In early spring of 2007 I decided to quit my job, sell my house along with nearly everything else that I owned, and to live out of my car while traveling the country. These are my stories (and pictures) of life on the road.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Injury Update

I finally broke down this morning and went to the hospital to have my knee checked out before I left Baker City. The swelling has actually gone down a little and I'm a little more mobile then I was yesterday. But I knew I wouldn't hear the end of it from friends and family and I also didn't want to find out in 3 months that there was something I could have done at the time that would have saved me trouble down the road. I wasn't really planning on going when I woke up this morning but at 7:15 I didn't have anything to do and since the hospital was on my way into town I swung in before it got busy.

The doctor did some poking and flexing and took a few X-rays. His conclusion was that he didn't have a real firm conclusion; which is something any of us in a field that involves diagnostics realize is a simple fact of life. The X-rays showed no damage but he said with the amount of swelling something has obviously been damaged. Also, since this is the second time this knee has been dislocated (1st time was about 12 years ago) he thinks there's an underlying problem that's allowing it to occur more easily. He didn't give the impression though that there was anything pressing to be concerned about and to just keep it iced, elevated, and try to keep the weight off until it felt better. He did say though that the X-ray is very good at seeing bones but not so good at seeing any ligaments that might be damaged. He recommended that somewhere along the way I have an MRI done on the knee to get a better look at the cartilage and ligaments to see if something is out of whack there.

Although I wasn't real concerned about it I'm relieved to hear that. There still might be another problem that an MRI might catch but at least I didn't get a “we need to operate on that ASAP” response. This way I can try to work any further “repairs” into my schedule (if you can call it a schedule).

For your entertainment when I was looking through my shots from that day I found pictures that showed very well the mountain we were on when the injury occurred as well as the route we took around the lake and up the ridge to get to the car on the other side.

The line is green is when everything was peachy keen. Where it turns red is where I injured my knee. I pretty much slid from where the red starts to that rock outcropping below it. Dusty pretty much drug me down and across the remaining snow field until we reached the bottom. When we looked back at the area from across the lake we could actually see the spot where I fell and started sliding with the binoculars. I don't know if the pictures really do justice to the scale but if we'd been on the mountain in those pictures we would have appeared as nothing but a couple black specks.

I'm hanging out in Baker City the rest of the morning hoping a package will finally be showing up for me via USPS. I've been living with a bent leg on my tripod since last fall and one day in Idaho I had some free time and figured I'd try to fix it. Things went from bad to worse and now I have a tripod that only goes to about 2 1/2 feet. Thankfully much my my tripod work is done at ground level. I've ordered a new one though that looks like it should go along perfect with backpacking. It's smaller and lighter but should still have good height.

This afternoon I'll start winding my way to Portland to do some actual work next week before heading north to Washington for a 4th of July gathering with some fellow iATN members.


Edith Clarken said...

Alan - Sorry to hear about your knee - what a bummer. I have a knee that acts up too. Someday we will both have a MRI. I hope it snaps out of it soon for you I know how active you are. Take care!

Alan said...

Thanks Edith, but I for one hope that it never "snaps out of it" again. ;-)

Keeneye said...

You inspired me to take my husband and mother-in-law for a hike today. We went up to Black Lake, then to Hoffer Lake (near Anthony Lake). About 50 feet from our car, after going about 6 miles, I sprained my ankle. I cursed you, Alan. But I also thank you for striking my curiousity to explore all of our many hiking trails this Summer. Hopefully the ankle will heal soon, and then we'll tackle Angel's Peak!

Alan said...

Not to laugh at your pain, but that's really funny! Better the end of the hike then the beginning. Although we still had quite a ways to hike when I hurt my knee I was very thankful that I didn't hurt it in some of the places we'd already been.

Overall I had a great stay in Baker City and I hope to return someday. Good luck with Angel's peak!

Oh yeah, Dusty said if anyone asked me about what Baker City was like that I'm supposed to tell them "it gets really cold in the winters". Apparently he likes have the mountains to himself. :)

You've reached the end of the page but that's not the end of the stories. If you want to read more (and who wouldn't!?) then click on the archive links to the right hand side of the page. They're listed by month; the adventure starts in May.

The February archives aren't actually from this trip but are previous adventures I've had, which are worth reading as well.