Terii’s Cycling Babble


The Results Are…
July 6, 2016, 5:52 am
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

Loke’s arthritic. Technically, this has been true since early 2013 when his symptoms first displayed very noticeably. Just the symptoms were pushed away by more exercise.

 

Not a cloud in the sky

Not a cloud in the sky

The 4th started with Jens dropping us off at the storage, where I took Loke for a slow roll toward the apartment with 4+ miles. It was clear with temps around 54 F and hardly a breath of wind. Loke tried to have a spring in his step, but we wound up poking along. Which was fine.

Later in the afternoon, I decided to do the fruit run. Stubbornness had hold of me and I didn’t lighten the load before going. I figured it would be easy enough to just empty however many of the jugs I needed to when I got the fruit.

I should have gone earlier, but there were other things to do and I put it off. There were quite a few clouds when I started out and a few of them had dark bellies. It had gotten warm and felt quite sticky. Between the heat and Loke being so slow of late, I decided to do the ride solo. A chance to push myself and get some exercise.

Warm and humid as it was, I actually kinda wished I’d get a light sprinkle to cool things off, especially when the sun was out. The clouds grew thicker, the clumps bigger, but no rain.

Oh yes. I was gonna get soaked. Hopefully not hit by lightning.

Oh yes. I was gonna get soaked. Hopefully not hit by lightning.

As I came up near the train station, a growl of thunder rumbled. Surely it would come down in buckets as I reached the fruit stand. No. It was like it held off at the edge of downtown. Gusts of wind and a couple more snarls of distant thunder, but not a drop of rain.

I paid for my fruit, over 13 lbs of it, mostly watermelon and chucked it in the trailer. Stubborn still, I decided to see if I could make it home pulling over 30 kg of weight.

The weight was noticeable, but I kept rolling without too much difficulty. I was quite happy with the results.

The rain finally did come down when I was about 1.25 mile from the apartment. Not a fine sprinkle as I’d hoped for early in the ride. Huge heavy drops of rain. The kind that sting when they impact with skin, even if covered with Lycra. Then hail came along to join the fun. Not even the size of a pea and just a few bits here and there, but it still smarted worse than the raindrops. The absolute cherry on top was sleet! Some of rain splats left a slushy core of ice on me. Needless to say, I began to shiver.

I was pretty soaked when I made it home. Settled in with a warm cup of tea, snuggled under a blanket. While I waited to stop shivering, I called the vet to make an appointment. They could see us the very next day.

As for Loke, he didn’t even seem to notice I’d left with the trike without him. Over 8 miles solo, hauling between 53 lbs and 66+ lbs.

I just had time to warm up when Jens called to say he was on his way home. It gave me time to pull on dry cycle clothes and take the trike back to the garage at a slow toodle with Loke.

Talk about a turn around. Maybe he just has some kind of 6th sense about vet appointments and was trying to convince me it was unnecessary, but Loke was raring to go. He woofed and grumbled at me while I settled the trike. He kangaroo hopped at the end of the tether to hurry us across the lawn which I tried to dissuade. He put his head down, threw his weight into the harness to determinedly drag trike and trailer, trying to pull it into a run. He shot me irritated looks with me riding the brakes to keep his speed down. It was like the clock had jumped back to December last year or something. He was a furry freight engine and wanted to go full throttle.

After dragging all that weight on the 4th, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to take Loke to the vet via trike or car. The vet clinic has changed location. It now sits just a couple hundred yards off one of the additions to the River Loop I use often.

Kinda sad about that really. The ride to get Loke’s kibble was a lovely change from the River Loop and often netted me at least 12 miles, part of that dragging the 8 kg of dog food. Now, unless I go crazy out of my way, it will be 6 miles at best.

But, it does mean that I don’t need the car if Loke has an appointment unless he’s too sick to even walk.

My legs felt every pedal stroke I’d done with the extra load in the trailer. I wasn’t sure I had it in me, even at Loke’s pokey speed, to do another ride without a rest day. The furball convinced me. Seemed every time I looked up, he was standing a few feet away, eyes bright and hopeful, tail wagging in expectation.

So, about 40 minutes before his appointment time, I was dressed to ride and we headed to the garage.

No frills this time. Just water for Loke as the sun was mostly out and it was quite warm, his collapsible dish and my handlebar bag. No trailer. No liter jugs.

The first few hundred yards were a bit rough. Loke was no help. He wasn’t quite as slow as he’s been in the past few rides, but he wasn’t speedy either. I was glad. It meant I could be as lazy as I wanted to be.

The clinic’s new location is huge. Baffles me why they have a reception area so tiny. The chairs to wait are so close to the doors of the exam rooms that I foresee incidents with dogs rushing out into other dogs when exams are done. Even the exam rooms are half the size of their previous location. No place to set a laptop with the medical files except on the exam table. No place for a chair for owners to sit if the vet has to go out of the room for several minutes to consult or the like.

There were work men running to and fro as well. Still a lot of things need doing to give a ‘finished’ appearance, but the place is functional.

Things were going a bit slow. It was more than 15 minutes late before we were let into the exam room. The vet was an unfamiliar one and clearly new from school. I don’t mind as the vets here are only too happy to consult with others and only way to become experienced is to practice. So, I explained what was going on and she gave Loke a thorough going over in general before focusing exclusively on his joints and spine.

Loke also seemed to have a bit of abdominal pain which she decided she wanted an x-ray to check.

By the time we were done wrestling with him for the x-rays and helping to keep him standing up while she checked his limbs, I was exhausted. The good news was, everything looked normal. She thought the reason his belly was uncomfortable was because his bladder was pretty full. Makes sense. He gulped a bunch of water before we went in and hadn’t had a chance to potty since we passed through the doors almost half an hour before she started palpitating him. Not pleasant to get poked when one has a full bladder.

As for his joints, he was stiff in the right shoulder, which I’d been pretty sure of. His left was pretty normal though. The surprise was that he was also stiff in both hips. I thought maybe his right hip… maybe. She wanted to take some blood so they could a check on his liver and kidney values before deciding which medication to give to make him more comfortable. Happily, their shift in location means they no longer have to send samples off to a lab for such basic tests. I’d have the results that evening at the latest.

I was so happy to be done with it and able to flop exhausted back into the trike seat. Loke was just happy to be able to ‘mark’ a fence post or three pretty much confirming the full bladder theory.

Thar be thundar in them-thar clouds!

Thar be thundar in them-thar clouds!

It had gone from mostly sunny to mostly cloudy during the hour and a half we were in the clinic. Some of the clouds were threateningly dark.

It seems to be predictable cycle of late, almost like on the MS Gulf Coast. Clear in the mornings, increasing clouds sometime around/after lunch and rain/thunder arriving sometime between 2 and 4 pm.

I headed onward to complete the usual River Loop. The wind was gusting off and on, nice and cool with the warning of rain. It was pleasant when clouds blocked the sun. I didn’t rush Loke. Just resigned myself to getting wet again. Thunder rumbled and even saw a flash of lightning that briefly made one particularly dense and large cloud glow.

The rain held off except for a spate of blowing mist that didn’t even make spots on my clothes. Just felt it on my skin and a few tiny, tiny specks on my glasses.

There was a brief heavy downfall just as we were walking back to the car. Then it held off until we were snug in the apartment. Then for about half an hour, the bottom just fell out of the clouds. The roads were somewhat flooded for a while and quite a few rumbles of thunder. The lights even flickered once.

The vet called just before the clinic would have been closing. Loke’s values all came back. She had entered a prescription for an anti-inflammatory medication in the computer for me to fill on the morrow. A full dose for a few days to get Loke’s discomfort under control and then lower dosages for the rest of the month to maintain. If there’s no improvement in a week or so, then I should get back with them. She did warn me that this could be a new normal for him, that he’d have to be on some kind of medication for the arthritis for the rest of his life.

I assured her that I was expecting that. If not this time, then one very soon. I just wanted to keep him as comfortable and happy, mentally and physically, as long as possible.

She told me to just keep doing what I’ve been doing. Don’t stop taking him out with the trike, keep him moving. After looking over his file, she’s convinced I’m quite in tune with Loke and the fact that I brought him in when the arthritis, while not pleasant for him, isn’t very bad. She didn’t think most owners would have noticed. Of course, most people only walk their dogs, not go out with them beside a trike. Loke’s given little to no indications of discomfort on his walks with Jens, so if not for the trike we’d never have known.

So, she’s confident to say, keep him going. Let him tell/show me what he wants to do. Keep his speed down, but if he wants to go for longer than I’ve been doing, give him a little more. Whatever I do though, don’t stop what I am doing.

That’s good to hear. Especially as we’re supposed to go on a vacation up north. Might be riding slow, but it seems I’ll still be riding with a husky beside me for a while longer.

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