Last Monday, we got a message from our friend, Rene, in Guadalajara saying my bike parts had arrived. To get the parts, a friend of Rene’s, who lives in San Diego, CA and works in Tijuana, picked up the parts at a bike wrecking yard in Chula Vista, CA, carried them across the border and shipped them via DHL to Rene’s house. This whole process took just over one month.
On Tuesday morning, after taking care of some business back in the states via phone calls and the internet, we were finally able to pull out of San Miguel just before noon which placed us in Guadalajara late Tuesday afternoon. When we arrived to Rene’s house, where my bike was being stored, we opened up the box of bike parts and noticed that two of the four plastic parts were black, two were blue, and there was no hardware included.
Now I realize that the actual color of the bike is just a cosmetic issue and has no impact on how my bike operates, I still wanted the bike all one color and that color was black. Luckily, Rene has a friend for just about anything so of course he had a solution for me. This solution came in the form of his friend, Eric, who has an auto painting business. After a quick phone call to confirm, we agreed to have the parts to Eric the next day. In the meantime, we started where we could and Milton got me disassembling a few things and taking off bolts that needed to be removed so we could get to certain parts of the bike. While I did this, he reassembled the choke housing mechanism. This took us until probably about 8pm and then when Rene’s nephew came by, we offered to pay him to watch Jackie overnight (as the hotels in Guadalajara tend to frown on dogs) and then we went back to the hotel we stayed during our last visit a month ago.
Wednesday, after having breakfast at the mercado by the hotel, we went back to Rene’s house. We didn’t get there until almost 11am and for the next few hours Milton worked did what he could on the bike, which included reattaching the rear blinkers and some other miscellaneous things. While he did that, I did some dishes for Rene’s mom. She had spent the last few days at this hospital with his dad who had surgery and I figured the least I could do was make sure she had a clean kitchen to come home to. Other things that Milton did to the bike during that time was to remove the old spring out of the bike, run errands for miscellaneous nuts and bolts, and right before lunch we dropped off the parts to be painted. When we dropped off the parts to be painted we found out Eric was only going to charge us $400 pesos, which was just over $22 US dollars and they’d be ready that next day for pick up. Can’t beat that price!!
That afternoon, Rene’s father came home from the hospital after a couple day stay for a toe amputation and being the good wound care nurse that I am, I attempted to get a look at his foot. We had a language barrier but I finally figured out that it was the 2nd toe that was amputated and not the great toe as I had initially thought. The dressing was intact and the dressing change was not due to happen until the next day, so I made a mental note to check back the next day. The last thing we did for the day was take the shock and the upgraded spring to a local bike shop to be which was also supposed to be ready the next day.
On Thursday, we continued working on the bike, putting the pieces back together. While doing this we discovered that we were missing some of the necessary pieces needed to attach our panniers so we went and found a place to fabricate them for us. Milton continued to put the puzzle pieces together, reconnecting wires, finding the right size bolts, etc.
In the afternoon, I caught the tail end of Rene’s father changing his own dressing and saw how difficult it was for him to do because of the location of the wound on his foot and how extensive the it was. I knew that this was something that he would not be able to do without help and this was a way that I could pay them back for storing my bike along with a good portion of our belongings for the past month.
With the use of google translator we relayed to the family that I was a wound care nurse in the states and I wanted to help them with the dressing change so it would be easier for them. They were agreeable to my help but since the dressing was already done for the day we left it alone. They brought me the discharge instructions to review along with all of the medications that he was sent home with and I went to work translating. I found out that the actual wound care instructions consisted of one line of about 7 words and he was to follow up with the doctor in 2 weeks.
The wound care instructions consisted of wash with soap and water and use a antimicrobial spray cleanser but nothing about how and when to do the dressing change itself. I quickly did a search for wound care on the internet and found a basic instruction sheet, made a few changes, then used google translate to convert it to Spanish. We got his nephew to print it out so they would have it to use as a reference guide. That evening, before we left, I told Rene I’d go to the Farmacia and bring supplies back the next day. Just as I was getting ready to walk out the door, his mom showed me a topical gel that she said the doctor wanted her to use but they weren’t sure how to use it or how often it was to be applied. I took a photo of it so I could research it but before leaving, I double checked the discharge sheet to make sure instructions weren’t buried somewhere in the paperwork. I couldn’t find any mention of it anywhere.
Earlier that same afternoon, Milton had taken his tennis shoes shoes to be repaired at the local shoe repair shop and while there, two stalls down, was a seamstress so he dropped off some bike straps that needed to be repaired also. After doing this, he discovered that none of the parts that we were waiting on would be ready until the next day. We were rather bummed, Milton especially, but with it being out of our control, we decided to go with Rene to the KLRos meeting that night.
The ride through Guadalajara was crazy with it being like a game of follow the leader. Where Rene went, we went. When he cut lanes, we cut lanes. When he drove in the opposite lane to get to the front of the line, so did we. Stoplights really didn’t mean anything, if it was clear you just went. I also discovered that actual lanes didn’t exist, if a car or bike could fit, then it was a lane. Sometimes I just closed my eyes cause I didn’t want to see what we were trying to squeeze between, around, or in front of. I found it was better if I just didn’t look.
We stayed for only part of their club meeting (the social part of it) but we got to meet some really nice guys and check out their KLR bikes. Most of the bikes there seemed to be mainly city bikes but there was one club member that we met that had been on a some long distance trips down to South America and up to Alaska and he had what appeared to be a great mounting system attached to the underside of his front fender for his after market lights. It looked like it might be the perfect solution for us, so far, the lights we had mounted had vibrated apart so we needed a better system.
When we got back to the hotel later that night, I attempted to research the medication but I had little luck. Most of what came up was in Spanish so I used google translator a lot but I couldn’t find much out except it was indicated for use with things like anal fissures, uterine cervical cancers, ulcers, and then below it would say for external use only with no information on how to apply. Boy was I getting confused, so I decided to try to figure it out the next day.
On Friday, I picked up supplies at the Farmacia which was just down the street from the hotel. But when I arrived back at Rene’s house, I told them that I didn’t want to change the dressing until we figured out how the gel was to be applied. I asked if they could call the doctor and ask him but it sounded like this was not a possibility, not sure why. Rene did say he had a doctor friend who worked close and we could go ask him. I told him I wanted to go with him but he had to drive slow and stay off the sidewalks. He laughed ag me but agreed, so off we went. Unfortunately, his friend was not in so back to the house we went. As we pulled up to the house, I remembered that one of the doctors that I worked with in Washington was from Argentina and that he might be able to help me. I sent a quick text to him and within 10 minutes, he responded telling me it was a mild and should be safe to use in the wound. While I was waiting for his response, I also confirmed it with a fellow wound care nurse so I felt confident with using it now.
Late that morning, I showed the part of the family how to set up a clean field, how to clean the wound and surrounding foot, apply the medication, pack the wound, and apply the secondary dressing. We also took a photo of the wound so they would have it to compare to later dressing changes and talked about the importance of keeping pressure off of the area. Thankfully we had someone there to help translate and I asked him to come back for the evening change when we’d also have the daughter there to watch the change.
After I was finished with the dressing change, I ran down to a small local Farmacia a couple blocks from the house to pick up a few other supplies I forgot to pick up earlier. After, I went to another local shop across the street carried household supplies and purchased a small plastic tub to keep all the wound care supplies in. This would help to keep everything in one place and make it simple so they could just grab the whole box when it was time to do the dressing change and everything would be right there. It felt really good to be in my element and use some of my nursing skills.
Meanwhile, during this time, Milton continued to work on the bike. He picked up the metal pieces that we had fabricated to attach my other pannier. At some point, Milton took a break to deliver some metal pieces to Eric who agreed to weld them together for us so we could make our own mounting system for our lights. Our painted parts still weren’t quite ready so Eric said he’d deliver them to us later that day.
When the painted parts arrived, Milton put them on but right before it was completely assembled, he noticed that some wires were caught between the dash faceplate and the headlight housing unit so he had to disassemble all of the pieces he had just put on to remove the wires and then reassemble it all over again. Luckily it went much quicker the second time around.
Later that afternoon, Milton was finally able to ride my bike around the block for a test run. While he did that, I started to pull out some of our belongings that had been stored in the corner of their house for the past month. We loaded up some of our belonging and then we both rode over to the hotel. Before we left, I changed the dressing one more time with their daughter, Lucy, present to watch. We used an interpreter again who was a huge help in reinforcing my instructions to them. Before I left for the night I asked them if they felt ready to take over tomorrow with me there to talk them through it if needed. They said they felt ready.
It felt so good to finally be able to ride my bike and I had a huge smile on my face. Initially, I found I was still shifting with my heel, as it had become a habit after breaking my foot, but with conscious effort it didn’t take long to break the habit My front tire felt like it had a slight wobble to it but I couldn’t tell if it was my imagination or not but I did mention it to Milton. After we got back to the hotel, we both agreed that we could feel a little movement in the front tire. When we first got the bike back, the thieves had removed the front tire and it must not have been tightened up enough when the tire was put back on. We’d take care of it first thing in the morning.
Saturday morning, while Milton went over to pick up the mounting bars that Eric had welded for us, I watched Lucy change the dressing and with only a few reminders from me, she did great and I felt she would have no problem. We picked up the straps, dropped off some others as both our tank bag straps had been cut off.
By late afternoon, everything was loaded up on our bikes and we were ready to travel. We debated on waiting and leaving in the morning but both of us were anxious to get moving again. We both found that we had become attached to this wonderful family so saying goodbye was bittersweet but we felt the urge to ride, at least for a couple of hours and we agreed we could get a hotel further down the road. This time, as we left Guadalajara, we left on two bikes instead of one and with satisfaction that this bump in the road did not stop us from continuing with our dream.