When the MacGyver Mailing List ["MacList"] learned that Richard's vacation over the 1995 Christmas break had ended in a skiing accident requiring major knee surgery and months of recuperation and physical therapy, they gathered Get Well messages to send to him. After receiving the collection of well wishes, Richard responded to the MacList with a special thank you.
From: Richard Dean Anderson
Let me just briefly tell you all how it happened.
I'd been skiing for a week prior to Christmas, on a brand new left knee. About three months before I'd had surgery to take out a shredded cartilage, the result of a pretty hefty collision playing hockey.
Things went well, I was skiing again, and it was time to return to the slopes after the Christmas holiday.
On the first run in the morning, for some unfathomable reason, I found myself casually easing down a run at about 60 miles per hour... (I run a full-blown downhill race every year so I wasn't overly concerned about the speed.... In fact, I was thoroughly enjoying the moment.) I'm convinced everything would have been fine had the slab of ice not kept me from making a turn. I was forced to keep my skis straight. Again, everything could have worked out had there not been a severe compression bump at the bottom of slope.
All I really remember is one ski exploding off my boot, and then all hell breaking loose. My friend was standing right at the point of launch and he said the ski catapulted twenty feet into the air, and the image he had from that point on was that of a rag doll doing some high-speed tumbling routine down the mountain. The fall itself was endless, long enough for me to have several conversations with myself: relax, don't break, please stop......
I won't bore you with the sordid details and dumb decisions that ensued (like skiing two more runs before acknowledging that I may be severely injured, as my knee slowly filled with blood and it became impossible to bend it, etc.)
I was diagnosed with a torn medial and lateral meniscus, a chipped tibial plate, and something called plica floating all over the place. Your basic blown out knee. And good ole Doc saved the whole thing. Normally they'd just take out the cartilage and tell you that twenty years down the road you'll be dealing with some kind of arthritis and bone-on-bone discomfort. But I got off lucky (sic) and now it's just a matter of rehab., albeit at least three months of intense physical therapy and wearing a brace. I've been through it before, and although I wouldn't consider myself a patient man, I know what needs be done.
And that brings me to the point of this little missive. Simply put, I want to thank all of you (that's ALL of you) for your letters of support and love.
Those that know me well know that I've had a tendency to push things a bit and have put myself in some precarious situations. I love doing all that stuff, I just haven't been able to slow down. And every time we put the pieces back together again your letters are there, faithfully. I wish I could be more eloquent with the sentiment. Please know how much I love and appreciate the loyal support I've received over the years.
You have never failed me. I will "get well soon" and then get on with the other parts of life and hope you'll come along for the ride.
Again, my love and thanks,
Richard Dean Anderson