311 Miles on the First Day

I was a nervous wreck this morning. Packing is one of my least favorite activities. Which is too bad since I love to travel so much. And packing up the car for a seven week long journey is overwhelming to me. I feel like every decision I’m making will effect the next two months of my life. I know, it isn’t really that serious; and there’s nothing I can’t live without, but I get stressed out anyway. 

And River picks up on it. He noticed that I was loading up the car with all our stuff and I guess he just wanted to be sure I wasn’t leaving without him because all morning he was right at my side, following closely my every move.

I finally got the car loaded and was ready to begin the trek. I got River into the passenger seat, but he wasn’t settling. I know better than to go ahead with it when he’s not in the right head space. And he was not turning around or sitting in a way that was conducive to my fastening the seat belt and to him sitting comfortably. So I got back out of the car and coaxed him out as well. We walked around the garage for a bit to shake off any bad vibes and then I rearranged his blanket and put on his harness while he was outside the car. So he was able to hop in and adjust himself without having to worry about my applying the harness. Finally, I fastened the seatbelt and he was relaxed and ready to roll. This whole little drama took about half an hour.

We hit the road at about 12:30pm and it was a nice, sunny summer day. We hit I-90 and it wasn’t long before the temperature reached 95 degrees. I stopped at a few rest areas so we didn’t get too overheated from sitting in the car. It was nice to roll in the grass. In the area we were traveling, I-90 is also known as the Mountains to Sound Greenway. It is well named as it is quite lush with all the evergreen trees. 

We then switched over to WA-26, which is also called the Palouse Scenic Highway. We had driven this same road in early July and it was awash with flowing waves of green grass, but today it was all dry, straw-colored and cut short.
River enjoying the view of Keechelus Lake from I-90

We arrived in Pullman at about 6:30 and headed straight for the studio where I was teaching that evening at 7:00. Class went great; I taught my Woodstock Experience routine and it was a blast. 

I was a bit worried about how my hand was going to fare during the workout. Two days ago, River and I were in the park with a friend of mine. I have a 50 foot nylon leash that I attach to River when I want to let him ‘run free’ without actually losing control of him. He was on that least and was playing fetch with me for a while and then the game died down and he was just chilling in the grass near my friend and I as we chatted. We were all intrigued by this group of people playing catch with a device that looked like the inner ring of a roll of duct tape, but when thrown just so, it would catch the air and fly high and long. It was impressive and looked a bit alien. There were times when they’d throw it wrong and it would quickly crash, so there was some skill required to really get that good hang time. River caught it in his sight and wanted to be a part of it. Since he was still technically on ‘free play’ time, he was perfectly in the right when he started after this flying device. I didn’t want River interrupting their game or getting excited and jumping up on one of the people, but instead of calling out “River, Stop!” which would have been the wise thing to do, I reached down and grabbed the nylon rope thinking I would just stop him physically. Well he had already gained so much momentum that I couldn’t stop him, no matter how firmly I gripped on the leash. And before I knew it, I was experiencing some of the worst sensations of burning that I have ever felt. It literally shredded my hand.
Immediately after it happened. You can still see red nylon fibers in the wound on the index finger.

I rinsed it in the sink and then began an hour long drive back to Seattle from Olympia where this happened. In the car, on the way back, I was experiencing intermittent waves of excruciating pain. I am not a drama-prone person, but I was literally screaming in pain as I drove. I couldn’t figure out why the pain wasn’t constant though. It would increase to a point where I could hardly bear it and then it would be gone again. This happened over and over. I started to notice that when the pain disappeared, it left behind this whole-body tingling pleasure sensation that I later decided must have been endorphins. The way I finally came to understand the waves of pain were due to my body going into shock and being flooded with pain endorphins, which would then eventually wear off until the pain returned and increased until my body went into shock again, releasing more endorphins. This pain cycle continued about every 45 seconds for the entire one-hour car ride home. The only thing that stopped it was when I applied ice to my hand. It immediately felt better until I removed the ice. But after about a half hour of ice, the pain cycle was broken and I could see that healing was beginning. 

At first the injury looked like red stripes across my hand and then a few places where the flesh was torn away. Strangely, it didn’t bleed, though it certainly looked deep enough to draw blood. I guess the flesh was seared and therefore sealed. Once the ice stopped the burning, the deeper wounds got moist and gooey inside. 

The next day, the deep wounds were seeping blood. Not dripping, but wet and scarlet. I was unable to straighten or bend my fingers without pain since the injury was right on my joint, but I knew I had to keep the fingers moving while they healed or I’d just have to break the scar later. I was able to fit a bandage around the open wounds and return functionality to my hand.
One day after the accident, the wounds on the first two fingers are showing signs of blood.

Today, the open wounds seem to be scabbing over, but the rest of the injury, which had looked like white scrapes until today, were now bulging blisters filled with liquid.  I’m curious to see what new delights my hand has in store for me tomorrow.
Two days later, the deepest wounds are starting to scab over. Notice how the white wounds that had previous just looked like scrapes are now big fat full blisters

Today I put 311 miles on Thumper, the Mini Cooper. I’ll be keeping a running tally of the miles for this trip. We’re enjoying an average of 30.2 miles per gallon. We drove mostly on I-90 and WA-26.

Mini Cooper has an automatic notification system when regular maintenance is due. I think it’s every 10000 miles. And I had just under 9000 before starting this trip, so I knew I’d be needing service before getting back. I contacted Mini, but they said since it was such a new car and that the service wasn’t due yet, that I couldn’t do anything but go on my trip and contact them for service when I get back. Wouldn’t you know it, as I’m pulling into the Motel 6 in Clarkston tonight, I get the alert, “Service is Required”. So that’s going to be annoying me as I put another 4000 plus miles on the car while that light is on.


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