March 2009 Archives

preparing for a comeback

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well, on monday i called to try and set up an appointment with a "regular" doctor's office. unfortunately, i'm a new patient anywhere and new patients are second class citizens with doctor's offices. so when i called they said the earliest they'd be able to see me was probably early next week. my response: "uh...i could be dead by then." i was sort of joking, but the unexplained sudden dizziness did not make me feel comfortable. i get colds or fevers every now and then, but anything outside of that and i worry that my body has something horribly wrong with it since i generally don't have odd transient problems. she offered me an appointment for friday morning. even though it was days away, i went ahead and took it because i figured with recent events, it's probably good to go ahead and be established at some doctor's office so you aren't treated like a new patient everywhere if you really do need to see a doctor.

the dizziness continued to subside though, and by late tuesday it was mostly gone. i had decided to stop taking anything since i didn't know what was causing it, so i wasn't even taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen. i decided on wednesday i felt well enough to go to the radio show, so dwight came by once again and picked me up. i went ahead and took a couple of acetaminophen since i decided that probably wasn't causing the problem. things at the show went okay.

at some point sue came by and i went to ikea with her and the kids. it was sort of a dry run to see how my leg would do being up and around for awhile. i didn't walk the second floor, and we cut through a lot of the first, but i was out and up and moving around for maybe about 3 hours from the time i left my house until i got back. i bought a couple of semi-opaque white glass candle holders (one to replace one i'd chipped a month or two ago). after sue brought me back home i laid down and put my leg up for awhile.

friday morning jack came by and took me to the clinic. the doctor checked me over by doing various tests to see if it was my brain or my inner ear that was messed up, and decided i have benign vertigo or some term i'm forgetting. anyway, she said it's pretty common. basically, there are small particles in the fluid in your inner ear (the inner ear is what is used to determine your orientation and movement). normally these particles are i guess in a reservoir kind of area, but sometimes one or more of these particles will end up in one of the three loops of your inner ear that provide orientation and movement information to the brain. normally a slight movement of the fluid moves some small hairs in the loop that tell your brain how much you are moving and in what direction. with the particle in there, it really pushes on the hairs when the fluid moves, which causes your inner ear to send bogus info to your brain that tells it your are moving/rotating like crazy, but your brain trusts it and is trying to compensate. anyway, she said it normally lessens and goes away on its own within a couple of weeks. there are some exercises you can do (called simont maneuvers or something), which attempts to rotate the fluid in the loops to wash the particles out of the loop. it's kind of like trying to rotate a garden hose to get all of the water out of it, except it's in your head. *laugh*

things managed to finish up right around lunch time, so a co-worker came and got me and i ate with him and a few other co-workers at goode company bbq. from there i went ahead and had him take me back to work. i hadn't been there in basically three weeks. a lot of people came by to see me and ask me what had happened, how i was doing, etc. i didn't really do much work, but i did manage to hang around and then get a ride home with a co-worker when he left for the day. he's going to be out next week, so i got him to give me his parking card to use in case i end up deciding i can drive myself to work this coming week.

my leg has continued to get better. it's actually been noticeable to me. i'm still limping some; still have loss of feeling on the front of my leg; still have swelling and some pain in my knee, ankle, and between; and still don't have very good range of motion with my knee. but over the last few days i've been able to be up and about and/or sitting for several hours at a time without ending up in a lot of pain. hopefully none of the damage will be permanent, other than what i assume will become scars on the front of my leg. (and scars are cool, so that's okay.)

over this last week i really started wanting to get another motorcycle. not just get one, but get one and go on a trip somewhere. i'm not sure if it's because i've been stuck at home so much, because i know i don't have a motorcycle right now, because i feel like i want to "get back on the horse" so to speak, or what. i spent some time looking at some websites for a couple of companies, but i can't really tell much until i see some in person.

i got the bill for the ambulance ride: $487.50. that's $415.00 for basic life support (i guess that means for having me on a stretcher), $50.00 for miscellaneous supplies (some tape and a neck brace?), and $22.50 mileage ($7.50/mile). i'll be submitting the bill to my insurance company. i'm guessing they'll be wanting to find out who the jokers were who caused the accident and then took off, since i'm sure they'd like to be reimbursed. (i still need to get a copy of the police report to see if the cops have done anything.)

the last couple of days i finally felt good enough sitting for awhile that i was able to start messing with some of my old hardware, which i am trying to build into an xp box to do some exchange lab stuff with. my asus motherboard continued to have problems building an os on a hard drive. i tried different hard drives, i tried different ide cables, i tried only using one ide connection and then only the other -- no luck. i'm not sure what's bad, but something isn't right. i feel bad ditching it because it's got some pretty nice features, but i don't know what's wrong with it. i pulled it out of the case and put in another motherboard i got my hand on about 4 years ago. it's a gigabyte dual pentium 3 (1.26 ghz) board with 2 gig of memory on it. it's a server class motherboard, and it actually came out of a 1u server enclosure. it's a non-standard gigabyte build, so it's got an extra lan port, no built-in audio, only one pci slot, heat sinks but no fans on the processors, etc. but it's atx format so i was able to just swap out the motherboards and re-use everything else. after playing around with it some, i finally managed to get xp pro installed on it today. i am downloading and installing updates on it as i write this.

i also finally got a couple of offers for credit cards with 0% interest for 1+ years in the mail. so i'm hoping to get one or both of those and have enough credit on them to put most or all of a new engine for the bel air on it/them. then i'll use the cash i've got in the bank to pay for the installation, and pay off the credit card(s) before the 0% is over. it'll be nice to get the bel air on the road again. *sigh* i'm still trying to decide how much engine i want to put in it. the last engine was a 350 v-8, so i think i'll stay with that. it's just a matter of whether i buy a stock crate or something with more oomph (and how much more). i want to keep it a 3-on-the-tree manual shifter, just because they're somewhat rare and i think they're cool, but that means it's not really a racer. (i can do first to second fairly fast, but it's not simple, smooth, and fast like a straight shifter or something.) anyway, that's also going to be in the works for me here pretty soon hopefully.

dizzying possibilities

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well, things have taken an interesting turn. around 6am thursday night / friday morning i woke up and went to roll over and something was wrong. my head turned, but it didn't really feel like the rest of the world moved in sync with me. i sat up and noticed i felt dizzy. i was a bit worried, but hoped it'd pass, so i laid back down and went back to sleep. i woke up around 10:30am and it was still the same. i got up and walked to the bathroom, but i had to hold on to the door frame and walls and such, as my balance was off. this was pretty disconcerting, as i really didn't know what would be causing it. i didn't feel bad in any other way.

i called and texted a couple of people to see what they thought, and the general answer was inner ear. i was a bit relieved at the thought it might just be an inner ear infection. i also had to cancel on going to lunch with some of my co-workers. i had been looking forward to that for awhile, but i my equilibrium was too off to feel comfortable going out and doing stuff. so that sucked. i was still worried what might be causing my dizziness though, so when jack called around 11am i asked if he could take me to a doctor. i don't have a regular doc, so i planned to go to a doc-in-the-box at a grocery store. i'd been to one some months back at an heb, so i figured i'd go there. jack and the kids picked me up and took me. i went in and told them, but they said dizziness as the only symptom wasn't something they could do and i needed to go to a regular clinic. they gave me the address of an "urgent care clinic" further down westheimer, so i went outside and jack drove me to it. i filled out the forms and waited for some time. eventually they saw me. the doctor didn't seemed too worried about it. they said my blood pressure and pulse was a little high but nothing too odd. she figured it was related to either my allergies or laying in bed so much the last couple of weeks. as i was getting up to leave the office, i got dizzy and had to sit down. then i felt clammy and sweaty and went to find a bathroom, as i felt like i was either about to pass out or vomit. i ended up doing neither, although i got close to both. she prescribed me 10 tablets of meclazine, which is for nausea and motion sickness. jack came back and picked me up. we went by target and he went in and bought me some gatorade and water. on the way home, he stopped by quizno's and picked me up a sandwich.

the more time i had to sit and feel fuzzy and not know why, the more down i got about it. i felt like my leg was getting better, but then this happened. by the time saturday rolled around and it hadn't gone away, i was feeling pretty down. it wasn't pronounced -- i never felt like the room was spinning and i had to hold on, just things would shift like you're on a ship or something and i start leaning off a bit. i had been planning on going to a co-worker's meat and martini party, but if i were dizzy i didn't think i could. after talking with a few people on the phone, i ended up feeling a little better about things, and decided maybe i should go ahead and go the party, even if it was just for a little while. otherwise i'd just be sitting at home in bed feeling bad about things. i had convinced the hrc to stop by the city market in luling on her way home and pick up some brisket and sausage for the meat and martin party (okay, i didn't really have to convince her...just ask her to pick some up for the party since she was going to be at city market in luling anyway :), so i was glad the luling meat could make it to the party. the hrc agreed to accompany me to the party, since i can't drive myself. (and even if i could, now i was dizzy to boot.)

i would have enjoyed the party more if i hadn't been dizzy and my leg wasn't messed up, but i managed to sit in one place for a few hours and be okay. i talked to several co-workers i hadn't seen since before the accident. i got the prescription filled for the meclazine, and i took one saturday evening.

sunday i woke up and things were still the same. sue called and said i should probably keep taking the medicine so i took another one. the potts came by around noon and brought doughnuts and such. most of the rest of the day i slept. i think the medicine makes me really drowsy. i can't tell it helps with the fuzziness / dizziness though. the best i can describe it now is like when you've got a buzz from alcohol. like you move your head and then the room moves a little later, or you stand up and go to walk and things don't feel quite completely stable. it's still kind of disconcerting to not know what's causing it. i think i may try to get an appointment with a doctor's office on monday and see if they can maybe try to figure it out (blood test or whatever). or maybe it'll go away on its own.

wreck review and insurance pay-out

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i was a bit worried when i made plans with the progressive rep to meet me at my house for this morning. i'm not much of an early riser generally, and since lately all i do most of the time is lay in bed with my leg propped up i've not had much incentive to get up in the morning. so i was a bit worried she'd knock on the door at 8:15am, and i'd be groggy and disheveled and half-naked or take 20 minutes to answer the door. plus i wouldn't really be able to tidy up the place at all because i'm slow-moving and have limited capabilities.

worrying about this caused me to wake up around 9am and not really be able to get back to sleep. i did on and off until around 10am though. i decided i should go ahead and get up and get ready.

she ended up coming by between noon and 12:30pm. they offered me $6885 for my bike title, or about $4k if i chose to keep the bike. i looked up my bike on blue book a few days ago and it showed $6k. they figured about $1k of custom parts on the bike, which was about what i came up with. then they have to do sales tax and tt&l i guess, plus my $250 deductible. and the blue book price was based on 24k miles and i had 33k. so i thought $6900 seemed pretty fair.

i thought about keeping the bike and taking the $4k, because i think other than the fork most of the damage is cosmetic-ish. i mean, i was thinking i could get the bike and use the $4k to put on a raked out new front fork, maybe a different gas tank, plus any odds and ends, and hammer out the rear fender, and have a good start on a nice rat bike. i could even sell other parts off of it to make more money for it. but in the end my more practical side won and i just took the extra $2900.

the progressive rep was pleasant to work with and i was pretty happy with the way everything was handled by them. it was a better experience than i had trying to deal with the health insurance stuff so far. and i'm afraid that may only get more difficult, depending on what if anything goes on with the people in the car who were actually responsible for the accident but took off. the progressive rep still hadn't seen the police report, so she didn't know the status of the case.

that said, here are some pics of the bike that were taken when it was at the tow yard (march 9th)..

bike-after-wreck-front.jpg

this is the side that hit the car. if you look at the fork, you can see it is bent back toward the bike and to the bike's right. the front tire is the first thing that hit the car. i'm pretty sure it pushed the tire all the way to the body of the bike, as there is a dent on the back of the front fender and i can only assume it is from something on the main part of the bike. you can also see there is no rear mirror (or mount pole). and obviously the tank is banged up. that was probably the second thing to hit the car. here's a closer look at the tank...

bike-after-wreck-tank.jpg

as you can see, it collapsed the tank wall. the chrome badge must have bent in and then bent back...i guess. although it is entirely possible it was actually my knee that dented the tank because it was between it and car...i'm not sure about that though...might be a little high and forward for my knee (but i did feel myself lift up and my knee cap move). i think maybe the handlebar went above the trunk so the tank actually hit the car directly. (but there was a small dent behind the badge on the other side of the tank, and i'm guessing the one place on my right knee that hurts may have done that.) i didn't smell gas or notice any fluids on the ground (although i might have missed that), so i don't think it actually ruptured the tank.

here's the back of the left side...

bike-after-wreck-back.jpg

i'm not sure what made the top portion of the rear shock get all those dents on it. it's hard to tell in the pic, and i didn't notice it at the tow yard, but the whole rear fender (under the seat and running back) is bending away in the pic (shifted more over the right side of the bike). at the end of the fender it's probably shifted about two inches or so.

and here's a view of the tail end of the bike...

bike-after-wreck-tail.jpg

you can't see the tire so you can't see how much the rear fender is bent, but you can see that the metal chromed license plate mount has broken and the left blinker is bent at the mount point. i'm guessing the blinker probably hit the car when the back end of the bike swung around with the leftover forward momentum of my bike that wasn't stopped with the front fork.

the only other thing that i know for sure hit the car and is obviously showing it is my leg, and it's kind of beat up too. perhaps i'll upload a pic or pics of it at some point.

after she left i heated up some of the microwaveable soup the hrc and mini-hrc had brought for me, and had that and a big red while i watched a bit of daytime court tv before getting back in the bed. man, they have a lot of ads for lawyers trying to get you to sue people to "get what you deserve" during those shows.

this evening i went to james coney island for supper. i had noticed a motorcycle pulling into the parking lot, and when i walked by it i noticed a black "x" over the headlight in electrical tape. the only other times i've seen that it was people in todo moto. when the two guys got up to leave, i asked them if they were in todo moto. i think i had met one of the guys 6 months or a year ago at west alabama icehouse. they stopped and talked to me for awhile. they're a rambunctious lot, but they do some interesting things with motorcycles. kind of made me wish i'd kept angelina. ah well.

ortho visit and radio show

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late sunday night / early monday morning i sent an email to my managers at work telling them i wouldn't be able to come in due to my leg not being able to handle more than 2 or 3 hours of me being upright/sitting. i also told them about the problems i was having trying to get an orthopod's office to take my personal health insurance, but that i was contacting the work h.r. department to see if they could help me.

monday during the day i called the person in h.r. i'd been given the name and number of on friday, and i explained the situation. she said she'd call her contact at the insurance company and see what could be done.

sue and her two daughters picked me up for lunch and we went to chick-fil-a. i was a little nervous with the plethora of excited kids running around, but it went okay. sue dropped me off at home and then went by petsmart and picked up some cat food for me. for which i'm sure lenin is most appreciative, even though she doesn't know it.

an hour or two later i got a call from my departmental manager saying he'd explained the situation to his boss, and he suggested i try getting in touch with some of the places that are related to the company i work for. (i work in the medical center, don't you know.) they gave me some names and numbers, so i called an ortho office and explained things and they said they take personal insurance for vehicle accidents. yea! so i made an appointment for tuesday morning.

monday night i watched some pbs and ate a container of tropical fruit the hrc and mini-hrc had brought over for me the day before. i then took a shower in preparation for the next day (showers aren't quite as simple as they used to be) and went to bed.

tuesday a co-worker came by around 10am to pick me up and take me to my appointment. he drives an rx-8, which is a rather tight fit. but i am thoroughly appreciative of him taking the time to help me. i told him he could just drop me off, but he offered to stay with me. after waiting a long time in the waiting room, they took me back. they took me and did more x-rays on me, quite a few more than the e.r. had done, and several involved me being in pretty uncomfortable angles with weight on my left leg. (like standing on a stool on my tip-toes and bending and leaning my knees forward until they leaned against the x-ray board. and holding there. ouch.) that done, i went back to the exam room and waited for the doctor. he came in and asked me what had happened, then he proceeded to wiggle and bend and stretch my knee and leg. he said he couldn't see there was any ligament damage, but to schedule another appointment for 3 weeks to let the swelling and such get back to normal and see if he missed anything. he said i had what they refer to in the business as a "crush injury". (technical mumbo-jumbo!) basically no broken bones and little or no external skin lacerations, just everything between the bone and outer skin gets...well...crushed. broken blood vessels and capillaries, messed up nerves, squished muscle tissue, etc. he said there isn't much they can do to make it heal faster or anything, you just have to wait it out. i asked him if he could give any kind of estimate when i should be able to go back to work, and he said that was pretty much just up to me and when i felt like it, since time to heal varies a lot. he asked if i had crutches, and said i should probably use at least one to get some pressure off the leg, but that it's good that i was moving around some and bending it and straightening it out. he also mentioned i might want to switch from ibuprofen to tylenol since ibuprofen thins the blood and may cause more internal bleeding. so on one hand it was comforting to confirm no broken bones and have someone with lots of knee and ankle experience say things looked intact -- on the other hand, i really didn't gain much new knowledge about how to deal with things, what i could expect, or how long it might take. the doctor left and the nurse came back in and asked if i needed a doctor's excuse for work. i said work had been pretty understanding, but i guessed i should get one just to cover my bases. she asked for how long and i said i didn't know, so she made it for the 3 weeks until my follow-up appointment. i told her that was fine and i could always cut it short if i felt better before then.

i left the office and as we were getting ready to leave the parking garage i asked my co-worker if he wanted to go ahead and have lunch since it was already like 12:30pm or 1pm or something. we used to work in the area, but moved a couple of years ago, so i asked him if he wanted to eat at miller's. it was good, but by this point i'd been standing or sitting for 3 or so hours so my leg was starting to hurt pretty badly. i took half of my food and got a to-go back and we left. (evidently he joked later to a co-worker that he knew i was hurt because i only ate half my food and took the rest to go.) he dropped me off back at my house and i climbed into bed.

tuesday afternoon while in bed i watched bottle shock through netflix's instant watch on my mac laptop. it was an interesting story. overall it was nothing great as far as films go, but i enjoyed watching it since i learned a bit of (probably semi-true, manipulated) history about napa valley and its place in the wine world, and wine-making. i'm also beginning to think i'm not sure i can appreciate streamed movies. once the pipe gets fat enough that good quality pictures can be sent to decent sized screens (and/or they can cache enough of it locally) it should be okay, but i think i care too much about the image of most films i'm interested in to feel satisfied with the current video quality i'm able to see. still, it's kind of nice in a pinch to have a wide selection of on-demand films to watch.

in the evening, jack came by with all of his children and we went to chuy's. i was there for a couple of hours, and by the end my leg (especially my knee) was hurting pretty badly. i think being up twice in the same day for 2 or 3 hours each time, mixed with the walking around and x-ray bends i did at the doctor's visit and lunch, was a bit too much. i checked my medicine cabinet and i had 3 extra-strength tylenol geltabs that expired in 2007. i took two of them and laid in bed. it took quite a while for my leg to not hurt too much.

wednesday for lunch i ate with the whole potts family at le peep. sue stopped by a walgreen's and picked me up some more ibuprofen and some acetaminophen. i got back home and immediately hopped into bed.

over the last few days my progressive agent and i had been trading voice mail messages. i finally managed to get in touch with her. i made plans for her to come by my place thursday morning.

around 7:15pm i took a couple of the quick-release acetaminophen capsules sue had bought for me. around 7:30pm dwight came by in his mustang and picked me up and took me to kpft for the radio show. jay is not currently in the country, but everyone else was there. i think they all thought my leg looked pretty nasty. i managed to get through the show okay, although it started hurting some more the last 30 minutes or so. on the way home, i got dwight to go through the drive-thru at a jack in the box and i picked up some curly fries and 4 tacos (that's pronounced like "tack-o" not "tah-co").

on friday the hrc came by and picked me up for lunch (we went to a dairy queen), then drove me out to the honda dealership where my bike was taken so i could get some stuff off of it. the guy at the dealership said he was pretty surprised i wasn't hurt worse based on the condition of my bike. the progressive agent had circled all of the problem areas with the bike. i hadn't even realized when i looked at it at the towing lot that the whole rear fender had been bent. in the end, he said they had $8212.36 just in parts so they didn't even bother working up labor costs. so now i'm waiting to find out from the progressive agent how much they are going to offer me for it as a total. i'm still not sure i understand exactly how they value the custom parts that were on the bike. while i was at the dealership, i also took the opportunity to look around a little at the current bike offerings honda has. it'd probably be at least a couple of months before i would be getting a new bike, but it can't hurt to look right? :)

the guy at the honda shop was nice and didn't care about me getting stuff from the bike, so i grabbed my rat key ring, the "ride hard" ring off the handlebars, my allen wrench and paperwork and stuff from the toolkit compartment, my windshield mounts (as i wasn't using the windshield at the time so i still have it, and i'd like to keep the mounts to go with it), and my license plate. i was planning on grabbing the chrome metal inspection sticker plate but i forgot about it. and i guess that's the last time i'll ever see my bike.

the rat key ring actually goes back all the way to my a&m days. it's the rat head off of that hot wheel car that had a rat head (i don't know if they still make that one or not), and was used as the identifier/insignia for a secret society i was in.

the "ride hard" ring was a cheap skull ring purchased in summer 2004 up in macomb illinois at a laundromat. my brother and i had ridden our motorcycles up to illinois for cornerstone, and we were doing our laundry. i thought it was kind of funny this vending machine had all of these different biker/skulls rings, so we bought a few. i put this particular one on my handlebar tube. it was called the "ride hard" ring because as we were leaving austin for our c-stone trip we stopped at a traffic light and a grungy man begging for money came up to my brother and said "you guys ridin' hard?!" "you ride hard! heh heh. ride hard!" so i called it the ride hard ring, and it'd been on my bike ever since. which surprised me, as i always figured it'd come off at some point. but it never did. not even during the wreck. i'd just bought the bike right before that trip, so it was around almost as long as the bike itself.

friday i sent an email to a person that works for hr in my company. i asked her if there was a person in our hr who interfaces with our insurance company, and explained the situation i'm in. she gave me a name and number, but i didn't get around to calling her before 5pm. so i'm planning on doing that monday when i get up.

the progressive agent had also called me about discussing the pay out offer on my bike since it is going to be totaled. i called her back and had to leave a message, and she didn't get back in touch with me friday, so i'm assuming i'll hear from her monday.

friday night i was having trouble sleeping. i ran out of the e.r.-prescribed motrin long ago, so i've been taking 3 200mg gel-tabs twice a day instead. (the 20 tablets the hospital gave me were 600mg for 4 times a day.) as i mentioned before, i gave up on the vicodin days ago, so the remainder of the 25 5mg tablets they gave me have just been sitting there. well, friday night my leg was making it really difficult for me to sleep so i decided to try a vicodin. i think it helped, but i'm not particularly sure. i don't know if it's because i hadn't eaten in a long time, or because i was really tired, or both, or what, but i had some crazy dreams...or thoughts...i'm not sure if i was asleep all the time. i woke up a fair bit, so some of it may have been half-awake synapse firings. anyway, it was odd. i also took one last night about 30 minutes before i went to bed (since my leg hurt pretty bad the night before and the vicodin might have helped a little), but i didn't have any weird experiences. as of right now i still have 12 tablets left, so as you can see i really didn't use them that much.

saturday the hrc came by and got me and we went to lunch at tacos-a-go-go. she dropped me off at my house, but a few hours later she came back by with the mini-hrc in tow. they'd stopped by target and gotten me some microwavable soups, gatorade, a grapple (sp? evidently an apple with grape genes spliced in or something), a patrick the starfish cookie, a container of cut tropical fruit, and a get well card. she'd also gotten me some low-cut socks, as i'd asked her for some since all of my socks are mid-rise and they don't feel good when my ankle swells. we all went to subway for supper, then they dropped me off at home and took off.

today the potts came by in the afternoon and we went and ate at pronto (italian) on montrose. we were originally planning on going to riva's, but they are closed on sundays between 2pm and 6pm apparently. i'd never been to pronto before, it was pretty good.

from my outings over the last few days, i've determined that i can handle about an hour of being upright (which includes sitting) before my leg starts to hurt a fair bit. once i hit about two hours, my ankle is swelling and my heel and leg are starting to show bruising-like places (which i assume is from internal bleeding). i don't really like to go past that too far, because the one time i did my leg ended up feeling like it was on fire and it hurt for a pretty long time even after i got off of it. so basically my leg can handle about two hours before i need to be back in a position where my leg is elevated above my heart. which kind of sucks, since it keeps me from being able to do much other than short jaunts, which then have to be followed with a pretty long period of keeping my leg elevated before the swelling goes down. on the good side, the swelling on my knee and ankle aren't ever as bad as they were the first few days after the accident. and after being in bed overnight, or usually around 10 to 12 hours, my left leg looks fairly close to normal as far as swelling goes. the other thing i've learned is after having had my leg elevated for a long time, once i go to get up there is about one to two minutes of pretty intense pain in my leg as the blood rushes back in. then things sort of level out and it just hurts like it normally does.

i'm still not sure about the status of my knee or ankle, but hopefully i can get something worked out with my insurance so i can see an orthopedic doctor soon. and perhaps i'll find out something about the status of the police report tomorrow, as i should be talking to the progressive agent and i think she'll have a copy of the police report.

let the good times roll

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well, the last few days have been a barrel of laughs. (perhaps this would be a good place to mention that i was wearing my "lost cause" t-shirt when the accident occurred.)

a couple of days ago i decided the vicodin isn't having much effect, so i stopped using it. i didn't feel any different before, during, or after taking it. i told them in the e.r. vidodin hasn't seemed to do much of anything for me in the past.

tuesday i spent most of the day in bed. the hrc took me by la fendee for lunch. i decided to not bother with the crutches part way through. i can hobble around, and i can put some weight on my leg, but i'm slow, and if i jar it a little or bend it too much it hurts. we just ordered there, then i brought it back to my house. i watched the island while i ate with my leg propped up on the couch, then i headed back to the bed.

wednesday started off badly. early in the day i finally started to hit the limit of my trying to be understanding and accepting of the situation i'm in. i wasn't feeling sorry for myself, just more annoyed that it's sinking in it may take a pretty long time for me to be mostly back to normal again. i was tired of laying on my back in the house staring at the ceiling. i was tired of my leg being swollen. i was tired of not being able to accomplish anything of value related to my job, because even though i have a laptop and internet connection it's just not the same as sitting at a desk (even my home desk). i was tired of having to ask people to help me do things. i don't mind if i have to hobble around some, i just want to feel like i know it's healing and i can go to work and go to eat and drive myself somewhere. anyway, it wasn't productive.

so in order to feel like i was accomplishing something, sometime around lunchtime (i've been sleeping a lot, and late) i called an orthopedic office to set up an appointment, because my leg was still swollen a fair bit and my knee is very sensitive to the touch. the e.r. just took x-rays, so i figured it might be a good idea to have someone check out my leg for ligament/tendon/etc. injuries just in case. this is the point i learned what a big clusterfsck this whole thing could be.

after talking to 3 different doctors' offices, i learned pretty much none of them will take personal health insurance if you were in an accident. they want you to pay for yourself as an individual. this is because if they accept your insurance, the personal health insurance many times will -- upon finding out it is related to an vehicle accident -- tell them they need to give all of the money back. why? because it's an vehicle accident and the personal health insurance companies don't want to pay that. so then the doctor has to bill you. then you have to fight with insurance companies about who is supposed to pay. they try to force the responsible party to pay. in this case for me, it would be the party responsible for the accident...except we don't know who that is -- or if they even have insurance...or any money at all. so then it falls to my own vehicle insurance if i have personal injury protection. or, if the responsible party is uninsured or under-insured, then it could be you have uninsured/under-insured insurance on your vehicle insurance.

so it was that my simple plan of using my personal health insurance -- you know, the insurance you pay lots of money for to take care of your health? -- fell apart. i was pretty pissed, because i lived under the assumption that your health insurance was supposed to insure your health. evidently they try as hard as they can to not do so. because you know, they'd like have to pay money, and they're in business to make money. it's even more annoying since i personally have been positive cash flow for the insurance industry for most of my adult life. i have made almost no vehicle insurance claims ever (and the few i have made were very minor), and i rarely use health insurance (and when i do it's usually for some antibiotics or such for a cold or something, nothing expensive).

the hrc took me by schlotzsky's for lunch, then i came home and sat with my leg propped on the couch and watched adaptation. i then went back to the bed. (spot a theme?)

i had decided to skip doing the radio show, and i slept through the first part of it. i'd planned on getting on irc and listening to it, but i didn't. around 9:30pm or so the potts (sans children) came by. they took me over to the teahouse. i decided to give a shot at staying out a little bit. but we went in the back where the soft couches are and i put my leg up on a couch, so it was sort of cheating. i was out of the house for probably about 1.5 hours. my leg did swell up some, but it wasn't too bad and i got home feeling decent about the experiment.

when i got home, my dsl wasn't working. well, sometimes a bit, but not very well. i tried disconnecting and reconnecting it, but it still wasn't working. after trying to get a support number via my iphone, and spending time on hold, they told me there was a houston outage and i would just need to wait and call back later and see if it was working. so i gave up and went to sleep.

today when i got up around noon, the internet still wasn't working. i hobbled over to the modem and it had no lights...no power, no nothing. i unplugged and replugged it. nothing. i changed outlets. nothing. the modem was dead. i called the support line and after it taking awhile they told me it wasn't under warranty, so i'd have to sign a new 1-year agreement to get a new dsl modem. except the account isn't in my name, so i said thanks and hung up. i kind of need the internet to do my work, plus right now it's my connection to the outside world while i'm laying in bed. so i decided i'd go ahead and buy a new one myself.

the hrc came by and picked me up, and first we went by the post office where i picked up a certified letter from the towing company letting me know they had my bike. of course, i already knew that, and progressive insurance is taking care of that stuff, so it doesn't really matter. from there we went to lupe tortilla. i decided to give a shot at being on my feet for awhile, so we ate there. they use wooden slat chairs, and that mixed with me having to bend my knee more and for longer than i have been wasn't too comfortable. from there we went by microcenter so i could get a new dsl modem and wireless router. we also went by best buy so i could check on external drives there, which i plan to use with my exchange home lab.

oh yeah, and during the time i was out the guy from the honda dealership called me and said he'd done a repair estimate on my bike and it came out to like $7500 so they were probably going to be totaling it and just cutting me a check, but that my agent would get in touch with me. a while later she did call me, and told me that was the plan. i took the opportunity to ask her about how that works, what about custom parts on the bike, etc. i also asked her if i had personal injury protection or uninsured/under-insured on my policy and...no, i don't. so i guess both progressive and my personal healthcare will be trying to go after the other people in the accident. i also talked to her about insurance companies and seeing a doctor and such, and she said she would help me if i needed to get proof for my personal health insurance that i don't have pip or uninsured/under-insured. so maybe that will work out. i guess next i need to call my health insurance company and see what they have to say.

i was probably out of my house, sitting, standing, walking, for about 3 or 4 hours total. my leg was hurting some the whole time, but as we were driving back to my house it got pretty painful. it kind of felt like the lower half of my leg was on fire. (maybe the vicodin would have helped? but i doubt it.) eventually we got home and i got the wrap off and got in bed and elevated it. the ankle was pretty swollen, but the knee not as bad. but a lot more blood had pooled around my heel and the back of my knee and lower thigh. it looks like black bruises sort of. this is in addition to what looked like a number of yellow and purplish bruises along my leg. it's been a few hours since then and my leg still is sore and tingling some. hopefully that will lessen the longer my leg is elevated. it pretty much sucks. and the trial run is not a good sign for me having little or no problems going back to work.

i had to call raj to try and get info about the dsl line, and then i had to break down and do some google searching on my iphone to get info about how to properly set up the device i got with at&t dsl, but i eventually got the dsl working. which is why i'm finally able to put this update out. yea for accomplishing something.

backtracking for a bit, friday was the geek gathering. via a conversation during the show wednesday, i had made a joke about wearing a "wanna cyber?" t-shirt to the gathering. after i got home from work, i spent about 15 minutes making one with a white t-shirt and a black sharpie. i have a pic of it that i may post later sometime.

this past tuesday as i was about to leave work i got an email from a p.a. employee asking about the status of a video server i'd set up. i figured the video process had stopped, so i went to ssh into it...no response. so i pinged the box...no response. at this point i contacted someone who could check on the system through an admin interface. we both tried looking at it, but the slot labeled for my system was showing a windows system. we thought maybe the console interface was messed up, but eventually i asked her to go ahead and reboot it. a windows 2003 box booted up. so i had to call the guy who is the main admin for that system. i explained what was going on and what slot i was checking, and he then realized he'd given the wrong slot number to someone and they had evidently done a windows install over my *nix box. "oopsie." so after waiting for the main admin to do a base *nix install for me again, i had to spend a few hours tuesday evening getting everything installed and functioning as it had been before it got vaporized. that was certainly fun.

i was trying to decide if it was the windows gods trying to push me further towards running and using windows, in their own peculiar windowsy way, or if it was the *nix gods punishing me for installing windows 2000 and windows xp recently at home.

and regarding those installs, i spent some amount of time last week trying to get my old desktop running again. (this is the desktop that my hard drive fritzed on back in 2004.) based on previous experience leading me to think the ide controller might be bad, i decided i'd try a sata drive since it has two sata connectors. after pulling the old sata drive out of my power mac, i plugged it into the old desktop and started the xp install. but xp couldn't find the drive. i went online to find the manual for the motherboard and it turns out the sata connectors can only be used in conjunction with the promise raid chipset. at first i was disheartened, but then i realized i could just make a raid 0 volume with 1 disk and try it. i set that up and started the xp install, but it still couldn't find the disk. i did a google search and realized i'd need to hit f6 during the xp install in order to give it the promise raid driver so it could see the disk. i downloaded the raid driver (along with all other drivers, software, and manuals available for the mb on the asus site) and burned it all to a cd. i started the xp install and hit f6 at the appropriate point...then it wanted me to put the disk in a: and hit enter. well, "a:" is a floppy drive. and it wouldn't look anywhere else except "a:". *sigh* i've got floppies and a drive, but i really didn't feel like doing that, so i gave up on that path for now.

so i got a known good 250 gig ide hard drive and plugged it in where the old drive had been, but the xp install format failed. so i switched eide cables, but it failed again. so i switched to an old 40-pin ide cable, but format with that also failed. so i'm still under the opinion that the ide controller is bad. next i'll put the hard drive on the second controller (which is where the cd-rom is) and see if the format fails. if it continues to fail, it's possible it's the power supply i guess. but pretty soon i'm just going to give up on the motherboard and move on.

back to the recent past now, yesterday was pretty uneventful. i mostly laid in bed and slept quite a bit. the potts clan came by after church and brought me a sub from subway, and before they left sue re-dressed my wound. it still looked about the same. and the swelling was about the same. later in the afternoon i called my insurance company to tell them about the wreck and start the claim process. (fortunately, i'd kept full coverage even though i paid off the bike a couple of years ago.) the lady was pleasant and took all of the information and said an agent would be calling me the next day before noon. later in the evening the potts dropped me off a ham and cheese omelet from house of pies.

today i was in and out most of the morning. the progressive agent called and got some more info from me. she said i'd need to call the tow company to release the bike so progressive could pick it up. i called them, but they said i had to fax my driver's license and signature to them or come by in person. i believe "sh!t." was my response. i called the progressive rep back and explained the situation, but i told her if she had email i might be able to get a scanner here at my house working and scan stuff and email it to her, then she could fax it to them. fortunately, the hrc is a contract employee so she has flexible hours, so in the afternoon she agreed to come by and help me. i decided i kind of wanted to get out of the house, so she drove me over to the tow place (which it turns out is right across the street from the new saint arnold's brewery, so i got to see them working on it.)

i hobbled up to the window and signed the release, but then i decided since i was there i wanted to see how the bike looked. they let me go back and look at it. when i got to it, the right side was the side facing me. that's the side that dropped onto the pavement. it didn't look too bad really, other than my highway peg extender being bent. i could see the front tire was either blown out or the bead had been broken, and the headlight was broken and dangling. the right mirror was bent around, but it might have just swiveled and not actually be bent. and i could see the aftermarket license plate holder and blinkers had broken and was dangling by the electric cables. but the side that hit the car was much worse. the gas tank was dented up. the mirror was broken off. the front fender (which i'd just replaced) had a dent on the back of it. and i could see the front forks were bent. it's possible i might be forgetting some damage, but it had a fair bit of stuff wrong. i should have some pics that i might be able to put up soon.

once we left, i called the progressive agent to let her know they could come by and pick up the bike. they are supposed to be taking it to honda of northwest houston i believe. from there we went through the chick-fil-a drive thru and i picked up some food to bring home. the hrc brought me a couple of ice packs and a foam wedge that elevates your feet. (she has all kinds of stuff due to her many surgeries and back problems.) the wedge is really nice. my hip was started to hurt, and the swelling on my ankle and knee hadn't really been going down. since this afternoon, i've had the ice packs on them several times and i've had my feet elevated, and it seemed to have helped the swelling in my knee a fair bit. my ankle is still pretty swollen. most of the front of my lower leg still feels numb to the touch, although around the knee is pretty sensitive. i did try putting some weight on my leg today, and i was able to get around that way, although i still feel more comfortable using the crutches for some support. i re-dressed the wound this afternoon, but tonight i left the wrappings off and am going to try and let it have a chance to dry out and scab.

well, my good luck on motorcycles finally ended today. around 1pm i went to the hot bagel shop on shepherd for some bagels. they were closing up at 2pm so i hopped on the motorcycle and headed toward home. i was just a block or two from the bagel shop on shepherd and there wasn't any traffic around me. a turquoise green 4-door sedan was in the petco parking lot to my right ahead of me, waiting to pull out. when i was less then a block or half block from them, they quickly pulled out. and then completely stopped, blocking both lanes. i guess traffic was coming from the other way and they wanted to make a left, and they hadn't seen me. i slammed on the brakes and started to veer to the right a little. but i hit the driver's side passenger (rear) door or front of the rear quarter panel with my front tire and then the rest of my bike came up and slammed my left leg between my bike and their door. i'm not sure how fast i was going at that point. i saw a piece of chrome falling to the ground (probably my left mirror) and then my bike started falling over. i hopped off it onto my feet and realized my left leg hurt. i think a girl in the car might have screamed or something, then i heard a guy's voice say "...go. go! go! go!" and the car took off. i turned to watch them and memorize the license plate. i was saying it to myself when i realized my leg hurt really badly, so i hobbled a couple of steps and then sat down. i was worried it might be broken or something.

it was right in front of the petco, so numerous people were around and saw what happened. other people also had the license plate and info about the people in the car. a doctor happened to be right there. she stopped and got out and was feeling my leg asking me if i could feel her touching stuff, if it hurt, if i could wiggle my toes. some guys picked up my bike out of the road and pushed it into the petco parking lot. the doctor said she didn't think anything was broken, but they'd probably put it in a cast. other people were coming up and asking me if i was okay, somebody brought me some water, some people put pet beds (i guess from the petco) under my head as a pillow.

evidently the people in the car switched drivers and then the guy came back by. i thought they were coming back to stop and the guy wanted to claim he was driving, but i heard some people say "that's the car! that's them!" and then they took off again i guess.

within a few minutes i think, the cops showed up. they took info from me about what happened, what i saw, etc. i also heard them talking to other people around me. at this point, numerous people started coming up to me and telling me they were sorry and hoped i would be okay, and shaking my hand. that seems kind of weird, but i bet at least 6 to 10 people did that. someone told me they'd tried to chase them but got caught in traffic and stopped by a cop. a younger blonde lady in a running shirt said if she'd have caught that girl she'd have kicked her 4ss for me. an older white lady that was dressed nicely came up and said she hoped i would be okay and she hoped i "could take those people for everything they've got, but they looked kind of trashy so they may not have anything." that was pretty funny. two of the guys who work at the hot bagel shop stopped to see how i was doing. when i saw them i pointed at them and said "you just sold me bagels!" several people came up and told me my bike didn't look too bad. i know i saw the front tire was flat, and a mirror and/or blinker or something broke off. one of the cops gave me a card to where it was getting towed.

a few minutes later the ambulance showed up. they pretty much asked the same questions, asked me if i wanted a ride to the hospital and if so which one, and when i said okay and i didn't care they put me on a stretcher and put me in the back of the ambulance and said they were going to take me to saint luke's. those stretchers aren't comfortable, and neither is the ride. (the emts in the back with me called the driver "sue" several times, so i refrained from asking if his dad was a big johnny cash fan.) on the way i said "y'all don't have cable tv in here?" they had put a neck brace on me even though i'd been moving my head and neck just fine, so all i could do was stare at the ceiling. while i was on my ride, i called sue and the hrc. the hrc lives right by the medical center so i thought maybe she could give me a ride home, and i'd had plans to hang out with the potts so i called sue to let her know i probably wouldn't be making it over.

i got to the hospital and they triaged me. i suggested they should put something to watch or read on the ceiling. when they rolled me into the e.r. room, a nurse asked how i was doing and i said "just great!" she said "i'm not sure about that, you're on a stretcher in the e.r." and i said "but i'm just laying here, and people are rolling me around." they gave me a tetanus shot, then did x-rays on my tibia, knee, and fibula (or whatever your leg bones are). they said everything looked okay, so they cleaned up the abrasions, bandaged and wrapped the leg, and gave me some crutches. i got up to walk (i hadn't tried putting weight on the leg) and it hurt pretty bad. the doctor had given me prescriptions for motrin, vicoden (hydrocodone), and bactoban. a nurse asked me if i wanted some painkiller now, but i said i could just wait and get the prescription filled. they got a wheelchair and i sat down, then one of the nurses asked if i felt dizzy. i didn't, but i was feeling clammy and flushed and sweaty...like right before you feel dizzy then pass out. so they made me sit and wait awhile, and the nurse went and got me some ice water and a painkiller pill. i had to go to the bathroom, so they wheeled me into the bathroom. by the time i was done (which was difficult) and washed my hands, my toes on my left foot were blue/purplish. but they got better. the hrc showed up, so the nurse wheeled me out and i was on my way home.

humorously, after letting sue and the hrc know that nothing appeared to be broken or anything, both of them said they felt a lot better because "i know how you tend to understate things" (they both said exactly the same thing) so they were worried just how bad it was since i'd been in an ambulance and bothered to call and tell them at all.

i got home and the hrc went and got my prescriptions and got me some gatorade and food and such. while she was gone i got up and used the bathroom. it's about 10 feet from my bed, and i used the crutches, but by the time i got back to the bed my leg hurt pretty bad for several minutes. my knee and ankle have also both swollen up to about twice their normal size. but i'm assuming the pain will get worse before it gets better, since that tends to be how these sort of things work.

it seems like most medical workers asked me if i was wearing a helmet, and when i told them no they all said i needed to do that. i figure considering the possible scenarios, the fact that i appear to have gotten away with just battered up flesh and muscle is pretty good. hopefully they didn't miss any problems with my knee or ankle. looking back on it, there really wasn't much i could have done. i don't really blame the driver too much, as mistakes happen. it's pretty poor they took off though. maybe they didn't have insurance, or she had a suspended license, or they had drugs in the car, or who knows what.

hopefully this will count as my motorcycle accident, and i won't have to have another one in the future. anyway, i hope y'all are having a better weekend than me.

last weekend i broke out my old windows 2000 computer and thought i'd give a shot at trying to recover data off the hard drive again. for those not in the know, back in fall 2004 (friday, september 17th, 2004, to be exact) my web server crashed, and i lost a blog i'd been writing for a few months. i hadn't really advertised the location to anyone, so almost no one knew it existed. and i was really just using it to write out some of my thoughts with what was going on in my life since tamara had decided to have affair and completely fsck up everything. in addition to losing the blog, i also lost a lot of email that had only been on the server. there was some stuff that i had copied to my desktop computer though. then a month or two after that (november 7th, 2004, to be exact), my desktop computer fried. so even stuff i'd had in both places got lost (email, etc.). my wife has a miscarriage, then she has an affair, then she leaves me, then my server crashes, then my desktop crashes. ah, the good old days.

at the time, and since then, i thought it was my hard drive that was the culprit. i'd tried doing stuff using the same machine, tried doing stuff using my old windows 98 desktop, and nothing really seemed to fix it. i did manage to use a recovery program to search the raw device and pull files that had identifiable headers and were in contiguous blocks. unfortunately, a lot of stuff wasn't, and even what was saved was only identified by file extension and a number for the file (e.g. file0001.gif, file0024.jpg, etc.).

this time i took a computer my parents had handed down to me after they upgraded and put an unused 80 gig hard drive in it (so as to not overwrite my parents' data, just in case they needed something and had forgotten about it). their computer had windows me on it originally, and i had the dell restore disk, but i just couldn't bring myself to install me. *shudder* so i installed windows 2000. humorously, after i installed it and got it set up i immediately went to start security patches...but it couldn't get on the network. "what's up?" i was thinking. i went into the control panel and looked at the hardware and it had a yellow warning on the nic card. i clicked on it and it had no driver. "uh...oh yeah. drivers." haha. i'd forgotten about that. luckily, i had a cd with a driver that'd work with the card in the computer. i installed that and was on my way to doing updates.

i had some recovery programs from the last time i'd messed with this stuff years ago, so i installed those again. one of them did me no good at all. the other seemed to perform the same as last time, finding stuff but finding files only by doing a raw search on the disk. i went ahead and let it run and extract everything it could.

at this point i also ran a couple of programs that tested the disk. they claimed nothing was wrong with the drive. hhmmm. perhaps it was the motherboard on my old windows 2000 machine that borked, not the hard drive. i also decided i'd try to find some other data recovery programs. i poked around and found a few, but i wasn't too excited about paying what looked to be between $70 and $150 for recovery software.

i was about ready to break down and buy one of the cheaper ones ($70) that still seemed to be mentioned favorably in multiple places, with a discount from following a link to a special price page on their site ($56), when i noticed you could get the software free ($0) by using "trial pay." i did a bit of poking around to see if it seemed legit, and it did. the deal is the companies have an agreement that you can get their product for free if you follow the trial pay link and make a purchase with one of the companies on trial pay. you have a decent choice of companies and products to buy from, although probably half of it or more involves signing up for some kind of subscription to something (which i assume you can cancel). but there are some decent things too. i didn't find anything i was really excited about, but i did find a purchase that i was okay with, so i bought something and got the recovery software too.

the new software (easeus data recovery wizard) has done a better job than the old stuff i was using. it has identified lots of files by name. unfortunately it doesn't include the directory structure, so it's a bunch of individual files from the whole system. which is a lot. but i've been able to pick through quite a few things and get a decent amount of stuff that i thought was gone.

one of the best ones so far is that i was able to recover my thunderbird mail and index files and open them up in thunderbird. i was able to do the same thing with a number of outlook express dbx files, but i'd moved to thunderbird so i think thunderbird had everything that was in outlook express.

the other awesome thing is that i was able to find an html cache file that had the text of almost all of my published blog entries from my first blog attempt. i'm missing a few from august and september of 2004, but i think everything from july 2004 back was in there. i'm sure there are some entries that were in draft mode that are forever gone, but i'm pretty excited i got most of the published stuff back. hopefully here pretty soon i'll be posting the text on this blog with the original dates intact. (which means they won't show up as new entries.) in addition to covering thoughts and feelings about the situation with tamara while i was in the midst of it, it also covers the purchase of my motorcycle and the first roadtrip on it (to cornerstone in illinois, summer 2004).

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