Tuesday, September 20, 2005

UBC and the Steam Clock

Didn't do much today, K dad and I did but it was at a slower pace then I'd have liked to have dun things, but since I was still sore from Sundays misadventures i wasn't taking any chances with what i was going to be doing. 

We started the day out by going to breakfast and having a good breakfast (i had my normal - beggle and cream cheese with a muffin and glass of milk), after breakfast we got ready for the days events. Dad got directions on how to get to the UBC Museum of Anthropology, which was a good place to go. I had wanted to go there since I learned we where going to Vancouver, since I'd heard so much about it when I was in University, taking Native Studies (you see many images in my text books came from UBS so the chance to see the actually objects in person I didn't wish to miss if I could well help it). 

We arrived at the Museum, just as it was opening, though making our way to the Museum, was interesting, since its on the other end of UBC from where the busses had left everyone off, it was about 900m from the bus stop, give or take a few meters. It was interesting trying to follow the signs to get to the museum, but we did find it eventually (which is why we managed to get there just as it was opening - it opens at 11 in the morning - dad was glade we didn't choose to go there on Monday, since we learned when we arrived that its closed on mondays.).

We ended up going on a museum tour, which was informative though I didn't think much of the person giving the tour since most of the info he was giving I'd learned from school, and it was almost a total repeats of the books I'd read over the years at university. But it was still great to see some of the items I'd only seen in my books in person, and I even managed to get pics of the Raven Creation story, which I was really pleased to be able to get.

I'll post a few of them, once I get them printed and scanned (they where taken with my dad's manual camera, since mom had the digital camera - she and her helper where taking in the sights of Victoria, which was great, but bad since it meant it was like a 14 hour day for her, which was to much for her in most regards but her helper wouldn't go less mom went, and long story short mom couldn't tell her no since she never really gave mom a chance to do so with all her complaining about having to see the place, and do what ever it was she absolutely had to do while over there), which should be some time next month knowing dad and his time line for getting the prints printed .. lol, but at least I was able to get them, so in that regards I'm happy.

We didn't spend long at the Museum, only a little over 2 hours, but it was enough since I was starting to get tired, and feel the pain in my neck and back (and the advil wasn't working to keep the pain in check unfortunately), we still had to walk another 900m back to the bus stop (which turned out to be more then that cause we kind of did cooks tour about the campus looking it over - going to the book shop and getting a hat for myself with UBC on it. 

When we got back to the hotel, we went down to the Seven Eleven which was just down the street (about 3 blocks down - and boy where there a lot of them in the area I found, far more then I know of in Toronto). There we got subs, and a drink, then headed back the to hotel, cause I needed to rest, which means I caught a few Z's, woke about 6 in the evening, and told dad we could go search out the Steam Clock which he was hoping to see and photograph.  

I told dad that we could get food in Gastown, that there was bound to be some place down there to find food (when we'd gotten off the cruse ship the taxi had gone though Gastown and I remembered seeing different eateries - so it seamed like a good way of getting two things dun that needed doing). So off we went to find the Steam Clock, and find it we did. It took us about 30 minutes to walk from where we where staying to where the clock is located (which is like in the heart of Gastown). 

Dad shot his tape of the Steam Clock, and got several photos of it as well. He managed to get the entire production of the hour that it does, which is interesting to watch and hear. If I can I'll post it online. Though you can get a listen to the clock if you click here, its not much but it gives you an idea of what it sounds like. 

After we spend almost an hour at the clock we went in search of dinner, and we found the first original Old Spaghetti Factory, I didn't realize that "In March of 1970, the first Old Spaghetti Factory Restaurant in Canada was opened in the Gastown district of Vancouver, British Columbia. The concept was a very simple one; take an old warehouse in a historic part of town and fill it with antiques and artifacts, provide the finest pasta and superb service, to make an extremely unique dining experience."

Dad and I shared our meal since neither of us had a large appetite so we shared a platter of Spaghetti and meat balls (dad had all the meat balls), with that was a salad and galetto ice cream - I also had a side order of 6 wings and a Kookie Monster drink - which is a children's version of an drink which apparently has rum in it.

So supper was good, after it we walked back through Gastown towards Canada Place, where dad took more photos, by then it was almost 930, and I was getting tired, so we headed back to the hotel. 

When we got back, dad went to see if Mom and her helper where back, but they weren't and it was a little past 10 in the evening, they didn't get back to the hotel till almost 1030, which miffed dad, cause he new that the next day would be a long day for mom, and that she'd need her rest to get though it.

Take care everyone, 


Saturday, September 17, 2005

Whistler and Squeamish General Hospital

Well today we spent from Noon till 345pm at Whistler B.C. which was lovely. I enjoyed looking around the top of Whistler with my folks, there was not much to see to a degree, but what there was to see was interesting (all those snow covered mountains, etc).

On the way up to Whistler, we got to see many different sites which was a nice bonus since well I didn't know that they where part of the tour trip.  I got several good images of the different places we saw, at least I think I did, don't know yet as I've not seen them on screen.

Going up the mountain was interesting, dad and I took one of the mini gondolas, while mom and her helper took another. It took us almost 30 minutes to get to the top of Whistler, which wasn't the time frame I thought it would be, as in I didn't think it would take that long to get up there. But it was well worth the ride up, I'll tell you. I got some good images I think (I'll know once I see them on screen), since well the plxey glass in the gondolas isn't that clean, you can't get a really clear image from inside of them, but still you can get something

When we got to the half way point, that is where dad thought we got off, but when I said no we still had ways to go, he was kind of surprised. And sure enough we did have further to go, and well looking back at the town was interesting, especially with the light play that was taking place while we where going up the mountain. I know that I got several interesting and good images from the top of the mountain looking back on the town, with the various different lighting conditions that where happening.

When we got to the top of the mountain, we all got off and started to explore, but first we all had to put on our jackets as it was actually colder up there then they thought it would be, I new it would be cool, but well its was slightly cooler then even I though it would be myself. 

It was great walking around up there, seeing what there was to see, could have stayed up there longer, but sadly we didn't have enough time to stay up there as long as we might have liked to do, but that's life of taking trips.

Anyhow, after we walked around we went to have some lunch - which was alright since I was really looking to have a bugger - and their veggie burger was really good, which kind of surprised me since I've never really ever had a good veggie burger.

After that we headed back down to the base of Whistler, and did a little shopping - I ended up getting my dad a T-Shirt that was so funny, its a canadian thing but still it was oh so true the comments on the T-Shirt which is why I got it for him, it has all the stereo types that Canada has been saddled with over the years such as living in eglues, and the like. 

He did enjoy the T-Shirt which is good, cause I was kind of wondering if he like it or not, cause he does have a strange sense of humor at times that even I don't fully understand, but hay I love him regardless.Well after the shopping we ended new it was time to find the bus and head back to Vancouver, the time was 1545 of course not everyone was there. One member of the group was missing, and of course it turned out to be the American male who was on the trip, his wife was nun to pleased with him for being late. 

We must have waited a good 15 min extra for the bloke before we where able to get on the road and head back to Vancouver. Those 15 min that we where delayed might have been what lead up to what happened, I do not know, but it does seem that it might well have been the case.

You see on the way back to Vancouver we where traveling down the 99, and we hit the bend 27 miles outside of Squeamish BC. That is where all hell broke louse and where my folks and I and a number of fellow passengers could have lost our lives. 

You see, the bus that we where traveling on, ended up in the ditch - and the ditch of the road isn't that smooth stuff that many people are use to seeing, it was pure jagged rocks as far as the eyes can see. 

Now what I am about to type is pure 100% speculation on my own part, as in I don't know what officially happened, but this is how it appeared to me. ...

We where traveling down the road, and coming around the ben we hit the side of the road, the driver tried to apply breaks but they didn't work, because of that we ended up being steered into the rocks which line the side of the road. We ended up driving down those rocks and getting bounced all over the place. At one point in time where where a couple feet from flipping of the bus, or at least having it slide along the drivers side (which would have meant a hell of a lot of people would have been injured and or killed). 

The bus did right itself up, only to immediately get hit by two road signs - when the second road sign hit the bus, it hit on the drives side, and my first though was "Oh hell we've lost the driver", a few seconds or what ever after that we came to a stop (I think because the tires couldn't take it any more and came apart - helping to stop the bus)

The driver got up and my next thought was "that the goddess, he's alive" it was like as long as the drive was alive things where going to be alright. Well the driver tries to open the bus doors, but can't get them to open, manually or though the on board opening system (nun of it worked the door frame was to out of true to work).  

The passengers tried to get the emergency windows to open and shatter as we had been told they would (again because the bus was out of true, those emergency windows didn't open enough and wouldn't shatter at all). It took the work of a fellow passenger at the back of the bus, using his shoulder to bust open the back emergency door of the bus. In the process he ended up dislocating his shoulder, which was put back into place when he got to the hospital (unfortunately for him and others who ended up going to the ER, he had to play for his treatment out of his pocket book). 

Once the door was open, it was not a mass panic, but people where leaving the bus and taking their items with them (me i actually left what I'd been carrying - at the moment it didn't seem that important to have the items with me, though my folks ended up picking them up for me - which was nice, but in truth I could have cared less, just as long as my family was safe. material possession at that point in time to me where not important, just my family was important to me at that point in time.

Anyhow, I got out of the bus by sitting down on the floor and lowering myself down to the rocks - batting away the ppl trying to help me cause I didn't want to be lifted down cause I new I was already injured and didn't wish to add further troubles to what I already had. Once I got off the bus, I new that what I had taken for a light whipping on my neck was full blone whiplash and a little bit more. 

When I was asked was I alright, I said that I wasn't and I told those who where asking what was going wrong with me. I was promptly made to sit down - at first they wished to have me sit in the car, but I was like hell no, you'll never get me back out if you do. So they sat be on the road against the car wheel. 

My memory from here on, is a little spotty, because once I got seated my body did start to go into shock to a degree - I was feeling like I started a really intense play session, and my body was starting to react, and I new it was going into a form of shock. Then again what body wouldn't after going though that and getting thrown around - its amazing not more people where injured (but then again many more might have been, and wont realize it for a week - until their body deals with what happens and then it might well hit them, but by then its to late - the insurance company will only work with you if you have filed your claim before leaving the country (did I mention that my folks and I where the only canadian citizen on the trip? well we where). 

Anyhow, I don't know how long it was before the RCMP, Fire Department and Ambulance Services arrived, but it seemed like it was hours, but likely wasn't more then 10min (I honestly haven't got a clue how long it took for them to get there - or for that matter who arrived first). When they did get there, they learned that those people who where helping out, for the most part where apparently also trained medics from around Whistler (at least the ones who where around me where - from what I recall). 

The medics ended up placing me on what they called a ClamShell, a form of really firm back board that splits apart allowing them to get someone with a back or neck injury secured properly with minimal extra trauma to said person. Not a very comfortable was to be moved, but then again hard surfaces and me do not get along at all, never have and likely never will. 

While I was being placed on my back, my back started to go into full blone spasms, which to various degrees alarmed the medics and fire people who where there. At least it did till I managed to tell them, that it was because they'd placed me on a hard surface and my back didn't like hard surfaces, and it was a standard reaction - though a little magnified because i was strapped down and in a neck brace, which was making breathing difficult (lucky for me having experience with breath play - the breathing restriction didn't bother me that much cause I'd learned how to breath while my air ways have been to a minor degree compromised.)

It actually took the medics and fire department a little bit to try and figure how to get me braced and moved with minimal pain to me - not that I was worried about the pain, cause well that neck brace was already causing me more pain then the original injury was, combine that with the major back spasms, and well let say good thing I can control pain to a degree or I would have been screaming my head off from all the pain I was in (on a scale of 1 to 10, it was hitting towards a 9).

Once they got me secured, they ended up lifting me onto one of those bed things that has wheels and gets locked into the back of the ambulance. Now that was an experience, I didn't like at all - and something I had totally forgotten about since the last time I'd experienced a similar deal had been when I was like 15 years old and got hit by a mac truck on my way home from my math tutors.

Anyhow it was a really strange experience - one that I don't recommend if you can well help it. I had to actually close my eyes, because the feeling of moving while on my back was really disorientating, not to mention was throwing my entire system out of since with the world around me it felt like. I even kept my eyes closed most of the way to the ER, because the sensation of moving in the ambulance was really not that great - and every bump they hit oh hell did I feel it in my neck and in my back - on bloody hell did I.

The medic ended up taking my blood glucose levels, and she asked what I should be, and I was like since I just ate about a couple hours ago, it should be around 9 or 10, and boy was I in for a shocker, and she got the reading it was 7.2 - and considering what I had eaten and drank that was freaking flow. I thank the goddess that I had what I did, and didn't choose to have the salad that I was going to have - if I had my sugar levels might well have been even lower, low enough that more trouble might have taken place.

Anyhow, when I got to the ER, I was wheeled into a room - and this wasn't like other hospitals that I'm use to (big city hospitals), this hospital I was to learn, had 25 beds total, and something like 10 doctors on staff, and about that in nursing staff. Can one say small town hospital, not mean for large scale trauma treatment. Thankfully they didn't have to have that on their hands, but they where prepared to receive what ever injuries where coming their way. 

One of the people on staff, I doc I think, told me that they had though about medavacing me out to the closest hospital that had better facilities to treat spinal injuries, but that they wished to try with what they had at the moment, and see if it really was necessary. I would also later find out, that part of the reason they didn't do it immediately was because they didn't know I was a Canadian citizen, they hadn't looked at the report that medic had given them when I arrived that clearly stated I was a Canadian Citizen. 

From what I came to understand, had they known that from the start that I might well have gotten flown out for treatment (which would have mean a hell of a lot longer on that blasted back board - and I was at that point in time, really starting to get more sore and tired of the backboard. 

They did various scans of my neck and lower back, to see if they could see anything wrong, and the scans came back negative - though as the doc said just because their scans didn't show anything didn't mean that there might not be nerves pinched or the like, and he recommended that I see my chiropractor when I got home and have him go over me, and treat me as was necessary. 

I ended up being in the ER from like 5pm till 9pm when I was released. And it would take another hour before we'd get a taxi, that the bus company was paying for that would take up to vancouver. That was an expensive ride, it cost the bus company something like 118.00 for the three of us to ride back to our hotel. But hay it was their bus, thus their expense to make sure we got home safely. 

When we finally got back to the hotel, I was really going out of it. In part because my body was still reacting to what had happened, but also because we'd been on the go since 6am that morning and it was by then almost midnight. I'd had nothing since lunch, and my tummy was nun to happy about that matter. 

Once my folks had me tucked in bed, they went out to the local 711 and got me a chicken wrap, that I remember eating - but I haven't a clue if I finished it off or not, cause I was pretty out of it from the pain and being tired. I know it didn't take much for me to fall asleep.

Well that's how this say went what a day, and not something I had ever though would happen to me, or anyone close to me, nor would I wish it happening to anyone.

Well take care everyone,