29 Mar The Facts – Saturday March 23rd
It was a beautiful Saturday morning at Mont Tremblant. Judy and were up early as usual in order to be at the hill by 8:30 (when the lifts opened). First Tracks was over for the season, but with all the snow we had had during the week we wanted to be there early to enjoy the best runs of the day before the crowds arrived.
We met our friends John and Lindsay at the hill, not a planned meeting but karma working its magic we arrived at the same time and rode the Duncan chair together. Everything was great, catching up on the events of the last week or so with them just coming back from Whistler. We decided on the way up that our 1st run would be Duncan to Devil’s river – Devil’s River is a favourite especially when it’s groomed and the sun is glistening – it was going to be a great day of skiing our 32nd of the year!
I took off down Duncan and right into Devils River – it was my plan to go top to bottom the conditions were amazing. For some reason, karma, fate, luck I decided to stop halfway down just to confirm with the others how great the conditions were. Lindsay stopped with me, then Judy skied up to me saying “there is something really wrong – I have an incredible head ache”. She was feeling faint and grabbed for me and hung on really tight – fainted within moments and was laying down on the hill. Lindsay helped get Judy out of her skis while I got out of mine, John and Michel skied to the bottom to advise them the send the ski patrol down to where we were. One patroller arrived and got Judy stabilized – on oxygen, on here side so she didn’t choke while calling on her radio for assistance.
A ride down to the bottom on the patrol toboggan, where an ambulance was only moments away to transport to the emergency room at Ste. Agathe. Through radio contact with emerg, I knew they would be ready and waiting. Then there was a request from the paramedic who was attending to Judy in the back to slow down over those bumpy back roads at Tremblant as he was having trouble getting a heart rate reading – I knew time was of the essence, but that heart rate reading was equally important – the driver understood the request, it meant breaking on curves, versus not.
Upon arrival at Ste Agathe it was just like its supposed to be (or how it’s shown on ER); the garage doors open to the emerg area, Judy is wheeled in to a waiting doctor and a team of 6-8 medical staff. After some time (def. time is when minutes feel like hours) the doctor comes to let me know that Judy has had an aneurysm and he has been in contact with the neurosurgeon at Notre Dame hospital, she would be heading there anytime now as they were waiting for her. Someone from the medical team at Ste Agathe would be accompanying Judy to Montreal I would follow. But wait, how?
Lindsay came to Ste Agathe to meet me, drive me back to Tremblant where I picked up my Jeep from John who got that and our ski stuff from the hill. I loaded everything I could think of into the jeep, in no orderly fashion but I knew what ever I was looking for was in the Jeep – I had a premonition this was not a question of how many hours could we wait in an Emergency Room, but rather how many days might we be there.
Surgery was planned with the exact procedure to be determined at the 11th hour. They opted for a vascular coiling technique, a 3 1/2 hour procedure that repairs the aneurysm by finding a pathway from an artery in the leg up through body, neck and head to the ruptured vessel. A platinum wire is fed up through the pathway and then ‘spun’ until it forms a tight web. With blood flowing through this and clotting, a new stronger wall is formed and closes the opening.
The doctor said that the surgery was successful but difficult. When asked, he said difficult meant that they were in there a little longer than expected.
Now on to recovery, which is a guessing game for the next 24 hours. Testing showed that left side was good, speech was ‘probably’ ok and right side was an issue – reduced strength in the right arm and no movement in the right leg, not even a toe wiggle.