WARREN’S WORLD: Are You Knitting My Nose Together?

By Beacon Staff

I’m sitting in my husband’s hospital room and he asks me, “Are you knitting my nose together?” (Yes, I’m knitting to pass the time as he sleeps and drools. I’m old, so I’m allowed to knit!)

Do troubles come in threes? May I hope so?

Last week, Warren fell on his second turn of the day. When I can’t go out and ski with him, I call the ski patrol here at the Yellowstone Club and ask them to keep an eye on him. He’s 85 … not a child, but still, if he falls, skiing alone, I want someone to be aware that he’s out there.

Well, he fell on the second turn, as I said, and the wonderful patrollers got to him right away. He thought he had just stepped out of his binding, maybe snow under the toe or something. They helped him back up and he made another turn and down again. This time, landing flat on his back across the ski.

They got a snowmobile and brought him home, taking his skis afterward to the shop to check the binding. By Friday, he was so uncomfortable, I took him to Bozeman to the hospital for X-rays. He had a compression fracture of his T-6. After lying around and hurting terribly, by Sunday he was in so much pain, I admitted him to the hospital and they started administering him drugs … and that’s what I’m going to report here.

He has been saying the most bizarre things. I’ve been in hysterics. (Not nice to laugh at him, but I am anyway!) I’ve only written his column a couple times before in the last 20 years. The first time was when he broke his leg and I wrote the column then on all the wonderful hallucinations he was having. It was such fun, and I’m so evil! The second time, I wrote about the foundation I started in his name: the Warren Miller Freedom Foundation, teaching business and entrepreneurial skills to young people. He’s so proud of their progress (www.warrenmiller.org).

Worrying that bad things happen in threes, and his accident being number two after the house flood that we’ve dealt with since mid-December, I was saying this to him when I got the phone call from our wonderful island caretakers. Nic told me that the Sunday night storm was so bad and the tide so high that the ramp bounced off the float and was hanging from the pier into the water. (Please God, let that be number three … no one hurt, no missing in action!)

After relating this to him, in his stupor he said, “Are you building another Mississippi and going to the delta to build another boat?” Now, where did that come from?

Warren has never smoked nor had any alcoholic beverages in his lifetime. Amazing but true, and maybe why he’s had such amazing energy and perseverance starting and growing his film company over the past 60 years. I don’t know if you loyal friends of Warren Miller know how dedicated and amazing he has been over the years, sometimes traveling to 110 cities and ski resorts in a year to show the film for the next year. How did he do it? I imagine by keeping his system so clean (if you don’t count the countless Whoppers and Big Macs!).

Consequently, I think his system really reacts to any mind-altering chemicals he is given. And his mind is certainly being altered.

He is supposed to leave Sunday to go to the X-Dance film festival to help present awards, then on to the SIA in Denver for a couple of personal appearances, and then to the Powder Magazine awards in Aspen. He is so bummed, when he’s lucid, that he might not be able to go. He must be hallucinating when he keeps waking up stating he’s seated in line to get on the plane, or wonders if they’ll have cheese on the plane, or does this airport seem terribly crowded (there are only the two of us in the hospital room.) He’s wondered aloud why there were no pilots on board; why that lady sitting there has such purple hair; and where were the life rafts? (Was he thinking about the flooded house or the ramp hanging off the dock into the Sound? Who knows?)

Ninety percent of the time he is not nearly 85, despite his birth certificate, but I was so concerned that the years may make this injury difficult for him. I’m so relieved during his alert, awake moments that he says how anxious he is to get this healed so that he can get back out skiing. Amazing soul. At 85, so full of life and energy. Where does it come from? So glad he can ski right out his front door. After all those years of terribly hard work, what a fitting reward!

And I did promise not to knit his nose together.

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