Air Adventure 4: Rendezvous with Destiny (aka a visit to the hospital)

I have never blogged one-handed before, but then again, this is the first time I fractured my shoulder! The paragliding adventure continues, as did the lousy weather. It was almost wintery this morning with 9C as we hit the training grounds by 8:00am. The winds were still strong, which would not have bothered more experienced paraglider in the least, but for beginners, doing the first flight was out of the question… again. But, after a full day of lecture yesterday we were sent out to do more ground handling work with the canopies and harnesses.

During the morning session I got dragged by the canopy and twisted my knee, having fallen down a few times. Falling down is part and parcel of the training, but I began to feel the pain, so during the long lunch break I kept my leg up and took a nap. Life is always better after a nap and a large glass of cola, so I was ready to go again in the afternoon.

It was still too windy to fly in the afternoon, so we were sent back out to the ground for more ground training, including the so-called cobra manoeuvre. As luck would have it, I got a gust of strong wind that knocked me face down solidly, the canopy dragged me with outstretched arms several meters forward while I tried to pull on the brakes. Somewhere in the middle of all this turbulence I heard my shoulder make an unpleasant crack and I knew something was wrong, convinced it was dislocated in the very least. Once I could figure out which way was up, my training partner had managed to stop the runaway canopy and I unharnessed myself.

Two hours later I could barely lift my right arm, was beginning to lose sensation in two of my fingers and it all hurt like hell. My best friend and buddy who is doing the course with me rushed me to the ER where I was looked over by a surgeon and a neurologist, and had several X-rays done. Long story short, I have a fracture shoulder (not broken), a sprained spinal column and ankle, which are not dramatic, but are painful nevertheless. I have to keep the arm and shoulder immobile for the next couple of weeks or so, and upon my return to Berlin I have to get physical therapy. No surgery required, claimed the surgeons.

Dressing and eating one-handed are a pain, but I am allowed to take the sling off from time to time and move my arm. Sleeping should be interesting this evening.

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