I broke my leg! Now what!
Sliding down Turtle Back Falls in Brevard NC
I had a feeling something bad was going to happen that day. A day trip to Sapphire National Forest for a hike to Turtle Back Falls an easy hike and some summer fun. The falls are like a giant water slide, people use a rope to climb up the side of the falls and scooch up close enough so the force of the water pulls you right over the 15ft. falls into a sparkling 30feet deep swimming hole. there is also a large cliff side that the more daring do jumps, flips and other injury inducing tricks!
My longtime boyfriend Sean and our seven year old son Elijah set out for the 3 mile hike to the falls, I couldn't shake the uneasiness in my. I was worried we would somehow get stranded in the woods. I packed extra snacks, water, rain gear and my cellphone which I do not usually bring for fear of getting it wet! But today I had safety on my mind. There had been raging rain storms the day before and the trail was tore up. Many parts were washed away or covered in water. I had my trekking poles for stability because my balance sucks! There was a couple hiking up behind me as I tried trekking over a log bridge and I stepped aside to let them pass because I was afraid I would fall on my ass in front of them..
We reached Turtle Back and were greeted by a roaring waterfall it was insane, the heavy rains made the falls even more intense! The video I posted is like a slow drip compared to what we encountered. There was a family sitting on a large rock eating lunch and enjoying the day. Sean climbed the rope and the family were on their feet. "Is he going down the falls? a young boy asked, " someone said it was to rough to go!" "We'll see" I replied with a nervous smile.. Sean got to the top and the water took him right over and splash!! He was totally fine and suddenly all the kids from the other family were on the ropes ready for their turn.. Let the fun begin!
The uneasy feeling I had in the morning prevented me from even going near the falls, I had heard the story of a woman who just weeks earlier got swept downstream to the other set of falls which were over 50ft high and rocky, she did not survive. I was a nervous wreck that day which is unusual for me! But it was cool, I was getting sun and watching my guys enjoy themselves. As the afternoon wore on we decided to head back up the trail for the three mile hike out of the woods. I was relieved, no one broke there neck cliff diving or cut their head open going over the falls. I giggled inside at my tendancy to fret for others safety, maybe I am just getting old I thought! I laced up my boots grabbed my poles and threw on the backpack. I turned around stepped from one large boulder to another and my left foot slipped on the wet mossy rock it curled under my right leg and down I went, hard! I heard a loud snap and slid into a large mudpuddle. I immediatly felt an electric wave from my leg to my eyeballs, my ankle snapped back into place and I grabbed it and held it above my head. I thought I would throw up and could taste a chemical metallic taste in my mouth. "Oh baby!" I howled "Oh this is bad this is bad, I definatly broke something" Although I could wiggle my toes the hope of this being just a small sprain vanished when I tried to put weight on it. There was nothing it was like standing on mashed potatoes! Sean looked at me and said "it is 3:45 right now babe and there is only one way out" "ohhhhhh baby how are we gonna do this?" I pleaded. I climbed out of the mud hole on my hands and knees and once on the trail Sean supported my left side while I tried hopping and supporting my right side with one of the trekking poles. After 30 yds I was exhauseted, Elijah was upset and the broken leg was turning purple. I was dizzy and soon realized that we would need help and if help was willing to come we needed to call now. Hiking up hill three miles with a seven year old would be possible but we are not on Survivor family and my damn leg hurt! I brought my phone I remembered, Sean call 911.
I realized I would not be walking out of the woods on my own. My leg was swelling up quickly.. Falling of that rock was the official end of our hiking trip. Now the top priority was getting help! Thankfully our cellphone got through to emergency workers. I was lying in the dirt on the side of the trail. Hikers would stop to ask if I needed help or would smile sympathetically. One lady blew me a kiss and told me to ask for the "good drugs" A few people walked by and didn't say a word.
Within 20 minutes a fireman dressed simply in a deptartment T-shirt and jeans with horn rimmed glasses and a walky talky walked up. In a thick southern drawl he asked "well darlin' what have you done to yerself?" The fireman looked at my leg. "Well I ascertain we should immobilize that foot!" If I wasn't in so much pain I would have been hystercial at the big words this guy was using, with the accent it was just out of place. He was sweet and helpful in a hill billy way! He created a splint out of my two trekking poles and a wet towel.. It took the pressure off immediatly.. My hill billy hero!!
A few minutes later Lisa came up wearing hot pink flip flops, a sparkly tank top and the trusted walky talky.. "Well well well what have you done to yourself on this sticky day?" she asked. "Girl I am as sweaty as a stuck pig after that hike!" Was I hallucinating from the pain or was this for real? Lisa was also very sweet and explained that this was their job no worries! "You have a weak pulse in that foot sweety, we need to get going. We have to wait for Bob to get here" Bob was the lead EMT, when he arrived with a big IV bag and a vile of Delauded I relaxed immediatly.. "I'm just gonna hook you on up to this and send you to lala land, then we are gonna get you in a basket and carry you out" Before I knew it I was floating on a morphine induced cloud looking up at the faces of 5 strong emt's carrying me up hill out of the smokey mountains!
The drug haze was interrupted briefly by a bit of panic, we had trampled over a hornets nest!!! Everyone was getting stung!! The guys started running! I grasped the sides of the baskets and held on tight!! My son and boyfriend got stung three times and all the emergency workers were stung by the swarm! I escaped the stinging but the pain of hearing my baby screaming was unbearable.. Sean has had violent reactions to bee stings in the past so I was yelling about epi-pens as I tried jumping off the stretcher trying to get my kid.. The EMT's moved to safety and put me down on a footbridge to re-group.. "Thanks Bob, ya'll don't drop me!" "Don't worry we only drop the ones we don't like!" exlaimed a young EMT..
We arrived at the top of the hill and entered a campground. I was transferred to an ATV for the half hour ride to the main road.. I had to pee so bad I was doing lamaze breathing.. Upon arriving to the ambulance I admitted I had a full bladder. Laura the ambulance driver handed me a bedpan and offered to cut my pants off! I refused the scissors to my skirt but the bedpan was a welcome option.. The whole scene was surreal! Laura chatted on the entire 45 minute ride about how she is a trauma junkie.. Next thing I know I was in the ER being shown the X-rays.. Surgery, pins, metal plates.. I was sent home after a brief training on the crutches and a bottle of vicodin, surgery would be two days later.
As I write this I am home recovering, I am about a month into the healing process and realize how lucky I actually am.. The EMT's came and got me, surgery was quick and I am healing right on schedule. I look forward to walking again and am thankful that this is not a permanent injury.. It still sucks, I'm bored, not working and am not sleeping but it is a temporary prediciment! Thank you Trannslyvania EMT's for all your help! Especially you Beauford, Lisa and Bob!
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