Some of you follow me on Facebook or Twitter. You may or may not know that my wonderful husband, after a horrific time trying to get to Torino for Worlds, was injured on his first full day in that beautiful and accommodating city by a not-so-beautiful or accommodating cement ditch that managed to rudely situate itself at the bottom of a slippery slope at 10:30PM as he was trying to meet up with our skater after the competition. The cement was so rude as to jump up and smash my husband's knee, sending him into extreme pain and at that point depending on the kindness of strangers to get him an ambulance.
This made me wonder what we all did before cell phones.
Fortunately, my husband was able - on the last bar of power - to reach our skater, let him know where he was and what had happened so they could all cram themselves into a medical vehicle for the ride to the hospital.
I am too tired to go into details of this experience from my perspective at this writing. Let me tell you, though, if you ever have the misfortune of being injured at a competition, 1) be injured in Italy, 2) be with team doctors, 3) be with caring and compassionate people from US Figure Skating, and 4) be fortunate enough to meet some amazing strangers in the night who are now dear, dear friends.
So, this is a thank you, of sorts. Thank you to the Italian ladies at the bus stop who called the Italian security guard and struggled through English better than my husband struggled through Italian. Thank you to the doctors and assistants at the emergency room in Torino who struggled through English better than my husband struggled through Italian. Thank you to our skater and one of his coaches who stayed at the hospital until 3:30AM while a cast was being applied, paperwork was filled out and taxis were called. Thank you to our great friend from Japan who was there at the competition. She took my husband's muddy clothes to the cleaners, got him food and much-needed wine and mostly was the best friend one could hope for. Thank you to my son's agent who also went on food runs, as well as finding the usually ubiquitous but somehow elusive ibuprofen. Thank you to the hotel agents. Thank you to the mother of our great skater friend from Australia who offered to do whatever she could.
But mostly, thank you to officials of US Figure Skating who called and sent text messages to my husband constantly to make sure he was okay. Thank you to the team docs from the US and Canada who offered assistance and advice. Thank you to the travel coordinator at headquarters who, through superhuman effort, found flights back home when everything was full and found seats where my husband could extend his leg since he was in a straight full-leg cast.
Thank you to Italy. Grazie mille!Siete un popolo gentile e amorevole e ci si apprezza! Non siete più stranieri. Voi siete amici.
(If you don't know what this means, neither did we, but we certainly do now!)