April Fool’s Day Whoops……

April 1, 2017

 

Well, I’m falling back on my promise to update by going back to spring, 2016.  Geez, what a non-blogger I’ve turned out to be! I think you may just have to put up with my intermittent posts, and jumping around with the dates…  Send me your comments if my time-line gets too confusing.  So, as you can see from the date at the top, this post is from April, 2017.  You’ll see why I thought I should add this post now.

 

A beautiful day for photography!   (Disclaimer:  This is a very long post!)

 

For the past two weeks I have been boondocking just outside the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, in Southeast California, about 30 miles west of the Salton Sea. The park had a Super Bloom this spring and I was anxious to photograph the beautiful flowers covering much of the open space.  However, it has been VERY windy, which is exasperating to a photographer!  We had winds of 30-45 MPH.  I holed up in the motorhome, being buffeted around by the gusts, until there would be a letup. I used my tripod extensively, and still had to use a very high ISO and shutter speed to freeze the flowers.  My efforts were not altogether successful.

 

On Saturday, April 1, the winds are finally calm and I’m anxious to head out to compare my replacement Nikon 18-200 lens with the Tamron 18-270 that I got to test after the sad demise of my old Nikon 18-200 lens.  I decide to go to a place that I’ve wanted to visit the entire time I’ve been at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park:  The Slot.  It’s a neat slot canyon that is fairly accessible, so I head out in eager anticipation.  After driving about 40 minutes to the site, as I get ready to turn on to the dirt road leading to the rock formation. I notice that all three cars in front of me also turn in.  I was afraid of this—it’s a beautiful day PLUS it’s a Saturday.  Oh well, it was worth a try.  As I neared the parking area, cars were parked alongside of the road.  It’s packed.  Sigh…I turn around and head back out.  Perhaps next year…

 

Plan B

 

I had also wanted to check out Julian, California.  It’s a cute picturesque small town that is famous for their baked pies.  Bob and I visited there many years ago (2000) and enjoyed the charm.  Here’s an image from then that I shot.  Why not splurge and have a piece of pie, I said to myself in eager anticipation!

 

Julian Pie Shop
Click to enlarge

 

About halfway there, I see a bunch of cars pulled off into a parking area.  My eye immediately sees why: the hills are covered in blazing yellow blooming bushes.  WOW!  I quickly turn in, gather up my equipment and head up the path.  I walk around, shooting high, shooting low; shooting close-ups of blooms, shooting zoomed out scenes.  Yes!  Such a beautiful day!

 

The Desert Blooms!
(Click to enlarge)

 

I climb up a small hill to check out the vantage point, shoot a few shots, and decide that the vistas are more impressive from the main path, and I am ready to explore further into this lovely area.  As I turn to go back down the short slope, I see a pretty young girl posing for her friend who is taking snapshots with her cell phone.  I call out to ask if I can take a few shots.  “Sure!”  I snap a few fun shots of her posing, then decide to head back down to the main path.

 

 

Girl in a Field of Blooms
(Click to enlarge)

 

I look around for the best route back down the hill, I choose a low grade descent—easy.  Suddenly I feel my feet start to slip on the gravely surface.  Things happen fast and before you know it, I have slid down the hill.  I get to the bottom, and realize that I’m sitting on my left leg, so I lean over and pull it out from under me.  Oh my!  My foot is dangling loosely at the end of my leg!  This can’t be good.  RATS!  It hurt, but not terribly, so perhaps it’s just a sprain.  (Back of my mind: “dangling foot=not sprained. There goes the rest of my trip…”)

 

The best side of the human race

 

It wasn’t a minute before the girl that I’d photographed and her two friends had rushed over to ask if I were OK.  Luckily their male friend was a very large muscular young man, Sumo-like in stature. Seeing the situation with my limp foot, he immediately leans over and simply scoops me up!  I hadn’t been carried like this since I was two!  I used my right leg to support my floppy left foot as we bounced down the trail back toward the parking lot.  I asked him if he lifted weights, and he responded, “Yes, (pant, pant) but I usually put them back down (pant pant) right away.”  Bless his heart!  Becoming a little nervous about my mode of transport, I encourage him to put me down to rest, both for his benefit and potentially for mine.  Other people start streaming toward the scene, while others walk by, averting their eyes.  Two men volunteer to continue carrying me the rest of the way to the parking area.  Each one takes an arm and leg and away we go.  I can’t believe how little pain there is.  I must have been in shock, but I don’t feel like I’m in shock.

 

Finally, near the parking area, I’m deposited on a flat area.  One of the men carrying me, Roger, informs us that he is a First Responder, and he immediately takes charge of the “scene.” He asks if anyone has any ice.  A couple quickly runs to the ice chest in their car to retrieve ice.  I give him my foam kneeling pad (a gardening pad that I use when I am photographing so I don’t want to permanently etch my knees with gravel) and he ponders, wishing he had something to tape it to my foot.  The young “model” says she has something and runs to her car, coming back with a roll of glittery 2” decorative ribbon.  It will do.  Someone hands Roger a roll of masking tape.  Another couple comes up and the woman puts a hat on my head.  A man brings a blanket from his car and they use walking sticks to brace it on the ground as a shade structure.

 

Roger begins taping my foot and asks if someone will please drive to the ranger station and call for an ambulance, since there is no cell service.  A man and woman scurry off.  In twenty minutes they are back, saying it may be an hour.  So there I sit, feeling so bad that I have inconvenienced all these people who are out to enjoy that beautiful day.  They all insist, jokingly, that this is much more fun.  For some reason, although there is some pain, it is still relatively mild, compared to what I imagine the damage to be.  To ease the awkwardness, I begin asking people a bit about themselves, which serves to get people interacting.  I just can’t get over the generosity of these folks—their caring, their eagerness to help.  I am overwhelmed with gratitude.  You hear all these stories of people getting hurt, and passers by simply walking on.  I am one very lucky person to have received the benefit of these folks’ good hearts.  With all the bad things happening in the world, it is so heartening to be the recipient of such a generous out pouring.

 

To the rescue!

 

Luckily in about 45 minutes, we hear sirens.  Geez—it’s a huge fire truck!  Why is it that that they always send a fire truck?  Next to arrive is a police car, also complete with blaring siren.  They must love swooping into a scene, completely taking over the attention of everyone within ear shot.  We tell them the story, again, and in another 10 minutes, the actual ambulance arrives—of course blasting its siren!  Roger takes over and, using the biggest, most “First Respondery” jargon he can put together, reassures the crew that he assessed the situation and that the patient is stable; heart rate is normal; I’m reacting normally; the “limb” has been stabilized and iced, yada yada.  They turn to me and ask what happened.  “I slipped on the gravel and fell,” I say meekly.  Quickly they pull out their handy dandy gurney, and with someone supporting my left leg, I climb on and am strapped in.  It’s so cool how those gurneys have these long legs that they can extend to take you from near ground level to the height of the back of the ambulance.  We all exchange hugs and good wishes as I am inserted into the back of the ambulance.

 

As we are about to leave I regain my wits, and ask for my purse and snack bag (but of course!) from my car, and I inquire about what’s going to happen to my car.  The EMS leader of the team asks if anyone could drive my car to the fire station in Julian.  Roger, the First Responder immediately volunteers.  Whew!  Thank goodness!

 

We’re off!

 

As we ready to head out, William, the very capable EMS gentleman, pulls out all his equipment and takes all my vital signs.  Blood pressure slightly elevated from the ordeal, but still within normal range.  I ask where they are taking me and he says it’s a toss-up, distance wise, between the medical center in Borrego Springs or in San Diego, but they have chosen San Diego… My eyes glaze over.  San Diego!!!  Oh dear…that’s 75 miles west of here…  But I am not the decision maker in this situation, so what is there to do but accept?  The ride over often-curvy road takes an hour and a half.  I cannot look out the back window for long or my stomach begins to feel queasy.

 

 

William and I chat.  When I tell him I had been a choral director, he launches into a story of the trauma of his voice changing and how he hasn’t been able to carry a tune since.  He used to LOVE choir, but he had to quit.  I  wanted to give him a voice lesson then and there to help him find his voice.  When a boy’s voice changes, he no longer had an accurate concept of where to “place” his voice.  They think of how they used to find the right pitch, but a squawk comes out.  Sadly, like William, they often give up because the teacher didn’t know how to help them through this rough period.  I am surprisingly sad at hearing his tale.  Funny how you snap into your long-gone teacherly mode!

 

Nice hospital!

 

By 6pm, we are in the San Diego suburb of Poway, California.  It’s always nice if you arrive in the emergency room in an ambulance rather than driving yourself there.  You are prioritized.  Within 15 minutes, they had a tech taking X-Rays.  He takes three views.  After the first view from directly overhead, he reaches down and twists my foot over on it’s side.  Because my foot is hanging loosely, my leg doesn move as he turns the foot. For the first time, I let out a loud yelp!  He apologizes and gently rights my foot, and with his support, I am able to turn my leg to the side.  The third x-ray is uneventful, thankfully!

 

Again I’m am grilled about what happened.  By now I have enhanced the story to say that “Somehow, as I slipped, my left leg got behind me, and I came down on it with my entire body weight.”  Sounds a little less stupid…maybe?

 

The emergency room doctor is friendly enough and inquiries about my situation.  I tell I am traveling in an RV.  “By yourself?”  “Yes—I’ve been having a great time.”  “How old are you?” he asks.  “Seventy” I mutter, just waiting for him to tell me I shouldn’t be traveling around by myself at my age.  “You’re a brave woman!”  Best thing in the world he could have said!  Immediately I leave my meek self behind and regain my mojo.  Such a lift!

 

In about 20 minutes he is back with the X-ray results.  I had convinced myself that I had just twisted my ankle, perhaps tearing the tendons, like when you twist the leg and thigh of a rotisserie chicken.  Dream on.  The ankle has three “acute” fractures along with being totally pulled out of the space it usually resides in.  Not good.  I ask what happens next and he says they can operate on me in the morning, and he begins to rattle off possible scenarios.  “You could fully recover in time, but there is also the possibility that, with the severity of the breaks, you will have some permanent disability.”  He goes into more morbid detail.  “Stop” I plead, “I want to think positively!”  He stops and then tells me that I had come to the right place.  Palomar Medical Center in Poway is the best orthopedic hospital in the San Diego area.  Thank goodness for that reassurance!

 

Soon I am admitted and find myself in a comfortable bed in a lovely room.  Surgery is scheduled for 8am tomorrow morning, Sunday.  As I drift into welcome sleep, still with only mild pain, I see the curtain falling on the rest of my trip…

 

(to be continued…)

 

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33 Comments

  1. John and Phyllis
    Jun 3, 2017

    Hi Rhonda:
    We last met two years ago at Snyder Hill, near Tucson.

    I had subscribed to your blog , but I’m only getting requests to un-subscribe. No blog text is attached..
    However I was able to search Google for your blog and got this update.
    What a story! We both hope you don’t give up on your travel dreams and recovery is swift.
    And we should be back west again this coming winter, arriving Snyder Hill about Thanksgiving. December and January will be boondocking around Yuma. Maybe we can meet up along the way.
    Best Regards.
    Boondockboy

    • Rhonda
      Jun 6, 2017

      How wonderful to hear from you! I hope you got my updated email with the fix of not having a link to the blog! I’m not sure of my plans going forward, but I am going forward, and hope to be back on the road as son as I can! Thanks so much for writing!

  2. Anne Lovekin
    Jun 3, 2017

    Well, Rhonda, quite a tale! The best assumption is that you’re up and around again…but I’m sorry for the break (ha ha) in your schedule :-). It will be fun to get your blogs now and then. I haven’t been able to get to ELCC most of the year as Bill’s health has not been good; he’s perked up a bit for which we’re grateful. So far you’ve been traveling in places familiar to us so we can visualize your stops. We’re glad you got to see the flowers. This year’s spectacular bloom was visible and photographed from space! Look forward to more news and send best wishes – Anne

    • Rhonda
      Jun 6, 2017

      I’ve been to a few Camera Club meetings, Anne, and I’ve missed seeing you! I’m so sorry to hear that Bill’s health is not good, but glad that he’s perked up! Please keep my posted.

      I hope to be much more reliable in publishing stories about the places I’ve visited. I’m WAY behind, obviously, but have time on my hands now…so hope to get caught up! Take care!

  3. Louise
    Jun 3, 2017

    Rhonda, it was so good to see this update, but so sad to hear about your “dangling foot” adventure. David and I will be anxious to read updates on your condition. In the meantime, we will be praying for you. We have high hopes for your full recovery, and we are so thankful that you have so many wonderful friends both on the road and in Albuquerque to love, encourage and help you in so many ways.
    God bless you… With love, Louise O.

    • Rhonda
      Jun 6, 2017

      Thanks so much, Louise! You are so kind to keep in touch! I am optimistic!

  4. Richard Rousseau
    Jun 3, 2017

    You are very fortunate that there were so many helpful people around when you had your fall and you were taken to a good Emergency.
    Not everyone expects a return comment as the next time I would think to look back would be on your next post. When you do that you automatically pop to the top of my readers list.

    • Rhonda
      Jun 6, 2017

      Yes, this calamity has changed my like in more ways than one. I don’t think I’ll ever get over being thanking for the amazing help and support I have received! (Could you send me an email to explain how you have your blog set up so that people you follow get moved up in your list when they post a new episode? (My email address is in the About section.) Thanks for your comment!

  5. Roland
    Jun 3, 2017

    Oh my gosh, Rhonda! What an adventure…but not a good one. I’m reading this on June 3rd. Where’s the rest of the story? Was the operation successful? Have you recovered? Was there permanent disability like the doctor said there might be? Write an update quickly.

    • Rhonda
      Jun 6, 2017

      The rest of the story is just about to come out of the oven! Unfortunately, I’m a perfectionist and tend to write, revise, re-write, etc.. Hopefully by the time you read this, it will be posted!

  6. John O'Brien
    Jun 3, 2017

    Fabulous story (not a good event but…) and so well written I read it all word for word like an exciting novel. I am anxious to hear how the recovery is.

    • Rhonda
      Jun 6, 2017

      Gee, Thanks, John! What a nice thing to say!

  7. Gaelyn
    Jun 3, 2017

    I can only assume you are back on your feet by now, and maybe the road too. Generally speaking, people are good and helpful as your story confirms.

    • Rhonda
      Jun 6, 2017

      Hi Gaelyn, Well, I’m working my way back. It’s slow because the breaks were pretty bad, but I will recover, eventually (fingers crossed!)

  8. Barbara
    Jun 3, 2017

    Rhonda,
    Thanks for sharing. I hope your recovery was uneventful. Wish I had known of your situation, as I have relatives and friends in the area who might have been good resources, depending on your needs. You are certainly capable taking so much on, but this was certainly unexpected!

    • Rhonda
      Jun 6, 2017

      Yes it certainly was unexpected. I took a mild fall several weeks before this and got a black eye, but never thought I’d be stopped in my tracks. I will return to traveling! I’m putting my foot down about that! (My good foot, that is!)

  9. Barry Schwartz
    Jun 3, 2017

    Nice to hear from you, you tell some interesting yarns, I had no idea photographers could write so well. glad you are doing better, and hope to see you around at marauders, etc. Barry . http://www.flickr.com/photos/barryabq/

    • Rhonda
      Jun 6, 2017

      Thanks, Barry! Great to hear from you as well! I am surprised at how much I enjoy the writing–although you’d never know it by how little I’ve been posting! It’s the getting started that’s hard!

  10. Carolyn
    Jun 4, 2017

    You are a brave woman! And your story does attest to how helpful people can be. But you left us hanging. Did you get your car back? Where is your RV? I know you did get back to Albuquerque, but how did you do that?

    Please, the suspense is killing us.

    • Rhonda
      Jun 6, 2017

      Here you go, Carolyn. The next post should be live now!

  11. Linda Laitner
    Jun 4, 2017

    Rhonda, hope by now you are getting ready to get out of the cast or whatever your foot and ankle have been encased in. It is grand to hear about your adventures, so many more of us need to “get the move on!”

    • Rhonda
      Jun 6, 2017

      I’m making progress, Linda–slowly but surely! Even with this setback, I’m so glad that I have undertaken this part-time lift style of being on the road!

  12. Mary Dereske
    Jun 4, 2017

    Holy Toledo!!!!!!!!!

  13. Kathy Dominguez
    Jun 4, 2017

    Wow! That’s quite a story. I’m so glad you had nice people around to help you. How is your ankle now? I hope you are on the road again soon!

    • Rhonda
      Jun 6, 2017

      I’m about to hit the “publish” button with the next installment. So glad to hear from you, Kathy!

  14. Sandra lapham
    Jun 5, 2017

    Glad your blog is back in the saddle. I hope you soon will be as well.

  15. Mandy
    Jun 6, 2017

    WOW! I am so very sorry this happened to you but as I always tell my kids, the most memorable camping trips are the ones where things don’t go as planned. They make for the best stories. I hope that by now you are well on your road to recovery. You need to find that EMS guy and give him a voice lesson! LOL I loved all of your comments about the EMS jargon too. My daughter is an EMT and if I just cut my finger, I swear she wants to take my vitals. It’s so funny! I look forward to continuing to travel alongside you in your blog. We are taking our Beverly Hillbillies pop-up camper out for it’s maiden voyage for the season this weekend. Can’t wait to get out in the great outdoors!! Sending love…

  16. Rhonda
    Jun 6, 2017

    Yes, I’m glad too! Hope I can keep it up! Bug me if I don’t!

  17. Bruce Shah
    Jun 14, 2017

    Next time – ‘nose over toes’ when going down hill!

    • Rhonda
      Jun 14, 2017

      Wouldn’t that have meant that I broke my head instead?! In that case, I might not have noticed if it never healed… 🙂

  18. John D Fowler
    Jul 2, 2017

    Sorry you had to miss the slot. I think you would have enjoyed it.

    • Rhonda
      Jul 2, 2017

      Hi John, Yes I was sorry too, but Anza Borrego was so great that I hope to return at some point in the future to get to The Slot. I so enjoyed your photos from there on Flickr! I keep copying down all the places you visit and adding them to my bucket list. You are a great role model, although obviously you have at least nine lives!

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