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RiverCat Journal: Laid Up

Posted by on July 29, 2012

Current Venue:  Las Vegas, NV
Campground: Riviera RV Park

Oops!  I did it, again.  I wrecked the scooter.

Last Year…

I was cutting across a vacant parking lot on the way to work, spotted an RV for sale, made bee-line towards it (just out of curiosity), and had a head on collision with a curb.  It was actually very difficult to see because it was once a lamppost island but, minus the lamppost, it simply blended in with the rest of the parking lot.  Both the scooter and I suffered multiple injuries.  In fact, I had deep bruises in my wrists for several months and the scooter’s busted rims weren’t repaired until this spring.

Wednesday Night

I consider myself a very safe rider.  I’m not reckless.  I don’t have a serious need for speed, and tend to maintain a nice, easy cruising pace while being on constant alert to the other drivers trying to kill me (for instance, when a drunk driver struck me from behind at a stoplight once and I just managed to grab the handlebars in time  not to go flying through her windshield).  But me and these curbs…

I was zigging and zagging my way to the Stratosphere by way of side streets.  I didn’t know this route at all, but being the 1100-foot landmark is never difficult to locate, I didn’t think it necessary.  But then I made a left-hand turn onto perhaps the most bizarre road in the entire country.  I was in the left-hand lane.  But after a few moments I noticed markings indicating that it was a bus lane.  I moved over one lane to the right.  It was also a bus lane!  The far right lane was separated by a white-dashed line.  Only they weren’t lines at all (I can thank my poor night vision for that) — they were medians.

I hit the curb at 30+ miles per hour at a very bad angle.  I remember landing very hard on my left side, then spinning and tumbling down the street behind the scooter — also spinning down the street.  When things came to a halt, all I can remember thinking is how I cannot afford a serious injury.  Please, no broken bones!  Upon dusting myself off and taking a quick inventory, I was pleased to find all my parts intact and operational.  Pieces of my scooter were all over the place however and, when I located my iPhone, I found that it had been smashed but still operational.  In fact, I suspect the my phone provided me a cushion and saved me from breaking my hip upon impact.

By this time I was blocking a procession of cars as the leader of the pack stopped and asked if I was ok.  I assured her I was and, incredibly, picked the (250-pound?) bike up off the pavement and tossed it a good 4 feet onto the sidewalk!  I was clearly still running on adrenaline.  As I collected myself and the adrenaline started wearing off a bit, I could feel my knee throbbing.  Uh oh.  I decided to see if I could get the scooter home real quick and examine my injuries.

The scooter wasn’t quite right.  Something in on the rear end seemed misaligned and I quickly discovered that half of my right brake lever was missing by lodging a small fragment of it in my hand.  But I made it home.  When I got off the bike though, my right knee gave way a bit sideways and sent a sharp pain up and down my leg. Oh no.  No, no, no, no, no (I can’t afford medical bills).

I peeled off my clothes and was quite disheartened at the condition of my brand-new Kansas City Royals jersey.  I had just purchased it the day before.   I was scraped up pretty good but, despite the pain in my knee, it wasn’t terribly swollen.  But would it swell up much if I tore a ligament?  The lack of swelling actually concerned me a bit.

An hour after I went to bed I knew I had problems.  I was completely immobilized.  Every little micro-movement produced an unbearable screaming pain throughout my entire leg.


By morning it was even worse — I couldn’t walk.  Every time I either moved or shifted a tiny bit, I had to stabilize my calf and knee with my hands and physically lift them.  If I made even a tiny wrong move, I’d startle Jeepers with an abrupt scream (he was a nervous wreck in no time).  I couldn’t afford a hospital visit.  I’m continuing the Journey early next week and am not going to get stuck working in Vegas to pay hospital bills if I can avoid it.

I considered the possibilities:  Either I tore a ligament and required medical attention at some point OR I severely twisted (dislocated?) it and might eventually work it back in place.  I decided to hold off on the ER visit for a couple days and hope for the best.  But what to do?  How was I going to eat, make coffee, take a shower, feed Jeepers, etc?

I convinced my website guy, Aaron, to swing by and make my living space functional.  He cleaned out my tub (which I’d been using as storage) and then consolidated all my necessities such as food, coffeemaker, my laptop, iPhone and accessories, onto my bedside counter.  My achievement of the day was managing to get in and out of the bathtub without killing myself.  The rest of the day I spent icing, resting, trying to find any sort of comfortable position, and seeing if I could use my body intuition so I could start my own brand of physical therapy.  By late afternoon, I did discover something — my leg seemed to like being slowly rotated inward.  So, I kept doing that.

My only other accomplishment this bedridden day was doing my on-line fantasy football draft.  I wanted to do something more constructive but was feeling feverish and cranky.  The only thing that could cheer me up was signing up for an early draft and incorporate the strategy I’d been fantasizing about.  Overall, it went pretty well.  I”m optimistic about my chances.  For those of you who play fantasy football, tell me what you think!  Here’s my team:

Manning, Peyton DEN QB 7
Smith, Alex SFO QB 9
Benson, Cedric FA* RB
Gore, Frank SFO RB 9
Hillis, Peyton KCC RB 7
Peterson, Adrian MIN RB (O) 11
Smith, Kevin DET RB 5
Bryant, Dez DAL WR 5
Cruz, Victor NYG WR 11
Manningham, Mario SFO WR 9
Moss, Randy SFO WR 9
Nelson, David BUF WR (Q) 8
Daniels, Owen HOU TE 8
Finley, Jermichael GBP TE (P) 10
Crosby, Mason GBP PK 10
Bills, Buffalo BUF Def



My condition was still pretty miserable in the morning.  However, I was able to make my coffee right here in bed — and that’s pretty darn cool if you ask me.  I continued to carefully rotate my leg from time to time and found it was popping noticeably more, definitely in a good way.  My bath was again a success.  I watched movies and, out of desperation, added the “CW” channel back on my programming.  Garbage.  I couldn’t stand it, but, with only two other channels, checked in on it from time to time.

By afternoon I could put a tiny bit of pressure on my leg!  It wasn’t comfortable in the least, but not unbearable.  I worked my way to the kitchen a couple times and began wondering how soon I could get outside, to the scooter ironically, so I could get up to the clubhouse pool.  I’ve been dreaming a lot about that hottub and was thinking some hydrotherapy could definitely speed along my recovery.


The Cave

In the evening I could stand it no longer.  I gingerly backed my way out of 48 Ugly and onto the scooter.  To the pool!  It was awesome.  I let the jets work my entire leg over and then rotated it to it’s full range of motion as well as some gentle leg kicks.  Therapy, without a doubt.

When I went to bed, I didn’t elevate my knee as much as the night before.  My reasoning was that when I elevate it, it had a tendency to rotate outward — and it prefers inward.


Better!  I can still only walk a short distance but I know I’m on the road to recovery, now.  That’s all I need to know!

I still can’t take a shower because I can’t get to my lower extremities but, just a couple more days.  The first priority after the bath was a soak at the pool.  Then more rest.

Jeepers… Always a Great Help

I decided to take my exercises to a new extreme.  While watching a movie, I intuitively found a peculiar position by rolling over on my left side, propping my knee high and my ankle low.  It’s a very twisted position and very uncomfortable for my contorted back, but I actually fell asleep.  I was awoken by a very loud “POP!”  I mean, it was way louder than any chiropractic adjustment I’d ever had, and was a bit painful.  I was quite startled and my first thought was, “I BROKE my knee!”

But then it felt good.  That was it!  A major turning point in my recovery…I’m on the way.

I’m due to leave the park on August 1st.  More on that in my next post.  I’m very optimistic about my recovery now but I’m a little bit greedy, too.  I’m hoping I can  take a real shower again and then limp into a cardroom and make some money before I leave town.  After all, I’d made a decent wage last week before the injury…


Next Story: Preparations


3 Responses to RiverCat Journal: Laid Up

  1. Diana

    So sorry about your accident, but sounds like it will get better. I’ve got my fingers crossed.

  2. Jim and Gayle

    Sorry to read about your accident. You sure are having some bad luck with fulltiming. Hope your knee heals quickly. Bet you’ll be sore for awhile!

  3. RiverCat

    Thanks guys. I’m very optimistic today! I can finally bend it a tiny bit while walking. I plan on being in Quartzsite this week so I may invest in a cane so I can walk around the swapmeets a little (my first visit to the town). It does get sore real quick when I’m on it but you can only keep the RiverCat in his cage for so long!

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