Ailsa’s Broken Ankle

Saturday morning I got a text from Ailsa at 3:40am saying she was safe and well with a broken ankle.

It took quite a few more texts and a phone call to find out more details.

She slipped on the trail, and her ankle came down on a hardwood tree root. She spent about 7 hours clinging to the side of the hill, in too much pain to move, before getting a helicopter ride, winched up through the canopy, then flown to Kaikoura, diagnosed as too complex and flown 100 miles to Christchurch.

Everything seems to be being handled by others, and she is insisting that I stay here and enjoy. And there is a lot of emotional turmoil.

Jewelia is on her way to my sister Pauline’s as I write.

Complex day.

Conference has been great.

Met lots of interesting people both Friday and Saturday.

The Friday morning started with a BART trip to Embarcadero then an F line trip to the Fishermen’s wharf area. From there an Open top bus trip across the Golden gate to Sausalito and back was very interesting. Then the F line back into town, and back on the BART and out to San Bruno for some shopping. From there BART Again to Millbrae and transfer to Caltrain, and a trip to Hillsdale for more shopping. Then back on Caltrain and the trip to San Antonio station, and about a mile and a half walk to the Crowne Plaza Hotel on El Camino Real. Checked into the hotel just in time to freshen up for the Friday evening function.

That was great, met lots of people, and spent a couple of hours talking mostly to Larry Millstein and Carl Page. Also spent quite a bit of time talking to Perry Metzger.

Eventually headed for be about midnight and set alarm for 6:30.

Saturday started with breakfast with Larry, then a ride out to Google with Perry.

A very interesting day at Google, many more fascinating people, including a brief catchup with Bob Freitas.

Once back to the hotel I finally got to call Ailsa, and find out what happened.

Spent Saturday evening talking to Larens (

Now Sunday morning and about to depart.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see
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4 Responses to Ailsa’s Broken Ankle

  1. I’m sorry I didn’t respond earlier, I taught an all-day class at HolEssence yesterday.

    Ailsa’s broken ankle — goodness, gracious, sakes alive! I soooooo admire her spunk and tenacity making you stay here so you don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity.

    A few months before my 50th birthday, I too, broke my ankle. Only I did it carrying a laundry basket full of clothes down the basement stairs. No helicopter airlift for me. Len and Eoghan put me on a chair and carried me up the stairs and then took me to the urgent-care center for a cast.

    Was Ailsa hiking with friends — is that how they were able to alert a helicpoter? Or was she hiking alone and made a cell phone call, or had to wait for other hikers to happen along?

    I’m holding HeartLight for her (zipping her in the pod). Did she break the fibula, tibia, or both?

    – Laurie


  2. Hi Laurie

    Ailsa was out with the tramping club, so there were 4 others, two ahead of her and two behind, so someone was with her within 5 minutes.
    One guy hiked out 1.5hrs to get within cell phone range, and call the search and rescue.
    Local police and search and rescue showed up with a local helicopter, but it didn’t have a wince, so couldn’t get Ailsa up through the canopy.
    It took them a while to come to that conclusion, then go back to Kaikoura and call in the Christchurch Search and Rescue and their big helicopter with winch. By that stage it was late and very dark and cold (being mid winter).

    Ailsa did everything right.

    Unfortunately, they have had lots of urgent surgery, so Ailsa has been put on hold, and may not get into theater until tomorrow.

    I’d better move – boarding time getting close.
    Be back online in a day or so.


  3. OM says:

    I had to come directly here and find out what happened, Ted. Whew, in a way I am relieved it is nothing WORSE than this which could have landed her in a hospital. Wow, a lot of time of pain for her! And I agree with Laurie, she has a lot of spunk and tenacity to tell you Stay there!!

    I am SO glad there were others with her, and how wonderful of that guy to hike out into cellphone range! And what a bummer to have to WAIT for surgery!

    Sending intentions/images/energies of rapid and complete recovery! .


  4. Hi OM

    She has just gone into surgery.
    I spent a couple of hours with her before she went in.
    They had straightened her leg, and put it in a cast, then had to cut the cast to free the leg, but she was remarkably mobile, and in great spirits.

    I’m a bit sleep deprived, so everything has that sort of “floaty” sensation about it.
    At my sister Pauline’s place at present.
    Caught up with Will briefly on the way back to Pauline’s from the hospital, will see him again at 5pm.

    Yes – Ailsa has a lot of spunk – and the tramping group is a really good bunch of people.


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