It was a dream come true, but then...
Growing up in Wisconsin, composer and pianist Yotam Haber dreamed of riding in the Iditarod. His dream came true last week, but turned into a nightmare days later.
Haber, as the Washington Post explains, was able to link up with Iditarod musher Blair Braverman because his wife knew Braverman’s husband. So Haber traveled to Alaska to help Braverman with her dogs, while also recording sounds of the race to use in his music.
“It felt like this was the culmination of my life, in a way,” Haber told the Post.
On March 2, Haber was surprised with a ride on Braverman’s sled through the streets of Anchorage during the ceremonial Iditarod opening.
Haber stayed in Alaska afterwards to spend a few days at a remote mountain lodge exercising Braverman’s dogs that weren’t chosen for the Iditarod. That’s when things went wrong.
On his third day at the lodge, Haber tipped the sled over. The only thing he could hold onto to keep the dogs from running away was a metal hook. When he reached to grab it, it snapped his right index finger off “like a twig.”
The finger was being held on only by a piece of skin. Making matters worse, the only way in or out of the lodge is a 63-mile trek by snowmobile. A helicopter was called to take Haber to the hospital, but never showed up after eight hours of waiting. Haber was finally extracted by a vehicle called a snowcat, “a Jeep fitted with tanklike treads that took four hours to creep out to the road.” Then came a three-hour ambulance ride to the hospital in Fairbanks, where doctors performed a quick reattachment but recommended he go home for more specialized care.
Haber arrived home in New Orleans and went straight into surgery. He tweeted that the reattachment was successful but he told the Post he’s supposed to find out today what the prognosis is.
Haber, fortunately, is lefthanded.
UPDATE: Haber says the finger and nerves were successfully reattached.
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