2009-05 Sand Point, Alaska

Sand Point, Alaska is a great place if you like a bit of isolation.

Unfortunately, about a week into this deployment, when we’d settled in & things were going smoothly, I slipped on some wet steps. When I landed, the corner of a stair broke three of my ribs. One rib was broken in two places, making the piece between the breaks a “floating” section.

Broken ribs are agonising. And relentless. Unlike most other broken bones, It’s impossible to do a cast or otherwise properly immobilise the breaks – so it’s almost impossible to move, or breathe, without pain. To make matters worse, I also came down with an awful chest cold within days of breaking my ribs, so I was coughing up chunks of phlegm in complete agony for about 3 days.

Constant movement also means the breaks can take ages to heal. You can spend a long time with healing ribs in a fragile state, worried that if you’re not careful, you’ll re-crack the break(s) and set the healing process back to square one.

Nevertheless, I stayed on at Sand Point and saw the job through, although the injury limited the variety of photos I was able to take: