The bus ride home was brutal. I left the bus station in Rutland, Vermont at about 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, and didn’t arrive home until around 4:00 p.m. on Friday. To say that riding the bus for that long is brutal, is an understatement. It would have been difficult for a normal person, but especially after walking for 6-8 hours for at least 5-6 days a week for 5 months made it especially hard to sit for that long. My derriere was numb and in pain. My lower back hurt. My feet, ankles and legs were swollen by the time I got off the bus.
I also didn’t get much sleep due to having to get off the bus and re-board a lot in the middle of the night. Add to that, my rib was really hurting. I’ve been having to take ibuprofen every 4-5 hours to keep the pain manageable.
The bus was running late toward the end, and arrived at the bus station in Springfield, MO really late. The bus leaving for Harrison was long gone. The Greyhound bus station gave me two options:
- They would put me in a hotel, and I could finish the trip and catch the bus at the same time the following day.
- They would send me in a cab, free of charge, as far as Branson, MO.
I REALLY wanted to be HOME, so I chose the latter. Bud drove to pick me up in Branson. I think it’s about an hour drive from Branson to our house.
It was so good to be home! Grace was glad to see me. I was afraid that she would forget about me, but she picked up right where we left off, like I hadn’t even been gone. There was a lot of sniffing of me and my stuff, but she let me pick her right up and pet her.
The chickens were glad to see me, too, I think. We lost quite a few chickens while I was gone to illness or predators. I know I’m not supposed to have favorites, but a few of them were my favorites. (We have been talking about getting some new chicks.)
(This is Helen, one of my original flock who has hatched and raised several sets of chicks. Helen is still alive and kicking, but the roosters had become abusive, and one was responsible for killing a weak and sick chicken, so the roosters are no longer with us.)
Bud cooked steaks for us for supper. They were delicious! He had put up a ‘Welcome Home’ sign in the kitchen, and an ‘I Love You’ sign and also gave me a card. (I think he missed me!) I sure did miss him! I thought that was very sweet. He has also done a lot of work around the house, which we are still in the process of repairing.
We were up early this morning. I sat on the porch to have my first cup of coffee and greet the dawn. After breakfast, Bud took me to the Emergency Room in Harrison. My rib has really been bothering me. Believe it or not, there was no one waiting to be seen in the E.R., and they took me right in! Everyone there was nice, and took me seriously. They took some X-rays, which showed that one of my ribs is fractured. The Doc said that nothing else internally was damaged, and that pneumonia is the real threat, because it’s hard to breathe in deeply when you have a broken rib, and moisture can settle in to the bottom of your lungs and cause problems. He said it was okay for me to walk, but probably not with the backpack. There is nothing they can do for a broken rib, but let time be the healer. He said it would probably take a month to heal. He gave me a prescription for Hydrocodone for pain (which, I think, is Vicodan) and a narcotic. I didn’t get it filled. I’ve had a pelvis fractured in 3 places with fractured ribs at the same time. Vicodan causes some wicked constipation, and I’ve been managing the pain fine with Ibuprofen, so I’m going to stay with that.
Just to recap how it happened, I was sitting on a rock to rest. I didn’t remove my backpack. When I was ready to continue hiking, I bent over and to the side while sitting to pick up my trekking poles, and I felt a ‘pop’. It took several seconds due to the pain before I could breathe in, and it continued to hurt after that. That’s it! I guess it was the weight of the backpack adding to the pressure against my ribs when I bent over that caused it.
One interesting and coincidental thing- The Doc told us he was conceived on the Appalachian Trail and wanted to go visit it someday!
I do have another follow-up appointment for the Ehrlichia with a doctor here at home. I just finished my 21 day round of antibiotics this morning.
Thanks again to all of you who followed my journey, and for all of the many prayers and encouraging words. They meant the world to me. I have had three offers from three different people to hike a portion of the trail with them when they hike it. I thought that was awesome! Maybe there is another Appalachian Hike in my future. They say that you need to make plans for the future when you get finished thru-hiking the trail, because depression often sets in. It IS nice to think of another hike in my future. At the very least, I want to keep walking around home and stay in shape this time.
That’s all of the news from the Ozarks. If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask.