Well, things have finally settled down
here a little and I thought I'd take time
to tell you our tales from Sunday night (Knik 200 stories from both
of us will
follow at a later date).
I finished the Knik race at around 2:30 on Sunday afternoon. Our
was waiting at Knik Lake with the dog truck. We fed, loaded and took
back up to Willow. We got them all put back in their yard; I had a
then headed back to Knik for the Race Banquet and to wait for Mark.
Somewhere in the evening, I realized this was going to be a late
night - and
with only a few hours sleep during the Race, I was not going to be a
candidate for driving the hour back home after Mark came in - the
the rescue again. After having dinner in Wasilla, they dropped Doug
off in Knik
so he could drive Mark and I home later in the evening.
Okay, I confess, I quickly learned just how boring it is to wait for
team to come in in the middle of the night. As all the Ham Radio
been pulled off the trail, information on when to expect your musher
little sketchy. Based on the fact that Mark had apparently left Skwentna at noon
- a fact that annoyed me a little because no where in the Race Plan
written for him did it say "spend 11 hours resting in Skwentna"
(turns out he
didn't - they had his 'out time' recorded incorrectly) - I figured
he would be
in somewhere between 10pm and midnight.
Around 11, Doug and I decided to sneak into the bar and grab a beer.
As I took
my second sip, a headlight showed up on the lake. I took a quick
swig and told
Doug to drink it for me if I didn't come back in 5 minutes. Of
course, the team
was Mark's and Doug was kind enough to finish the beer for me.
Mark was in a great mood and the dogs looked fantastic. What a good
job he did
with my rookies. I am immensely pleased with all of them (Mark and
that is!). I'll leave his 'Tales of the Trail' to him - we fed,
loaded his team
and headed home.
Doug just drove us to his place, so we could drop him off, and Mark
couple miles back to Jamie and Harry's.
Mark parked the truck in front of the kennel and we began to unload.
snapping up Q when I noticed Mark on the ground behind the truck.
"You okay?" I
called - "No, I've broken my ankle." he replied (apparently he
actually heard it
break). Sprite, who he was leading behind the truck when he slipped,
hovering over him. I quickly ran her to her kennel and came back to
help him to
his feet. No luck, he was in far too much pain to get himself up,
onto the ladder on the truck and with me helping him. He was
starting to go into
shock and was shaking like a leaf. I put a coat on him and ran for
the house to
get Jamie and Harry - who were, of course, sound asleep (Jamie had
gone on an
overnight trip with her dogs the night before).
Harry moved his vehicle over next to Mark and the 3 of us managed to
get him up
and into the backseat. Harry and Mark headed for the hospital. Jamie
finished unloading dogs and then followed them.
By the time we got there, Mark was coming out of x-rays and it was
obvious that this was not going to be a quick fix. I thanked Jamie
and Harry and
sent them home to get some sleep.
The doctor came in and slapped a couple x-rays up on the wall. He
pointed out 2
(actually, I thought it was 3, but maybe I was tired and hearing
and 2 dislocations. The nurse busied herself cutting 2 pair of
underwear off Mark. I was very grateful for the 'boot zippers'
into their winter pants, which made it possible to get them off
They doped him silly and then announced that it was time to 'pop'
dislocations back in. I left the room.
While they worked on admitting Mark, I sat down with the cashier to
the financial end of this. Unbelievable. You all know that I love my
neighbors (not your moose though) but what kind of civilized nation
citizens through the stress of "And how will you be paying for
this?" in the midst of an already stressful emergency situation? What an eye
completely boggles my mind - and makes me very grateful to live in
has National Health Care.
Just because I know a few have been wondering and asking - our
Care plan will assume all the bills for what similar treatment for
Canada would have cost. Mark's insurance plan through Alpac will
cover the rest
- so this should not put us out of pocket at all.
Anyway, Mark's orthopedic surgeon turned out to be one that both
Jamie and Doug
recommended, which gave us some piece of mind. After he explained
the surgery to
Mark, he asked Mark if he had any questions. "Do you know what your
Mark asked. He assured him he did - and off Mark went to surgery.
I gotta say, Mark has maintained a very good sense of humor through
Many of his nurses have commented to me on it. I tell them they
should meet him
when he isn't out of his mind in pain and drugged to the max.
Doug had his son, Nate drop him off at the hospital so he could
drive the dog
truck and I home, so I could feed dogs and get some sleep. I was far
to drive myself the hour home.
So, details on exactly what when on in the surgery are a little
sketchy to me. I
haven't been able to catch up with Mark's doctor and Mark claims he
remember everything the doctor said.
What I do know is that the surgery was not a simple one. Mark made
reference last night to having the ankle joint rebuilt with cadaver
bone - and I
know a couple plates and some screws went in.
His recovery is going pretty slow. Personally, I think the fact that
tired, sore, and dehydrated from his race when he went into surgery
is one of
He's been battling a bit of fever and some issues with his blood
on top of still being in a lot of pain. All those issues need to be
before they will let him come home.
And this is just the beginning - I'm told that he will not be
permitted to bear
any weight on that ankle for at least 8 weeks.
As for what this means for our winter plans, right now I can't
exactly say. We
are taking each thing as it comes, with Mark's health, comfort and
the primary consideration. We will keep you all posted as we figure
On the 'big scale' of 'things that can go wrong' - this is just a
are fully aware of and grateful for that. Things will sort
Thanks again to all that have been so gracious - taking time to
email - or just thinking good thoughts for us. We do both really