Wednesday, June 26, 2013

DRD4-7R Gene & Emergency Situations

Me and my injured right leg.  (Photo is reversed/instagram)
While I was nearly finishing a morning trail run yesterday along the Barbara Whipple Trail in Buena Vista (Colorado), my right foot landed on the ground with a loud snap.  Luckily I didn't fall, but instantly knew something was wrong.  The first time I looked at my foot it was fine, but seconds later a bulge the size of a small tomato had formed on the outer portion of my ankle.  With many years of First Aid and Wilderness First Aid Trainings, I knew my foot needed to be elevated ASAP and I needed to remain calm.  I laid down on the trail and elevated my foot on a nearby boulder and started calling for help.  Luckily, my location was near the end of the trail and a few folks were nearby.  A lady, with a dog named Oscar and who also happened to be a nurse, came to my rescue.  A man in a red shirt was able to run to my car and grab my cell to call my husband.  After these very helpful people were by my side, I thought I might be able to hike out with the help of them holding onto me.  Then the thought of stumbling and landing on my right foot again freaked me out.  I couldn't bare the thought of making the injury worse and having ankle complications for the rest of my life.  So, I asked a third person, who arrived on the scene shortly after, to call 911.   The search and rescue team arrived in good time, took my vitals, compressed my ankle, inserted a needle into my arm for pain medication and placed me in a soft backboard/basket looking thing.  After they lifted me up, the rescue team
Rescue baskets are AWESOME!!!
fastened a mountain bike wheel contraption to the bottom of the basket and wheeled me to the ambulance.

At the time we all thought my ankle bone was broken.  My foot was turned to the inside and the tomato protruding from the outside of my ankle was was turning different colors.  Yet, the X-ray reveled my ligaments had torn and my bones remained unbroken.  I'm happy to learn my bones aren't broken, but also understand torn ligaments can actually be more serious of an injury.  Sounds like a fun road to recovery if you ask me.

I'm having a hard time accepting that I won't be meeting most of my goals posted in my previous entry dated June 15, 2013.  Summers revive me, keep my sanity and are a huge part of meeting my need to feed restless genes.  Yet, I completely understand my ankle needs to fully heal in order to hike 14ers and run long distance again next summer.  Even though it saddens me, I will hold to this plan.

After reflecting on the situation, I realize my survival instincts kicked in and I was able to analyze the situation clearly and do what was best for me.  My experience and thought process is a great example of the DRD4-7R gene and it's characteristics.   Here are a few examples of why I think my experience can be linked to the DRD4-7R gene's characteristics -

Able to react in need for survival/response ready
I knew to keep myself calm and apply first aid knowledge to the situation - elevated my foot, called for help, kept myself calm and BREATHED.

Able to take on complex problems and follow through with plans without letting emotions get in the way
I knew my limitations of the situation and kept to them.  I formed a plan in my head of what would be best for me, while thinking about all options and best choices for long term.  I understand I HAVE to hold back my current goals in order to heal properly.

You are less startled than others
The third person who arrived on the scene kept looking at my ankle and appeared quite disturbed of the condition.  This was apparent through her facial expressions. She also made the comment of "I hope it's better than it looks".  Her comment didn't faze me, but I took note of her reaction.  It was also interesting to see a couple of by-standard drop their jaw while being placed into the ambulance.  This is kind of funny to me because they hadn't seen my ankle, which by this time was in a compression boot.

I realize my injury really isn't that bad compared to others.  I would love to hear your story and/or your recovery from a torn ligament.  Please feel free to share in the comment section or contact me.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Summer Bucket List

While driving from one office to another this morning, my co-worker asked me, "What is your summer bucket list?"  Although I already had some goals for the summer, I really never thought about calling it my "summer bucket list".  To me, a bucket list is the list of things you want to do before you die - pretty depressing.   I believe in exploring and experiencing new things in a more organic fashion.

After thinking about the summer bucket list throughout the entire day, I've realized  it's grown on me.  The main reason is because summer in the Colorado High Country is short lived and pass away quickly.  Summer weather starts in mid June and ends mid August, depending on the year.  Because of the short summers, the season always makes me restless because I hate the thought of having to work inside.  I just can't express  how much it bothers me.  Most of my previous jobs have allowed me to have either have the summers off or were centered around working and living outside.  So, you can imagine the past few summers being quite a struggle for me.

Moving back to the summer bucket list - since many fourteen thousand foot peak trails or other high country trails aren't open until mid to late June (due to the snow factor), a person really only has 2 to 2 1/2 months to fit in a certain number of stellar trips.   With that in mind, I've decided to share my summer's bucket list:

Tara's 2013 Summer Bucket List:

  1. Hike Mt. Princeton  - a fourteen thousand foot mountain  (I hiked this mountain years ago, but my daughter wants to experience the hike as we see it daily while driving into town - see photo below)
  2. Hike one other 14er
  3. Three day August backpacking trip with my bosom buddy somewhere local - maybe along the Colorado Trail Collegiate Peaks segments
  4. Camper camping at least three times
  5. Multiple fishing trips
  6. Helping my hubby recover from knee surgery
  7. Supporting my daughter to and from work for Southwest Youth Conservation Corps
  8. Finishing the Buena Vista Autumn Color Half Marathon run in under 2 hours (this really takes place in autumn - not summer)

click here for a fabulous PREZI of my bucket list

Mt. Princeton - on the way down Trout Creek Pass.  My morning view 5 days a week.

What is your 2013 summer bucket list?  Please share!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Travel Bug

While growing up, my first experience traveling away from the Midwest was during the summer of 1988.
I was almost 16 and didn't want to have much to do with my family at the time.  No matter, my parents loaded seven of us (family of six and my cousin) into a rented RV and drove us from Morton, Illinois to Yellowstone, Colorado, Utah and back.   Although you would never know by my lovely teenage smile in family photos (shown), the trip lit a fire inside of me and introduced me to the travel bug and my need for wilderness.
The most memorable parts of the trip were things that I learned about myself.  First, I loved road tripping and seeing everything that was new along the way.  Traveling in a camper, with several others, didn't really bother me because I knew a new adventure always lay ahead. Second, I loved the fact that Yellowstone National Park had volcanic activity right under our feet and could technically blow at any time.  This was absolutely thrilling to me.  Third, I loved exploring the new and exciting things around me and just being outside made me feel at home.  For as long as I can remember, I've always LOVED just spending time outside.  This eventually led to living outside (summer or winter) for over 2 1/2 years, which I'll write about sometime in the future.   Lastly, I learned I hated being on a bus tour.  My parents paid for the whole family to take a fabulous bus trip through Yellowstone so we could see all the areas we hadn't seen.  I remember looking out the window, just wanting to get off the bus any second so I could explore.  It was PURE torture.  Being able to touch, smell, hear and experience adventure was something I craved and needed.

Thinking back to that classic family "wild west trip" turned out to lay the foundation for my many trips around the world, hiking mountain peaks, living out of my car (gypsy gal style) and to eventually moving to Colorful Colorado.                                                              

I just love these photos!  Don't they just crack you up?  The one above in front of the tee-pee was taken at Yellowstone National Park.  The photo to the left was taken at Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado (L-R:  me, cousin, sister, brother, mother and sister)

Do you remember how you felt during your first travel experience?  If so, I'd love to read about.  Please share in the comment section or contact me.

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