Terii’s Cycling Babble

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.

The Hardest Post
February 25, 2020, 7:29 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Loke – Age 8 Weeks & 1 Day

Memorials. Eulogies. Hard things to express. Difficult to pour out the emotions of loss even as one feels the need to do so. The weight of something that feels so heavy and yet, it is a void left by something or someone no longer with you.

Anyone who has made a habit of reading my posts, or has looked back over what I’ve written recently, knows of Loke’s decline these past years. The past 2 years especially. It’s been such a roller coaster, but if it were graphed and you connected the peaks with a straight line, you’d see that each of the highs wasn’t as high as the previous. We knew this day was coming. It still hurts.

Snow Loke2 Dec 31 2005 alt

Loke – December 31st, 2005 (6 months old)

The past month or so, it had accelerated. There was less spring in his step, at least when outdoors. His appetite had lessened, so he was much pickier about what he would eat. I was having to go to more creative methods to walk that razor’s edge of keeping him from having allergic reactions, but still something he would eat with this medications mixed in. The times when his back  legs would just suddenly quit working for minutes at a stretch had increased.

Then it accelerated even more. Over the weekend, he was walking even slower. One short walk I took him on, he was ‘knuckling’ horribly and not even realizing it. Sunday, he suddenly refused to eat his medicated deer meat breakfast. He still desperately wanted Jens’ breadroll, and ate his new hydrolyzed salmon kibble with okay enthusiasm, but he wouldn’t so much as LOOK at the deer meat.

06-01 b Wallowing Loke

Wallowing Goof Ball of Fur

That was concerning as it was the only was I was willing to make sure Loke took his meds. Before we started giving him soft food again to get him take them, I’d been prying Loke’s mouth open, inserting a pill, hold mouth shut and rub the bottom of the jaw to make him swallow them.

We were miserable. He became evasive and paranoid of where I was in terms of his personal space. I hated that he was looking at me as something to be avoided. Then, came the day when he bared his teeth and snapped at me. Fortunately, we were able to overcome that when a soft food that wouldn’t trigger an allergic reaction was discovered thanks to some of the vets doing research. I was able to hide his pills in it and he gobbled it down with no notice.

04-07 e Smithy & Loke

Small Smithy, Loke & Trike

Then he stopped eating that so, we moved on to deer meat against my instincts, since his last 5 day stint at the hospital was because of reindeer meat. But it worked and he was over the moon getting deer meat again. Then there we were. Even deer meat wouldn’t tempt him into eating his meds. Jens tried to suggest that I make Loke take them. I refused to spend his last days hating me and running from me. Jens tried and got Loke to take his capsules at least. That was Sunday, Feburary 23rd.

01-07 b Loke's True Love

Loke snuggling with part of his one true love.

08-04 b Loke Cooling Off

Loke cooling off.

Then, February 24th, Loke wouldn’t eat. Not anything. I even did a little test with a piece of bread. He turned away from that. Bread, something he had loved as much as the trike didn’t even call to him.

He had some energy in the apartment, but each step outside was teetering and slow. One walk with him, his back legs suddenly dropped him. I’d been watching closely and hurried over to help him lay down, checking to see how bad it was.

07-06 j Koversta Loke Hoping for Food

Loke did try to touch noses with the horse before looking to see what was in the bucket.

Suddenly this woman seemed to come out of nowhere, probably because I was so focused on Loke. She was yelling at me about what a horrible person I was and that she was going to call the police to report animal cruelty. I was already gutted and crying, then this harpy came out of nowhere to kick me while I was down. Loke freaked out at her hostile manner and started thrashing around, trying to get up and escape. So, who was the cruel one?

I picked him up, the woman waving her phone and yelling still as I carried my 50 lb dog about 30 yards to the apartment building I first lived in with Jens. She didn’t follow me inside, so all I had to do was go up a flight to get out of her sight. I set Loke on the landing and we just waited for a while. His legs came back to him and then we finished the walk home across the parking lot.

57 Loke Battling Water

The Water Started It!

I told Jens and since Loke was having such difficulties, we decided I’d call the vet to at least get him checked and see what, if anything could be done. I had my doubts anything could be done, but one way or another, a call needed to be made.

While I waited for the appointment, Loke seemed to have a bit more energy and was rather clingy.

Jens’ parents came to give us the ride. Jens’ dad is Loke’s mostest, favoritest person in the whole world. As I coaxed a teetering Loke to the car, he didn’t even respond to Åke. He might as well have been a stranger.

03-29 e Loke Snow 3

Loke Snow Diving!

I was already teary as I walked into the clinic. I became more so when I coaxed Loke onto the scale only to discover he’d lost about 7 lbs in 10 days. In the exam room. Loke was lethargic. He had no gut sounds, was dehydrated. I called Jens and we decided. It was time.

Jens asked if it was okay that I had it done right away. It would take him over 2 hours to get to us and the vet clinic would have been close to closing time by then and it didn’t seem right to try and make Loke wait another day if he was already doing so poorly.

Loke at Gysinge

Loke Hunting Beavers? – February 2010

My husband is one of the kindest and most generous hearted men I have ever known, but I’ve never seen him so much as teary-eyed in over 15 years. I heard it on the phone. The thick voiced grief. For Loke, he was shedding tears.

Loke’s been so much apart of family life, I did call Jens’ parents to let them know. Give them the choice to say goodbye or not. Jens’ mom came in, but it was too painful for Jens’ dad, bringing back memories of when their Standard Poodle passed. I think my mother-in-law was there more for me than for Loke.

1a Innocent Loke

What? I wasn’t doing anything! I’m a good boy!

We went off to the small, more comfortable room the clinic has for the final farewells. A nice, thick, fuzzy mat on the floor for big dogs to lay on. Candles gleamed and boxes of tissues

The vet staff rallied around. Olivia, one of the vet techs, spread the word to anyone who knew Loke and I. As Loke was given the initial sedation, they all came in, one by one to give his head a last loving pat and me a hug or hand on the shoulder, kind words. I was relieved that the end came there, among the men and women who had worked as hard as I had to keep Loke happy and as healthy as possible for as long as we had.

Loke passed peacefully beside me, as I laid down on the floor with him for that last cuddle. February 24th, roughly 3:45 pm. We sat with him for a while until I finally had no sense of Loke still being there. I’d stopped crying for a bit while talking with my mother-in-law about memories. I stood up and gave him one last look. His collar, I decided I had to have it and burst into tears all over again as I took it off.

Though I could have taken the side door and slipped out with my tears unseen by all in the waiting room, I went through the clinic to double check about any payment since I hadn’t had a chance to pre-pay. Olivia about hugged the breath out of me, bless her.

05-03 jb Loke by Baltic

Loke by the Baltic

I’m glad I took that little side trip, even if strangers saw my tears. As we were finishing up, Olivia came by again. “I thought you’d want to know, but after Loke is cremated, his ashes will be scattered in the forests of Dalarna.”

That was a comfort believe it or not. Darlarna is a ‘region’ of Sweden, sort of the way the US is broken into states. It so happens that Loke was born on the fringes of a small town called Insjön which is in Dalarna. Loke was returning to the land he had been born in. Also, Dalarna is where a major branch of my family tree has roots. Fitting, as a huge part of my heart was leaving with him, back to that source for us both figuratively speaking.

16 Loke On Top Of World

Loke On Top of the World

Rather than going home to a suddenly empty house, Jens’ mom insisted I come with them to their place where Jens could pick me up when he got to Uppsala.

04-08 d Loke Watching SquirrelIt was a strange evening. There were times when I felt so calm, but it was more of a sense of numb or hollow. None of the general nitpicking between Jens and I about who takes Loke out. No tick-tick of nails on the wooden floor. None of the cute little snoring sounds.

I had been in Sweden for less than 6 months when we decided to get a husky. Barely more than 7 months when we picked Loke (then Ezlo) out from two litters. Had been in the country for 8 months and 10 days when we brought him home.

He was much of what my life here was. Shaping my perspective of it. Sharing in my exploration and in some way, love of it as we rolled thousands of miles with my trike. The adventures and fun and, yes, even the frustrations and challenges.

Now, Sweden will be different. Riding my trike will take on new meanings I’ll have to discover. A major thread in the fabric of my life where Loke was, has been cut and the pattern will now change. I spent more time with Loke than any other living creature with the exception, perhaps, of my mother through childhood to the moment I left home. For almost 15 years, we’ve shared the same space, most of the time, 24/7 excepting running errands. I’ve spent more time with Loke than Jens. Except for his trips to the hospital, there have only been 6 other times I’ve not had Loke around overnight. My trip to the hospital for the stroke. My 2015 credit-card tour in the southern part of Sweden. The road trip through Europe where he stayed with Jens’ parents. Both trips to England for me to test ride the trike. One trip that Jens took with his dad and Loke went with them.

RIP - Feb 24th 2020

The last photo of Loke taken February 24th. Born- July 1st, 2005. Died – February 24th, 2020. My heart goes with you. Thank you for the smiles.

And so, I set out without my constant companion for the first time in over 14 years, to see where the roads will take me.

Here Comes A New Decade!
January 27, 2020, 7:01 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Seriously?! I forgot to hit PUBLISH?!

(Written January 1, 2020)

I have to say though, the last day of 2019 was an emotional roller coaster with dizzying lows.

As I’ve mentioned before, Loke has a pattern to his days at the moment. Most mornings, he’s sluggish, unstable. The past couple weeks, he’s taken to frequently bringing up his dinner, completely undigested after sitting in his tummy for 8 to 12 hours. It’s like his entire stomach and intestinal system slams shut sometime before he has the last meal of the day. This past week, his appetite might have taken a nose dive. He won’t eat his treats and often ignores his food, though he’s still interested in human food which he can’t have.

Jens wonders if it was simply just him being stubborn like he was between ages 9 months to 2 or 3 years. His own food (always dry kibble back then) would ALWAYS just sit in his dish for sometimes as long as 36 hours. Any time we’d eat though, he’d be there, staring holes through us and a puddle of drool around his feet, begging for what we had. It was bad enough that he weighed perhaps 40-45 lbs since I didn’t want to train Loke that he could have everything we did. I was determined he eat HIS food. Jens sometimes derailed that by breaking as this clearly was before we discovered Loke’s budding allergies.

It was bad enough at one point that the vet commented on how thin he was. I assured the vet, he had food available, he just wasn’t eating it. Later that visit, I caught one of the vet techs, offering Loke a piece of kibble on the sly, testing to see if I was a cruel woman starving my dog to death. Loke politely took the piece of dog food, looked at the tech with an offended expression and spat it on the floor. The very image of a starving dog, desperate for any food, yes? She caught me looking and gave me a sheepishly apologetic look.

The problem now of course, is that Loke absolutely cannot have anything we eat. That first time when he refused his own food only to desperately beg for ours, Jens could slip him something and he’d probably be alright. Now? It could well be a death sentence.

An additional problem with Loke leaving his food, even the soft food, in his dish, is he wasn’t getting his medication. The very critical medication that keeps him from having seizures and muscle pain. Jens suggested ‘making’ Loke take it. My answer was that he was welcome to do it, but reminded him that the last time I tried that, Loke curled a lip and snapped at me when I came near him. I refuse to turn my dog, who had never growled or snapped before, into an aggressive, defensive creature who fears my approach because I’m prying his mouth open to put a pill on the back of his tongue. It would be time to say goodbye before I do that. I was miserable and clearly he was miserable with being forced to take his meds twice a day.

So, my desperate and abruptly reasonable husband, urged me to go buy some deer meat, boil it, blitz it in the blender so I could water it down and mix the medication. I feared that as the last time Loke had deer meat (reindeer), he was in the hospital for most of the entire first week of 2019. Jens, reasonably, pointed out that he would rather risk giving Loke something tasty he likes and have to say goodbye to a mostly happy husky, then to watch Loke be so very, very hungry while also having his brain turn to goo from seizures.

I suddenly realized that I wasn’t going to have to fight Jens when it came time to say goodbye. Jens wasn’t going to be there wanting to keep Loke going because he didn’t want to let go. I didn’t have to worry about alienating him over this.

So, I got the meat. Instead of reindeer, moose, or roe deer, I picked up red deer meat. Loke’s had a lot of the first 3 over the years. I don’t know about how close the in type the allergy triggers between all of the deer types might be, but decided to go for what he’s has the least of.

Either, Loke has become a bit less allergic to deer over the year, or red deer is just different enough from the rest that it doesn’t seem to be triggering him. We’re keeping it in very low amounts. 2 table spoons of deer goo per meal. One scoop by itself in the bottom of his dish, well mixed with his medication. The other, spread through his kibble and soft food to encourage him to eat. The solo medicated scoop goes down quick. The mixed one has had mixed results.

So, most mornings, I’ve been fretful. Is it time for the final farewell? He’s not miserable, is he? Then sometime between lunch and 7 pm, this decrepit, fading husky is replaced by this bright-eyed creature, woofing at us, stomping his feet and pacing restlessly around as he seeks out stuff to get into, especially if it involves food. He’s even managed to get the pantry open a couple times. In short, he drives us CRAZY with all this energy and mischief.

So, yesterday morning, December 31st, Loke was his new ‘normal’ sluggish self. So I thought. I took him out for first morning walkies at about 7:30 am when Jens and he emerged from the bedroom. Something was off with him. He was even slower than normal and much more unstable.

He started out kinda okay, but slowed to an inching, barely moving pace in the first 50 yards. He kept stopping and was staring off in odd directions, not as if he was looking at something but as if he was lost or, just not there. He was often wobbling while do it. He was so unbalanced I didn’t want to pull the leash so I was trying to coax steps out of him. At one point, he managed to totter over to me and leaned against my leg before laying down on the sidewalk. It took a few minutes to get him back up as I wondered if I was going to carry him back to the apartment.

Then he threw up the previous night’s dinner, completely undigested, as he does about half the time any more. Combined with his weirdness and increased instability, it worried me so badly, tears started streaming down my cheeks. Somehow, we got back to the apartment without me dragging or carrying him. 200 yards took us almost 20 minutes. The worst he’s done since that fateful April-May of 2018 when his health crashed so badly I was hours from calling the vet to say goodbye.

I felt it was time to call the vet again as he flopped down on the floor, breathing laboured. New Year’s Eve day though, I guessed it was going to be hard to get through. Probably 1 vet working the whole hospital. It seemed best to call around 10 am and hope for the best.

I had hoped that when Loke’s time came, we could have done it at ‘our’ clinic. They know us there and they have a considerate set up for people who have to euthanize their pets. You can pay in advance and schedule a later time. When it comes, you call them to let them know and arrive with your pet. Instead of going in the usual way, there’s another area with another entrance so the animal doesn’t associate it so much with the vet. A quiet spot, secluded where you can be with your furry family member for those final moments. When it’s time to go, you don’t have to go through the crowded waiting room, grief stricken and teary to stand at the counter and pay. You can just go.

But our clinic is closed until Jan 2nd or 3rd.

I mixed up the deer gloop and Loke’s meds. When I offered it to him, he didn’t want to get up and eat. He’s never done that before. Sticking the bowl under his nose, he’d lick, but even when I moved it away, he just laid there, looking at me. Still, at least he took his meds.

Jens asked if I’d go get us Starbucks, promising he’d keep a close eye on Loke. I agreed and dragged myself out the door. As I drove there, my phone suddenly dinged with sent texts. My heart dropped into my stomach, convinced that it was Jens letting me know Loke had gone into a grand mal seizure or stopped breathing.

I don’t handle my phone when I drive and there wasn’t an easy spot to pull over to look. I had to wait the 2-3 minutes until I got to the mall parking.

Turned out, no. Loke was fine. Just a couple minutes after I’d left, he’d gotten up, started pacing, woofing at Jens and trying to get into the pantry. From halfway through death’s door back to our lovable pain in the butt who was apparently going to start the ‘good’ phase of his day much earlier than usual. He had even eaten about half of the scoop of kibble Jens gave him before going back to trying the pantry door again.

Out of all this with Loke, I swear, the up and down is the most gut wrenching.

Earlier in the week, I’d committed to going for a New Year’s Eve ride as well as a New Year’s Day ride even though I’d not ridden the trike since September 24th. The weather was supposed to be mild so it seemed likely I could bully myself out door in spite of the funk I’ve been in. Before I left for Starbucks, I’d posted on the trike group that it wasn’t likely to happen and why.

With Loke’s bounce though and the fact that the clouds had blown away and it had turned into a SPECTACULAR day for the first time in weeks, if a bit on the nippy side (38 F), I decided maybe I was in a good enough mood to go out even if just for a short ride. Even if I’d ridden very little this year what with my feelings about Loke’s decline and issues, I could at least see it out with a few miles.

As I started dragging on thermals, the now-bouncy Loke was abruptly in the way. Head on my leg, tail doing a cute little wag, and eyes becoming huge pools of puppy pleading. I was taken aback. Loke’s not done this kind of behavior in response to the cycle clothes in years! I honestly believed that they had lost their magic power over him. Yet, there he was.

Jens saw this and suggested I try taking him with me. Loke, the dog who just 3 hours or so before had been most of the way toward death. I had pretty much stopped taking Loke (and stopped riding) because in my mind, I’d retired him due to weakness and instability.

I agreed as long as Jens was willing to come get him the instant I thought Loke might need it. He agreed.

Loke seemed to like the idea. I picked up  his harness and he came right over, helpfully putting his head through and lifting the proper foot to help get it on.

As we got out at the storage, I was a bit wary about Loke’s behavior. As we walked down the ramp, he was waaaaaay over by the far wall and laid down as I opened it. There he stayed as I aired up the neglected tires of the trike and got things settled. Once I pushed the trike out though, he heaved himself to his feet and ambled over to come stand at his running bar without the least bit of prompting. He gave me an expectant look and wagged his tail.

He needed a little help to get up the slope, but once at the top and I sat in the seat, he was wagging his tail.

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Even slow, this is nice to have him with.

We rolled out and he shuffled along at what I would say was a respectable speed for his age and ability. We crossed to the sidewalk where I typically ride in the grass to help Loke’s feet and give him lots of trees to sniff. He pretty much ignored said trees and wanted to move. A little further on, I had to get off the sidewalk and onto the street. Loke sped up into a kind of scuffling jog at just under 5 mph. I was impressed.

The jog didn’t last long, but it had been there. Even when he slowed and got a bit wobbly, he was still clearly happy to be out. After he’d done his ‘wild quarter mile’ as it were, then he was happy to stop and sniff. He was alert to his surroundings and taking interest.

As we continued on back toward the apartment on a 1 mile meander, I found myself abruptly feeling more peaceful about how things are with Loke. It’s gut wrenching, yes. Sad, yes. And yet, even after such a bad morning, here he was out doing what he loved doing for much of his life. A kind of serenity came with it.

Once I got Loke back home, I headed out for a few solo miles, planning to go out toward the grave mounds at Old Uppsala. The poor fuzzy was disappointed I was leaving without him, but he’d gotten quite tired. When we stopped at the light to wait to cross, he’d wobbled and leaned against the light post. I wasn’t gonna keep him going until he collapsed no matter how much he might want to go.

My solo ride ended up around 3 miles. Having ridden not at all since September 24th and not been to the gym since December 23rd, I was feeling a loss of conditioning. As I came to that 1 mile slight climb between home and the mounds, I slowed down. Throw in a 15-20 mph headwind and I was doing a ridiculously not-fast crawl through an area I’ve seen 100’s of times and I really didn’t feel like spending half an hour enduring it. The pretty weather couldn’t trump crap scenery and fathomless boredom. I turned around and took the trike back to storage. Roughly 4 miles for the day.

Where Has It Gone?
December 26, 2019, 7:16 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’m not sure where my passion for riding has gone. I’m hoping it’s just buried under the burden of watching Loke’s decline into the final days of his long (for a husky) life. Every year since getting my Sprint 26, allowing me to ride through the ice and snow of winter, I’ve bolted out the door for a roll on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, often both. Same for New Year’s Eve day and New Year’s Day.

Not that snow and ice are a common problem the past few years. This year, started to look like as if we were going to have a real winter. Now, except for daylight hours of less than 6 hours, I could be sitting in Mississippi on the Gulf Coast in the States. Quite a few days have been in the ‘summer’ range. I’ll grant, it’s a cool summer range, but still completely plausible for Swedish summer. Hazel pollen is out and causing havoc with Loke.

But, I degress. I’ve just not been feeling the riding vibe or much else. I’ve felt apathetic about pretty much everything. Jens, bless him, has been trying to get me motivated to choose a Christmas gift, probably a computer monitor as the one I have has been through 2 or maybe 3 computers. It’s gotten kinda dim in a way that turning up the brightness doesn’t correct. A yellowish tint to what should be crisp and white. Something a little larger would be nice to facilitate my 3D work.

Also, still haven’t gotten my big 50 years-on-this-planet gift either.

I’ve been hardcore slacking on my gym attendance for more than a week too. It’s a sort of ‘meh’ triggered by the holiday hours. I don’t feel the pull to go to the old gym location which lacks the machines and tools I use for my current workout routine and the larger location I’ve become accustomed to hasn’t been opening until 8 am. Sloshing around in a workout with smoothie in my tummy or starving until 10 am, neither appeal.

My energy levels are down, a result of cutting out animal products from my diet.

I never thought there’d be a day when I’d be able to say, “I’m trying to be a vegan” with a straight face without following it up with a howl of laughter and ‘APRIL FOOLS!’

My husband’s youngest sister found out yesterday while talking with her parents. ‘Jens and Terii are coming to dinner tomorrow and she’s trying to be a vegan!’ Becca couldn’t believe it. “Terii? Seriously?!”

When she came over to get something out of storage to take back south with her, she was very effusive in her amazement and even how proud of me she was that I was making the attempt. That was very nice to hear.

Don’t get me wrong, Jens has been incredibly supportive, but not verbally so. When I started dabbling my toes in the whole diet shift, he came back from a shopping trip. In his bags, he had a meat substitute made from peas for me to try something with and a big can of chocolate protein powder for me to toss into my smoothies. So, while tight lipped about my choice, he’s been a man of action to show his support. Come New Year, he’s been talking about joining me.

I’m trying to expand my diet within the vegan parameters. A bit tricky as I really detest beans except for split pea soup. Oh and curry. I despise curry to the point I’d rather chew a bar of soap liberally sprinkled with lemon peels. I would probably dislike the taste less. Just something about it tastes bitter and unpleasant. Yet, seems about 90% of the vegan recipes I find are curry. *shudders*

But dinner yesterday was tasty with my in-laws. My darling mother-in-law made a batch of meatballs from scratch from a soy meat replacement. Mashed potatoes with the dairy replaced with oat substitutes. With some lingon preserves on the side as I would with the same dish made in traditional fashion and I could hardly tell the difference. Was awesome really.

When I get back into riding, I’m not sure how much of an impact the diet change will have.

I do have a determination to get back into riding at some point. Still, I miss staring out the window, imagining how it would be riding that road or spotting places that would make a good space to camp if I were cycle touring. Wondering about alternative routes if the road is unsuitable. I’ve not been doing that.

But we shall see what the New Year brings.  I suppose, a lot of it comes down to Loke.

Fading Echo
December 10, 2019, 4:20 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Yes, again I’ve been very silent of late. Truly, it’s because I’ve not been riding. I could say it’s the weather and such, but that can be overcome.

The Rugby was fun to watch, but frustrating as New Zealand wasn’t able to pull off the hat trick to walk away with the cup again. Just too lackluster and I don’t think they’ve jelled as a solid team since the retirement of a slew of their best after the last cup.

I’m simply in a funk. I guess that isn’t really so simple, but there it is. I have no energy for even daily tasks and have to bully myself for pretty much everything. Just getting laundry folded is a titanic struggle and that’s necessary. I can go without riding. Throw in short daylight hours.

It’s harder to drag out of it now because I think I’m in a Christmas funk. Christmas has had a lot of bad to it over the years of my life. Jens has worked hard to make sure my Christmases are quiet and pleasant as possible though we don’t open celebrate, but the stuff still lingers.

Mostly though, I think a lot of this is Loke. I feel I have to be here for him. He can’t be left alone for long. Many days, I feel bad enough when I have to go shopping while Jens is at work and I make sure he’s only left alone for perhaps 2 hours at the absolute most for one time during a day. It’s hard to watch my furry, constant companion fading.

He still has good moments. Going on walkies on a new route I found. He especially likes it when Jens takes him the full length where I drop them off at one end and pick them up at the other 2 miles away. A pretty good distance for a 14+ year old dog with neurological issues. It takes them a while because of Loke’s pace, but he still loves it.

Then there are the bad times. One entire day where his hindlegs just wouldn’t cooperate. He’d try to get up and manage it on the front, but the back wasn’t cooperating. I thought that was going to be the end, but as usual, the evening rolled around and he improved though he stayed sluggish and lethargic, at least he was able to function.

He has also become even more sound sensitive, so bad at one point he couldn’t eat his kibble out of his bowl because the noise of the hard little bits rattling on the metal made him jerk around as if being electrocuted. I had to dump it out on the floor for  him. Snapping fingers. Sound of a door lock turning. Crunch of gravel under foot. Let’s not even get into what crumpling plastic or paper does to him, but that one has stayed consistent.

Sunday, December 8th, Jens and I were going with him for the walk and as we were pulling into the parking spot, he began to give these soul wrenching howls. It only lasted for 5 seconds or so, nothing obviously wrong. He’d stopped by the time we got over our shock and Jens got the car parked. He wasn’t stuck in some weird, painful position in the car. He moved as well as he ever does once we had out of the car. No explanation, but it had me sick with worry right up until I picked them up at the other end.

Most days, he’s sluggish, weak, and unstable, but evening rolls around and he finds energy and strength to be a PITA.

In all this though, I’ve noticed one thing. The good is never as good as it was in the previous days and if one averages out the bad in a given week, each is a little worse than the week before. If the sound of an echo was his good moments and the silences between were the not-so-great or bad, he’s fading into the silence.

The good is never as loud and clear as it was the time before. The bad is always a little deeper and longer. It takes a toll watching this happen as I care for him in his decline. So much energy and combined with the fact that I can’t bring him out for rides and I save the time to leave him alone for necessary things like buying food or appointments, I just haven’t been riding.

I guess it’s also possible deep down, I feel it’s a sort of betrayal to leave him to do what he used to love so much when he could be enduring a seizure alone in the apartment.

It comes out sounding so bad on here, but really, Loke’s not in pain near as I, and the vets can tell. He has good appetite. Mornings and to lunch maybe sluggish and unstable, but in the evenings, he’s bright-eyed and relatively strong. He’s still happy to go on walkies most of the time, though yesterday he seemed less so. Perhaps another fading.

As long as there’s more good and it’s of acceptable quality, than there’s bad of pain-less, then he’s still with us. It can be just so hard.

Slumped Into Rugby World Cup
September 30, 2019, 5:23 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Odd as it sounds, I love rugby. Sadly, Sweden doesn’t really have any way of viewing games elsewhere and has no real rugby team of its own. Well, it does, but it’s small and they can only play during the summer which limits their ability to compete on the world stage. Who’s really gonna get out for tackle practice when there’s 2 feet of snow on the ground, or frozen mud?

When I started my challenge back in August, I completely forgot this is a World Cup year for rugby. So, just as well that my challenge was canceled when it was. The World Cup is the only time in 4 year blocks when I can watch to my heart’s content and cheer on the team I’ve decided to love and support, New Zealand All Blacks.

There is no way I’d have been able to keep up with the 77 miles per week needed with matches held pretty much every day for the first 2-3 weeks of the event. Saturday and Sundays have 2-3 games which is 3 to 6 hours. I watch them ALL. Even 51 miles a week for my modified challenge isn’t really doable.

I’ve fit a few rides in around the games, but not many and I can’t really remember much about them, my brain full of rugby. The trike is an afterthought at the moment.

There is another time I can watch rugby and it happens once a year. Six Nations, but those Six Nations don’t include the All Blacks. It’s just Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, (and I think) France, and Italy. It’s fun to watch, but doesn’t give me quite a big a dose of rugby and lacks the team I really go nuts for.

So, the rugby will be easing off a bit as they get into the semi-finals. There will be fewer teams playing and they’ll need some days to recover from previous games, so there will be days when there’s no games and I’ll push myself out the door to ride again.

Until then, RUGBY!!!