Monday, December 31, 2012

365 or 366 days ago and onward from there

I must note, that if you read my writing on occasion you will notice that it is not very organized. I jump all around with it. I heard once that a real writer will organize what they intend to write, editing all in their heads before putting it to words in a document. I'm not like that at all and for a long time considered that I was not a real writer. Unpublished, barely considered, but a writer no less. What I am attempting to point out here is that although I am not an organized writer, I am not an organized anything. Not an organized mechanic either. This is what this is about, plus what happens because of circumstances of a person who is unorganized doing the best he can with what he has. I have gone bak and reviewed some of my other writings on this subject and it looks like I didn't give as many details about this situation.

On Dec. 30, 2011 I was trying to determine what was wrong with my van. It had died at the auto parts store and wouldn't start again. I couldn't get it going, so I called the two company and had it towed to the front of the house I lived in at the time. Not my house, if it was, I would have put it in the driveway.

I didn't do the things I should have to determine what was wrong with it but decided it was the fuel pump. I ordered a used one and it had to come from Salem. I proceeded to block the tires and jack the van up off the ground. At the time I only had two jack stands and decided that the back would be jacked up because the drain for the fuel tank was in the front area of that tank.

Having accomplished the jacking and putting stands under the support points I got the drain pan and proceeded to drain the nearly full tank of fuel from my van. This was not a very well planned project on my part obviously if I had a nearly full tank of gas. I had never attempted to do this particular job on any vehicle, but had the maintenance manual guiding me along.

I didn't make a tool list and bring all the tools I thought I would need on this job up from my basement room where they were living along with my cat and I. I had brought tools I thought might be needed, but overlooked some and hence made a couple of excursions back into my basement room to retrieve more. It had been raining out earlier and was on and off through out the day. Swell, rain, cold and laying down in the street under my precariously looking jacked up van draining gas and loosening holding straps and all. In order not to tramp through the house with wet feet I opened up the side entrance and used the back door that leads to the stairs that go to the basement.

As the fuel continued to drain into the containers I had lined up for that task I went to the house to make another pot of coffee. I went to the back door entrance and wiped my feet good on the rug I had there for that purpose. I made the pot of coffee and drank a cup. Then I went back out to the van and the flow of gas had stopped. It took me about 2 hours to drain all of that without spilling large quantities on the street. I inspected the tank and there was  an extension to my ratchet wrench that I needed and I proceed to go back to the rear entrance and back to the basement tool box. I stepped inside the door, wiped off my feet and took 2 steps down the stair and then I lost my footing and there was a huge pain in my right knee! I described it to people as 15 on a scale of pain 1-10. This must have been the one of the worse pains I have ever felt. Time was suspended with me hanging in the air and then just as unexpectedly gravity to over and I was laying on my back on these hard concrete stairs with a huge pain in my right knee. When I was able to get back my senses other than the pain, I realized I was in trouble, big trouble!

I had to get myself upright and continue down the stairs. I had to find something to help me walk and found it as a bamboo staff that I had hanging around having found it on my school bus route. Then I had some assistance walking, but my knee was really painful. I got a couple of slats of plywood I had accumulated from projects and made a splint and wrapped these with duct tape on the outside of my pants to keep my knee supported. I had to go back up the stairs and that was extremely difficult and painful now having a useless right leg that was now immobilized by a splint. 9 steps to the top, slowly.

Once upstairs had to put all my tools into the van, lift my 60 pound floor jack into the van and generally clean up my mess. That took about an hour or so it seemed. I still had to figure out how I was going to get to the doctor. This was serious and needed some attention from medical professionals. I noticed my neighbor two doors away and hobbled over to him and asked him if I could get a ride to the clinic.

I got the ride and then a ride home from another friend and my landlord made a detailed incident report. He was very annoying taking an hour and a half to write down all that had taken place, trying to cover his ass for the situation, suggesting reasons for me slipping on the substandard stairs that we had discussions about in the past. He tried suggesting that I stepped in some gas and that I was at fault for the whole thing. I was just like in an auto accident, not admitting fault. He was grilling me and I told him a couple of times he was asking for to many details and working on to many assumptions. I should have just told him I'm sorry, I fell and the pain in my leg is tiring me out. You have the general picture of my situation. You see he is a manager in a production company and feels that he had to get all the details, get me to admit to some fault perhaps so if I sued him, he would have my statement from the day of the accident to refute anything I might say later down the road.

I had friends who advised me to sue his ass, take his house etc. I am not like that, I was just hoping his home owners insurance would cover my medical expenses and my loss of work wages. I found out later the insurance doesn't cover that. He would need to have another policy, a business policy because he was renting to me. Of course, it was essentially an illegal rental situation and I was shit out of luck. He did admit 50% responsibility, but in his way of thinking my 50% cancelled out his 50% and he didn't owe me shit. I'm sure his friends and family are telling him he is lucky that I was so dumb for not suing his ass. I already told him at some point that is not who I am. It is important to me to be who I say I am and not change my mind. I did go to a mediation service who essentially told me I would have to get him to come in too. I decided, since I was still living there that I didn't want to make it more uncomfortable by getting him to take time away from his time to haggle over him compensating me for some of my costs. That was what was suggested by my sisters. After hobbling around town seeing people I decided it was more trouble than it was worth in stress.

Today, on the last day of a rather tough year, I have regained about 85-90% of the use of my right knee. It will likely never be 100% of what it was, but I am now walking with more stability than I had up until about July-Sept. of this year.

My living situation changed back in Oct. when I moved back to SE Portland renting space from some friends. It is rough, but way better than I was doing a for the previous 2.5 years. Onward to the next year, another birthday. Going to be 63 in 30 days, oh woot! I hope that the President will address climate change and end all war that USA is involved in! No more drone strikes, no more polluting fossil fuel companies, no more rain forest devastation! No more plutocracy, back to democracy!

1 comment:

  1. A wise elder once told me that the human knee was not designed for descending stairs - and so I don't care if people look at me funny when I insist on taking the elevator DOWN the three flights of my building at work. As you may know, I ran out of "good" knees a couple years ago so I treat my joints with TLC (hope nobody mis-reads that ;-)). I've avoided surgery so far, so good. Hope you can do the same!

    Your diagnostic procedure for the van's ailments doesn't sound so much different from what a lot of "real" mechanics seem to do -- at least around here. Anyway, I hope you and your van enjoy good health in the new year!