2 Wheels To Adventure

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A Few Personal Notes---Very Few
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Alaska/Canada Trip--2006
Two "Adventure" Bikes

Ride boldly, Lad,  fear not the spills! (From "The Man From Snowy River," by Banjo Paterson) 
I'm not the man I used to think I was. (RBW)
"Cast a cold eye
On life, on death.
Horseman, pass by!"
(William Butler Yeats)

For a looong discussion on motorcyling in general and Adventure riding in particular, see the archives (or scroll down) for the first post on September 28, 2006.
It gives some opinions and ideas, along with a bit of philosophy; one (old) man's view of the world of 2 wheels.

New Scooter---2014 R1200RT
Cap'n Ron in the Straits of Georgia
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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tempus Fugit

My, my, but how time flies! Here it is almost the end of fall, and it has been an entire summer and autumn that I have languished away from this site. Herein lies an attempt to bring things up to date.

April 15th was the evening of my stupidity. I made haste from a green light into the intersection at Bali and Admiralty in Marina Del Rey, California, and motored smartly into a car that illegally made a left turn in front of me from the opposite direction. He was clearly in the wrong, but a car-motorcycle accident has but one loser, and that is independent of "right" or "wrong." The bike loses, and I was it. I had not exercised prudence, and suffered the consequences, as fortunate as they turned out to be. It could have been worse.

 The collision threw me backwards off the bike onto the pavement. Since I was wearing all of my gear---full face helmet, boots, protective trousers and jacket plus a separate back protector, and gloves (ATGATT*)--- I was unhurt---except for my left wrist. Apparently when the front wheel of my bike struck the right front fender and bumper of the car, the handlebars snapped sharply back, jamming my left hand, which was firmly grasping the grips.

 I jumped up quickly, and hit the kill switch, as the bike was lying on its right side, still running, and gasoline was spilling all over the ground. There I was, cursing and bewailing, as the young driver of the car came around with a shocked look on his face. He had not seen me either. I was standing there, cursing and carrying on, thinking about how all of this had put the jinx on my sailing plans, and how was I going to get this squared away.

 He asked if I was OK, and I replied that I thought I had broken my left wrist, as it was clearly hurting, and there was no way I could use that hand. He helped me get the big LT back on the wheels, stopping the gas flow, and there we stood, commiserating with each other. I bore him no malice, once I had started to settle down about the whole thing. He just failed to see me, and that is what a biker expects from cage drivers. I should have been more careful. When the light turned green, after what seemed like an excessive time, I gave it the throttle, popped the clutch, and accelerated into him. I never saw him until things started disintegrating around me.

So, we stood there, exchanging IDs, drivers licenses, and waiting for the police. After several minutes without anyone showing up, I dialed 911 and informed them of our position and the situation. About then, a sheriff car pulled up, and an officer began to direct traffic and take account of the situation.

 Shortly, the fire crews arrived and took over. Told that I thought I had broken my wrist, they assisted me, taking care to determine that I was not injured in any other way and that I was still rational and not in shock. Not many minutes elapsed before the paramedics were on the scene. They wanted to cut off my jacket, but I got that stopped before any damage was done and removed my arm from the garment with no great distress. All personnel were most solicitous and caring. I continue to be grateful and pleased with their efficiency and dispatch.

The ride in the back of the EMT vehicle to the local hospital was about a block and a half, and They admitted me to the emergency room forthwith, where I was X-rayed and splinted. Here too, all of them were excellent care-givers. I got a chance to call my Dear Wife, and appraise her of the situation, telling her I would be home in a couple of days, as soon as I saw an orthopod locally.

Released from the Emergency Room, I took a cab to the airport, where I rented a car to drive back to San Pedro and Fort MacArthur, where I had a room.

I probably should have gone directly home the next day, but instead went to an orthopedic surgeon in Marina Del Rey (just 1/2 block from the scene of the accident). This doctor took a couple more X-rays, confirming that I had fractured my ulna right on the end, in two fractures, one of which would have to be set. He gave me a local injection to lessen pain, and then wrenched and tugged expertly on my hand, rotating the fracture back into place. That was fun! He took another X-ray, and asked me to come back in a couple of days to see if the cast he had put in place was holding things. He told me that if things slipped, I would probably have to have surgery to implant a plate and pins.

And so it came to be. I went back to see him the following Monday, now six days into the affair. He allowed, after another X-ray, as to how it had moved some, and that I needed to see an orthopedic surgeon back in Phoenix for evaluation as to surgery. Great!

I could not get into a surgeon for another five or six days, and it was getting pretty far along to dally around, so when the Phoenix doctor I consulted took one look and suggested surgery, I didn't think I had much time or cause to further delay looking for a second opinion. The California guy said it looked pretty much like surgery, and the Phoenix guy said so, so I breathed deeply, and said let's get on with it. Who knows, maybe had I gone straight to Phoenix the day after the crash I could have had a permanent cast on sooner, precluding surgery. Coulda, shoulda, woulda.

Surgery went well, and I was in and out in just a few hours. Pain pills being what they are, I had little discomfort, and recovery was about what one might expect. Post-OP consultation called for starting physical therapy about two months in, so I began that in May. After a couple of weeks, the therapist suggested I go back to the orthopod, as he suspected I had developed carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of the surgical scarring. Yes, it was. After further testing and evaluation, I returned for yet another procedure to clear up the carpal tunnels and restore feeling and function to the middle, ring, and little fingers. 

None of this was a particular big deal. Recovery has been good, and I stopped physical therapy after about a month or so. My left hand is now pretty normal, and I estimate I have about 85% use as far as flexibility and general function. A couple of fingers are still slightly stiff, numb and tingly, as is the heel of my hand. I have a bump on my inner wrist, and a dandy scar there also, but all in all, I have been once again blessed with good luck and the results of good professional care.

My Dear Wife has been a good sport through it all, but she did let it drop a couple of times that about one more broken bone and she is going to start whining about the motorcycle business.

Enough for today. More later.

* ATGATT---All The Gear, All The Time

3:39 pm mdt          Comments

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