Day 17 – The rehabilitation
Daily Distance: 87km
Total Distance: 1760km
After I wrote the entry last night, things got a bit more intense. I met Sharon, my nurse, and Dr. Tamako, a young woman, who exclaimed that what I had done to my face was ‘gnarly’. I called her on it and asked if she was a surfer, and she was.
They proceeded to numb my face, before putting 12 needles into my mouth, and chin. I freaked out a bit, while Eric took evidence of the whole scenario. I still managed to joke around with them all, and made them laugh pretty good, sometimes requesting my name monogrammed into the stitches, or other silliness. At the end, it was 16 stitches, underneath my lip, and I abstained on the 3 other areas that required them, exclaiming that they would just look like a zit/chicken pox in the long run.
Fort Bragg is 20km from the campground, with only one taxi driver, and no service to that area. We were stranded. The beautiful nurse, Sharon, who had lived in the area for 2 years and spends most of her time riding her horse and must be doing other awesome things, told me that she would drive me back to the camp, breaking a few patient rules, even though her direction was north, instead of south.
When we were driving we were able to talk a bit more discretely about the intensity of her job, and I was blown away by it. While driving, I saw the shoulder of the road – this time being my first time in a car since doing the tour, and reliving the pot holes and knowing different things upcoming when specific signs came up.
She had bandaged my face quite nicely, almost like Alastair Sims in a Christmas Story, on the top of my face, and the front to back of my face and neck, and I wished her well, telling her that she was my saviour of the day.
When I was back at camp, most were back asleep at 11pm, except for Scott and Sarah who stirred and chatted with me for a while. I drank a beer with Eric, and chatted with Sarah until 1, hoping to wake up Andrew, who was sleeping without a tent, by his bike, and was trying to leave. I eventually made him laugh by saying jokes like “I wanted to regrease his chain”, “it’s all fun and games until someone gets a chainring in the face” and “it could have been worse, dougat could have fell out of the tree” until he started crying.
It was good, I had my peace with him as he had alot of weight on his shoulder’s over the event. I came within inches of dying, it missing my neck, or heaven forbid my reflexes not being as quick and having the entire frame falling onto me, hitting my head. A real near death experience. I finally went to the tent, after eating one and a half percocets to remove the pain. I couldn’t sleep, and took 3 sleeping pills that finally put me out at 3:30am.
The entire crew waited around for me this morning to get out of my foggy stupor, with the exception of Andrew, who left in the middle of the night out of guilt. We shared some photo’s (Elliott, Tom and Tyler, the three boys from Washington had a great plan they’ve been following – take two photos, one where no ones smiling, to send back home to family, and one where everyones having a great time. I howled), and we all split, 9 of us after all these days.
However, it turns out, Scott and Sarah had been talking and were trailing behind me to make sure I was ok to ride my bike, unsure that I would be safe on the road. It was very windy again today, with some decent sun, constantly descending and ascending on the #1 hills. We stopped for Coffee in a town, waiting 45 minutes for it to come, and then left, running into the DC Boys, stopping for lunch.
Eating is difficult, especially with the bandage on my head. Better yet, buying food for lunch is just as bad, dealing with store owners trying to look at me and talk to me. I feel like an iguana eating, taking a leaf of lettuce, and chewing on an edge, slowly eating the entire piece, taking 2 minutes to devour. Sarah and Scott take the cake for today’s quotes, with Scott reminding me that if only Dougan was around – he could use his battery operated blender – and Sarah telling me that she wanted to play Mama Bird, and do all my chewing, regurgitating it into my mouth afterwords… All these things made me willing to continue cycling for the day.
Hotels were not an option, in the hundreds for a night, without wifi or anything else that I’d like to use if I’m going to sleep with a roof over me. I finally did find a pharmacy, filling my Keflex, and Percocet prescription for the next 2 weeks. I’ll have to get to a doctor in the next 5-7 days to remove the stitches. Apparently, I’m not allowed to remove them with the Leatherman, or get it done in Tijuana, as per the doctors orders, as I thought it would be a good idea to ask.
Our entire crew was sluggish today, not making much distance, but still split up, with me heading over to Gaxxx park, to spend the night with Scott, and Sarah, and two surprise guests Heather and Lauren from two nights back who experienced hub problems, limiting them from doing the Leggit climb.
After setting up, I decided it was time to move forward and go for a walk. I followed a 3 mile trail, with a knife, an apple, and a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale. Running into Heather and Lauren, I told them a bit more of the story, and then moved forward, needing some personal time. I walked the entire trail before night came, with 2 silohouettes coming towards me. I introduced myself to Cody and Chris, and I walked with them back to their car for the next 30 minutes, having a wonderful conversation about society, change, the future, and freedom. They offered to give me a ride back, but I declined. When they were driving away, they stopped, and wanted to give me information for them, for if I ever needed anything they would come to the rescue. I gave them the website information and I kept on wandering, still needing to sort out some things in my head – Until I realized that it was too dark for me to get back to the trail, so I had to walk 5 miles back to the campsite, over the highway and river. Very beautiful landscape however, while washing my mind of thoughts.
I made it back to camp, and saw that my bike had been moved, with Sarah obviously shaken, telling me that the animals were really aggressive in the area – bringing back memories of 15 minutes earlier when I had encountered a racoon, and tried to chase it away, with it just getting closer to me, and the two large foxes that I found, who refused to move when I yelled and made noise.
We all ate our own seperate dinner, and Scott for a treat had bought a lump of firewood! The fire was raging, and we spent our time watching the racoons jump up close to us on the picnic table, and try to enter into our tents – these guys are fearless! Obviously well fed, as some of them had their stomach’s dragging on the ground.
I cleaned my face a bit tonight in the bathroom, and will try a bit in the morning to wash off the dried blood – It does look cool, but my face is ruined as we know it. 11:11, tired.