By LISA HICKEY
The cut looked like a shark bite.
I hadn’t seen it in full until the doctor unwrapped it. I was queasy as I watched, but not too queasy to snap a photo with my iPhone. The doctor laughed. “That’s going on Facebook, I bet.”
The cut looked even worse than I expected. I didn’t understand how it could be that deep, that long, that open. The doctor explained they would need to do 10 stitches on the inside – and 20 more on the outside.
It wasn’t even my leg the doctor was working on, but my 17-year old daughter Shannon’s. We’d been skiing – me, Shannon and my oldest daughter, Kit. It was Shannon’s first time in a couple of years, we were starting on relatively mild intermediate slopes, there was a bit of ice.
When Shannon fell, I didn’t think anything of it. Kit helped her up. It wasn’t until Shannon skied off that I screamed, “Where is all the blood coming from?” “My leg!” Shannon shouted back. There was nothing to do but follow them down the slope.
With four children, I’m no stranger to hospitals. Shannon plays hockey and has asthma. We’ve gone from the rink to ER by ambulance more than once. Once it was for an asthma attack, but a couple weeks before the ski accident, it was for a concussion. Shannon was playing forward against a rough team; she was down in the corner, trying to get the puck out of the zone.
I was sitting in the stands with other parents, and saw her hit the boards. Go down. Lay completely still. I ran the length of the rink, peered through the glass. “Move! Please Shannon, move!” I didn’t scream it out loud, but the words in my head were like jackhammers. After an interminable amount of time, with three people hovered over her, her knee rises.
When they finally are able to get her standing, the requisite audience applause starts, and I realized I had been holding my breath. They let me into the locker room, where the trainer and I helped get her equipment off. She seemed dazed and far away. The trainer thought she should go home, lie down, see how it was. But we barely made it out to the lobby before Shannon had to sit down. Ghost-white, lost looking. While I went to get Shannon something to drink, the trainer called 911.
The first ones to show up were three guys on a fire engine. Big, burly guys, equipment in hand. “Where’s the injured hockey player? Someone got banged on the head after being checked against the boards?”
The guys looked quizzically around the lobby. Shannon was sitting quietly on the bench, her head on her knees, long blond hair cascading over her. “Right there,” the trainer and I pointed to Shannon. We were the only ones in the lobby.
“Where?” the firefighters asked, still looking around the room. You could see them visibly startle, as they gradually understood that this quiet, slender teenage girl was the “injured hockey player.”