Author: Ramos, Jean

Need a “Reset” Button

A few years ago, a group of my musical buddies and I were asked to provide live music for a fiftieth anniversary celebration which was to be held on New Years Eve down at Lake Havasu. Since we are Snowbirds and were headed there for the winter months anyway, we agreed to play for the party.

My husband Terry and I had a motor home at that time and we would load our ATVs on a trailer and tow it behind. We enjoy exploring the desert on the California side of the lake, trail riding on the ATVs, visiting old abandoned mines, looking for wild burros and photographing petroglyphs. Because we like to be on the safe side, we always wear helmets, goggles, gloves and boots when we ride.

On December 29, we took off about noon for a little ride on our ATVs. When you are out at high noon and the sun is directly overhead, you don’t see the lines and shadows on the ground that you normally see when it is at an angle. I was travelling along at a good speed when I felt my front wheels drop down into a wash, by the time I saw the raised portion on the other side, it was too late; I hit the bank. If there ever was a time I really needed a “reset” button, that was it. The impact injured both shoulders; shattered my left wrist and I went airborne for what seemed like five full minutes before making a very sloppy three point landing in the rocks, breaking two ribs. My husband, who was following me, now tells me that I had beautiful form through the air but I need to work on my landings, but I digress.

The local fire department arrived and was quick to cut my favorite shirt to pieces. My mother would have been proud that all her admonitions about underwear finally paid off because by then there were people standing all around staring at me. In assessing the damages, an EMT was pressing his hands over various parts of my body. Instead of asking me if it hurt he was saying, “How does this feel?” “And how does THIS feel?” At some point, in my state of shock, I made a bad joke about how it felt and cracked everybody up…always the comedienne. They put a makeshift splint on my arm and called for a helicopter to airlift me to the hospital at Lake Havasu City.

So as not to bore you with details, I had emergency surgery to repair the bones in my wrist, this required four pins and an external fixator with a cast over the top of the whole contraption. The doctor told me I most likely wouldn’t be able to play guitar again. Well, remember, I had a gig on New Years Eve? I got out of the hospital in time to sing for the party. We had to cut up another good shirt to get my cast through the arm hole and then artistically stapled it together. Terry did my hair for me, which is another story for another time. Many of the folks at the party didn’t know about my accident so I told a tall tale about the motor home breaking down and a wild burro ride into camp and a lot of other nonsense that seemed to come out with such ease with the Vicodin doing my talking for me. My friends played the instruments and I sang and I’m told that it sounded pretty good though I don’t remember too much about it now.

Needless to say, I proved the doctor wrong because after about six months and lots of physical therapy, I was able to play my guitar once more. I’m thinking now that if the doctor had been right, I would not have met all of you nice people.

Okay, as Ron Thomason says, I told you that to tell you this. Remember last month I told you I had a “picker’s tan?” Well this month, my problem is “picker’s shoulder.” Due to the injury to my shoulders from the quad accident years ago, it’s very painful for me to sit and play the guitar for any length of time. I’m taking physical therapy, doing lots of exercises at home trying to get some relief and more range of motion. It’s difficult to do anything that requires reaching overhead. The hardest thing of all is to use a curling iron; my hair looks like the aliens have landed and have made crop circles on the back of my head. My physical therapist asked me if there was anything that I’ve done recently that could have caused this flare-up in my shoulder and I told him about the CBA Spring Camp-Out and the many hours of guitar pickin.’ He said, “That’ll do it.” Well the upshot is that I need to get ready for Grass Valley. I don’t want to be sidelined again with no guitar, with pain meds doing my talking for me. I want to be pickin’ with my friends. I’ll see you all at Grass Valley, Lord willing.

Posted:  5/23/2010

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