Posted by: smithdavid | December 15, 2013

What about surfing?

I’m in the consulting rooms of Dr. Roques in Les Deux Alpes. The rooms are just below the lift Diable, it’s perhaps a little ominous. There is no place to sit other than on a worn steel table that seems to be part of X-Ray aparatus. I remain standing, if I sit on the table I’ll be admitting that something serious is wrong.

In my mind I’m playing through the sequence of events that brought me here: the moment of impact on Thuit yesterday morning; EV looking on as I tested the range of movement in my arm in the cable car; Kerri, one of the girls in our ski party, in a sling last night; EV putting my arm in a make-shift, blanket-sling later on.

Dr. Roques enters, he’s got grey curly hair, a weathered face and an almost permanent expression of amusement.

la grave in the background...

la grave in the background…

‘So,’ he says, looking me over.

I point to my shoulder.

‘Ahh…’ he nods. I’m figuring his English is as bad as my French.

He stands in front of me, arm at his sides. He lifts his arm to his side so that it is paralel with the ground, he motions for me to do the same. I get my arm about six inches away from my side before the muscle at the top of my shoulder refuses to do any more. He lifts his hand forward, I try the same with the same result as before. He shrugs, smiles a little deeper.

‘X-Ray…’ he says. He gets me to take my shirt off (he has to help when it comes to my right shoulder). He places me in front of a lead plate, arm at side. As he goes to the door he motions for me to stay still. There is a sound similar to that of a large flash igniting. He re-enters, gets me to twist my wrist so that my plam faces the beam. He goes out, the flash ignites again.

After a while he comes back, two sheets of black and white film in his hand. He shrugs, smiles. ‘Fraktuur…’ he says, holding one of the X-Rays up to a light, pointing to a thin line on the round part of my upper arm, the part that pivots in the shoulder. He shrugs again, raises the middle of his mouth. Then he writes out a prescription.

the glacier at les deux alpes...

the glacier at les deux alpes…

He pats me on my good shoulder when he explains. From a mixture of English, French and gestures, I gather that I have to keep my arm in a sling for 3-4 weeks, I have to go to a physio after two weeks and that if I have problems with moving my arm after six weeks I need to see an orthopedic surgeon.

‘Running?’ I ask, motioning.

He holds three fingers up for three weeks.

‘What about surfing?’ I ask smiling. But he looks at me in confusion, this is too much to ask of our basic communication system.

Once I’m outside things seem less heavy – it could’ve been a cruciate or a dislocation. On the injury scale I’ve probably escaped lightly. I take a few breaths of the clear mountain air, soak in the simple beauty of the village and smile. I’ll probably surf again in two months, it’s not that bad.


  1. Bad luck! I picked up an early season injury too. Hope you heal up soon!

    • luckily there’e blog’s a lag on the blog. so currently healthy and surfing! thanks for reading.

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