Actually, I am not… But, I have good news.
After my accident, they flew me in a helicopter to a hospital in Rumford, Maine. If I’d known I was going to that hospital, I’d have told them to let me loose, I’d find my own way.
In short, it has a deservedly poor reputation. I mean it has a VERY poor reputation.
Since my stay at that hospital, I have had the chance to see my regular doctor who got me an appointment with a specialist down in Portland. Portland is quite a long way away from my place so I went down Monday and, as expected, we had those casts stripped away in no time and some more x-rays taken as well as prep for some additional possible work.
It turns out that they’re all compression fractures and I’m now just wearing regular old braces on both wrists. Every two hours, when I’m awake, I take off my braces and do a little work with some rubber bands and a ball. I can type, “As much as you want, unless it starts hurting you afterwards. In other words, if it starts hurting a few hours after you’ve stopped then you pushed it too far. Type less next time but continue to use the wrist rest while typing and do not type without the braces.”
There’s no surgery needed and when I take the braces off and do some therapy (they’re different each time with twice daily being the really, really painful ones) I get to put on some nifty things. They are sort of like braces but they connect to a cooler. They call them a fancy name, “cryo cuffs.” Yup… It’s a regular ol’ drink cooler. Where the tap would normally go, they have an adapter. You fill it with ice water and the water and heat creates its own flow so there’s no pump involved. I had one just like it for my knee surgery years ago.
Well, just like it in that it had a knee shaped cuff and not a wrist shaped cuff. Other than that, they’re the same thing. You’ve probably seen them before or I can find you a picture. Hell, I can probably take a picture.
Oddly, what they do not have is a Y splitter. That means I need two of them instead of just one and a Y splitter. I have no idea why they don’t have one. I asked the specialist (the doctor in Portland) who told me that he had no idea why they had no Y splitter and that I am the first one who has ever asked about it. So, if you want a million dollar idea, invent the Y splitter. They are just regular old Colman brand (not kidding) coolers that they take the tap out of and use as medical devices as much, much higher prices than the coolers costs. No, no I am not kidding about that either.
I guess I don’t really care about the price, it’s not like I’m paying for it but it really is an absurd price. He wasn’t sure how much I was paying for the two of them but he thinks they are a few hundred dollars each and that’s before the cost of the cuffs. They are $25 coolers at your favorite camping store, probably. He tells me that he’s had patients who have contacted the company and, for a few bucks, bought the “bung” (the little tap) that goes in there normally. They just unscrew the existing one (though it looks like it might have a metal ring on it – I’ve yet to poke and pry at it but I may when I’m done because I’m a curious individual) and put the tap into place and then they have a cooler that their insurance company paid a few hundred dollars for. Yay?!?
So, yeah, I’m going to be fine. I have still not seen my bike. I guess the handlebars are both pushed forward from where my legs hit them. The cowling is all but missing (fortunately, I swear by wearing chaps). The fork is bent backwards and twisted. The front tire is turned sideways and pushed up under and against the frame. The seat, somehow, is bent as is the rear part of the frame – it all racked. Even the gas tank is twisted.
As I do not yet have pictures, imagine a BMW K 1600 GTL that now fits in the trunk of a medium sized European touring car. I’m told it looks like that.
So, wear your protective gear folks. My gloves probably helped as I seemingly tried to fly like Superman – why, I do not know. My chaps probably stopped my thighs from being laced open on shattered cowling. My jacket means I kept most of my skin where it belonged and not on the car, the bike, or the pavement. My helmet meant that my head stayed mostly the same shape and with things pointing in the direction they used to point and, mostly, functioning as well (debatable) as ever. And my boots? Well, those just made me look cool.
Note: I have no idea why they cut my boots off of me. None. I think they just don’t get a lot of accidents in that area that are serious and they wanted to cut stuff off of me. My feet were fine, seriously. Why they cut them off, I do not know.
I did have some memory loss and I did have some fuzzy moments. For example, I’ve not returned and read my first post that I made when I “came back” to the ‘net. I don’t have a clue what I said. There are a few things like that but MOST of them are, I am told, because of all the damned sedatives they had me on.
Speaking of which, they’ve just upped my dose of Ultram (tramadol) to the highest level – if I want it. I take about half of it but I can take more. That and ibuprofen do the trick – as does the ice. The only time it’s really painful is after I get to play with rubber bands.
Friday, I get to go play with rubber bands and a professional torturer. I’m told they’ll help, in the long run. One minute, they tell me that I’m fine and there’s nothing to worry about. Then, the next minute, they’re telling me that I have to go see a professional torturer and it’s going to hurt, a lot. If they wanted to punish me couldn’t they have just had me write sentences or something? But no, I’ve got to go to physical therapy until they tell me that I’m good to go.
I’ve also got to wear these braces for a while and use the cryo cuffs. It seems to me that they should hook ’em to a thermostat and a pump. There should probably be adjustable pressure with it… You know, I probably have all the equipment to make such a device right here at home… Hmm…
I’m not sure who would kill me first, the doctor or the missus, if I started fashioning my own medical devices. Ah well…
That said, we can now revert to geeky stuff! Enough of my pain and my accident. I’ll share what happens as it happens but the topic should still be geeky things. For instance, I’ve had a bunch of time to think and do small things and fix small, niggling, yet unimportant bugs. Like, my keyboard’s mute button actually works.
So… Now that I’m reasonably sure what’s going on, now that I’m not worried that typing is doing permanent damage to me, now that I know I’m not looking at a bunch of painful surgeries, now that I know I’m (probably) not going to end up with a bionic hand (which saddens me, just a little) and that it works just fine – I’ll be able to attack my email. I’ll be able to catch up here, get things squared away, and finally get back to keeping on keeping on.
On a more serious note: There are still some fuzzy bits to my memory and I will be going into the therapy session almost two hours early so that I have time to go across the way and get another MRI done. There doesn’t seem to be anything permanent going on BUT that’s probably really due to a combination of luck and wearing protecting equipment.
As I’ve said before, I’ll never (I don’t think) ride a bike on public roads again. I just don’t see it happening. There are other ways for me to ride and safer ways to get my rocks off. I can control what I do, I can’t control what they do on the highway. I was probably beside the driver’s side door of the truck, with both them and I going 45 to 50 MPH, and the driver of the other car was so far to his right that I could not even see him. It was at about that time, when I was there, that they chose to pull out completely into my lane. In the police report it says, if I recall correctly, “I pulled into the lane to see if there were any cars coming.” He was following *that* closely.
So, be safe out there folks. I’m not going to get melodramatic and say I almost died – I’ve been closer to death than this. I am going to get real and say it hurts. It hurts like hell. Son of a biscuit eater does it hurt. It may not sound very macho and manly but, I tell you what, it sucks. I’m not sure which is worse, the wrists, the hand, or (oddly) the giant bruises on my thighs where they hit the handlebars.
Also amusing, but I’m afraid that I’m unable to discuss it at great length, is that I have actually received a few phone calls from the other driver’s insurance company. I haven’t actually received any of the calls myself, technically, but the missus has. She gave them my lawyer’s number and told them to call him or to communicate in writing only. All on her own, too. Good girl. 😉 She’s done a great job at taking care of me and I’ve been really impressed with how well she’s dealt with it. She’s made my life much easier and, probably because they’d spent a bunch of time together in Florida, she’s getting along well with my neighbor (the one who is my housekeeper and very much a mother hen) during all of this. I can’t say that I’m overly fond of being the center of attention like this and I don’t really like being doted on but the truth is there’s quite a bit that I’d have a hard time doing for myself. (Even showering or bathroom functions can be slow and painful.)
Seriously, wear your protective gear. Yeah, it might look stupid. Yeah, it might be heavy. Yeah, it might be hot. Yeah, it might be more to maintain. Yeah, it might be more to pay for. Yeah, there’s a lot of reasons to not wear it. For every reason you can think of to not wear it, I can think of two to wear it. Seriously, wear your gear – and make sure you wear approved gear and not just gear that looks cool. The road will thank you for it. It doesn’t want to be covered in your bits any more than you want it to.