Monday, May 10, 2010

Back Home — Unfortunately

I'm back home again and taking care of the small things i didn't expect to have to do until later this summer: getting my telephone, water, and garbage services turned back on.

Yesterday was the first time i actually had to say "I hurt." My sister helped, but on the first day back i had to go out and buy some groceries, mow the lawn, and run some other errands. For the first time, the scabs on my knees and wrists hurt as i used those joints. And my sprained right thumb is making doing almost anything slightly difficult and mildly painful. Actually, the truth probably is that this was the first time they hurt simply because this was the first time i had to use them. While in Lexington, VA, i stayed in my hotel room on the bed unless i had to go out and do something. I did that so as not to stress the wounds so not surprisingly nothing hurt back then.

I'll go to the doctor on Thursday to get the stitches removed from above the eye and on the chin and see what he says about all the other scabs across the body. All in all, though, i'm surprised at how good the face is now looking. Almost all the swelling has gone down, and my eye has gone from a swollen red "blob" to simply black and blue. It still isn't pretty, but it no longer looks bad or dangerous. The body heals itself well. It will be interesting to hear what the doctor has to say.

Today is my last day of antibiotics. I never used the Vicodin, but will hold onto it for another week, or so, before flushing those pills down the toilet.

My thoughts on the responsibility of the dog owners:
I accept that dog owners shouldn't be required by law to keep their pets on a chain while the dog is on their property. I don't accept, though, that if the dog doesn't leave the property, yet it still causes harm, the owners can't be held responsible. But that seems to be the law.

I still don't know what happened, never will — the guy i was riding with is long gone and i was too out of it to think of asking the dog owner what happened when he took me to the hospital. I only remember fleeting moments of that car ride and not much of the first hour in ER. All i know is i saw the dogs running at us and then sped up to get away.

Yet, this is costing me a lot of money.

  • Emergency Room Co-Pay: $200
  • Prescription Co-Pay: $13
  • Hotel: $518
  • Change to Airplane Ticket: $150
  • Travel to Roanoke Airport: $95
  • Lockport Doctor Co-Pay: $15
  • Torn clothing: $50?
  • Damaged Pannier: $125?
  • Repairs to Bicycle: To Be Seen

The man who drove me to the airport in Roanoke, VA was a policeman. He agreed with me that this is bizarre. According to him, if the owner, himself, had stood on his property and done something to cause the crash i could hold him responsible for the consequences. But, because it was his dogs i can not.

My out of pocket expenses are already about $1,200, and i haven't even started to repair the bike yet. When that gets back to Lockport and i see what damage it has, that adds to my total cost.

In my mind the owner of the dogs should be responsible for these expenses. I wasn't careless. I wasn't doing anything reckless. I was reacting to a threat from his dogs, whether or not those dogs eventually crossed the property line. I had no way of knowing that they might not.

How is it that the owners can get away with no consequences for their pet's actions? I simply can not understand. If they never have to pay the consequences they will never accept responsibility and change their dogs' behavior. IMO.

When i left the ER, i asked if they had a phone number for the dog owner but they said no. If i had it i would find their address and write them a letter asking for a refund. I don't want to sue them or take them to court, but it would have been interesting to see how they phrased their "Sorry, but tough luck" reply.

So i'll settle for just going on public record: Mr. & Mrs. Rick "WhoeverYouAre" on the right side (as you enter town after leaving the Blue Ridge Parkway) of Rt. 56 in Vesuvius, VA, if you read this you owe me a lot of money. But i'll be surprised if you ever act like a moral adult, accept the responsibility, and pay it.


half horsehead said...

just found your blog through my brother zack's website ( i just wanted to say how sorry i am that your trip was cut short, and that you'll never know who these people are, or if they realize what they did to you, but i hope it gives you the drive to try it again next summer, better prepared, and with a bigger sense of adventure and courage than you originally had.

Lao Bendan said...

Thanks for the kind thoughts.

a) There is no doubt that i will go back and finish the ride.

b) When i do, i'll skip the rest of Virginia and all of Kentucky. Instead i'll ride the 300+ miles from my house south through Illinois to where the TransAm enters the state, at which point i'll turn west and continue from there.

c) The owners of the dog probably know exactly what they did to me. In the first place the husband is the one who drove me to the hospital. Then, i spent 9 hours in ER and i know they know of at least the first 4+ of those because the husband came to the hospital to ask me what to do with my bike and gear. My gut tells me they have a pretty good idea of the damage. They're just cowards and won't stand up to their responsibilities.

Remind Zack that he promised to drink a few beers for me! :-)

Thanks again.