February 16, 2013 Ride: On Physical Utility

So, you may be wondering why it took me so long to write this entry. After all, I took this ride two weeks ago! That’s true, but it’s been an interesting two weeks…

First, about the ride. It was a gorgeous afternoon, and I actually had a bit of free time and the sky was cooperating, so I jumped at the opportunity to take The Gazelle out for a spin. Given that my amount of exercise in the last six months has generated just one blog entry dedicated to its existence, I figured a nice, flat trail would be best. Enter the Interurban, which is mostly just gently rolling, straight-as-an-arrow monotony. But sometimes, monotony is underrated, if you know what I mean.


I think they might have a teensy-tiny mole problem there. Just a hunch.

Anyway, the moment I stepped out of my car at the park and ride, I knew I had made a mistake. You see, the flatness that so defines the Interurban trail also means that it’s quite exposed. No where else in this area is so prone to wind issues as this trail.

And we had some wind…


I swear this is the only self-portrait I took where I don’t look like Gollum. For some reason, I’m all hunched over and evil-bug-eyed in all the others. Must have been the wind!

In fact, we had so much wind that I felt like I was trying to ride through about a foot of water. I knew it would improve on the return, but just couldn’t be bothered to haul the weight of The Gazelle far enough to make it worth the effort.


So at the five mile or so mark, I turned around. The return was glorious, of course, like sailing. And happened in about half the time.


It was a shame, as the light was beautiful and the temperature nearly comfortable for the first time in ages. It felt good, once I was turned in the right direction, to get The Gazelle out and rolling. But it wasn’t to last…


(I think this is one of my favorite Gazelle photos… ever)

Because the following Friday, something happened that has dominated my entire life for the last week. As part of my disease, I often suffer minor heart palpitations. I particularly loathe the “butterfly” ones, where my heart stops beating for a few seconds and just sort of quivers like a butterfly in my chest. Horrid, but harmless.

So when my heart started racing and pounding and skipping around like a damned Polynesian drum corps, I mostly ignored it. At first. But it kept going… and going… (how long is this performance? When do we get to the Luau?) until, after an hour and a half, I called my doctor. She sent me straight to the ER.

Now in every other visit I have ever made on my own behalf to the emergency room, they have rolled their eyes at me and sent me home.


This is the expression they have inevitably made behind my back (thank you, Richard Armitage, in full sneer).

But this time, they freaked out. I went on an IV and was locked away in the dungeons of the heart ward for “monitoring” overnight. I was, they explained, in atrial fibrillation, or AFib. Now, were I an overweight, smoking, alcoholic seventy-five year-old, this would be sort of par-for-the-course, but as I am not (at least not a smoking, alcoholic seventy-five year-old…), there was a great deal of concern about this.

“If,” the handsome young doctor informed me as I shivered nervously in my wee gown, “we can’t get your pulse under control soon, we’re going to have to knock you out and restart your heart using an electric shock.”

Well, fortunately for me, the medicine worked within the 8-hour window they had given it (I mostly slept through this, as they let me have “ma sleepin’ drugs” and I was exhausted with panic anyway).

But since then, I have been spending way too much time visiting the cardiologist and not enough time exercising. In fact, I’ve spent zero time exercising. Due to the continuing chest pain I’ve been suffering, I’m not to do much of anything except sitting. I have one more test this week to try to determine what’s going on with my heart, and it’s called a “nuclear test.”

“Oh, I think I helped pilot that one after my stroke,” says my ex-husband today as I pick up my son. “It involves radioactive liquid to see where your veins and arteries are weak, right? Yeah, be warned it makes you want to throw up, and you’ll feel like you have to pee like you wouldn’t believe.”

He’s a bundle of joy, that one.

They’re doing this test because they can’t do a stress test for fear of putting me back into AFib. I’ve had my echocardiogram, and I assume, since no one has called me to tell me to rush into the ER, STAT!, that my heart must not be about to explode in the next few days.

Can you tell I’m a bit anxious about this?

The current thought process is that either a: I have a heart defect or b: I have a weakened aorta or c: I am a strange freak of nature who went into AFib years too early for no discernible reason (please be a freak, please be a freak…). The first two will involve surgery at some point, and the third leaves me with the ever-present fear that it will come back and there won’t be a treatment that works. Good times!

So I’ve been thinking, a lot, about the slow-burn betrayal my body has been putting me through. It’s not just that I’m bitter about having this stupid disease and also possibly a heart issue (never mind the “your skull is too small in the back and is compressing the arteries and nerves as they enter your brain, so we’d like to do skull surgery” stuff that’s also on the table). I am bitter. I’ll admit it: this week, especially, I’m pissed off.

But it’s more than that. I want my body back. The one that ran, jumped, slept, ate… moved, damnit, at my volition. The one that I didn’t have to think about unless I wanted to think about it. I have become so envious of the physical utility of other people. The ease with which they crouch, or bend over, or jump up onto something. They aren’t trapped in a body that doesn’t feel familiar.

Okay, I realize I’m heading into melodrama territory. After all, I’m not paralyzed (or rather, only a few nerves are here and there), I’m not an amputee or bedridden. I’m just fussy about this right now, and acutely aware of my immobility, and therefore, mortality.

I’ll know more in a few days, assumedly. Because what I need right now, is to have surgery and not work for six weeks. That would be great! Oooo, and can I pay my deductible too, please? That’d be grand! Or rather, two grand!

Ah life… at least it ticks on apace.


About rideblog

Love to ride my bikes!
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8 Responses to February 16, 2013 Ride: On Physical Utility

  1. antijen says:

    Fingers crossed for you!

  2. rideblog says:

    Thanks, antijen!

  3. Hopeful Romantic says:

    You have every right to be bitter and pissed off. Fecking health problems anyway. Sending well-wishes your way.

  4. dsalo says:

    Hoping that all is as well as it can be. I’m sorry your body is betraying you.

  5. gl. says:

    so sorry to hear this, rideblog! the gazelle will wait patiently for you.

  6. rideblog says:

    Thanks everyone! I had another attack of hearty-overbeating-madness this morning, or at least I think I did, and ended up back at the cardiologist. Now I’m wearing a pretty little monitor for the night. Good news: the echocardiogram was normal, so at this point, it’s either my arteries/veins… or nothing. I’ll know by the end of the week!

  7. Jim Duncan says:

    Hi Rideblog,
    Very tough for sure. But you are very tough too! I am opening a line to the One upstairs about you. Best! Jim

  8. Corey K says:

    We’re crossing our fingers for you out here in Friedrich Heights.
    (the DL-1 and the Cameo are crossing tire levers, it’s cute.)

    To good news, and soon!

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