You probably don’t know me. My name is Tom. Now you do.
I’m gonna tell you a story. On Monday the 20th of September 2010 at around 3pm I broke my spine. Here’s how:
I live in a town called Australia. It’s near the ocean. They have a place called Falls Creek. It’s a ski-resort. I lived there for 4 months out of both this year and last. In Falls Creek they have a terrain park called Ruined Castle Terrain Park.
In Ruined Castle Terrain Park on Monday the 20th of September 2010, Falls Creek park builders Matto and Rueben had, overnight, built a thirty-foot kicker running parrallell to the fifty and sixty-footers. I am not a very good snowboarder. I’m probably better than you but I have done three seasons. But who knows? Who cares? I never understood people who try to make a competition out of snowboarding anyway. Man can know no greater freedom; no calm more profound than when he stands on top of a mountain in a fvcking blizzard freezing his cock off. This shit was never meant to be measured. Fvck Shaun White and fvck who’s better than who. Anyway, the company I keep in Falls Creek makes me feel like how Wes Brown feels at training. Worse than everyone else. Bear this in mind.
Well on Monday the 20th of September 2010 I was in Ruined Castle Terrain Park with my friend Ryan Mitson. You may not know him. More fool you. Having spent the majority of the season on the twenty-footers in Drovers Terrain Park I felt the time had come to step up and hit the thirty. I had never hit a thirty-footer before. If you’re wondering exactly what a thirty-footer is then I will tell you. It’s a snowboarding jump which measures thirty feet on the horizontal plane from the top of the take off to the top of the landing.
Anyway I’d never hit it before. And fvck, all my buddies are better than me so I gotta do it unless I’m some kind of wet fanny right? I didn’t know how much speed to take into it; you can’t just estimate cus a thirty is big enough to hurt you if you get it wrong. So I watched these two kids go first and copied them I guess. Turns out they were a lot smaller and lighter than me. Consequently, in order to clear the knuckle, they needed more speed than say, me.
I realise this as I’m on the wedge, I have about half a second to do something about it. Half a second isn’t long enough to do something about anything. So I didn’t do anything about it. As I took off, my colossal speed put me off kilter and I started to rotate anti-clockwise. I kinda got that under control so it doesn’t really matter to the story. It did mean though, that as I soared through thin useless air I was facing backwards and could see the landing disappearing quickly. I was still thirty feet up at this point. I cleared the entire landing and crumpled as I hit the cold hard flat bottom of the park. Total distance travelled in a forward direction was in excess of fifty feet and downwards was about thirty. Your house is probably about thirty feet high. As soon as my feet hit I felt it. No delay. And I knew what I’d done. I dunno if you’ve ever hurt yourself so bad that instantly you know exactly what it is you’ve done and that there can be no other possible scenario. You have broken your spine. And you have no insurance. And you have no Ambulance cover. And you’re two hundred miles from the nearest hospital. Well, if you have then cool, me too.
As all of life’s truths and lessons are learnt empirically, the inability to collate and analyse information or evidence is quite a crippling affliction. How can you predict the consequences of your actions if you cannot learn from past experiences? You would have thought a man who has five years of fairly extensive snowboarding experience would be able to predict or at least expect some kind of painful reaction to his action. Maybe I did, maybe this was part of it. Season’s nearly over anyway so who gives a shit if I hurt myself right? As if my life is somehow inextricably tied to snowboarding; and I need my body for nothing other than this divine and noble pursuit. Well, life goes on after the snow has melted and unlike snow, pain lingers. But how could I have known I’d break my back? Who honestly considers that a realistic possibily when attempting something dangerous? The kind of people who do, don’t attempt dangerous things. And how their meandering, quotidian lives must suffocate their stifled souls.
So I arrived by helicopter at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne later that day. Jacked off my titties on morphine, ketamine, chloroform, nitrous oxide, etc. In transit I’d had on-site medical attention at Falls Creek Medical Centre. Falls Creek Medical Centre is a private practice so doesn’t operate within the reciprocal health system that Australia and Great Britain share. One of the many nice things that happened to me there was a precautionary catheterisation. Big tube down the peepee-hole into the bladder. It feels like you’d imagine. Dr. Dickhead fucked it up too. Felt like a fvcking porcupine in my tubes. This cost me $79.00 AUD. When I get to the hospital they have no beds. I was left on a gurney in the surgery with the lights on all night. With a pissbag. That wasn’t put in properly. And that cost $79.00 AUD. And I had a broken spine.
Next morning, it turns out I probably would have been alright to get to the hospital without the pissbag. But the one I had in was fucked anyway. So that got ripped out and I got a freshy. Which was nice. $79.00 AUD well spent. In the following four days I got moved three times, met about six or seven hundred nurses and almost one doctor and had zero surgerical procedures performed on my devastated spinal column.
I finally have the operation on Friday. I haven’t moved from my prone position on my back with my legs straight since Monday. After having three titanium plates and four bolts permanently attatched to my lower spine I met the surgeon almost once and met almost one physiotherapist. But I did meet another two or three hundred nurses. None of whom knew my name. Or cared. Except one. But she lost interest when she saw my frightened little doodle with the massive catheter hanging out of it. It looked like a maggot trying to eat a baseball bat. Whatever. I didn’t need her loving; all I needed was a spinal operation. Had a great day on Saturday as I’d been hooked up to morphine drip that I controlled myself. Don’t remember much about that. I think I learnt to walk again. It genuinely took one day for me to get back on my feet. Which I still cannot believe. Sunday, I got given a party bag full of prescription medicine and told I could leave as soon as I took a shit. So I did one. And then I did one.
Which brings me on to the next happy turn. As it happens, when you take over thirty pills a day including Panamax, Oxycontin, Tramadol, Diclofenac, Endones and Valium, your turds join together like Power Rangers to form one giant Megazord shit-boulder made of steel. This happens in your lower intestine. The Megazord poo is way, way too big to fit out of the asshole so it stays put no matter how hard you try. As a functioning human I have to eat so all the while I’m feeding this monster that has set up home in my bowels. I didn’t shit for five whole days. I usually would shit around seven times in that period. I had one option. Well, two if you count death by shit monster. But I didn’t like that. I went to the pharmacy in Mt. Beauty and bought a litre of industrial strength laxative. Cracked into it with gusto and pissed out my ass for about six hours. All of this happened to me with a broken spine.
It is, and will always remain, a standout contender for the title of Number One Worst Day of My Life. I will never ever forget this period of my existence. You know when something bad happens to you and some ass tells you that no matter how bad things get, someone is always worse off? As if your heart is warmed by considering the abject misery of others. Anway, that categorically did not apply to the picture I just painted you. I was the most unfortunate, sorry sack of shit on this planet at that point in time. Fact.
I am better now. Four months have passed and my life has changed in so many ways because of this but who wants things to stay the same right? If life was meant to be easy it wouldn’t be worth living. However, whilst I hate giving advice because what the fvck do I know about your lives, I do want to offer something to you all. An important lesson that I have learnt the hard way:
NEVER EVER EVER BREAK YOUR BACK. EVER.
Nothing good can come of it.
Except you get asked to dribble on about your miserable tragedy on Sick Chirpse.
That is all I have to say about that.