Monday–August 23, 2021
Location–Hostel of Maine, Carrabassett Valley, Justin & Melanie Steele, Proprietors
Late morning, then into early afternoon yesterday, finally, the heavily mist-laden cloud/fog lifted, and after, the down, down bail-off boulder ledges began drying the least. That made the descent off Little Bigelow somewhat easier. Grab hold of a root beside the next steep drop off. Turn, hold on, then over the side. Left or right toe takes hold of something down there. Other hand finds a purchase. Another blunder-step or two down, finally, a spot to stand, turn around, and go at it all over again. Crazy-slow going. Then, perhaps, 15 or 20 yards of hiking stick poking and boulder stumbling, right foot down a foot here, left foot down a foot or two over there. Then the next goodness-look-down-there drop off. Two miles of that, with 1,700 feet of elevation scrub-off in the process.
Still, time-wise though, I managed to reach East Flagstaff Road by three. A text message (hey, one bar) to Justin, and a little past four he made the over-an-hour drive around the mountain to get me, then shuttle me back to his great Hostel of Maine, in Carrabassett Valley (Stratton).
Well, I need to tell you this: Ten days ago I took a pretty bad fall, banged myself up good, cut my left leg on a sharp rock. The injury was superficial, more a laceration. I took my water bottle, copiously flushed the wound, then applied triple-antibiotic salve and a bandage. After, I paid little attention to it the next couple of days–till it started hurting. After 185 days on the trail I’m used to hurting. But the hurt from that fall wasn’t giving it up. Fact of the matter, it was getting worse.
Well, after finishing the Bigelows yesterday it was apparent the cut was not healing. The wound area was red, and very painful to touch, with considerable swelling all the way down my left leg, including my ankle. Denial wasn’t working. I’d managed to get my leg infected, no ignoring it–way past topical fixing. Big time systemic antibiotics time, and soon.
Reluctantly, I told Jason what was going on, showed him my pitifully swollen leg. Problem was, there’s not a Veterans Clinic anywhere nearby. Ditto for a walk-in. No hospital either. Jason was more than willing to get me in somewhere, the closest being the emergency room, Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington, well over an hour’s drive away. But I was wore out, it was late in the day. I was just too tired. Tomorrow, tomorrow…
So, today, after calling around, no luck with “no new patients” nearby practices, decision is to get me to the emergency room at Franklin Memorial. Turns out, Jason & Melanie have a friend, Lee’Ann Delcourt. She’ll be driving the two-hour-plus round trip to Farmington today, and she’s offered to come get me, drop me off at the hospital, pick me up later, then bring me back.
Ashley, receptionist at emergency, takes me right in. Christina & Miles do the prelim. workup, then Dr. Conrad comes by. One look–“Infected,” says the kind doctor. I’m given startup antibiotics and a script, which has been called in to the nearest pharmacy (not near).
What a day! What amazing good fortune; thanks Lee’Ann, and at Franklin Memorial: Ashley, Christina, Miles, and Dr. Conrad…
There is no medicine like hope,
no incentive so great,
and no tonic so powerful as expectation
of something better tomorrow.
(Orison Swett Marden)