During my sophomore year spring break my family decided to take a week long ski vacation to Whistler, British Columbia. The weather was fairly warm, which meant the bottom half of the mountain was raining most of the time. The snow had turned to a mashed potato consistency in many places, so we spent most of our time skiing the top half. Whistler has over 5000 feet of elevation to ski, so we didn’t get too bored.
My father is an excellent skier, and as such he likes to spend his time on very steep slopes and between very hard objects (like rocks and trees). During one run through a glade he was tripped by a fallen tree that had been completely covered by snow. Of course, by tripped I mean his skis went under the log and he was subsequently launched into the air over the log, landing in the snow. He hit his head fairly hard, and decided to call it a day and skied down to the apartment we were renting.
His head was still in fairly severe pain, so he went to a local doctor to see about the injury. The doctor listened to him explain what had happened, then turned and leveled with him.
“In all likelihood it’s a simple bruise, but it could also be a skull fractures or bone damage. In the US, you would have your head x-rayed, which normally costs (some large amount of money). However, since you’re in Canada I’m going to give you a choice. We can give give you an x-ray that will cost (some slightly smaller but still substantial amount of money), or … I can poke it. For free.”
“If it hurts like hell then chances are you’ve broken the bone. If not, then it’s just a bruise and you’ll be fine in a day or two.”
My dad paused, thought about it a little bit, and said, “Alright. Poke it.”
After one of the most anticlimactic pokes in the history of poking, my dad took an ibuprofen and was back on the double black diamonds by the next day. The bone was fine, and we had saved a decent amount of money.
There are several possible conclusions you could draw from this anecdote, and, unlike the entirety of the rest of my life, I’m not going to draw them for you.
In any event, thanks Canada.