Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Medical and Mechanical Make-overs!

Presentation in Bend
By the time I had made it to Corvallis I was experiencing a great deal of discomfort. My shoulder problem had been getting steadily worse to the point of constant and worsening pain. I could no longer raise my arm above shoulder height (in fact way below shoulder height) and if I accidentally moved it backwards or in 'the wrong way', I would find myself on the floor and screaming in agony. Sleep was difficult and broken. Riding was becoming more and more uncomfortable and the rest of my body complained as it tried to compensate and protect the damaged area. Slowing down or stopping was not an option as I had to make my presentations. Money had run out and my only chance of continuing was to keep to these events. It was put-up or go home time! Luckily my last two events (for now) were fairly close together (Bend and Hillsboro).They went very well and were good fun thanks to the people who organised them.

Meeting Randy at Coco's Corner, Baja
Corvallis is home to Randy Perkins, A logger and a BMW rider who I came across at Coco's Corner in Baja on New Years Day. Another random meeting and an offer of a place to stay as I headed north. Randy found me on Facebook and stepped in when he heard mention of my shoulder problems. He reiterated his previous offer of a place to rest but also offered some treatment for my shoulder with a little help from his friends - one of whom just so happened to be a bit of a shoulder expert having worked as a sports therapist with high league baseball teams, amongst others. 
I was desperate to get there and get the opinion of an expert, worried that I was causing permanent damage by continuing, and worn out by the pain. I had been riding on empty for a while and only drawing energy from the wonderful people I had stayed with and met along the way. 

On the Chiropractors couch
Randy was a man of his word as were his friends, and within a few days of arriving I was being seen by a masseur to loosen the muscles and work on the knots. From there I hopped straight onto the Chiropractors couch, who realigned my neck and straightened my lower back. The next morning I was over to see Guido - the shoulder expert who examined me and checked my range of movement before announcing that I had a Frozen Shoulder, not a rotator cuff injury as I had previously thought. This is a concern as recovery can often take over a year and riding was potentially going to make it worse. I had to have treatment and I had to rest. This week is crucial to see if the treatment brings just the smallest amount of improvement. I am doing as I'm told and I am hoping for the best right now.

It's not just me that is wearing out after 2 years on the road. Although Rhonda is still doing exceptionally well mechanically, parts of her and her luggage have been looking a little tired lately. I also wanted to get rid of some of the weight to see if that would help my shoulder and also to distribute it more evenly. Most importantly, she deserved some attention after 50,000 miles with no complaints. Watch this space to see how we both get on over the next week.


  1. WOW! Take care of each other. Remember rest is a weapon! Rest well and ride carefully.

  2. Corvallis is a really cool town with a lot of wonderful riders. I spent a month there last summer while my Ural was being repaired...

  3. I'm glad you finally have a professional diagnosis Steph - although not one we would have hoped. Keep doing as you're told and hoping for the best! Good luck. xxxxxxxxxxx

  4. get beter Steph..the frozen north can wait. Vic

  5. Yes the frozen north needs to thaw a little, and I pray for provision for you

  6. Hi there Steph' ... am really sorry to hear you've got a problem with your shoulder. I can't profess to be an expert, but do recall a number of years back when having an opertaion over in Australia, to remove a bone fragment that had lodged into the shoulder joint, a couple of people who'd been treated for a 'frozen shoulder' with surgery to break up the adhesions. It was something like 3 months before I could ride again! In reading up on this condition on Wiki', can see that the prognosis isn't good and could actually compromise your continued travel. Surgery does seem to be rare, with most treatment centring around manipulation to keep or improve mobility. The main issues, seems to be the time scale for recovery ... while the upside is that most cases see full recovery, however what I read indicates that you're looking at months, rather than weeks! One of the other concerns, is that being in the U.S. medical treatment is generally very expensive. So unless you've got some sort of medical insurance, or a friend who knows what they are doing ... well, it's not a good situation f'sure. I'm really sorry to hear about this ... and sincerely hope that it doesn't put an end to your travels. But with me having now gone sailing some way past my 6th decade, can't deny that good health and mobility are really important factors in staying happy ... so please do try and make the right decisions and don't continue with your travels, if it means riding and living with continued pain ... It could be the case, that the longer the condition persists, the harder it's going to be to treat. So if it means going elsewhere, or indeed coming back to the UK to get this problem resolved, then don't hesitate to do so. You can always go back to where you left off ... And don't worry about losing impetus for travelling, as you are young and clearly have loads of positive energy ... It does sounds as though you're getting lots of support where you are, but try and find out more about what it's going to take to get pain-free and full use of your shoulder again ... Anyway to finish, apologies for the lecture, but do wish you all the best and will hope it gets better, sooner ... keep us posted x

  7. Low spot, dig deep, keep smiling. Fortune favours the brave :-)

  8. Steph I had something like that, basically the same symptoms. It resulted from a stupid move when I reached into the back seat past the seat bolsters to wrestle my wife's purse out for her.

    The solution was four weekly sessions with a Chinese accupressure massage therapist. Full recovery, it's like it never happened.

    I hope you find similar relief.