November 16, 2007 GMT
All'swell, that ends well...

Maybe, for those people who don't live their lives with excitement and risk, it sounds strange for me to be so carefree about having an accident, it could easily have seen my permanent downfall. Riding bikes for so many years has seen me have a number of accidents, maybe I'm a poor rider, maybe I take unnecessary risks. There are too many maybe's in life; I, for one, can't live my life by maybe's alone. Riding a motorcycle creates a cascade of maybe's, whenever you straddle that machine and pull away. If you don't recognise that,or aren't prepared to take that risk, you have no right to be riding. If, however, the thrill and joy of riding, of melding, man and machine, battling the elements, is greater than the risk, then you will soar the heights of delight.

Mad or not, I delight in riding motorcycles. I'll ride in the most atrocious weather, for long miles, and still enjoy it. It makes me feel alive! It had the same effect on Cai, even on some really awful days he still rode into college. Seeing him bump starting his bike everyday for months, was proof of his devotion, his enjoyment of riding; he was what I would describe as a true motorcyclist. He relished the art of motorcycling, being at one with his machine; even if it was only a crappy Chinese 125. However distraught I am over losing Cai, I can't deny the gladness I've felt over his delight in riding. We shared some wonderous times ridng, and enthusing over rides, both individually and shared experiences. What sort of a fool would I be to reject all this, just because he got killed on a bike. He was at the height of his enjoyment when he died, a better bike than he ever thought of having, embarking on a great adventure. What better way to die. Where he was meant so much to him, he was more than ready for it, he was desperate for it. Desperate for the biggest adventure of his life yet; of which he'd had more than most, even those three or even four times his age.

And so I come back to me, my own accident; only the latest in my life of riding; another injury of many. Has it put me off, don't be silly; it's reinforced my determination. At a time where I've been so close to packing it all in, nearly ready to go home, feeling a failure. I actually felt ashamed at my thoughts and feelings at the scene of this accident. A thought popped into my mind, "now I can just go home", an excuse to give up was all it was. If I have had my fill I shouldn't need an excuse, I should be man enough to go home gracefully.

After the drastic news a couple of days ago I've decided to bring you all up to date. Immediately after the accident I took a few very strong painkillers, my stash for just such emergencies. I'd had no breakfast, so I had to hobble into town to find a restuarant. OK, people were worried at the hotel, "Senor Les, you are alright?" Of course I was, I was dosed up to my eyeballs with Codeine and Paracetamol. I even pushed the bike up two curbs, into the hotel courtyard; that was Tuesday night. By wednesday morning it had swelled and stiffened a lot; so, I expected it to stiffen over night. What I didn't expect was for it to carry on swelling and stiffening, by mid-day my calf was swollen and throbbing like hell as well. My knee was as tight as a drum, I had no movement in my leg and I was starting to worry; might this be a lot worse than first thought? I still blamed my stupidity of walking so far the day before, a normal sort of thing for me to do; a painful injury, pop some painkillers and do what I want.

Paulo, from the hotel, saw how swollen it was and called El Patron, the doctor of the house. The decision was unaminous, I should see a doctor, so it was arranged to see El Patron's sister, a specialist in trauma injuries. As it turned out I saw a collegue of her's, I was also lucky to be accompanied by Paulo, as a translator. And I was lucky, if I hadn't had someone to explain what was going on, I would have objected severely to the pain I was subjected to, as the specialist manipulated my knee. This was even more the case when the doctor wanted to stick a needle into my knee joint, to drain out the fluid trapped around the kneecap. Boy was that painful, but hey, pain lets you know you're still alive. He was really chuffed to extract 45cc of fluid, Paulo looked like he'd faint any second; I don't think he realised what he was letting himself in for.

It may well have hurt, whilst the fluid was pushed and squeezed to where the needle was located, but the effect was apparent as soon as he finished: or was it just the relief of him stopping? There was no pain, as soon as I got to my feet a smile sprang across my face. No throbbing, pain free hobbling; a new lease of life. I didn't blink when a bill of $150 was presented, the relief was so intense. The x-ray showed no bone damage, so hopefully it will be fine, only four days of complete rest. I'm sure that will be a real hardship, and I kid you not. How easy do you think it will be for me to stay resting for that length of time, without a beach to hang my bits out on? Believe me, it will be torture, I detest sitting around doing nothing. So while being debilitated I'm learning some Spanish, I guess it might come in handy some day,eh?

Posted by Leslie Kay at November 16, 2007 10:43 PM GMT

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