Tuesday, August 8, 2017

When You Can't Run

In 2009 a car turned in front of me when I was cycling. One Grade III acromioclavicular joint separation later and barring running the Pikes Peak Marathon a few days later (a VERY questionable decision on my part) I didn't run for 18 days. But the non-running streak was 12 days.

In 2012, another cycling accident left me with multiple breaks in my shoulder, again putting me on the shelf. I was only out for 10 days before I gingerly began running again.

In 2013, a freak staph infection in my foot had me dangerously close to losing it altogether.  Somehow I was out for only 9 days.

In 2015, I tripped on a run, broke my hand and only took 3 days off. I've taken that long off before a half-marathon multiple times!

In 2016, one of the worst colds I have ever had in my life, with the flu and I think the Black Death hitting me at once, made me not leave my apartment for a week. I didn't run for 10 days.

Those are basically the only long term times I have taken off from running since I started keeping track in 2006. I don't do long streaks of running very often as I am a big advocate of rest, but I also don't take extended breaks either. Until a little over a week ago.

Sunday, close to midnight, I was heading home from my best friend's. Without going into too much detail (you can read more here on my Facebook page), I was accosted by two men.  The end product had me fighting for what could have been my life (I don't know what weapons they had, whether they wanted to steal my car, what drugs they may have been on, etc.,) and heading to the hospital with a broken hand, various cuts, and three fracture to my face around my eye.  As I (inexplicably) deal with the question of whether the police are going to charge these men with a crime, I sit here with three pins in my thumb, warnings about not even bending over lest I risk permanent vision impairment, and an overwhelming desire to escape it all for a bit by going for a run.

Which, obviously, I can't do. For the 9th day in a row, in what may be as many as a month or more, the way I handle stress, the way I deal with people not returning calls so I can go about my business, the way I try to figure out how to reschedule the race series I was directing over Labor Day which now has to be postponed, and the way I control everything around me, if even only for an hour, is not available to me.



My perspective however is not with blinders, however. I know that I should be able to return to running someday soon. (Although, that is not guaranteed. My checkup on Monday will tell me more about the fractures in my face, why my teeth and jaw are numb, etc.) My friend, Dave Mackey, he who of great trail running chops who lost a leg after an accident while running, reached out to offer condolences. This gave me a touch of perspective even if I didn't really need it.  That said, when every fiber in you wants to run and you know the consequences if you do, it is a bit maddening.

I keep trying to think of other ways to keep my mind off of not running or my situation but am headed off at the pass each time. Every form of exercise which pops into my mind as an alternative is quickly brushed away for the same reasons I can't run.  I want to work on my next book but typing sucks. I have been asked to submit some new paintings for a gallery here in Austin but, well, that whole hand not working thing gets in the way. I dare not turn on the television because something Orange Delirious lets slip from that prolapsed anus he calls a mouth is bound to make me want to punch something, which, all together now: "You can't do because of your hand!"

There is no pithy way I can think of to end this post. I simply know that any of the 30 million or more people who call themselves runners in the U.S. alone can absolutely understand my frustration right now. I find it quite coincidental that as of right now the last run I did was one where, simply because I needed to blow off a little stress, I went for a quick three miler.  The words I attached to that run?

"It is so nice that I am fortunate enough to be able to change a bad mood around completely in just 24 minutes."

So true.

ADDENDUM: Two weeks after being attacked, and dealing with a detective who did more than just ask questions to move forward (at one point, yelling, and yes I mean yelling "Because your story is BULLSHIT!) it appears that by being calm, rational and not hurling falsehoods at the two delinquents who said "We are from the East Coast and not one of you Texas faggots. We will knock the white of of you" I am not being taken serious. Copious records have been taken and, as a former law school professor suggested I will "gather your medical bills, diary your aches, pains, sleepless nights, and you find the P. I. lawyer with the biggest ad on the back of a bus in Austin and call him or her!"

Apparently, not running over people and simply exiting your car when approached are enough for certain people to think that you are contributory negligent or at least semi deserving of facial and hand fractures.

Finally, on 5 pm on Friday before Labor Day, nearly 4 weeks after the "BULLSHIT!" call from above I get an email saying they need more medical records. When I finally obtain them this week, I am told it is strange as the police usually just get them themselves.  So now I have to make copies, take them to the police and see if even that is enough to press charges.  Mind you, I doubt I am getting a red cent out of these who supposedly homeless miscreants.  This is just so charges can be pressed criminally. Meanwhile, my medical bills mount.

All, again, because I didn't drive over them, as suggested by the detective.

ADDENDUM 10.25.17: After providing all the forms to the detective (which took an amazing amount of time and energy just to get them from the hospital, which, again, the police easily could have just gotten those records themselves) two weeks ago, I am still waiting to see if they will even press charges.  If they don't, I won't be able to receive any compensation from the Crime Victims' Compensation for not only medical bills but lost wages.

In four days it will be 3 MONTHS since two men attacked me.

ADDENDUM 02.07.18

Over 6 months after being attacked, I received notification from the Crime Victim's Compensation Review that my claim for assistance paying my medical bills was denied as .the investigating detective made several attempts to contact the victim but was unsuccessful" and "...the investigating officer made several attempts to obtain medical documentation fro the victim but was unsuccessful and therefore suspended the case pending Mr. Rauschenberg's cooperation..."

I followed up with said Investigating Officer who said: "I received a telephone call from someone (I assume CVCP) and called them back to answer these questions. I got voicemail and left a message. I am not sure where they got this information because I did get the medical records from you and every attempt I have made to contact you has been successful."

So, someone is lying.  I remind you, I am a rather educated, law school graduate, with the free time (per se) to follow up with these matters during the work day.  Again, I try to imagine  someone with less education, and less time, in the same situation could possibly get the correct answer to these questions. Maybe that is what it takes.

Meanwhile, I owe thousands in medical bills, lost thousands in revenue from the events I had to cancel as I was physically unable to perform them and two piece of shit human beings continue to walk free because I..."left the safety of your vehicle in what would look like to a reasonable person to be an act of confrontation with the individuals."


I've lost tens of thousands of dollars from spineless companies and partners for standing up to Trump.  You think I am going to not pursue being assaulted by two men in the middle of the night? While the GoFundMe link isn't necessarily going to pay my medical bills, it is putting money in my pocket so I can pay bills. Please consider a contribution.

1 comment:

Margaret C said...

I've been wondering how you've been holding up mentally, as I figured that being cooped up would drive you as nuts as it would drive me. I wish I had more to offer than sympathy and some understanding of the suck you're dealing with. I know I can deal with a good bit of mental or physical crap, so long as I can run it off. Sounds like the same for you. In a way then, I'm sorrier you have to deal with the long-term lack of your livelihood/stress relief/passion, than with an accident.