Friday, October 31, 2008

I apologize in advance for only ever talking about my bike.

The ride home last night went really well. No complaints from the left knee, although the right quad was a little noisy, but nothing like the knee had been earlier in the week. The quad provides a teeny bit of pain, the knee made it hard to even keep pedaling. I'll take the quad over the knee any day.

My friend Chris met me, and in a pleasant turn of events, he didn't have to call an ambulance or anything to pick me up on the way home. It was pretty nice. The hills through Schenley didn't feel anywhere near as bad as I thought they would. It's so good to start getting back into the swing of things.

I've been riding with some 700x23 tires this week, which I thought would feel faster since I've been riding 700x28s since I started riding a year and a half ago. The thing is, the 23s have a recommended pressure of 100 with a max of 110, whereas the 28s were 120. I've been keeping the 23s at about 105, and I just feel slower. I'm sure most of that is due to me not riding for a month and just generally getting out of shape, but I'm going to throw the 28s back on tonight and see if they feel faster/slower/any different at all.

No problems on the ride in this morning, either, except for one minor technical issue. I bought a new light the other day since it'll be dark on my way home starting next week, and I'd like to have a better view on dimly lit trails. Anyway, it seems that when I have the light in the blink mode, it interrupts the (wireless) signal from my computer down to the magnet on my fork. When the light is off, or on a steady beam, it seems fine.

I have a few options. I can try moving the light a little to the left to see if it's a proximity thing. Maybe I can move the computer a bit to the right, as well. I could also switch the data transmitter from the wireless thing to a wired setup. I already have the stuff at home, so that wouldn't be a big deal, but I really do like having fewer wires/cables.

Some would say I could just deal with the fact that I won't get data while I'm running the light on blink, but those people wouldn't know me very well. I'm pretty obsessive about knowing how long it took me to get somewhere and how fast I was going in the process.

I think I'll run over to REI at lunch today. I need a pair of liner gloves to go with the windstoppers I wear when it gets cold. The windstoppers are good, but even in the low 30s my fingers start getting numb. I'm going to need more once things start getting a little colder than that.

It looks like I'm going to be able to get 100 miles in for October by the end of today. I'm pretty happy about that since I wasn't allowed on a bike for the first 24 days and it rained all day on the 25th. It'll be interesting to see how November goes.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Okay, let's talk about magic.

The two day break seems to have helped. While having to drive to and from work kinda sucked, my left knee was pretty happy about it. I rode in this morning and received no complaints from anyone. My face was a little cold, but when it's 29 degrees outside and you go down a hill at close to 30mph, that's going to happen. The good thing is that the hill isn't unbearably long or anything like that.

I need to give a shout out to my physical therapist Jon Conley Dr. Ricoh Aficio 3260C, who was able to give me some stretches to try out before riding today that should have also helped. I didn't get to do all of them, because I just didn't have enough time, but I was able to try some of them.

I really need to get an earlier start when I'm riding in. I didn't actually pull out of the driveway today until 7:45, which is about thirty minutes later than I should have left, especially since I'm still a little slower than I was pre-concussion. It'll probably take a few weeks until I'm all back in the swing of things. Either way, I need to be out of bed earlier, and on the road earlier.

It's great to be able to ride in again. The sun came out in full force this morning, and everything was so gorgeous and bright that I just wanted to keep pedaling past my building.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Drove in this morning. It wasn't completely terrible. Could have been a lot worse. I hope my knee appreciates it, although it was still busy working the clutch. There's no such thing as a free lunch, you know.

The good thing about driving today is that I need to run to some sort of office supply place at lunch to buy some padded CD envelopes so that I can then go to a post office and use them to ship stuff that people bought on eBay last night. It's nice to see some things go out the door. Nicer still to get a few dollars for them. Too bad there's still a lot of stuff that didn't sell.

Man, this whole being back at work thing is a drag.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Such a letdown.

As much as I hate to do it, as much as I feel like I'm failing my country when it needs me the most, I think I'm going to have to break the streak tomorrow. The number of consecutive days that I've ridden my bike to work will stop at 65.

My left knee is just too unhappy with the way things are going right now, and it's going to need at least a day of rest, maybe two or three. I rode in today, and it wasn't so bad on the way in, because that's mostly flat or downhill, but there was steady pain on the way home, and climbs were pretty unpleasant. I tried lowering the saddle a little, but that just changed the focus of the pain from the back of the knee to the sides of the knee, which actually felt worse.

I was really hoping that I was going to be able to get 100 miles in for October, but I'm not sure if that's going to be a possibility at this point. I'm at 46 right now, which means I'd need another 54 by the end of Friday. I suppose if I take tomorrow and Wednesday off and everything feels better, I might be able to ride on Thursday and Friday, and then I'd hit 100 without too much trouble. We'll see.

Having to take a month off to recover from major head trauma was a real bummer.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

My legs still work!

I rode 23.5 miles this morning. It went pretty well, but the back of my left knee was pretty annoyed with me about the last ten or eleven miles. I hope it's feeling better by tomorrow morning, because I'm planning to ride into work.

Weather's supposed to get crappy as tomorrow goes on. Oh well. Guess that's why I bought waterproof shoes. And why I already have a helmet cover, rain pants, and a water/windproof windbreaker. Should be a blast.

Wow. Tomorrow will be my first day of work in over a month. It's going to be weird. And I'm going to have a lot of stuff to catch up on. Fast.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

You may now return to your job.

Well, the follow-up appointment on Friday was fine. I'm free to do whatever, like riding my bike, driving, and going back to work. The latter is going to be rough. You get used to sitting around the house and not really having to do anything after a few weeks. I can't believe it's been over a month (only by a day, but still).

I told my doctor about the smell/taste thing, and he showed me a little plastic model of the brain, pointing out where the cranial nerve that controls my smell is located, and how it's pretty commonly damaged in these types of situations.

He also said that it could take up to a year, maybe two before my sense of smell comes back, if it comes back at all. See, depending on how bad stuff got smashed up at the front of my brain, my sense of smell might never come back. That is pretty crazy. I kinda hope it does. I'll keep you posted.

Back to riding my bike tomorrow, though.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


With all this concussion stuff in mind, I really hope I get the green light on Friday. All I want to do is go ride my bike. What's so hilarious is that the weather's been gorgeous for the past four weeks while I haven't been allowed to ride, and it's supposed to start getting crappy on Saturday.

Hey wait. That's not hilarious. That sucks. Seriously.

These days are coming to an end. I hope.

With any luck, my involuntary freedom from work will be ending on Friday afternoon, when I go in for my post-concussion follow-up appointment. Today I went in for a follow-up CT Scan, so that my doctor will have something to look at and talk about on Friday. I hope the CT Scan looks as well as I've been feeling for the past two and a half weeks or so.

The loss of smell/taste is still going strong. And I've been told it's definitely more a loss of smell than taste, which makes sense, since I can (mostly) taste things that don't require that you be able to smell them first, like pudding or (non-dairy) ice cream. It's funny, because Heather and I were cooking tonight, and my eyes started to water because we were doing some stuff with onions, but I couldn't smell them at all. At this point, I just eat whatever we make and ask her if it tasted good.

Heather's been telling me since we got home that I had a pretty serious concussion, although I thought I had heard them say mild to moderate. Turns out she was right. I was talking to my mom again this evening, and she's friends with the one neurologist who came in to see me the morning after the accident, and he told her that it was pretty severe. I can't even imagine what would have happened if I hadn't been wearing a helmet. I'd probably still be unconscious or worse. It's really crazy to think about. That whole mortality thing.

Which makes you think about everything else. For example, my job is okay. I like my coworkers, but the work itself doesn't get me all excited or anything. Is that something I should be worried about? Or should I just continue to treat it as just my job and make sure that I'm happy with the way things are going when I'm not in the office.

Switching into something that I really like (graphic design) would be a huge financial setback right now. I don't think we could afford it. But of course, the longer I keep doing what I'm doing and keep getting annual increases, the farther away I get from a starting salary in something like design. I guess I should be trying to get more in the way of freelance. Maybe it's time to start trying to get back in touch with former teachers from AIP.

The other thing I've been thinking about lately is all of the stuff I have. Like all of the CDs that I have. I mean, I look at some of them and I couldn't tell you the first thing about what they sound like. I have absolutely no idea. And I just wish I didn't have all of them. I'm sort of working on that, wherein I'm trying to put up a bunch of stuff on eBay, but that's slow and it's a pain, and people aren't buying stuff.

It's just amazing how much stuff I have that holds no meaning for me, and in the case of the music, it's to the point where it's basically like too much. I don't see how I could ever get around to giving some of these albums the attention they'd require to be able to form any sort of judgment about them. How ridiculous is that? It's just stupid. Argh.

Oh well.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Oh my stupid head.

On September 24th, I was in a bike wreck. I don't really have any recollection of any of it, and after the impact, I guess I was unconscious for ten minutes or so. I'm lucky that my friend was riding home from work with me that afternoon, and he was able to call the ambulance, and Heather, and all that stuff.

I ended up at Mercy, which is good, since that's where my mom works. I was there for less than 24 hours, with time split between the ER and I guess a neurology department. I had two CAT scans. I had a small hematoma on my front left lobe. I suffered a moderate concussion.

So they sent me home. Said no driving, no contact sports for the next three to four weeks. Didn't say anything about work. But since I missed more than three days of work in a row, I had to have the neurologist's office contact my work and let them know when I could come back to work.

Now, I can't go back to work until at least October 24th, since that's the earliest that I was able to schedule a follow-up with the neurologist. That means that I have to sign up for Short-Term Disability, which means I can't do any work, and I only get paid a percentage of my regular salary.

It pretty much sucks, as I pretty much feel fine now. Maybe not 100%, but at least 90%, I'd say. I'm sure I could put in work days without issue. The other suck is that I can't ride my bike until the checkup, most likely. It's going to be an entire month until I can ride my bike.

Don't get me wrong, not being able to drive hella sucks, and getting paid less and not being able to go into work when I know there's valid stuff that I can contribute also sucks. But all I can really think about is how I can't ride my bike.

The good thing is that it's at the shop at least until Thursday for a scheduled tune-up (with some extra attention since they know it was in a wreck). That means I can't even be tempted to hop on, which is probably a good thing.

The other weird thing about this whole deal is that my sense of taste seems to have taken a vacation. Seriously. I can't taste much of what I eat these days. I had cinammon wheat things for breakfast this morning. Couldn't taste the cinammon at all. We had spicy basil fried rice this evening. Couldn't really taste it at all. Crazy. I hope that comes back sometime soon. On the other hand, I guess I can be more adventurous with stuff.