On Sunday of Labor Day weekend two friends and I decided to visit Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA. It was a trip we had had in the works since the early summer. With a note from my PT, voucher for a motorized wheelchair in hand, and a sense of excitement at riding my first roller coasters since the accident, I was ready.
After the long ride up through Virginia we made it to the park. Then the fun really began. I had to get a wristband and a piece of paper saying which rides I was allowed ride, i.e. all of them. The girl working was reluctant to grant me access; she apologized that it was her job and she could get fired if she let me in and something happened. I kindly handed her my note and assured her that I had enough control of my leg that I would be safe. After conferring with her boss she relented, granting me my pass to all the rides on the park.
The first ride was Apollo's Chariot, a coaster with lots of loops. I was slightly anxious what it would feel like to be subjected to these G forces but I needn't have worried; there were zero problems with my back, leg, or brace.
The second ride went off without a hitch. We rode Moche Tower, a drop tower which takes you up 10 stories and drops you to ground, braking right before the end. I left the leg brace on because the attendants at the ride didn't ask. There were no problems with the ride whatsoever. I have a fear of heights which cause my endorphins to go off like Christmas lights. I fight with my fear and get rewarded in process; totally worth it. The line for the ride was one of the few times that being disabled was a real asset, as they scooted us to the front. The jealous people we passed stared daggers at our backs.
The problem we ran into was my shoe, on Alpengeist. The attendant noticed me wearing the leg brace and made me take it off. I, not thinking, put my shoe right back on after removing the brace. BIG MISTAKE. I noticed that the shoe was loose about halfway through the ride. A little while later, after bouts of yelling and whooping, I noticed that the shoe was completely gone.
I hope that my missing shoe, wherever it is, didn't hit anyone. Or if it did that they're alright. And if they're alright I hope that it was hilarious. I would've found it hilarious if a falling shoe hit me out of nowhere.
They gave me a pair of flip-flops at the end ride so I wouldn't have to go barefoot. The left flip-flop wouldn't stay on my limp left foot so I gave up on it and just wore my sock around all day. All in all it was actually a pretty good deal, to get a free pair of $30 flip-flops for one old worn out shoe. The rest of the day I spent limping without my leg brace, in one sock and one flip-flop. I was the epitome of cool.
The rest of the day was relatively uneventful, if you don't count all the water rides, roller coasters, and arcade games. It was a blast. It was a long day and near the end of the day I began to become more and more sore. I rode the Lock Ness Monster, an old ride from when the park first opened. Its uncomfortable seats and multiple loops made me start to feel uncomfortable so I avoided that ride from then on. I didn't have any other problems the rest of the day.
When I got home I was extremely tired but filled with a sense of accomplishment. I'd grabbed a piece of my old life back and integrated it into my new gimp persona. I felt like after today, there's nothing I can't do. I am gimp, hear me roar!