Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Background Information

On Saturday Chris and a friend climbed into the Tetons for a back country cross-country ski that ended up taking 23 hours due to more difficult skiing than they imagined, a dramatic change in weather (the temp started at 40ish and dropped to -10ish by the end), and the navigation issues that go along with skiing in the back country. With the combination of the dramatic temperature change and the exhaustion of skiing for such a long period of time, Chris' feet and fingers went from sweaty to frozen and his body could not produce enough heat to unfreeze them. The doctors at the Jackson Hole, Wyoming hospital decided that the best chance of saving his right foot and toes, left toes and left finger tips was to fly him down to the University of Utah Medical Center in Salt Lake City.

Upon arriving in Salt Lake, Chris was admitted to the "burn unit" and started undergoing treatment for the severe frostbite. This process is expected to take up to three weeks, including out-patient therapy. The entire recovery process (regardless of the result of the treatment) will take at least six months, but after the first three weeks, he should be able to leave the hospital.

Chris is in as good of spirits as could be expected, but he is obviously very concerned about the future of his feet and hand. The doctors tell him that in the situation he was in, he made the right choice by continuing down the mountain rather than stopping to build a fire, etc. which makes him feel a little better. Plus, he had a blast skiing with the exception of the frostbite and thinks that it was the hardest workout he has ever completed.

We are all thankful that Chris is alive and hoping that he gets through this with the least amount of damage and without any complications in response to the treatment he is receiving and throughout the recovery process.

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