Terii’s Cycling Babble

Foot Fun
September 7, 2017, 4:54 am
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

Well, things have been a bit chaotic of late.

Just 2 rides since I posted last. The foot thing really gets to me if you couldn’t tell. My hip was feeling much better (yes past tense, but we’ll get to that) so I was itching to ride further and areas other than hamster tracks, but the feet. I mean, having to stop 30-60 times on a 20 mile ride JUST to put my feet off the pedals for 3-5 minutes each session would put a serious damper in the ride just from the perspective of time. Never mind that each pause is precipitated by excruciating pain. If I didn’t push it to that edge, it would probably mean doubling the amount of stops. Not doable. So, I shy away from riding because it hurts like heck and is extra boring to boot between being a hamster track and stopping every few hundred yards.

The lack of riding drives Jens up the wall of course, because Loke makes him crazy. Staring at him and refusing to act like a 12 year old dog. Still can’t get over he’s really that old.

I’ve noticed when I have struggled along with the torturous pedals that I keep wanting to push my foot forward, but given the nature of shoes attached to pedals, there’s not much room to do just that. So, in desperation, I talked Jens into not fretting too much about me taking a metal file to my old Shimano touring shoes. Being 5+ years old, they’re quite worn now and since I have 2 ‘new’ pair meaning one to spare, he’s thrown his hands up in surrender and let me do as I will. Still, being so difficult to find fitting cycle shoes, the search has already begun for the next pair.

So, for the better part of a week, I’ve put in quite a few hours of filing… and filing… and filing. Ugh. The stiff insole might be ‘just’ plastic, but it’s darn tough and, with my arm giving me fits, takes a looooooonnnnnngggg time to make any progress. Thank goodness for Netflix as I sit on the sofa with a towel to catch the filings as I work. Soon, I’ll give it a shot and see how it goes.

In other news, I was used as a medical curiosity/case study at the hospital last week. The dermatologist I saw at the beginning of the year who diagnosed and treated me for Lyme Disease had called sometime during the summer to get an update on the spots. I told her that they’d started to fade while I was on the medication and a couple weeks after, but then when the symptoms of the disease came back, so did the spots. She was completely dismissive that it could have been resurgence of Lyme Disease. Baffled, she said that on Fridays, her and her colleagues assemble to look over the most interesting cases. Would I mind coming in for that?

Come in and let a bunch of people poke at me? Sure, why not. Who knows, maybe something useful will come of it.

So, last Friday, there I was, showing off the Lyme disease blotches to about a dozen people. At least I didn’t have to pay for the privilege. I’ve not reached the cap on medical costs yet, so I still have to pay the modest fee. Regardless of what people think, Swedish medical care is NOT free. Cheap and does come with a cap with how much is paid before the cost is waived, but not free. But, apparently to be a case study, the cost is waived if one hasn’t reached the cap. Nice of them.

It took longer than anticipated after they had their look and went away to discuss. Of course, 10+ people offering their insights and opinions on something does take time. When it was over and the original dermatologist came back, she asked the expected. “Do you mind if I take another biopsy?”

I cringed at the idea. The last time was unpleasant enough, but I’m determined to get answers. There was something I was dreading more than her punching out little bits of skin any way. Blood Test. Yep. She wanted that too. Rather sad when one can face having chunks of skin removed better than blood drawn.

The doctor took skin from 2 places. The center of one of the spots and from unmarked skin next to it for comparison.

As for the blood. The first nurse tried once to get the stuff out of me and nada. Not even when she pulled the needle out of my arm. Desperate, I offered my feet for another two stabs since last time that took about 30 seconds. Nope. No good. She went to get another nurse to take a look, but since I was already so rattled from the previous attempts, she didn’t find anything she felt confident enough to torment me with. So, off to the lab on Monday since I had to run back to the car before the parking ran out.

The last blood tests over the year have been a complete nightmare with most of the arm and hand jabs giving nothing and they’ve resorted to pricking my fingers and squeezing the blood out of me. Some tests, though apparently MUST come from the vein. Three of the tests the dermatologist wanted were those. I had all weekend to fret myself about sick at how many jabs it was going to take to get what was needed.

Well, it didn’t turn out as bad as anticipated. I woke at 4 am and prepped with pain meds and lots and lots of water to plump the veins. The first nurse found a vein the hand, but got nothing. Rather than stab me again, she called for one of the supervisor nurses. That woman came over with a brisk efficiency. Instead of examining my hand or the lower arm, she went right for the bend of the arm, fingers pressing deep. She didn’t rush, moving my arm around a bit until she got it in JUST the right position. Then she pulled out one of the larger needles and went in.

BLESS HER, she hit first time and either because of her skill or the pain meds or both, it barely hurt. In less than a minute she was done. I was so grateful, I thanked her profusely. Her aloofness broke and she gave me a sympathetic smile while patting my shoulder.

Hopefully all this will be a step toward getting some answers at least. Even better if it does more than clear up Lyme disease blotches from my skin, but also improves my quality of life from every other aspect. Maybe being able to walk without collapsing like a puppet with cut strings.

So, on the 3rd, I finally got out for another ride. The first in like… 10 days or something silly like that.

The weather has finally kind of broken. We’ve gotten spates of rain, some of it torrential since our first frost during the last week of August. Set a new record for cold on that day. Was just enough of a frosting that it only really stuck to cars and not much on grass, but still. FROST in AUGUST. Of course, last week, while I was walking around in my summer weight shirts, there was snow in Oslo, Norway which is quite a bit further south than Uppsala, Sweden. At least the weather hasn’t gotten quite as crazed as it has in the States. My thoughts are with those who have endured Harvey and those now facing the next storm.

It was quite gray and muggy in spite of being cool-ish on the 3rd. I thought for sure I was going to get some rain on us, but by some miracle it held off. A whopping 2 miles with the fuzz butt. It hurt, of course. Spanish Inquisition foot screws kind of hurt.

That of course, gave me a kick in the butt to work some more on the Shimanos.

On the 5th, Jens was grumbling a bit, so I had him drop Loke and I off at the storage. The tentative plan was to roll the trike to the apartment, see if I could finish the filing enough to test the adapted shoes.

It was quite a lovely morning actually, on the chill side, but lovely. 48 F at the start of the ride and edged up into 51 F by time I rolled to a stop at home. Put a real spring in Loke’s stride. There was blue sky and sunshine too. The first in a while.

After the frost, autumn colors have started to come into a few of the trees. REAL autumn colors. Not the shriveled, desiccated brown of leaves that perished for lack of water thanks to our silly dry (but cloudy) summer, but bright yellow popping out here and there. One tree was even flushed vivid red, the hue brightened by the early morning sunlight.

We came home with 3.4 miles. Loke had a slight spring in his step in spite of his profound boredom. The cooler temps agreed with him.

The really strange thing though, was my feet. I think, just to spite me after all my hard work filing, the foot rules have changed again, because on the 3+ mile loop, I only put my feet down 3 times because of discomfort! The first .25 mile in, which is an improvement over the worst rides, and then not again for over 1.5 miles and the last time about 500 yards from home. If I could count on that, I’d be willing to tackle longer rides. I mean, 12-15 stops for my feet would be manageable over a 20 mile ride as opposed to 30-70 stops.

I wasn’t home for long. Just enough for Loke to gobble down breakfast and take a 20 minute snooze when my phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number, but answered. It was Jennifer, the groomer. She asked if I could bring Loke in then instead of the next day for his appointment. Could I be there in about an hour?

I said sure! Put Loke back in his harness and out the door we bolted again! Oddly, Loke was a running machine. Not sure what boosted him, but we arrived earlier than I thought we would because he was just pulling us along at a brisk trot.

He wasn’t thrilled when I left him there though and rode home.

On the ride to the groomer, about 2.7 miles, I had to put my feet down only 2 or 3 times. I forget how much, but not nearly as often as rides all through the rest of the year.

The solo dash back home was fun. I discovered I’m not quite as pokey as I thought I was. Not burning up the roads with blazing speed, but on flats even with a bit of a headwind, I was able to push for 8 mph. Down the hills of course was where the real fun was. I didn’t need to stop even once for foot relief. There was a bit of discomfort, but nothing I could categorize as pain, let alone bad enough to have me seeing stars as I rip feet from pedals to stop the torture.

So, are the foot rules changing again? Would stand to follow. I mean, I’ve put in hours on working to adapt the Shimano shoes, so naturally, the rules would change to make it unnecessary.

I did notice one possible complication. Where the slots on my Shimano shoes are dead center, those of my newer shoes are toward the inside of the foot rather than centered. I’ve ridden with both shoes and had the same amount of pain, so I don’t know what kind of impact that actually has on my pedalling, but I guess it’s something to be aware of.

Complications, complications.

But, now I’m caught up! I’d better get my butt in gear if I want to break 500 miles for 2017 though. Only 3 more months to make it and at the rate my rides have been going, it might be a close call.


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