I had planned an entry about the region of Trentino-Alto Adige, or about skiing, snowboarding, winter vacations in Italy, the "settimana bianca", northern Italian foods and the influences of surrounding countries...but things can change quite quickly, as I've learned in the past few days all too well.
We headed up from Monterosso in a little bus full of friends and family and other residents for a traditional and happily anticipated week in the mountains. Cousins, friends, family, people you see in passing in the village, the mayor- it's more or less everyone. Our bus,accompanied by other groups in cars, drove up to the village of Moena in the far northern part of the country. Signs switch to German first and dishes include sauerkraut and wurstel. It's a different world and an autonomous state of Italy, like Sicily.
After a few tries at snowboarding 2 years ago, I was eager to restart. We headed to the slopes of beautiful Lusia, and I was actually better then I remembered. After a few days, I was completing turns and pretty happily confident.
Then, sliding into a turn on an easy slope, I fell backwards and heard a snap and realized the screming I heard was my own voice.
After getting packed into a sled and bobsledded to the ski lift, I was put in a gurney, swooped down, and then rushed to the ER in not so nearby Cavalese. A few hours later, I learned I have a stable compression fracture of the T7 vertebra. I'm in a brace and on some tough painkillers for the next 8 weeks or so, but for the next 2, I'm in bed immobile and lying flat.
It's pretty painful, a little embarrassing, uncomfortable but above all, incredibly boring. Mind numbingly boring.
I'm lucky because it could have been much, much worse. I'm going to make a full recovery with no long term damage to my ability to move, and I should be totally fine in 4 months, at the most.
The entire experience was horrific and scary because the night before I urged Manuel, who is a great skier, to go on ahead with his friends and do some black trails, because I'd be ok with the girls on the easier slopes. I was alone when I fell, and fortunately a girl from Monterosso was nearby so she could call everyone and let them know what happened, but the experience getting to the ER was really scary being alone and not knowing what I had hurt. Thank God for the amazing people I encountered working in the ambulance, police, hospital and first aid. They were all efficient, caring, and really, truly angels. From the police man who stayed with me holding my hand the whole way, to the nurse in the ambulance who sang me little songs to calm me down, to the priest who came to see the "American girl who speaks his Italian", everyone was incredible.
So, I won't be writing too much while I'm immobile. But when I'm able to move little by little, I'll be back :)