Day 13: Thursday, 9 September 2010
The next morning the weather was much better. Jason and I broke camp and set out westwards, still passing through occasional patches of fog, but mostly enjoying morning sunshine.
Soon we crossed the border back into the US and stopped at the visitor center in Calais, ME, to use their Wifi.
Then we headed southwest along Rt 1, which was much more boring than I'd expected. Basically a lot of this...
...occasionally interspersed with this...
Our goal for the day was the campground at Mt Desert, just outside of Acadia National Park. Short day, easy ride, and tomorrow we would meet up with my friend David (the one from my WV/TN/etc ride report, who'd moved to Maine with his girlfriend a month ago), ride over to NH, and camp along the Kancamagus Highway.
We turned onto Rt 3 towards Bar Harbor with increasing traffic, and I was eagerly anticipating having a lobster roll for lunch. A joint off to the left side looked like it might be a good spot to get one; I glanced over, and by the time I glanced back, the truck ahead of me had slammed on its brakes. I braked hard... too hard. The front brakes overwhelmed the TKC-80's ability to grip the grimy suburban pavement, the front wheel locked up, and down I went, thinking, "Goddammit, I wanted to make it through this whole trip without crashing!"
I scrambled off to the side of the road to avoid being hit by a car and sat down on the grass. Jason and a bystander picked up my bike for me. I tried to unbuckle my helmet and noticed my hands weren't working right, so Jason helped me. He also helped me out of my jacket, whereupon I discovered that my right hand was making a really weird shape at the end of my arm. Shit. I told Jason to grab hold of my hand and pulled on it, hoping it would pop back into position, but it didn't. Shit. At least it didn't hurt.
A few minutes later, I saw an ambulance approaching and thought, "I hope they're not coming for me." But it pulled up and paramedics emerged. They began checking me out and seemed surprised that my head was intact, my neck was intact, my spine was intact, and in fact the only thing obviously wrong with me was my weirdly-shaped right hand.
I, meanwhile, had just two thoughts that kept alternating. The first was, "Dammit, I don't want to let something stupid like this keep me from finishing this trip," and the second was, "Shit, this is going to be expensive."
I am a V-Strom rider, after all. Only slightly less cheap than a KLR rider. Unfortunately the paramedics assured me there was nothing they could do to patch me up in the field, and I'd have to come to the hospital with them. So I climbed into the ambulance (I refused to be put on a stretcher), while Jason collected my gear and got a room at the motel I'd conveniently crashed in front of.
And so began my adventure at Maine Coast Memorial Hospital. The ambulance arrived and I once again insisted on walking into the ER on my own two feet. The ER staff seemed a bit surprised by this. I was made comfortable in an examination room, and soon a stream of different people flowed in, mostly one at a time, checking my pulse and blood pressure, asking me the same questions over and over, taking insurance information, etc. They were all very friendly though.
Eventually I was wheeled over to radiology, where a number of pictures were taken of my right paw, and also the left one since something felt off inside it as well. A short time later, a nurse stopped by to deliver the bad news that yes, my wrist was busted.
Shit. This is going to be expensive.
A short time later, an orthopedist stopped in to discuss my injuries and advise me on my options. The laundry list: broken and dislocated right wrist, broken fifth metacarpal in my right hand, broken third metacarpal in my left hand. The left hand was aligned and should heal fine on its own with a splint. The right would require surgery. The doctor told me there were two different plates he could use. The first, cheaper one is sort of an all-purpose plate that would do the trick but carried an increased risk of future arthritis. The second, more expensive one is a new item specifically designed for exactly this sort of injury. This was one case in which I decided not to be a cheap bastard, so I opted for the swanky new plate. Thankfully I have good health insurance.
So I was scheduled into surgery that evening, and although they wanted to keep me overnight, I told them I'd rather just go back to the motel room Jason had gotten. The next few hours were spent alternately talking to a variety of doctors and nurses and reading magazines, and finally I was wheeled into the OR. I had really hoped they could use a local anesthetic so I could watch the procedure, but that wasn't in the cards. I passed out, and next thing I knew I was waking up in the recovery room with both of my paws bandaged to splints.
I was informed that the doctor had installed the plate to shore up my wrist joint...
...and a pin to stabilize the fifth metacarpal.
The pin will come out, but I get to keep my nifty titanium wrist farkle for life.
Eventually a cab was called for me and I went back to the motel. Jason had gotten me a BLT, which I tried to eat, but could only swallow a few mouthfuls due to the most hellacious cottonmouth caused by the damn breathing tube they'd stuffed down my throat during surgery.
Stats for the day:
Track for the day: