So where does this all leave me other than typing away on my laptop while hooked up to three IVs with An sleeping beside me in a chair in the local ICU? Turns out that the torn carotid artery will heal on its own and there is no need for surgery. The only precaution is that I need to be on blood thinners to avoid any future clots from developing while the artery heals. Here is where practical me (An call this stubborn) kicks in. What about our trip? My initial thought was to leave in a few days. As you can imagine, An was not a big proponent of this plan. Of course, like all cautious doctors in our litigious world, my doctors suggested I stay here and skip the trip. In an ideal world, it would be great to stay in the Bay Area while the artery heals and we have a chance to do a follow up scan to verify that the tear has healed. Unfortunately, it takes three to six months for the artery to heal. There are many complications if we stay that long. In particular, we would lose our travel medical insurance, which only allows us to spend six months out of any twelve month period in the US. We would also miss our boat from Panama to Colombia and any chance to get to Ushuaia before temperatures become too cold. In truth, from the very beginning of our discussions regarding next steps, I felt waiting the full six months is an option I would like to avoid. That does not mean we are hopping on the bikes as soon as they let me out of here, for some reason An seems to be strongly against that plan. So instead we are going to spend a few more weeks in the Bay Area to allow doctors to monitor me during the initial time on the blood thinners. When we are ready to leave, we will make up time by skipping our initially planned tour of the Southwest. Instead when we are ready, hopefully in mid to late September, we will head straight to Mexico. This should allow us to catch our boat out of Panama and continue on our trip as best we can. We will leave the Southwest for when we return from our trip.
While this turn of events if unexpected and it is easy to allow oneself to fall into a mode of self pity. There are many reasons to be grateful. Most importantly, it appears that there will be no lasting effects. I am also confident that An and I will find ourselves back on the road soon and enjoy this amazing opportunity to explore the world that we worked so hard to make happen. While this latter point might not rank up there with the initial relief when you realize that all your faculties have returned, its importance should not be under estimated. An and I have worked very hard to make our dream of exploring the world on our wee bikes a reality and it is am immeasurable relief to know we will carry on. I guess this will end up being one of our stories, although quite an unexpected one. Then again, if everything went as expected, there would be no reason to undertake a trip such as ours.