Friday, June 29, 2007

Going Backwards and Amtrak Elbow

Now that mine is last car on the train; and my roomette the last at the rear of the car, I have a special reserved viewing spot at the back door of the train right next to my room. From this vantage point you can view all of Montana - in reverse. One passenger came back here from some other part of the train and told me I had discovered the second best view on the train. He appeared jealous of my good fortune.

Now, the observation car is nice and you can see quite a bit, but this spot is more private and quieter, and so far I have only had to share it with a few people – others “in-the-know.”

The ICD-10 will need to add a classification for a new affliction – Amtrak Elbow. Technically it is not an affiliation of the elbow but of the forearms. The impairment/injury comes from constantly banging the backs of your forearms against various parts of the train as you attempt to move from one end of the train to the other. While walking though the sleeper car center “hallway” it is easiest to simply bounce off the walls – quite literally – and use your forearms as bumpers.

Amtrak Elbow is exacerbated by sleeping in a roomette. The Amtrak folks have strategically placed various parts of the roomette chair in locations that when you roll over, or more commonly are rolled over by the action of the train, causes your forearms to smash into these hard, non-impact absorbing chair parts and results in soft tissue damage. I was so unaware of this affliction prior to this trip. Had I known, I would have brought some football equipment. I should write a paper for JAMA. Hopefully the damage is not permanent. I’ll keep you advised.

When I was talking to the guy who came to the back of the train and commented about my view, I mentioned that I would be returning back on the Empire Builder. He asked how long I was going to be in Portland and I told him five days. He said that’s just enough time to recover.

Do you suppose he also suffers from Amtrak Elbow?

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