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July 24, 2006

Changing Plans


Hitting my first troubles on my trip because of my back and it is making up for how well it had been going. After seeing the chiropractor on Thursday I drove to Deadwood, South Dakota and found a hotel near there. I couldn’t see trying to set up my tent or sleep on the floor. I was right. I took a nap after I got there and could hardly move the rest of the night. Actually felt much better in the morning, but still nothing close to right. I went into Deadwood walked around a little, played a few hands of blackjack, and had lunch. From there I drove into Wyoming.

Stayed that night in the back of my truck which was ok after I loosened up from the drive. When I first arrived after only a 4 hour drive I needed a set of hiking sticks (canes) just to go pay the registration fee. I stayed within arms distance of my truck the rest of the time to lean on except to go to the bathroom. It was a beautiful campsite in a canyon next to a stream, but couldn’t really enjoy it. The next morning I drove to Cody, WY. About 50 miles from Yellowstone I was planning on going there Monday after seeing another chiropractor.

Saturday night my plans changed. I woke up about 1 am and thought I may have to go the bathroom. Knowing it would take me a little while I started moving. Finally got on my hands and knees and then had no way to open the tent since I couldn’t lift up a hand without falling over in pain. Finally got back on a side opened the tent and crawled out. Then I couldn’t stand up or get a shirt on. Finally found an air conditioner that I used to pull myself up and stumbled on, slowly. Bottom line, it took about 30 minutes to get up and go maybe 100 yards. Considering that with my ulcerative colitis I often get 1-2 minutes notice for the bathroom I knew that wasn’t going to work and decided to head for my sister’s in Portland.

It was what I knew I had to do, but not what I wanted to do, as I had just gotten to the Rockies and was looking forward to spending some time there. Yellowstone as mentioned and Aug 1 I had a 5 day backpacking trip in Glacier Nation Park, Montana that I set up several months ago. However, feeling the way I am I wasn’t going to be doing any of that anyway. At least in Portland I will have a bed, someone to give me a hand, and could get my back taken care of. I crawled around taking down my tent and made a few trips to the car and took of at 2:15am.

I drove 950 miles to Marsha’s on Sunday in 17.5 hours. My back felt surprisingly good for the drive and only started tightening back up the last hour. I was even bitter during the drive about feeling so good and wondered if I was getting better. After an hour out of the car and the ensuing night I’m not second guessing myself anymore and know that I made the right decision. My sister is moving in a week, but took me in and even though I won’t be much help packing is happy to have a pickup to use for the move.

I went through some beautiful country on Sunday that I had never seen before. After one pass just outside of Missoula I had a 90 mile decline through a canyon in Idaho. I swear there was not even a hint up uphill for the first 70 miles. A few people were on loaded up bikes heading down and then I saw people going up. No way could I imagine pedaling uphill for 90 miles straight. I didn’t make any scenic stops or try for scenic roads even since it was such a long day. Maybe I’ll get a chance to go back through there at the end of my year, but I hadn’t made it my first 29 years so who knows.

The pattern for the pain is that about an hour after I wake up it starts to loosen and that is as good as it gets, the rest of the day it gets tighter and my mobility goes down. Kind of depressing thought while eating your cereal, knowing that is as good as I will feel that day. Sleeping lasts for 1-2 hours before I wake up think about how to change positions, do that slowly, and try to fall back asleep.

I went to another chiropractor this morning, although there are none in Portland under my plan so I have to go up to Washington. Today he did about the same stuff as the first guy. He said it is definitely way out of line, but that it is so swollen and tight that he can’t do all the adjustments yet. I just need to take it easy and ice it. All the pain is in my lower back which is good that it is not in my legs which would mean disc trouble. I had planned on getting to Portland in about two weeks and staying for 1-2 weeks. Not sure how long I’ll be here now a few weeks I’m guessing so that I can get this taken care of. One positive note is that I will get to attend Portland’s Brewfest this weekend, in a wheelchair if I have to! I went last year and had a lot of fun I’m told.

Hopefully I’ll use this time to go through the pictures I’ve taken and maybe see some more of Oregon, but my “job” now is getting better. I’m going back to the doc tomorrow and as often as it takes after that. At least everyday is still Friday!


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