Monday, April 12, 2010

Mr. McKinnon

Last Thursday, (April Fools Day), I went riding with Aaron Engelhardt for the first time ever just freeriding and not coaching. We met up with some of Aaron's friends and were having a sick day at Loon. It was 65 degrees, sunny and we were wearing t-shirts and shades, just rippin and riding park. Those guys were pushing me pretty hard and you know me, I like to represent, so I was throwing down some. I was getting boardslide, 270-out off this flat-up rail to front lip to fakie on the down rail that followed. Then there was this quarter pipe that shot you up onto a bigger quarter pipe after that. (this was part of the "Last Call" set up). The quarters were sick because it was like a quarter to wall ride and you could really boost. So I landed the flat-up to down bar combo solid and was headed for the quarter going switch at speed. I didn't want to hit the quarter switch (weak, I know), so I just tried to butter around to forward. The snow was heavy, mashed potatoes and grabbed my toe edge as I spun around. I hit the ground so fast I had no idea wtf happened. I got up and knew I got slammed. The wind was knocked out of me and I'd hit my head too, so I'm checking myself out on my way down to the gondola.
My guts hurt like I got punched real hard, but my head felt OK and I just wanted to keep riding. No one saw my fall. Aaron and his bro's were just giving me props for the boarslide 270. I was like yeah thanks and kept riding for the rest of the day.

My slam didn't bother me until we were on the way home. I couldn't get comfortable no matter how I sat in the car. I knew I was hurt. Aaron dropped me off at Ski Fanatics where my truck was and I went in for a sandwich because I hadn't eaten since toast and was starving. I could barely get the sandwich down regardless of my hunger. I was naucious and belching and felt worse than I ever had in my life. Kids were walking by my table looking at me and I could tell I looked like shit. At this point all I wanted to do was get home and asess the damage. The drive was agonizing at this point and getting my boots off made me scream. I went upstairs to my room to lay down, but before I did I went to the bathroom to pee: pure blood. Holy shit is what I was thinking and I called my wife to come check me out. She said I looked bad and called the ambulance. Whoooo-hooooo!!!!
They took me to Speare in Plymouth and gave me a cat scan. Nobody had to tell me I was in trouble after the was written all over their faces. Speare told me I lacerated my kidney and would def need surgery. Luckily they passed me on to Dartmouth Hitchcock to put me in more qualified hands. So I got another ride in the "weee-ooo-weee-ooo bus" and was hooked up to an IV and monitors. This time I got some pain meds and got to chill a little bit. (This whole time I'm thinking they're gonna cut me open and take out my kidney so the drugs were good at this point).

Dartmouth-Hitchcock is a teaching hospital and one of the best in the country, so I hear, (I've never been hospitalized before this). The ambulance had alerted Dartmouth of my condition and my arrival so when
I got throught the emergency doors there were at least a dozen nurses, doctors and students taking over and checking me out. It was just like Grey's Anatomy or maybe that was the drugs, but it felt like it. I knew I was in good hands and the doctors were all young and confident and making me feel better. They see this stuff all the time and I was happy to be there.

Dartmouth was not as concerned with me because my urine had become clear again, so they decided to give it some time. I spent two days in the trauma unit with an IV in each arm, oxygen tubes up my nose and a catheter up my schlong. I was still in pain but the doc's gave me a magic button to push that gave me morphine when I wanted it. So I'm sure I was a sight to be seen.

Nurses drew my blood four times a day to monitor my hemagloben count. My arm was so peppered with injection marks that I looked like a junkie. I wondered if they had started using the old holes to take the blood because after a while I couldn't feel the needle.

I eventually got moved from the trauma unit to a real room and had some visitors. Things were'nt getting any worse but not getting any better either. Finally on Saturday night the doc's came in and told me that my blood count was dropping and they wanted to operate. This was the last thing I wanted, but at this point I was ready to move in the direction of progress and welcomed the proceedure.

So here I am fixin to go into surgery and who should walk in my door but my Assitant Coach, Justin Anderson! I was so happy to see him! We couldn't talk long because they were taking me right away. He walked along side my wheelchair as the orderly pushed me down the hallway to the OR. He was the man to come unannounced like that. It took my mind of the surgery and I was as relaxed as I could be after seeing him. We said goodbye right at the operating room doors.

Inside the OR was actually pretty cool. The docs were my age and hip like you might imagine. I felt totally comfortable with them and they were all smiles and cool and asked me what kind of music I liked. I forget what I told them but I think they plugged in some altenative. The proceedure they did involved only one incision into my femoral arterey in my groin. They filled me with dye and used a special camera to see inside my body as they lead a tube up the arterey into my kidney. The tube's end held a coil that mechanically seamed the laceration in my kidney back together. I didn't feel a thing. The last thing I remember was the chick-doc saying "this is going to feel a little warm when it goes in". I woke up to these huge HD screens to my left showing in detail my insides and the coil and plug they used in the repair. I was like "wow-cool man" (still out of it from the drugs). I asked them if we done or just beginning, and they said they'd been working for 2 1/2 hours and were all done and it was a success. They were all smiling and I felt really happy.

I stayed at Dartmouth for two more days and was released this past Monday. Although I was still real messed up I wanted out of there bad. Some of the nurses were cute and cool and some were ogars and could give a crap about their job. Either way I was done peeing in a bag and tubes trailing off every part of my body. My Dad had come up the night before and stayed with me in my room. He was a huge help and took me home to Thornton.

That first night was rough without the morphine and I subsiquently went though some major withdrawl, sweating out my bed and wanting to die. I managed to get some rest in the wee hours of the morning having terrible, profound nightmares about life and the choices we make. It was "fight or flight" and I think my body went into shock and shut down so I could finally rest. I woke up soaking in my own sweat with the visions of my nightmares still resonating in my head. It was like I made it through to the other side. I was OK.

I stayed that one night at my house in Thornton, but have since traveled up to New Brunswick, Canada to stay with my Dad to recover. The nights have been rough, but get better each day. Today I feel like a million bucks because I can sit without pain and move around pretty well. Despite my ravanous appetite I have to eat small portions because my belly is all bloated with fulid and I have a lot of pressure on my gut.

All this being said, I have quite a fresh perspective on life now. I could have bought the farm and just feeling comfortable sitting feels like a gift from god. I realize all the choices that I've declined to make to be a better person have been squandered until now. Although I may deviate slighly from my divine plan that I have in my head today about being the best Jamie McKinnon I can be, I now am ready to face the world head-on with eyes wide open and putting my best foot forward every day. It's amazing what we take for granted. We all base our lives on what we're conditioned to in our day-to-day, wanting more and denying ourselves the core beauty in life for a life we can hide behind. At least this has been my experience. I wish you all the best in YOUR lives and I really appreciate you taking the time to read this testamony of mine, I believe it's helping me process the whole experience.

Blessed be my wife, Laura, my two sons, Emmett and Rhys and my family. Thanks to all that called and visited and cared...without people loving you there is no reason to go on so please keep on loving.

Peace and take care,


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