All right. I reckon I owe you all an update. (Many thanks for the concern of those who wrote to make sure I’m not in a coma somewhere.)
Absence of life support notwithstanding, this hasn’t been my best-ever week. Since the Border Collie incident that resulted in my unscheduled — and painful — dismount from Consolation, I’ve run a gamut of emotions ranging from frustration to gratitude to resignation. I guess I’m still running, if truth be told.
Last Friday, my physical therapist informed me that my right hamstring suffered “massive soft tissue damage” in the form of “extensive micro-tearing throughout the semimembranosis muscle” as a result of blunt force trauma. Said blunt force also delivered a bone contusion to my knee, but the hamstring damage is considerably more distressing. If properly rehabilitated, however, it should heal completely. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that I’m looking at about 6 weeks to return to full use for normal, daily activity and light workouts. Nine weeks or more for my preferred style of working out, which is to say, intense. At that point, I’m guessing I’ll be able to ride safely.
Aside: Have you ever noticed how many people assume that you should be able to ride shortly after an injury, because obviously riding isn’t athletic. All you have to do is sit there and let the horse do the work! I like to smile agreeably at these people and say, “Oh yes. Riding is a lot like skiing…you know, where the hill does all the work.”
Anyway, though I plan to beat my PT’s healing-time estimates through a combined approach of excellent nutrition, appropriate exercise, and (should I tell you this?) positive visualization, it’s clear that I won’t be riding anytime soon. By the time I get at least three months’ conditioning on Consolation, the endurance season will be nearly over. If you’ve been reading The Barb Wire for any length of time, you understand that this is a heavy blow.
Meanwhile, what’s to be done about the dog? Or, more specifically, about its irresponsible owner?
Many of you commented that I ought to file a report with Animal Control. Don’t worry. I did. Last week, a county animal control officer served “dog at large” charges to the Border Collie’s owner. Unfortunately, although the dog’s behavior meets our county ordinance’s definition of “vicious,” it doesn’t meet the supersceding state definition, which requires that a dog actually bite someone before it is considered vicious. The upshot is that the worst that can happen to the owner, if he’s found guilty on this “dog at large” charge plus two more, is that he’ll be fined $100 or less. The dog still won’t have to be contained on his property.
Several individuals, including myself, have expressed hope that the owner will demonstrate a sense of responsibility and offer to cover my medical bills and the cost of a replacement helmet. Better yet, he might even build a fence or otherwise contain his dog!
Yeah. Don’t count on it. The ACO observed that although the gentleman admitted ownership of the dog, he refused to acknowledge the chasing incident or the dog’s frequent off-property roaming. And he wasn’t friendly about it. At all.
So, if I want to pursue compensation, I’ll have to file civil suit. Idaho small claims court looks like the most reasonable route, should I choose to take it. But is it worth my effort? I’ve no chance of a ruling that would require the dog to be controlled. The sum of money involved isn’t substantial. (Yet.) What’s much, much more substantial the loss of most or all of my 2009 endurance and training season. Does that count as pain and suffering? Legally, I doubt it…but emotionally? Yes. It does.
And yes, I’m still running that gamut. But I’ll get through. I know what’s at the end, even if I’m not there yet: Commitment. Setbacks or no, I’ll keep climbing. Always have. Always will.
Longfellow said it best. (So well, in fact, that he named my farm.)
Want to read more posts like this one? Subscribe to The Barb Wire