Let Me Tell You a Story...
Gather around and let me tell you the story about how I got to smile even more, even though I got badly injured.
On a small trip to the Fründen glacier together with fellow staff friends on a day off, I was hit with very bad luck and twisted my knee in a rather critical spot on the glacier. I tore my posterior ligament and flipped my lateral meniscus. Which rendered me unable to put any support on my knee. This is typically a situation where you would need to call a helicopter, because there was no way that I was going to walk down the glacier, between crevasses. Unfortunately we were already moving down the glacier because clouds were coming in quick, and because of the injury we quickly found ourselves trapped in thick fog and rain. Weather too bad for a helicopter to fly in. So we somehow had to get me down the glacier on our own.
I was in a tight situation and quite a lot of pain, which the other guys could see and they quickly came to the rescue with jokes and humor. They managed to raise the mood of everybody quite a lot and I managed to squeeze out a smile, although it probably looked a bit more like a face of pain. Since I couldn't walk or stand up for that matter. I had to shuffle very slowly on my bum down the glacier, while the other guys made sure that I was securely roped in and couldn't go very far in case I started sliding uncontrollably.
All the while making sure that I wasn't getting too cold and was as well as the situation allowed. But what I appreciated the most was probably their incredible skill to keep the mood high, even though they were cold and exhausted. Cracking jokes to the left and right, ranging from fairly innocent to borderline morbid, exactly my type of humor in a situation like that. That made all of the facial expressions I made between the faces of pain to a big smile. A smile that hasn't seem to have left me yet.
When we got near the bottom of the glacier the other guys staying in the hut including the hut warden had found us, after looking for us for several hours. The hut warden Bernard Winkler was quick to grab me around the chest and lift me up so I didn't have to shuffle anymore. We were a bit concerned about the weight and asked if he didn't think it was a bit heavy, but he just loudly explained that he once was a green beret and that they did this for training every day. Although after about 10 minutes he started breathing heavily and explained that he most of the time actually only cooked for the green berets, but his determination was incredible and worthy of a green beret in its own.
Luckily by that time, everybody else had joined in and took a share of the load. I was completely exhausted, so I could only imagine how exhausted the other guys were, while still smiling big time. Maybe it was the delicious dinner everybody was looking forward to at the hut that did it.
I was to say at the least impressed and overwhelmed by the incredible effort and spirit from everybody, spending five hours getting me down from the cold glacier in thick fog and heavy rain. But no matter how cold or exhausted they were they never lowered their mood an inch and just thinking about that gave me a huge grin on my face when we were near the hut and despite the pain and how cold I was, it never seemed to disappear. It didn't make it better that Diogo and Rob were busy taking pictures, because they didn't think anyone would believe this without photographic evidence!
After getting to the hut, where the the hut lady had prepared hot chocolate and a fantastic dinner for us. I got sent one of the sweetest videos from the rest of the staff back at the center and got to call my parents and explain the situation to them. And of course my mom freaked out a bit as they are supposed to :)
I got a helicopter ride down from the hut to the hospital the day after, when the weather cleared. I injured my knee pretty badly, but no permanent damage.
Everybody at the center is taking really good care of me and I'm still smiling from ear to ear just thinking about the effort everybody put in at the glacier.
So that's probably why I'm this weeks smile of the week!
A big shoutout to the heroes with me at the glacier, back at the hut and here at the center I would have been in a lot more trouble without those guys.