Terii’s Cycling Babble

Another Scare
September 25, 2017, 7:50 am
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

The day after my last post, I headed out the door for another ride. That meant 3 days between rides actually. A combination of weather, chores, and Jens off and away with the car in Stockholm.

I think I even managed a bit more work on the shoes, yet hoping for perfection. Still, the improvement with the feet had given me a bounce for riding again. So, on the 13th, Jens dropped us off at the garage as I gave in to the restless need to ride. It was gray with no sun though patches of blue peeked between the gray clumps of cloud. At 50 F, I needed wool beneath my cycle top at least.

A splash of autumn color.

There were patches of color popping out on a few of the trees. Sadly, it appeared the color on the birches isn’t going to come into full force as the leaves are throwing themselves to the ground practically as they turn yellow. Pity, I adore golden birch trees.

In spite of some discomfort in his shoulders that morning, Loke kept a fairly decent clip of about 6.2 mph. Any attempt to take him slower earned me nasty looks with an irritated cant to his ears before throwing his weight against the harness.

To my annoyance didn’t seem to be much improvement in my right foot’s comfort level after all my hard work the previous. As I pedaled along, trying to figure out why getting my cleat down almost a quarter inch didn’t feel any different, it occurred to me it’s my RIGHT foot. The stroke affected the right side of my body. Got me wondering how much of what I was feeling was some kind of nerve damage rather than incompatible cleat positioning.

The cooler air has me starting to ponder winter solutions. Moving cleats is all fine and good when I can wear my standard trike shoes, but once the cold becomes an issue, the combat against frost bite solutions vs foot-suck safety will begin once more. Not the most enjoyable conflict especially since my hip problems at the end of 2016 accelerated when I started using the flat pedals with the straps.

After that ride, it was a barrage of vet visits for Loke again. I don’t think I mentioned about the eye thing which has gone on for over 2 weeks now. I’m not sure why I’ve not done so. Anyway, earlier in the month, the lump on Loke’s left eyelid, which has existed at a set size for years, decided to start swelling. It swelled quick too. In just 2 days I was worried it might start pushing on his eye and it was very likely obscuring a significant part of his vision in the lower part.

Off to the clinic. Frans was the one to see  him and numbed the eye before fiddling with it. It appeared that the sebaceous gland which is what is making the lump had gotten some kind of infection in it. Frans managed to squeeze some of the gunk out of it and prescribed an antibiotic eye cream that we hoped would work.

It did. The lump reduced quite a bit, though was still slightly larger than it was before going all wonky. Frans prescribed a cortisone eye drop for a week. That worked even better. By the last day’s dose, the lump was even smaller than it’s been since it first appeared years ago.

I’m glad I’ve kept an eye on the lump, even having the vets check it during most visits. But since the infection, we started talking in terms of getting it removed. If it’s going to become unpredictable and causing issues, it’s probably best not to leave it. The problem was the size of it. The typical method of removing such is just to cut it away, skin and all and stitch it closed. That won’t work with Loke’s. It would require a complex surgery to try rebuilding a false lower eyelid because so much would be taken away. That could easily lead to complications. So, the smaller we get it, the better it might be.

Okay, that’s the eye stuff caught up on.

Even though I had such a great ride the previous time, feet doing pretty good and no problems with the hip, I’ve found myself in an annoying kind of funk. Everything is just ‘meh’. I feel restless, but no motivation. Nothing keeps my attention. So, over the course of the 4 days between the ride on the 13th and finally again on the 18th, I kept thinking to myself, ‘I should go ride.’ An hour later, ‘Oh, yeah. I should get dressed and go ride.’ A time later, again. Just couldn’t actually get myself moving to do it.

On the 18th, what actually spurred me out the door to ride was purpose. Though I had the car and it would have been easy enough to go ‘Meh, I’ll just drive there’, I managed to hold the course and dressed for us to go via trike. With the hubby in Copenhagen on business, a bit of a brisk walk or (hopefully) a jog with the trike would be good since there’s no long walk for him with ‘daddy’.

The day was gray and chill, and as soon as I stepped out, I knew I was a bit under dressed. With the temps around 49 F and completely lacking sun, I should have had on my thin wool under my tights with my 150 gram weight wool layer under my top instead of the 100 gram. I didn’t feel there was time enough to run in and add the layers. It’s always uncertain how Loke’s going to go on runs so I wanted him to have plenty of time.

I needn’t have really worried. Maybe because of the chill, Loke was in a frenzy of excitement as I dressed, he even yodeled at me as I got everything settled. I can’t remember the last time he did that. I think he’s given a bossy ‘woof’ once, but been more than a year since he actually did a proper excited husky yodel. Even more, he did a couple of kangaroo hops as we crossed the lawn and then proceeded to drag into a bit of run. He hit 13 mph for the first time this year.

Loke was Mr. Zippy for most of the rest of the way too. The harness jingling along as he kept me and trike cruising at about 7 mph for most of the time. For an almost 2 mile stretch, he even had me going over 8 mph. It’s great to see such energy out of him on an outing.

There was absolutely no wind, which was nice and not just because I was cold. It meant those fibreglass like seed fluffs didn’t get blown around. They were just sitting, waiting for a breath of air to carry them away from their parent plants to torment innocent pedestrians or cyclists.

This is the river, not a pond or puddle.

How the Fyris river SHOULD look.

Loke was making such good time, that I added extra distance in a few spots. One of them was to follow the river extension all the way to the end. As we passed one section where I could actually see down to the water, I was shocked. All the way across, it was covered in green. Not sure if it was algae or duckweed, but I do know, I’ve never seen any part of the river like that, not in all the years I’ve been riding up and down along it. Goes to show how the scarcity of rain has left the Fyris River practically stagnant.

The purpose of the vet visit was for Frans to look at Loke’s eye again and discuss our options in depth. He decided Loke should get more of the cortisone drops in hopes of reducing it even further. He also thinks it’s possible to use another method than the usual one to remove the gland. Cut a slice in the skin and scoop it out, leaving most of said skin in place.

Though if it gets small enough, another option could be to just leave it. We could chance that maybe it won’t swell again or get another infection as it’s been problem free for so many years before this. Loke’s 12 so it’s a possibility, he could be unbothered with it for what time he has.

He had blood was taken as well, for follow up checks for his anemia, skewed Folic Acid levels, and B-12 deficiency. Hopefully those values will have improved, though since Loke’s anemia has held steady for a year, I don’t expect that to have changed. Frans also wanted to double check Loke’s liver and kidney values in case we decide to go through with the eye surgery.

As we stepped out of the clinic to roll back toward home, the receptionist came out with her dog for a potty-break. I was so thrilled to finally meet her new puppy! A 52 kg (114 lbs) Irish Wolfhound. She’s about a year old and still growing. I’ve never gotten to actually meet an Irish Wolfhound, only see them from distances of 30 feet or more.

She was soooooo sweet! And HUGE. I mean, logically I knew she was big and the breed is big, but to actually have her leaning against me and giving me slobbery smoochies, it gives a whole new perspective on ‘big’. A couple of Jack Russel puppies also joined in the fun, hopping on my feet in an attempt to get their share of attention as well. Cuteness overload!

The jaunt back home was uneventful. Loke went along with brisk enthusiasm, sporting an acid green wrap on his right front leg where blood had been drawn. We arrived at home with roughly 7 miles. Under dressed as I’d been, I curled up with my electric blanket while Loke gobbled down an extra scoop of kibble.

Not sure why, but I wound up with 4 ride-less days once more. Part of it was weather, I’m sure. We’ve been getting rain and it’s been in the 50’s F for most of the time. I was aiming to do the 18-20+ mile route on Saturday though. We had no plans with other people for the weekend. Jens was going to be home for both days. The forecast was decent at partly sunny and temps in the low 60’s F. I announced what I was going to be doing on Saturday and Jens agreed.

So, Saturday, September 23rd, came and… it was disheartening from the start. The sky looked like the surface of poured lead, heavy murky gray, as a misting drizzle spitted down. It was about 48 F when I took Loke out to do business at 7 am. Also, and most annoying, my hip was hurting the most it’s done in months. Not quite to the point of limping, but far from being comfortable. All of that combined went a long way to take the wind out of my sails.

It wound up that I was too restless to not keep edging toward going in spite of my lack of motivation. Finally, I stepped out the door at about 9:20 am. I’d wanted to get an earlier start for the long ride as I wasn’t sure how Loke and I were going to do. At roughly 20 miles, I didn’t want to be still pedaling at 7 pm or something silly. Granted, Jens was home to come get us, but I wanted to actually do a loop.

Then it occurred to me, I could head that way and if I decided it wasn’t going well, then we could turn off to do my old Vaksala/Granby loop. It’s roughly 10 miles depending on how I go at certain points at the beginning and toward the end.

Lovely cottage and autumn tree.

I wasn’t even on the trike before I started questioning if I’d even be able to do a short 3 mile loop. Just walking to my ride had my right foot cramping, making me limp, which in turn made my hip hurt even worse. Still, I was determined to take the furry one for at least a quick run. I gritted my teeth and settled in. At least the drizzling mist (misty drizzle?) had slacked off though everything in the distance had a haze.

It was a nightmare for the first mile. I had to unclip my right foot 3 times. Then, I don’t know why, it stopped and my feet were fine. A bit more wiggling around eased my hip somewhat, so I pushed off toward Gamla Uppsala, figuring I could do the grave mound loop if my other two choices were going to be too much.

This is it?!

Besides, there was also a Vendeltid exhibition supposed to be going on at the mounds. I was curious to at least take a quick look at it. We rolled through the area by the mounds and museum about 10 am. It didn’t look as if they had everything set up yet. There was one little awning up with a table beneath it holding like a helmet and a few other, smaller things, a viking style tent with a cook fire set up in front of it and about 2 dozen people wandering around there and the museum area in archaic Scandinavian clothing.

Loke and I did just a quick loop through there, not stopping as there seemed to be nothing more to see. Besides, I was curious how the autumn colors were progressing outside the residential areas of Uppsala. In town, the colors are fairly intense in spots, but that’s just the nature of the trees planted in places. I’m pretty sure they were chosen both for their shade properties for summer and their tendency to color for autumn.

Every example of this tree has this blight on the leaves. Can’t be good.

The countryside tends to tell a different story as the distribution of tree species is somewhat down to nature in many places.

The fuzzy had been fairly perky for that part of the ride which is a section of hamster track, but when we turned north, he was even more interested as we’ve not gone that way in some months. Actually, I can’t remember when we last did the Vaksala/Granby loop.

Loke’s speed was pretty good, but as I did timing calculations in my head about the longer route, concerns about how my hip was going to hold up continued to intrude. Probably helped along by the twinges of pain it insisted on thrusting upon my consciousness.

No more booms and rail crossing. Feels so weird.

As we came down the long-ish hill toward where the rail crossing used to be (weird that it’s gone after so many years), I decided to just take the turn toward Vittulsberg and head toward Vaksala.

Pretty autumn road

Loke was thrilled with the choice, even pulling into a run as we headed down the underpass beneath the rail tracks. It was nice to be out in the country and on a road that is one of my favorites, especially in the winter.

Ruined I tell you. Ruined!

Turns out though, it’s lost about a mile of its charm. I’ve loved how the trees clustered the way, some of them older growth and the charm of traditional Swedish stake fences along the sides in spots. Oh, especially in winter, all draped in snow. Just… stunning.

Well, a fair portion of it has been pretty much clear cut. An old tree or two left here or there and some leafy twigs of what remains of undergrowth standing among the stumps, churned dirt, and stacked logs. The lovely shade of the trees gone. Just an exposed scab of scarred earth at the road’s edge now. It made what was a lovely, pleasant way to go into something just to get through. Left me quite bummed in truth.

If I had to guess, someone with an eye to ‘development’ thought, ‘What a lovely spot! I know! Let’s remove everything that makes it great and slap some houses in so others can enjoy it!’ Enjoy what? Cookie-cutter houses with no charm and completely lacking trees?

Interesting and pretty.

As if Uppsala’s growing pains haven’t been bad enough with hideous bricks of apartment complexes popping up like this year’s bizarre density of mushrooms. At least the mushrooms are interesting and even sometimes, pretty.

At least on the road before that butchered stretch remained pretty and even blushed with some autumn colors here and there.

With the temperature bouncing between about 48 F and 51 F, the humidity so high that moisture condensed on everything including hair, fabric, skin and fur, I was quite chilled as we scuttled across the busy road to the cycle path that heads up toward Vaksala church. Starbucks hot chocolate from the mall sounded like just the perfect thing. Or at least it would once I answered a desperate call of nature.

That was best done at Vaksala church proper. The clean and comfortable little bathrooms tucked into the charming 17th century building that sits just outside the graveyard walls. From there, it was a quick dash back over the 288 where I followed the re-routed cycle path around yet ANOTHER upgrowth of an unattractive apartment building going up to the mall.

From an architectural aesthetics perspective, I’m really in the wrong century. Modern buildings are hideous to me. Victorian age structures, much lovelier. Of course, I don’t think these apartments are meant to be attractive. Just go up fast.

I parked right up against the Starbucks window so Loke and I could see each other as I dashed in. I’m friendly with all the baristas there and when one of them gave my clothes a curious look I pointed her gaze in the direction of Loke. She was quite charmed by what she saw, adoring huskies as she does.

Once I was back in the trike, I continued on at a slow amble. Strange looks followed us. A plump woman in a rolling arm chair with pedals accompanied by a white husky while sipping a Starbucks’ hot beverage. What’s strange about that?

The rest of the way back to the storage was uneventful. I rolled to a stop with 11 miles on the nose. Loke was disappointed it was over, even woofing at me to turn the trike around and go some more.

Jens had been called though and I pushed the trike in and settled back in the seat to wait for pick up. I had unclipped the furry one and played out some length of his leash so he could move about a bit as we waited.

Loke had moved to stand just outside the storage door. He watched me for a few seconds and then looked back up the slope with a disappointed sigh.

I shook my head at him as I pulled out my phone. Suddenly, Loke lurched. The first thing I noticed was how his hindlegs buckled, then he staggered first one side to the other as he crouched down, desperately trying to stay upright. His head twitched from side to side and eyes doing the same as if he’d been stuck on a merry-go-round at high speed. A seizure. All equilibrium gone and clearly, to his perception, the world was in a whirl and he was just trying to find one spot to focus on as it spun by.

I flung myself from the trike and clutch him close. Seconds later, it eased and Jens pulled up while I was still hugging my furball. He was a little wobbly as I walked him up the slope using the harness as a handle to keep him steady. Loke was eager to jump in by himself, but I picked him up.

Minutes later, he was his normal bouncy self. He flung himself out of the car with an enthusiastic jump and pranced into the apartment. He gobbled down the extra scoop of kibble I offered and then bounced out the door on a 2 mile walk with Jens as a test to see how he really was. Just fine as if nothing had happened.

I agonized with myself about going to the animal hospital for quite some time, but I had a feeling that the vets would find nothing wrong as it had been the last 3 times he had seizures. Admittedly, his seizures had never involved his head. Limbs twitching and going stiff, but not the ‘trapped on a merry-go-round’ thing.

Jens thinks we should wait it out rather than subject Loke to hospitalization or extra sedation. He’s 12, clearly not in pain or distress. Just his normal energetic, food-focused self. If it follows the same pattern, we may not see another seizure unless Loke lives for another 4 years or more. While Loke does have a relative who was 17 years old when a photo of  him was posted on his birthday this year, that old man doesn’t have Loke’s long list of issues. Eric, Loke’s brother, is still running strong this year last I heard. Loke’s dad, passed away at age 13.

I’m still going to make an appointment to talk to the vet today. I want to discuss what the seizure may mean in respect to the surgery to remove the gland in his lid if nothing else. Also, this time, if the vet does think it needs to be looked at, I’ll have an appointment via referral with neurologist at the university animal hospital instead of a generalist taking a 5 minute look and shrugging in bafflement.

I think Murphy just loves toying with me not to mention torturing my dog.

2 Comments so far
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terri, seems you should consider some of the trike platform supports for the winter riding so you won’t havw to worry about foot suck when keeping your feet warm. My cousins are from Starkville and have been complaining about their weather also.

Comment by Peter Marsalis, Jr.

Thank you for the suggestion, Peter! However, if it’s the kind of pedals I think you’re recommending, I’m uncertain if there’s enough room between the back of the pedal and the crossbar. I’d hate to shell out the cash only to discover I couldn’t use it because it bangs the trike every time it went around. :/

Comment by Terii

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