Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Adventures (I Mean Random Moments) Continue......

I had another blog post ready to publish, but after an exciting afternoon and a bit of a scare in The Tetons, I decided this post should take priority! After this, I can only imagine what is left to happen on my trip.  With every day comes a new adventure and random moments that make for entertaining stores and lots of laughs, thank goodness!

Welcome to The Tetons!

So this is how it went.  I had just arrived in the Tetons, on the road to Yellowstone.  I was looking forward to my time in this National Park.  How can you go wrong with rugged jagged mountains in the backdrop shooting straight out of a glacial lake? Plus, I was meeting my friend Newt with his fifth wheel who I met back in Arches. I was going to take some time off the bike so we could explore The Tetons and Yellowstone together.  I arrived a day earlier and found a place to camp, which is a whole other story in itself….Let’s just say that I didn’t do the best judge of character that night.  I shared a campsite with a sketchy man who didn’t really have any sort of verbal censor.  I was happy to leave the next morning and cycle over to meet Newt.  That morning I had a little breakfast, went for a nice hike by Jackson lake and picked up a ham and cheese sandwich at the grocery store before I pedaled back to Moran Junction. 

The wonderful view I had on my morning hike, Jackson Lake

I got to Newt’s RV site just about lunch time, had some cherries, caught up with him, showered, and we headed out to go explore The Tetons.  I felt a little lightheaded right before we left, but I didn’t think much of it.  Well, we didn’t make it very far in his truck, 200 feet to the RV office to be precise, when I asked if he could pull over.  I could tell I was going to be sick.  I hate the feeling.  I got really hot, dizzy, lightheaded and nauseas.  I tried to make it to the bathroom but didn’t.  Luckily I managed to vomit over the back of the balcony outside the RV office.  There was a lady right there cleaning up the back patio already, so really, considering the circumstances, I picked a pretty good spot to get sick. I apologized profusely to her as she handed me a few paper towels. I felt really bad, being sick is not fun, but hearing someone else get sick is repulsive!  She seemed so pleasant and not bothered by it at all.  I cleaned up and did actually feel better having vomited. 

I hopped back in Newt’s truck and I started going through everything I ate that morning, wondering what could have made me sick.  I pinpointed the half & half the sketchy guy gave me for my coffee that morning.  It didn’t taste bad, but if there was anything that could have been spoiled, it was that, especially out of his cooler!  We continued with the plan that afternoon and drove down to Jenny Lake and got out to take some pictures.  All of a sudden I felt lightheaded again, so I laid down on a bench.  I was frustrated with myself.  I hate being sick, especially around other people.  I’d been looking forward to my time off in the Tetons and wanted to explore, and here I was lying on a bench!  I asked Newt if I could lie down in the back of his truck for an hour or so while he went on a walk around the lake.  He was very understanding.  I got comfy on the back seat of his truck and passed out for about an hour and a half.  When I woke up, he showed up and at that moment, I did feel better.  I thought I had slept whatever it was, off!

I got out of his truck to go see the lake.  We had walked about 20 feet when all of a sudden everything went black and all the voices muffled.  I fainted, right there, went down cold turkey on the parking lot at Jenny Lake.  I could hear people around me asking if I was ok.  Newt was there, concerned, and asking how I was.  He got me up, and we were walking to a bench when I felt it come over me again.  I remember him asking me if I was going to faint on him again, in a joking matter, but I couldn't help it, there I went again.  I think I actually got the “yes” out right before I went down a second time.  This time I could hear a woman’s voice starting to ask me a few questions about how I felt.  I just kept repeating, “I’m a really healthy person, I’m biking around the world, I’m never sick…..!”  And really that is the truth.  I hate being sick and when I’m sick I get so frustrated with myself.  I’m the type of person who goes to work with a fever because I don’t want to let my students down.  I have a hard time giving in and taking care of myself.

I must say, it was pretty interesting seeing all they do in a back of an ambulance

It just so happened that this lady was a park ranger paramedic and she and her partner had rolled up in the ambulance a few moments back as part of their afternoon shift.  What are the chances of fainting in a parking lot right in front of a paramedic (my chances are obviously pretty high)?  I’m sure I would have been fine had they not been there and gone to lay down on a bench again, but they wanted to put me in the back of the ambulance and monitor me for awhile to make sure I was okay.  Newt and her assistant peeled me off the pavement.  I was sweating so profusely, I left a sweat imprint on the pavement.  I was beyond embarrassment at this point as they opened the back of the ambulance and pulled out the stretcher.  This was a first for me,…..I've never been in an ambulance before, nor had a heart rate monitor hooked up with the little sticky things. 

I bet most of their patients aren't in such good spirits.....
Janna, the paramedic continued to ask me some questions and I told her what I had done that day, eaten and drank.  I told her about the half & half, laughed about the sketchy guy, and laughed at that fact that I was in the back of an ambulance!  I had recently acknowledged to myself that there were a few things on this trip I still wanted to do, including going to a rodeo and riding on the back of a Harley.  They didn’t have anything to do with passing out in a national park parking lot or sitting in the back of an ambulance!  This wasn’t in the plan, but then again, what is on my trip?

These guys took good care of me....lucky for me I fainted in front of paramedics

Janna took my blood pressure, tension, and heart rate, all which were obviously very low, but nothing that she thought needed serious medical attention.  Thankfully, just sitting in the back of an ambulance is free in The United States.  She told me if they start rolling, then you have to pay, but since I didn’t want to go to the hospital and she didn’t see a need either, I just hung out there for about an hour ( O do have a private health insurance for my travels, just in case you are wondering).  Newt was outside this whole time and I finally asked if they would let him come in the back.  I don’t think they really understood our relationship.  People probably think he’s my dad. I should just say that he is because explaining to people that he picked me up hitching in Arches Park about 3 weeks ago and  meeting up 3 times since then on the road does sound a bit sketchy! We couldn’t stop laughing in the back of the ambulance, which was also probably unusual for paramedics to see and hear.  We kept on joking about my crazy, random, but ever so entertaining life on a bike.  Newt warned the paramedics they'd make my blog, and if they are reading, I'm sure they are having a good laugh!

About 4 hours later, we made it to the lake like we planned.....

And the views were worth it.  Crystal Clear water!
After about an hour, I left the ambulance.  They cleaned up my knee, which had gotten scraped up from the fall. As Janna suggested, we went to the gift shop to get some Gatorade and sugar.  At that point I did feel remarkably better, it was hard to believe that I had fainted or vomited a few hours back.  Therefore, we continued on with our original plan of going down to Jackson to have dinner and explore the town.  We ended up at the Snake River Brewery, no surprise!  Breweries usually have the best food and beer in town and this brewery just so happened to have all the good looking young men in town, which made people watching entertaining! I passed on the beer, but since I hadn’t eaten much all day, everything on the menu looked good!  We split a pizza and some bratwurst and again laughed about the events that had taken place that afternoon. 

A short walking tour around Jackson, Wyoming

I did feel good when I entered the brewery

It wasn’t until the end of the meal when the food on my plate seemed to be so unappetizing.  I started to feel nauseas and went to the bathroom, but it was a false alarm, or so I thought.  Ten minutes later I had the same feeling and this time went rushing back to the bathroom, but I didn’t make it!  I felt so bad for the group of people at the table right next to the restroom.  They heard and witnessed the whole event, while trying to eat their dinner!  I was too embarrassed to look at them, but I could hear them saying to each other, “No, way……Did you hear that?”  Another one said, “Grosse, did you see that girl?”  I was humiliated, so incredibly embarrassed that I tried to make it inside the bathroom because I wasn’t done being sick.  Wouldn’t you know by the time I actually got to the toilet, I had nothing left inside me?  My intentions were good, but my plan of action failed!  I could hear another lady in the bathroom and again apologized to her and asked her if she could go get my friend Newt at the bar and described what he was wearing. 

Poor Newt, what a good sport he was waiting for me outside the bathroom on the bench while I got cleaned up.  I didn’t make eye contact with anyone as we left the brewpub, I was so embarrassed!  It’s the worst feeling in the world to get sick, but on top of that, to do so in public and around people who you don’t know very well.  Actually now, after this situation, I think Newt and I have bonded even more!  I didn’t want to put a damper on our plans that day and felt a little awkward getting sick in front of him, but then again, he did raise four kids and has grandkids and knows what being sick is all about!  I am very thankful I had someone there for me when I got sick rather than being on my own.  I don’t know what I would have done on my own camping out for a night like that or been stuck in the middle of nowhere.  Considering the circumstances, I was pretty fortunate! 

By the time we got back to the RV, I was exhausted, to say the least. I had just enough energy to spread my sleeping bag out on the couch and get in.  Newt put the garbage can next to me, a trained Dad for sure!  Thankfully I didn’t need it.  I slept the whole night through until morning.  I didn’t feel 100% when I first woke up.  That day the plan was to make it to West Yellowstone, riding without any of my weight.  Newt was going to bring my bags along with his fifth wheel to the next RV park.  The night before, however, we talked about several “Plan Bs” in case I didn’t feel good.  Knowing me, I wanted to ride, so Newt just followed me along the first part of the way and stopped in several places to make sure I was ok!  Despite getting poured on for a while, I felt pretty good!    I wasn’t going to get in the car and he respected my desire to ride, so I pedaled the 90 miles to West Yellowstone. 

You can't get a better sag van than a fifth wheel!

I made it to Yellowstone, 90 miles of hilly terrain, but no weight, what a treat!
What was it that hit me? I have no idea! I think I ate something that didn’t quite sit right with me and then I stubbornly tried ignore the signals that I should rest.   Maybe the sketchy guy put something in my coffee? I doubt it, but I really do hate being sick and so far on this trip, I had only had the one afternoon of bathroom problems after being with the spiritual leader in Hot Springs, SD.  She did say I was going to get “hit hard” by something, so maybe this was it?  I don’t know!  Out of all my world travels and eating off food carts in SE Asia, I never got sick.  Now I’m up to 2 bad stomach experiences here in the states, hopefully they are the last! Like I said, it’s just another day in my “normal” life these days on a bike.  There is always an adventure!

The stomach is better if this was my breakfast two days later!  Had to replenish what I lost!

1 comment:

  1. Oh my! That kind of sickness is the worst! You're lucky to have had your friend Newt with you. He sounds like a very nice man. I hope that kind of sickness avoids you for a long time now. Thanks for sharing your stories! We really enjoy them and all the photos too! We will forever talk about , "that lady on the bike who stayed in our camp at the Sand Dunes." :) It was a privilege to meet you and visit with you! We look forward to reading more of your adventures. ~Erik & Amy Himmelberg