Recovery: Back to Normal-ish

Three weeks ago my medical crisis began. Today was a normal day like any other with the minor exception that I rode in the basement rather than outside. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say I was healthy, well adjusted person. Okay, let’s settle for healthy. We can’t expect miracles.

I was a busy boy today. I made two appointments for scans ordered by my pulmonologist, helped arrange for the appliance guy to come fix our dryer, drove to Marlow Heights to get a second key for the Millennium Falcon, my son’s rattle trap of a car, and drove to REI to try on new shoes. (I didn’t like them.) Then, after a meditation break along the river, it was back home to find out I needed to make another scan appointment. Yesterday’s ultrasound didn’t give a clear enough view of my adrenal gland so we’re doing another CT scan. (Certain cancers cause an increase in clotting so the search is on to find or rule out cancer somewhere in my body.) Next up was a 13 mile ride in the basement while reading my book. (It’s called Ramp Hollow. It’s about how the people of Appalachia came to be in their socio-economic predicament.) Finally, I did my complete set of physical therapy exercises including a shoulder stand.

I don’t want to jinx anything, but I feel pretty normal. The only real way I can tell is to try to do more normal things and see what happens. So I need to take a bike out and ride it somewhere. I suspect that if I can handle 20 miles outside on my Cross Check I’m doing just fine. If I can go up a hill without dying (not literally, I hope)  that would be another milestone. Still another test will be to go to the gym and lift weights. I am not Ahnuld so this is more to see how my heart reacts to pumpitude.

Anyway, feeling somewhat normal is pretty flabbergasting to me. It’s been three weeks since the clots decided to go site seeing in my lungs. I felt truly awful for the first week after the pulmonary embolism(s) came to play.

Since it came up in a recent twitter conversation, I should point out that I plan on riding while on blood thinners. Nothing heroic or adventurous just my usual everyday cycling. With a helmet on, of course. For the short term, I just want to see where my fitness (and balance) is. For the long term, I need to be active or I will lose my mind. (Just ask my wife.) How all this translates to bike tours and events is TBD.

I also intend not to let this medical mess turn me into a hermit. In addition to seeing plenty of medical professionals, I plan on going to several non-medical events in the weeks ahead. There’s a wedding on Saturday, a #bikedc happy hour next week, a meeting with the National Park Service about the Mount Vernon Trail the following Saturday, and the WABA Awards get-together in a few weeks. I doubt I’ll ride to these events. There will be plenty of time for riding when it’s warmer and lighter out. Lord willin’ and the clots don’t rise.

 

 

 

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Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

There are many massive old trees along the Mount Vernon Trail in Belle Haven Park south of Alexandria.  A few years ago a true behemoth started falling apart and was taken down. Over the weekend storms claimed another tree, much smaller but still a welcome producer of shade along the trail. This is what the tree looked like this morning.

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Ten hours later this is what remained.

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Sad face.

There were several other much smaller trees and limbs that had fallen across the trail. These were cleared before this morning’s rush hour.

The credit here goes to the National Park Service that maintains the trail and the nearby George Washington Memorial Parkway.

No good deed goes unpunished around here, however. If the Park Service can provide such excellent storm debris clean up, it can do other things that trail users have wanted for years. Here are a few:

  • Plowing and treating the trail after winter storms
  • Grinding down the bumps from tree roots
  • Repositioning stop signs so that they force cars to stop not trail users.
  • Finding an alternative bridge material to the wood that is currently used. Wood bridges become skating rinks and cause many bike crashes. I don’t know if she fell on a bridge but I saw a young cyclist tending to a very bloody wound below her elbow this morning.

Tonight on my ride home I was flagged down by Adam Schildge. He and his wife Amy are new homeowners down my way in the Fort Hunt neighborhood. They were signing people up for a new bike advocacy Facebook group called MVT South. If you are a user of the southern part of the Mount Vernon Trail (south of Old Town Alexandria) check it out.