which basically means pulling my arm and telling me “Daar word je hard van” when I start moaning) and comes to the same conclusion my roommates had half an hour ago: Something in my shoulder is not right. He gives me 2 options: Either call an ambulance, or… don’t call an ambulance (Literally. This is literally what he said). When I tell him to call we get to hear an amazing piece of near-native level fluency in several languages: “Allo, je suis une guide de Husk… uh… Parlez vous anglais? Une peut? Uh, kut, okee… I have a man here, he travels with us from Husk… he is, uh, falling in the snow… and now, uh, his… wat is een schouder in het Engels? Oh, shoulder, ja… his shoulder is not good. No, he needs help”. And this shameful display goes on for another few minutes. Honestly, I know Husk is a budget tour operator, but if you station someone in France the least he should be able to do is actually speak French. And if not, it would be nice if he could speak English. This guy even has the audacity to tell us, after the phone call, that he’s learning a lot of French and English since taking this job… but that it’s mainly about broken furniture and not getting your deposit back.
By now my roommates are considering tossing this guy out the window, but apparently he thinks he’s done his duties and leaves us in peace. Since Joue du Loup is an hour away from Gap, the nearest town with a hospital, it takes 2 hours before I’m actually in an ER. Evert comes with me since I’m in no state to be talking to anyone, let alone in French. The ER nurses put an IV into my arm and start pushing painkillers into my body. Twenty minutes later they ask if it still hurts. Yes, it fucking hurts! The liquid paracetamol isn’t helping, so they push a cc of morphine into my IV. When that doesn’t help, they push another cc in. The nurse asks me what kind of pain it is, on a scale from 1 to 10. I tell him 7. He tells me that with 10 he means so-painful-I’d-rather-be-dead-pain. In that case, I tell him, it’s an 8. So now the nurses figure out something is seriously wrong, hit me up with another cc and put me into an X-ray machine. This results in a few pretty pictures:
It’s hard to see, but this is the x-ray of my right shoulder. The circular thing is the top of my right arm. I adjusted the levels to compensate for the badly lit scan:
See that thing beneath the top of my arm where bone should be? Yeah, it’s not there. That’s not good. When the nurses come to that conclusion they shoot another 3 cc of morphine into me and tell me I’m probably getting operated the next morning (amusingly, one thought I do remember was that people who go through an operation tend to lose weight, which was a major plus for getting operated in my mind). The morphine knocks me out good, taking away my ability to think straight. Every time I start worrying about getting cut open by a French surgeon I see something like the stand-by light on the TV and my mind floats away, thinking about red stand-by lights and how pretty red is and that girls are pretty and pretty girls are on beaches and beaches and sun are nice for a vacation and maybe I should stick to summer vacations from now on…
The next morning (Evert spent the night sleeping in a chair next to my bed) they tell me to scrub with betadine and prepare for surgery (no eating, no drinking at all). Around 10 they cart me to the x-ray machine for new pictures. Two hours later a nurse comes back to us, telling Evert that the surgeon looked at the new x-rays and decided not to operate. It’s a nasty fracture but I should let it heal naturally, using a sling to keep the weight off it. A few hours later I’m released from the hospital, we take a cab ride to our apartment and arrive just in time to eat dinner with my friends. I owe Evert big time for staying with me and doing all my insurance work for me when I was too knocked out to know my left from my right arm.
All in all, I spent almost 400 euros on a snowboard vacation in which the only time I touched my snowboard was when I lugged it from the bus into the locker. Great value for money. If you want to learn anything from the most expensive 4 days in France I’ve ever had, make it this: If you ever go anywhere with Husk and something does go wrong, just call the emergency services directly. Don’t bother with those Husk motherfuckers, they’re too fucking incompetent to believe.
Update: My dad and uncle mentioned that there’s no way I could break my arm this way just by falling backwards, the impact point is wrong. The only way to get this fracture would be to hit a rock or other obstruction on my way down, something lying in the snow. So I guess if I’d fallen just a bit more the left, I wouldn’t have broken anything at all 🙁