As I’ve mentioned, there is always a time lapse that comes with shooting film, and it is one of the qualities that make it so rewarding. So for this post I’m going back almost 2 months to the end of december.
On December 30th, the last day of our Christmas vacation, my dad went skiing by himself. Usually, I am always jumping at the opportunity for one more ski day, especially when it’s just my dad and I. But for some reason on that day I turned him down, opting to go snowshoeing with my mother instead. Looking back, I’m reluctant to admit that maybe I was a bit spoiled by the first half of our vacation, which had been full of snow and relatively empty of people. Now that it was the other way around, I didn’t want to water down my trip with a day of mediocre skiing. I hate myself for thinking that way, because there really is no such thing as a “mediocre” day of skiing with your dad. I hate myself even more because while out by himself, my dad fell and tore his ACL.
My mom and I were about 10 minutes away from finishing our hike and meeting up with my father for lunch when he called in severe pain saying he fell and was about to pass out. Twenty minutes later we picked him up from the mountain, and although he was smiling and laughing, the laughter was terse and tinted with anxiety. At the hospital, we learned that not only did my dad tear his ACL, he also completed what the doctor fondly called the triple crown: a torn ACL, a strained MCL, and a “buckled” PCL (how do you buckle a ligament? Gross).
As the doctor explained the diagnosis, I was impressed at my dad’s composure. He was clearly frustrated and angry, but I know that if it had been me, I would’ve been a wreck. Recovery from ACL surgery takes about six months. All I could think about was how if I had gone with him none of this would’ve happened. That’s all I had been thinking about since the first phone call.
Back at home, the upcoming surgery dominated my father’s thoughts. He watched surgery videos on youtube (again, gross) and read about every surgery horror story and post-surgery disaster. He was scared; I would’ve been terrified. The original surgery was scheduled for after I left for Hong Kong, but my dad moved it up to the Friday before, and I was glad to be there for him. On a rainy cold friday in New York, my mom and I saw my dad into surgery. I met up with some friends while my mom remained at the hospital to wait. I tried to enjoy my last night out with friends that I wouldn’t see for months, but I was preoccupied by my dad’s progress, not to mention the weight of my impending flight across the world. It was a weird night, and in the end I was annoyed that I didn’t stick around to bring my dad home.
When I left two days later, my dad was still sleeping in the couch downstairs and was fighting to maintain clarity despite his narcotics. Being the oldest son (only son) I felt like I needed to stay and help, but I had a plane to Hong Kong to catch.
I took pictures throughout the whole ordeal but obviously missed some important moments (fresh out of surgery, the actual accident) and am currently missing the rehab process (my mom tells me he’s doing well). I can only hope my dad and I are skiing together again next winter; this time I will make sure not to miss any opportunities.