Terii’s Cycling Babble

Dratted Ribs
March 29, 2020, 11:41 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Against my instincts, I decided to go see how I felt in an attempt to ride the trike on March 25th. My husband drove me and came down into the storage as I first made an attempt to see how much it hurt to sit down in the trike and, as importantly, if I could get up from it without screaming in pain.

I got into the trike, mostly okay. Just a low level, dull kinda ache. I’ve not been able to sit in a reclined position or sleep on my back in weeks, so I expected that I’d hurt when I relaxed into the seat. Much to my shock, nope! Probably the most comfortable I’ve been in 3 weeks.

Jens then encouraged me to see how it felt with my feet on the pedals before assuming any more. That was a bit tricky, but I managed to them in place. Also, some reverse pedalling to see how the forward kind might do.

The motion of my legs doing the pedals gave me pause. There was an increase in pain. Then it was time for the big test. Getting up. I kinda flopped around a bit, trying to figure out the least painful way to get forward in the seat to pull up, which fortunately, I do with my right arm and not the left. That went better than anticipated to great surprise.

There was a short discussion as I wanted my hunny’s input. He’s the one who has to endure me being mostly crippled if I set back any healing. It’s not as bad as being the one who needs to heal, but I figure his opinion does matter, especially as we’re currently together 24/7 thanks to the pandemic.

He actually thought I should at least try a ride as long as I wasn’t hurting too bad. Maybe even if it was just to get the trike back to the apartment. Given my mood, I was willing to give it a shot.

I’ve been very down of late because I’ve been 8 weeks with essentially NO exercise except for one tiny little ride I did about a week after saying goodbye to Loke. I’ve gained weight thanks to be pinned in a chair for most of my waking hours, barely able to move. I’ve lost muscle tone and fitness. 2 years of 3-4 times a week at the gym just ppppppbbbbbtttthhhh down the toilet. All because of a dratted COLD. Not the Coronavirus. Not pneumonia. A COLD.

It’s left me a bit frustrated and upset, not to mention bored out of my ever-loving mind. Toss in 2 people, who though still a very tight marriage, are still getting on each others last nerves.

So, that’s what I did. Hubby went home and I pushed the trike up the ramp, with very little discomfort. Airing the tires was a bit of a nightmare, because silly me, forgot to check those while Jens was still around to helped, but I got it done.

Finally, I managed to get back in the trike and pondered my route. The most direct way is about half a mile. I’d have to push up a slope across the park, but once on the other side of the park, it would be a downhill glide right to the apartment door.

Spontaneously, I decided instead of head for the swim hall short ride, the same way I went on my last ride with Loke on New Years Eve day. It’s downhill for about a quarter mile, then flat all the rest of the way. That’s about .75 of a mile.

It was about 37 F and so WINDY that morning. Usually on that downhill dash, I hit about 12 mph without pedalling. This time, it was about 5 mph and a few times, I had to pedal to keep going. Crazy.

I found that people in Uppsala, Sweden have NO clue about ‘social distancing’. Most of the other people on bikes were just zipping by as usual, practically within arms reach of the trike even when they had almost 2 meters (or more) to spare on their other side. I gave berth as much as I could, short of falling off the curb into traffic. Riding on country roads might be all and good, but I really need to think on how to safely reach them through such a sea of idiots. Riding on city streets is maybe doable, but still would have to ride in centre of the car lane to avoid bikes riding the edge of the paths and probably not safe. *eye roll*

Any way, there were moments of pain, like discovering I had to watch when my lungs were full of air during the pedal stroke. If I was inhaling as my left leg came up, it hurt. Exhaling during the left foot’s upstroke, not so much. Annoyingly, I couldn’t quite get breathing and pedalling to properly sync. Even so, I pain levels were manageable enough that I decided to stretch the 1 mile ride to 1.8 mile.

It just felt so good to be out and moving. Not to mention it was giving Jens and I some space.

Still, when I got up from the trike at the apartment, I was convinced I’d made a horrible, horrible mistake. Though it wasn’t a sharp pain, it was in the 7 range of a 10 point scale. It hurt to breathe, walking was a challenge. I somehow got the trike put away in its spot and hobbled inside.

Later, I wasn’t so sure it was a bad idea. After about 10 minutes, I could almost swear I felt better than before the ride. I do know that I felt lighter of spirit at least, which may have been worth the discomfort.

Since then, I’ve been itching to ride and we’ve stunning weather for it, but the morons who insisted on passing so close even with plenty of space around stick in my mind. Not to mention there’s still this rib thing dragging on and on and on. Getting something that makes me cough with this damaged rib while learning the joy of suffocation just sounds unnecessary.

Finally Some Relief
March 16, 2020, 9:21 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

So, anyone who’s been keeping remotely up to date on my posts, knows that even before Loke’s passing, I was struggling with a cold. Well, the battle goes on.

With this whole Covid-19 bug spreading like wildfire through the world, I, at least, have felt confident that what I had was not that. Jens hasn’t been anywhere recently or anyone else I know and I’m fairly reclusive being an introvert. I’ve felt relieved that once this cold has been shaken off, I’ll be fine to ride. It’s not like I ride in groups or through crowds of people. The wide open countryside, Covid-19-Free, beckons.

Or it would if not for this annoyingly persistent and brutal hacking. It’s been so bad that my ribs have just KILLED me at times. They hurt when I breathed. They hurt when I walked. Putting on a pair of socks was a whole new world of pain. Jens has commented on his worries that perhaps they were cracked from the sheer force and duration of the coughing fits that sometimes left me on the verge of passing out.

Evenings were typically the worst. I was still coughing through the days, but not as frequent or as hard. But from about 6 pm on, the hell began. Thursday, March 12th was especially hellish. All I could do during the evening was whimper in between coughing fits that felt as if they were crushing my ribs while simultaneously splitting my skull open. They’d finish on a high, squeaking wheeze as they left me with no time to gulp air. Finally, I crawled to bed and managed to fall asleep which gave me a few hours of relief though I woke twice in the night to start all over again.

Friday, March 13th, I was still coughing hard and furious during the morning. Definitely, I was getting worse. I had to have Jens’ help to get my cursed socks on because the pain in my ribs was just too much. Since walking was equally horrible, Jens drove me to the healthward where I had hoped to do a walk-in and see a nurse at the very least. Nope. Walk-ins canceled thanks to the Covid-19 virus.

So, I called the ward and talked with a nice receptionist. I had a bad fit while trying to talk to her and she got me in with a doctor. Jens drove me again.

The doctor was nice. She listened to me describe the cold from it’s beginning back before Valentine’s Day to current. Watched me through a few fits before she started her more direct exam.

Much to my surprise, my lungs sounded clear. Baffling given how productive the cough had been in the mornings at least. But, my throat looked fine and my lungs were congestion-free. She also checked my ribs, but believed it was just muscle strain.

Before deciding anything more, she wanted to be sure it wasn’t a bacterial infection. Off to the lab for blood tests. Oh happy day (sarcasm).

Actually, wasn’t too bad. Turned out they were able to just get what they needed from a finger prick. Oh happy day (not sarcasm).

A few minutes later, she called me back. No bacteria, so it was just a virus. “All I can do is give you a prescription cough medicine with codeine,” she told me apologetically. I guess she thought I was going to be devastated that no antibiotics were coming. I was fine with that and just happy, that maybe I’d be getting something that would help stop the coughing!

Oh did it. The world’s been a bit fuzzy with every dose, but since Friday evening, the only coughing I’ve really done is when I’ve delayed taking the next dose to see how bad I still am.

The lack of coughing has made the itch to ride even stronger, but I’m trying to be cautious. I don’t want to go out and overdo it and wind up back where I started from. The cough syrup makes me a bit sleep, which makes it a little easier to just stayin and doze at least.

I am very annoyed with my ribs though. 2 days with very little coughing and there doesn’t seem to be much of a change in how they feel. Breathing doesn’t make them ache, but walking and putting on socks is still unpleasant. Pretty sure that every little bump and jolt on the trike would be hellish.

So, at least another day or two off the trike.

Pity. It’s almost 50 F, sunny, and very little wind at the moment. *mournful sigh*












March 7, 2020, 8:48 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s been 12 days since Loke’s passing.

My life has been in a sort of abeyance for those 12 days. I’ve been fighting a cold for most of a month actually. Coughing so fierce and hard that my ribs on the right side have felt like they’re cracked or something. My husband has suggested that’s exactly what happened. I’m guessing (and hoping) it’s strained muscles rather than bone damage.

During the time, we have reclaimed the space that was Loke’s. His pillow beds were the first to go. I did that dry-eyed. The first major triggered occurrence of tears, came from all things, a bag of bunny ears. It reminded me of just the week before when, somewhere, somehow, Loke had found a mostly empty bag. All that remained was a fragment of an ear, about 4 inches long. Apparently, he couldn’t get it out of the bag by himself. He brought it to me, drop it in my lap and then glanced between my face and the bag several times. His way of saying, ‘Fix this for me.’

He was not the ‘How can I please my beloved master’ kind of dog, but he was very much the, ‘My human will fix this for me!’ sort.

Other spates of tears came from taking the remaining unopened bag of ears and sharing them around. One went up stairs to the family who hand raised the 6 white pitbull puppies when the mother died during birth. They still have one cute bully boy who was intrigued by that. The guy gave me a hug and even looked a bit teary eyed himself as he said he was so sorry to hear.

Another of our neighbors has a cute little Staffordshire terrier and also took one of the white pitbulls, naming her Ester. I went to take a bag to her for them, but didn’t know which apartment she lived in. I stopped in to ask my friend Ingrid which it was.

Ingrid already knew about Loke. Before the appointment at the vet, I suspected it was going to be the end for my beloved furball, and so wanted to let Ingrid say goodbye. Sadly, she wasn’t in. After he was gone, I went to her door and this time she was home. She pulled me in and we sat in the living room crying as her little dogs clustered around licking faces and trying to comfort us.

She invited me in again as I came knocking to ask which apartment. Her dogs clustered around me, SO intrigued by the bag of ears I was holding. Honestly, it hadn’t occurred to me to offer her a bag. Her little pack is a male Chinese crested, a female of the same, and sweet little Kaysa who is a Chinese-crested/chihuahua cross and Loke’s age. The small breeds like them have very small teeth and often they end up in very poor condition because of  how shallow the roots are.  Ingrid cares for her dogs impeccably, but the two full breeds are 7 and 9 years old and came from elsewhere just a couple years ago, and Kaysa, well, at 14 even with great care has lost quite a few teeth.

But they were SOOOO interested, so we gave them an ear each. Such cute little dogs, they looked like they had those 3 foot long rawhide chews people get for big dogs the ears were so big in comparison to them. Much to my surprise, as Ingrid and I sat chatting, they managed to work through them. I had to leave the bag with her.

Later, I went back with a bag for Cam. It turns out her darling, fur covered brick of a bully girl is very allergic. Hearing that, I took what was left of Loke’s dog food to her too. She didn’t know Loke well, but cried with me as I told her what happened. It was very sweet.

Two other bags went to some of the women who work at Starbucks. One of them has a big floof of a husky. The other has a cross-breed of a golden with something else.

Other things that triggered tears were predictable. Finding Loke’s very first collar. Putting away his food dishes because he was just so insane about his meals.

For about 8 days, I thought I was doing okay. I rarely had so much as sniffle. Well, over Loke any way, I sniffled plenty thanks to the cold. Sometimes, I would look around for him out of habit. Drove Jens to work one morning and found myself continually looking in the rear view mirror to see if he was laying down in the back as I came back home. But mostly, I just felt melancholy and a little sad.

After having like no winter this ‘winter’, we finally got some. It was almost as if Loke took the lingering autumn/spring with him when he went. The next day after saying goodbye, we had freezing temps during the day and spates of snow. For 10 days, that’s what it’s been. Not a lot of snow, but still snow and ice.

I wanted to get out and ride. I’ve not been to the gym in a month. My body is turning to pudding thanks to this cold. I’ve been going stir crazy. Crazy enough that even with my cold hanging on, I was considering taking the trike out even if I was only toodling around at 2 mph. Just to get out and MOVE. With the freezing temps though, I held off. It didn’t seem to be wise to go out and do something that would make me breathe deeper, pulling frosty air into congested lungs.

At last, on March 6th, though it had started off at about 28 F, it warmed to about 38 F. The sun came out as the clouds cleared from the sky to leave it a glorious blue. Not so much as a breath of wind stirred the trees.

I pulled on my cycle clothes and headed out for a short ride.

At first, I was okay. Puttered around the storage to organize my side bags and put the handlebar bag on the trike. Everything secure, I straightened up to push the trike out… and my eyes found Loke’s running bar leaning on the wall.

It hit me so hard. From fine to sobbing my heart out in a split second.

Even in his twilight days, Loke was still well tangled into everything about me and my trike. Over 90% of my rides have been with him at my side. When my first trike arrived on the doorstep, Loke was already almost a year old. As I assembled that Trice Q, I had such grand plans of exploring my newly adopted country with him. Oh the adventures I dreamed we’d have, me and this hyper white furball who was constantly underfoot.

Even at the end when I was barely riding because Loke was too unstable to come with the trike, even at a creeping roll, and I couldn’t leave him alone for long hours at a stretch, he was still tangled up with it. There was also still the chance that he might have a good day and could take a slow amble. I mean, hey, December 31st, 2019 he went from half dead and us ready to go to the animal hospital for the final goodbye, to begging to go with me as I readied to ride. He did 1 mile that day at a pace that wasn’t anywhere near his worst. So, in my mind, as long as he drew breath there was still the possibility of ‘one more ride’ with him.

But then, there wasn’t ever going to be one more ride with him. There was only the running bar against the wall reminding me it was all gone. This was going to be my first ride with the trike where there was no Loke at all in my life.

I struggled stop the tears and get the trike out the door, but just the act of that reminded me of how Loke would be standing, ready and eager at the entrance, ready to be hitched to run. I managed to fumble the door closed and get the trike up the slope.

Once at the top and in the sun, I was about to sit in the seat and ended up staring at the strands of white hair tangled in the seat mesh. I decided I wasn’t going to fight it. I sat down in the trike, buried my face in my hands and wept and sobbed. I let the grief flow and didn’t give a damn who saw or what they might think.

Tears passed as they are wont to do. I wiped my face dry, put feet to pedals, and pushed off. As I came across the park, there were still some welling of tears, but I didn’t collapse into full blown weeping.

I tried to focus on how pretty the day was with the blue skies. How I didn’t feel nearly as ‘pudding like’ as I expected with almost a month of little to no exercise except for trying to hack up a lung. I took it slow and easy.

It wasn’t much of a ride. Just 1.3 miles and I have no idea how long it took me. I seem to have lost my Garmin since the ride on December 31st. No clue where it wound up. I only know 1.3 miles because it was one of the shortest routes I had for Loke when he wanted to come for an outing, but was too weak to go far.

Still, it was a beginning and important. My first ride on my trike in a world that doesn’t have Loke in it.

After I finished, it was coming up on 3 pm which is my cut-off for eating on my fasting cycle. Sadly, that too has been a bust since I’ve been eating cough-drops like mad at all hours to stop my head from exploding or lungs collapsing. Another reason I’m probably about 5 lbs up, but I don’t dare step on a scale. Sugar-free cough drops are a no-go since artificial sweeteners make me wish for death even more than my physical reaction to meat and dairy.

Have I mentioned that I primarily eat vegan now? Dunno, can’t remember and in all honesty, it seems unimportant compared to the other stuff. I ‘fall off the wagon’ on occasion, like say 2 or 3 days after Loke’s death, but the punishment my physiology heaps upon me for such lapses puts me back on the straight and narrow.

Any way, I was coming up on the time when I’m supposed to stop eating, so hustled off to Dylan’s BBQ food truck for food. No, I was not naughty. He makes an awesome bean side-dish which has no meat product in it. It’s kinda like Boston baked beans meats BBQ with a perfect balance of sweet and spicy. I’ve taken to buying batches of the beans and then bringing them home to eat with rice.

I like Dylan. He’s not only a fellow American, but an awesome guy as well and I’m happy to support his business any way I can, vegan or not.

So, I went and got a plate of beans. He wasn’t going to charge me, but I insisted. He works hard for his money and, as I said, I wanna support his business any way I can. As I ate, he was having a lull in business so we chatted a while.

Tummy full, I decided I should tell someone else about Loke’s passing. The lovely woman who, for the past 4 years or so, helped turn him into such a shining, perfect ball of pure white floof. Jennifer, the owner of the dog salon.

I always thought when Loke went, we’d have a day or so to spoil him rotten and let people say goodbye. People like Jennifer.

She was very touched that I had come to tell her and we spent a while talking. I told her that it was my first ride without and she gave my hand a squeeze. It also helped that she understood, having just lost one of her dogs this autumn. She has 2 more, but the girl she had to say goodbye to was one of those special ones that always shines like a beacon in your memory no matter how many others may come and go.

Short as the ride was, it was important. A beginning without Loke.

Jens and I haven’t said we’ll never have another dog. Admittedly, part of me isn’t sure I will ever be up to another one. It will be a while though.