Terii’s Cycling Babble

Scary Days With Silver Linings
December 1, 2014, 7:14 am
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

And another trip to the hospital where I again stayed for about 3 days.

Last Tuesday (November 25th), it was supposed to clear into a pretty day. The first since the Tuesday 2 weeks previous where I’d rushed to the hospital because I lost motor function and sensation in my right side. Jens had to be at work early, but was going to leave the car with me as he had a business dinner that evening. To let him sleep later than 5:30 am, we decided he’d drive us to his office and I’d bring the car back from Stockholm.

On the way, my left leg fell asleep. Annoying and uncomfortable, but it’s happened before though admittedly on longer drives. Then my arm got that annoying tingling feeling, but again, it’s happened in the past on longer drives. I chalked it up to lower blood pressure allowing such things to happen more quickly/easily.

About half way into the drive back, the left side of my face got that tingling, prickly ‘asleep’ sensation. I slipped into a kind of panic. There I was, driving down the E4 and Loke in the back. Poor Loke who hadn’t had any breakfast or even a morning walk before jumping into his car crate. I had images of him being trapped in the car for long hours if I pulled over to call an ambulance.

I pushed on to Uppsala, stopping at my husband’s parents since they were closer by more than 10 minutes. I didn’t know what address to give the emergency responders so I called my mother-in-law. I was panicked, which panicked her, bless her heart. I might have been better calling my father-in-law rather than worrying her half to death. My father-in-law seems completely unflappable.

In minutes, I was on my way to the hospital with a very kind ambulance crew. As they did quick tests, I started to calm down because they were so calm. As I described the harrowing drive back to Stockholm, the woman EMT patted my hand with a smile. “I would have done the same thing if I’d had my dog in the car too,” she told me.

Things weren’t so urgent the second time. A hoard of nurses and a tiny woman doctor with a very tall, soft-spoken intern at her back descended on me for blood, motor skills tests and blood pressure. One of the nurses was the very kind one who had stuck with me through the last event.

Clearly, this time, my case wasn’t so perilous. About the time Jens arrived I was wheeled into the ER section of the hospital and the waiting began. Thankfully, they didn’t stab me quite as much. 3 times to get dribbles of blood for their tests before an anesthetic nurse came along and got a line into the back of my hand. Painfully, I might add though at least it was on her first try.

It was a long boring day, stuck in a very busy ER ward where I got to watch the sun through slivers of windows. The symptoms that had sent me fleeing to the hospital passed in a few hours. Still the doctors decided to keep me overnight for observation after finding a bedspace for me in the plastic surgery ward.

Two sunny days and two times in the hospital. I just might develop an aversion to sunlight.

The doctor taking over my case was a very nice guy who introduced himself as Oskar. He reported that my CT had found nothing and he was awaiting the results of the MRI I’d been crammed into. I’m not typically claustrophobic, but that almost made me so. I felt like the filling in a professionally wrapped enchilada. He told me what he (and the other doctors he discussed the case with) thought had happened was a tiny blood clot had formed and then quickly dissolved in my brain. They could only assume that scenario as it was long gone by the time I’d gotten the CT.

The next day, he had the results from the MRI, which again found no sign of any changes since my CT scans two weeks previous. There did seem to be an anomaly in the vessels of my neck, but far from certain. So he had ordered an ultrasound to confirm or clear that.

Thursday, without any absolutely clear answers, Oskar arrived to tell me all tests had come back normal. He still believed I had had a small, rapidly gone clot. Normally, I would have been given a shot of blood-thinner just in case, but that could raise the likelihood of a hemorrhage which was too risky at that time.

When he arrived to release me, I’d been working on cleaning some fresh cracks in the soles of my feet with some alcohol and moisturizer. I can’t remember the last time I’ve taken a step that didn’t hurt. I’ve just been learning to live with it since multiple trips to the health ward have been so useless. Oskar asked about them and offered to take a look after wincing at my description of the problem, with the assurance that he also works as a General Practitioner at one of the other health wards in the city.

He frowned at them as he looked closely and asked some questions like, ‘Have you seen your doctor about this?’ (Yes, 3 times). What treatment had they given? (None, except for me to go to a foot clinic and some antihistamine medication. Foot clinics told me to go to a doctor. Round and round.)

‘You must not have a very good doctor,’ Oskar told me. He said there was something definitely wrong with the skin. It wasn’t just callouses and dryness (which I’ve been trying to tell the local GPs). He enthusiastically recommended I make an appointment with a specialized nurse at ‘his’ health ward. He said she was their foot specialist, to the point that the doctors often go to her for questions pertaining to feet. He also prescribed a cream he thought would help until I can get in to see the nurse.

And has it helped! By the time I’d used the lotion twice, I noticed an improvement. By the 2nd day, it was clear that my feet were a bit happier. No new splits had opened. The skin looked so much better. Still a bit uncomfortable to walk, but I’m no longer lurching around like a zombie with no feet. I will definitely be calling the other health ward today to arrange an appointment.

So, that’s the silver lining. I went in for mystery, potentially stroke-like symptoms and might have walked out with some relief for my feet for the first time all year! Pity it took a stroke scare putting me back in the hospital to find a doctor who would actually listen to me, confirming what I’d suspected for many a long, painful month.

Since the second release from the hospital, I have gone for a ride on Saturday. We finally had a small break in the weather. Meaning there was no rain in spite of a lead colored sky. It was also a little colder than it’s been in a long time. Most of my temperature sources said about 35-36 F.

I wrestled on my bullet proof thermals and had Jens drive me to the storage. I also made him get the trike out for me, which he did uncomplainingly. Then as I wrestled with getting my cycle shoes with footwarmers and shoe covers on, I let him go back home. Loke was wound up and raring to go. Even did a bit of hopping and yodeling.

It was sooo cold on my face as we zipped along at about 9-10 mph, Loke doing his best to run and giving me frustrated looks each time I pulled him short. It takes a bit of time for my Garmin to cool to ambient air temps after coming out of my handlebar bag. It went from 12 C to 6 C in the first quarter mile and kept dropping. We joined the River Loop cycle path at the top of the long hill overlooking the bridge and zipped down. Just before crossing the river, I stopped to look at a puddle.

Well, I'll be! A frozen puddle!

Well, I’ll be! A frozen puddle!

Ice. You know, I don’t remember seeing icy puddles even moments before the very few snow falls we had last year. Not even the one that dropped almost a foot of snow that disappeared within 2 days. Yet, there was an ice skinned bit of water right there. Could it be winter finally arriving to tropical Sweden?

On the other side of the river along the path upstream, all the puddles had ice. Some of them were frozen through and hard enough that bike tires hadn’t crunched them. The temperature on my Garmin finally bottomed out at -2.8 C which is roughly 27 F.

Crappy lighting, but it shows the blue sky

Crappy lighting, but it shows the blue sky

As I rolled by the log exercise park, the clouds which had been getting clumpy and showing slivers of blue overhead, started clearing away to the south and east, extending overhead. It was glorious to see the azure heavens again. The sun seemed to be running from the edge of widening blue though. It stayed firmly behind the gray as if being chased to the horizon.

With the disappearance of the clouds, a slight wind kicked up making me glad of the warmth from my thermals.

I wasn’t happy with how hard they made the ride though. It felt like I was fighting resistance bands with every turn of the pedals. All that thick wool made it difficult to flex my limbs. It wasn’t this hard during the last cold rides I’ve done with the bullet proof thermals. Makes me wonder if I’ve lost so much muscle strength to make it feel so.

By the last mile, the muscles around my hips, the left especially and through my lower back, protested violently. I debated having Jens pick us up at the swim hall which is less than half a mile to go. It felt too silly, so I sucked it up and we crept along at a pace snails would have laughed at.

Still, I made it. It felt good to get out and ride in spite of my worries that the effort would make my head explode or something. The recent events have rattled my confidence on so many levels.

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