One Little Slip, by Kevin R. Berg

All it took was one little slip while hiking to change my plans. (This article describes how a simple accident has changed my prep plans)

I have amassed plenty of supplies to cover “B., B, & B.” and was in the phase to bring the family up to speed with the knowledge they will need for possible future events. Because of my slip I will have to rethink many options and outright cancel some.

First, the accident: It was hot in Reno the first part of June, we were visiting my brother and we decided to take our recreational vehicle (RV) up to some lakes west of Reno to cool off for a day or two. After the brief mountain trip we would then head back to our home in Southern Nevada, where it is even hotter.

The trip to the lake was uneventful and we were all interested in getting out into the cooler weather. Luckily, the campground host was able to tell us of an open spot. That was good fortune as the campground was full. It turned out someone reserved three spaces but only needed two. Always be nice and polite to the campground host, it pays off.

We set up the campsite while it was about an hour before dark. I had finished up I was going down to find the family by the river. I descended the trail and reached the bottom to realize that I did not lock up. So I went back up the trail to the RV to lock up, with that done I went back down the trail to join the family. That’s when ‘Murphy” showed up. I was watching them play at the river and not paying full attention to my feet (mistake 1). The rock that I stepped on seemed okay, but suddenly it slipped out from under my tennis shoe (mistake 2). I went straight down onto my butt; my left leg was straight out, stiff and pointing downhill. As I started to slide down the steep slope my left leg was pulled off to my left side, still straight. My upper body leaned forward and my center of gravity was now all pointing downhill. As I started to tumble forward the strain on my left leg was too much. My head was near my left knee when I heard the pop. Right then I knew I was in trouble. Once the tumble was complete I was on my back and I started to get myself aligned to get up and check the damage. I knew the left leg was going to be sore as I stood up brushing myself off. I had scraped up the left arm and it was bleeding quite a bit, but I knew that it was not bad.

I was thankful that I did not break my leg as I continued to check myself out. I hobbled down the rest of the trail and made my way to the family. They were a little freaked out by the blood and thought my leg would be ok. I knew better. I stayed with the family until it was starting to get dark and then we made our way back to the campsite. I took the long route, up the easy trail. I must have looked a mess because other campers asked me if I was okay. Once back at the RV I got out the kit and my wife thoroughly cleaned up the cuts on the arm. My left leg was still usable at that time.

We broke out some treats and settled down to roasting marshmallows and hotdogs by the fire. My leg was now starting to really hurt; I went in and took some Ibupropfen and later on some aspirin. We got the beds ready and I tried to assure them that I would be ok. I tried to lay down in the bed and sleep but I could not find a position where it did not hurt.

Finally at 1:00 a.m. I could not take it anymore. I asked my oldest son and wife to get the RV ready to drive to the hospital. The two of them gathered the outside items and put them into compartments. My son used the flashlight to check around outside only to report that one of the rear tires was low on air. There was no way I could change a tire, I checked it also and determined that it was drivable at slow speeds.

The hardest part was to find the least painful position in the driver’s seat; my wife could not drive the RV. After some wincing from the pain I found a position where I was able to drive, we pulled out slowly through the campground. It was about 10 miles on the narrow road till we reached I-80. Then problem two appeared: the check engine light came on. I slowly made my way down the highway at 40 mph with the flashers on. The instrument gauges co-operated in showing no abnormal engine function. My hope that the check engine light was something minor so I changed my focus on the feel how the RV was handling the low tires.

45 minutes later I pulled into the emergency room parking lot. I picked a back corner as I knew the family would be spending the night there. It was a long, painful limp to the emergency room doors. My wife ran ahead and came back with a wheelchair. She is half my weight and had trouble navigating the chair to the door. As it is typical nowadays the staff inside calmly watched as my wife wheeled me into the reception area. I was expecting to fill out countless forms before they would do anything but after a couple of questions and my description of what happened, a nurse wheeled me into a room.

I have no complaints about the professional service and treatment I received. It restored my faith in the medical system. There is no point in going through the details of the next hour or so but I left the room with a leg brace and crutches. The doctor said after looking at the x-rays that nothing was broken and that I had severely stressed my hamstring and tore up some muscle tissue. I walked out to the front reception area on the crutches and completed the insurance information. Disappointment three, my Medicare plan was not accepted so I will get the pleasant task of managing, fighting, and paying the bills.

My wife and I made it out to the RV and we filled the kids in on what happened. We then settled down to sleep, the pain pills they gave me allowed me to sleep a few hours. I woke about 6:30 a.m. and drove up to my brother’s house. He heard us coming and was waiting at the door; I explained our wonderful camping trip to him. It was Sunday so I was not going to get the tire fixed. We sat around and I tried to rest my leg. Sometime during the day I went out with my son to use the code reader to see what the error was on the engine. Finally, some luck as it turned out to be a minor evap leak on the fuel system, most likely a loose gas cap.

Monday morning rolled around and I took off the leg brace so that I could drive the RV and get the tire looked at. I was horrified after seeing my leg: it was solid black and blue from bleeding from the torn muscle. From my hip to lower calf, it looked every bad color you could think of and it was swollen up twice the size of the other leg. After we used the Ryobi battery-powered air compressor to add some air to the tires (great tools from Ryobi), I wedged myself into the driver’s seat and made my way to the tire shop. Luck was with me again as the tech thoroughly checked the tire and could find no leak. He guessed it was the extensions to the valve stems. He said sometimes they are not tightened enough and they can leak while driving. Another break my way as they didn’t charge me anything. I like Les Schwab tire centers.

After the return to my brother’s house we decided to cut the trip short and head back to our home in S. Nevada. The drive home was uneventful other than painful. I had to stop quite a few times to stretch my leg but we made it. On the drive home I started to think of the dumb things I did, what could I have done differently, how much worse it could have been and what I need to change in my future plans regarding prep and bug-out plans. I know I will not have full strength in my left leg without surgery and therapy. That decision will come later to weigh the risks and benefits of the surgery.

The one thing I knew right away was that if it had been my right leg there would be no way I could safely drive. I also knew that it would be a few weeks before I could work the clutch on my Dodge diesel truck.

So in review, I thought of the following items.

  • Yes, hiking boots would have helped a bit to prevent slipping, maybe, but I was in vacation mode.
  • My medical kit was not needed except for a few band-aids. I now have a leg brace and crutches to add to my kit.
  • The big flash in my brain is that any idea of ‘Rambo-ing it” and walking through the mountains with a sixty-pound pack won’t fly. I’m too old and I don’t bounce back like when I was thirty.
  • I also know that I am the sole driver of any large vehicle, at least until my son gets his license.
  • I need to check any new area for the services that will be covered on my insurance.
  • It is crucial that I find a second home and start the process to relocate all of the supplies to the new location. The desert southwest is un-livable in a power down, no trucks rolling situation. Once I am settled into a new place I could consider the desert home as a winter home. (or sell it) The problem of looking for any decent property in the Redoubt is that ‘Kalifornia’ has moved in and drove up the prices. Maybe the bubble will pop in real estate. After all, Biden has saved us and people can go back to work. (Just kidding, I’m a Trumper.)
  • I can’t simply drop my life at one place and jump to the other. Family considerations take precedent, mostly school for the kids. Once that is done then I am freer to make a big move. Of course, I will be older and that leads to more complications.

Things that don’t need fixing.

  • I do feel confident that I can keep my eye on the news and get a jump on others if we do have to bolt. I am an avid ham radio operator and have multiple means of communicating. Just as in watching news in other areas, I managed to keep in front of the virus/vaccination thing. From day one, the guy I listened to nailed the virus thing and in the first month he had recommendations on Vitamin C, Zinc, and D-3 levels to block the virus. I just had a blood test and my D-3 was 111. Too high but now I am bringing it down to the 60-70 range. (The key level is to keep D-3 above 47) Finding a few credible news/information sites will keep you ahead of the crowd.

Well, that sums up my thoughts on the accident that I had and some of my re-thinking of what I need to do for future planning. I suggest you take a look at your situation and throw in an accident to see what works or doesn’t work for you.

I want to thank SurvivalBlog for all of the information they compile for the viewers of the site. Most of my ideas and plans come from gleaning various stories and tips. Some work for me and others don’t. I also try to read lots of fiction about prepping and disaster situations. I let them chew through the brain to see what comes out that is useable to me.

Closing Note: I would like to close out by mentioning that I have written six books. Believe me they are very basically written but I feel they are worth the money–FREE. If this article gets onto SurvivalBlog then I will put them up for free download, with a 5-day limit. You can find them on Amazon (I know, sorry) by searching ‘Kevin R. Berg” and one of the titles (Spy Valley Run, Serenity, Little Black Book, Over the Horizon, and two books called ‘Davos Heist’) I would appreciate any comments posted onto Amazon if you read the books.