Last Sunday, I went up to Wisconsin for a user conference for work. This particular conference had approximately 18,000 attendees this year, filling every hotel in a 70 mile radius. The hotel we got was the Great Wolf Lodge in the Wisconsin Dells, about an hour away from the conference site. Attached to our hotel is a water park and our rooms all came with free passes. Unfortunately, the water park closes at 9pm and our hotel is the last stop on the shuttle bus back from the conference site; so for most of the week I’ve not been able to get down there before it closes.
Last night, I finally got my chance. I headed down to the park with Kevin (one of my co-workers); we bumped into another co-worker while we were down there and then started hitting up the rides. Our first ride was the Tornado; as this ride requires a minimum of two victims passengers to ride it. To get on this thing, you grab an inner tube shaped something like a four-leaf clover that’s about 6 foot square. Then you climb a ridiculous number of stairs to get to the stop of the ride. A staff member holds your inner tube in place as you all climb in; then they shove you down the ride. The more people you have, the faster/farther up the sides of the ride the you go.
After riding that twice we hit a bunch of the other rides and it was getting near to closing time. I was hoping we were going to hit the hot tub to relax before we left and that’s where we appeared to be going 1 As we headed that way, my co-workers were walking a bit faster than me and ran into another patron of the park interested in trying out the Tornado, but who didn’t have anybody willing to go with her. We all agreed that once more would be fun and went back up the Tornado. Only this time with four people we were really whipping through the ride. It was gloriously fast and fun until we hit the last part of the slide and the inner tube went too high up one side with me at the top.
Gravity took over and I came crashing down towards the lady we’d just met and convinced to try the ride. Fortunately I missed her and only hit my head smack dab on the ride itself. My next clear thought was when we ended-up in the shallow pool at the base of the ride. The lifeguard was up, alerted to our not having come out on top of the inner tube, and asking if we were ok. My head was pounding and I heard one of my co-workers say I was bleeding. I started to get out of the water but they park staff had me wait there while they got additional help. There were people rushing around me. I heard that somebody chipped a tooth 2. I also heard that the lady we’d ridden the ride with/for had gotten hit in the face and was expecting to have a nasty black eye. I tried apologizing to her and asking if she was ok, but didn’t get a clear answer. 3
Eventually the park manager came over and then they finally let me get out of the water. They started filling out an incident report while taping some gauze up over my wound. Kevin left to ride one of our co-workers who had driven themselves to the conference, as most of us had ridden a chartered bus up. People kept asking me if I was ok, so I’m guessing I looked a right mess, though the only thing that hurt was my forehead. The staff gave me some towels and suggested that I might want to clean myself up some 4. Then Kevin was back with our ride and off to the ER we went. Once we got to the ER, there was a short wait until we could get served and that’s when Kevin took the stunningly handsome photo attached to this post.
Then we were moved to an exam room, the nurses took a bunch of readings off of me. We talked a bit of shoptalk 5. They got me all cleaned-up; then told me I had a 4cm cut along and just above my left eyebrow. The doc came in next and put in 10 stitches to hold the cut shut 6. Once I was all stitched up; they did some assessment tests and told me while I had a concussion 7; they didn’t think I’d need a CT scan as I passed all the neurological tests they had me do with flying colors. Then it was back to the hotel to grab some sleep; on the same back, our ride 8 told me that I would not be attending the final day of the conference. Instead I was authorized (ordered?) to rest up and then told he’d be driving me back when I was ready to go. I basically slept the entire ride home and most of the day once I got home.
So now you know the origin of the photo that some of you saw posted to Facebook and the reason why there wasn’t a photo of the day yesterday (and why there’s really not one for today either).
TL;DR: I hit my head on a water slide, got stitches and now am resting comfortably at home.