After basically being off the bike for 6 months ….and still being on blood thinners, I figured I better work my way back into the biking, so with Saturday being a nice day I started out by scrubbing all the dust and stuff off the beast, then after lunch, I tapped my toe on the seal by going for a restrained scoot over the Paekak’ Hill, back via Haywards, then over to Featherston and back.
It’s quite some time since I’ve been on the Paekak’ Hill road and although it’s posted with a 60kph limit, it was a good place to start, being narrowish, curly’ish, with a generous smattering of loose crap and tar snakes. Yes, well one could say that it kept me on my toes, the view at the top was spectacular with it being such a nice day and although I didn’t feel ‘in the groove’, I didn’t really feel out of it either.
The Rimutakas was more good riding, with a clean surface, wider lanes to use and there wasn’t too much traffic.
Coming back I caught a chappy with ‘Instructor’ emblazoned on the back of his jacket and he was herding four …? ….students I guess. They eventually let me through on a passing lane, then a few of the cars eased over for me to slip through, but there were a few ignorant prats after that, that left no room at all and since I was in conservative and behave-yourself mode, I just pootled behind them until I was off the hill.
Nice wee re-intro outing though, doing around 175km.
Sunday was the Wellington Ulysses ‘Local’ MDA Ride to take Christmas presents to the children in the city and Kapiti areas. The day was absolute crap ….but it was supposed to clear around 1000 and although I wasn’t particularly keen to go, I felt I needed to as it was likely that many others wouldn’t bother. (I suppose I should note that I’ve been involved in these rides since 2005 and have had a lot to do with the fundraising and ride-planning that goes with it). It didn’t make it any better when someone residing with me demanded that I didn’t go ….but she sort of relented in the end, so off I went, suitably attired for the conditions ….except for Rain-Off gloves, because they decided to fall apart, I threw them out, then forgot to buy more.
I was a little late getting away from home but spotted some familiar bikes at BP Mana, so I pulled in and ‘waved’ to the boys who were seated along the window (a bit like those clones that one used to get at the side-shows!!) Anyway, I needed to take the opportunity to go in and apply anti-fog stuff to the visor and clean the specs and inside of the visor as both had a liberal coating of water droplets since I had to continually crack the visor open to clear the fogging.
I did that and as soon as I was back on the bike, the visor was fogged again within 10 seconds!!!
I pulled into the Plimmerton Weigh Station to find one car and one bike waiting, plus the other three, so figured, ‘lucky I came!’
Another reason I figured ‘Lucky I came’ was when I mentioned to the car peoples that there was an error on the GPS file, to which they replied, “it’s alright, we don’t have a GPS”. Then I mentioned it to the riders and there answer was, “We couldn’t download the file!” *Sigh* …I guess that meant I had to lead!
So we pootled off to the Ohau area about 0900, through more miserable weather, made the drop and socialised with the family ….for about 5-10 minutes too long, then we headed back to Wgtn.
I say 5-10 mins too long because when we got to Pukerua Bay and the traffic was stopped. We waited for a bit, then I shuffled back next to the car and said, “Ring me, I’ll just filter up to see what’s going on.”
They rang as I got to the top of the rise, I pushed go (on the GPS) and I hit stop! Didn’t matter because the police had closed the road so I went back and indicated to the group to turn around, waited to regroup by the shops, then headed back to take the Paekak’ Hill road ….and that was closed to ….so we made our way to a Paekak’ Café.
Traffic eventually started to move (after about an hour and a half) so we made our way to the bikes to resume the ride (after previously turning it off and letting the parents know). It was one of those occasions that one was glad to be on a bike as we filtered past kilometer after kilometer of crawling traffic, then put the waders on to get through the Plimmerton round-about, then we ended up waiting in J’ville for the car (with Santa) to arrive.
By this time the day was brilliant sunshine and soaring temperature, we managed to complete three of the four remaining children, then finished up at Jim & Colleen’s for a coffee and snacks.
I can’t say that the ride was particularly pleasant or fun, but visiting these children with Muscular Dystrophy and their families is special, so it was all very much worth the effort.
After the PFO Procedure last Wednesday, I had a quiet weekend …after booking an appointment with my GP on the Friday, for 0900 on Monday.
The purpose of this was to start the ball rolling to get my license back, or perhaps more correctly, since they didn’t actually take my license off me, to get a clearance e to drive.
That went quite well. We had a chat, he checked the various correspondence on the file, checked the blood pressure, did a basic vision and peripheral check, then advised to go to the optician and gave me a copy of a letter for them. I promptly made an appointment for that and managed to get in at 1340 today (26/11/20).
I haven’t been very optimistic about getting my license back, but after the Doc appointment I was sort of optimistic.
I went to the optician today, handed over the letter and went in. She sat me down and did a vision test with the specs on and asked if I could read the top the line …after doing that she asked if I could read others, so I read the bottom line (fist pumps were happening in my mind)
I then took the specs off and was able to read down to the 2nd last line.
She then did a basic peripheral check then we went through for the test.
1st was both eyes on a driver test jobby, that had 120 clicks …and I scored 120!! Then it was the proper optical eye test (one eye at a time) and apparently, my results were a marked improvement on the test I had back at the beginning of June. Yowser! …and more internal fist pumps.
Then I had back-of-the-eye photos, pressure and some other test and we were done, she filled out a form and said, “You’re good to drive, here’s a certificate if you need it and I’ll send a letter to your GP.”
Like I said earlier, “Bugger Me”, I was gob-smacked!!!
I paid up and left to join Ann and on my way across the road the tears erupted. It was all over! I got to the car and Ann saw my state and obviously though I had failed between that and the babbling, but we cleared that up, I asked her to continue to drive and as we exited J’ville to go for fuel, I pulled my phone out and started to make a call.
“Who are you calling?” Ann asked, to which I replied, “I have to book a warrant for the bike so I can take it out on the weekend.” I didn’t look but I could sense one of those “Oh FFS" thoughts going through her mind. We fueled, went home, I donned my gear and I now have a WoF on the ST, so I have ridden …and I have a program of rides to clear off the schedule.
I didn’t expect to get all emotional about this but, LJS is back and man am I relieved that life is about to return to normal. It’s actually been a wonderful journey over the last 6 months, I am feeling exceedingly lucky, I’ve lost 10Kgs, I’m quite a bit fitter, I now get about with my own ‘built-in’ defribulator and I’ve had a puncture repair done on the heart so that’s good for a few more Km.
Life is good!!
Well that all seemed to go OK.
Wednesday the 18th was an early’ish start to make our way through the wet weather traffic to get to the hospital for my 0900 appointment for a Pacemaker check.
We got there early and I was seen late, but that went well. Bloody amazing these Pacemaker thingys! I pull my T-shirt collar down for the man to have a quick perusal, he then puts a mouse-like thing over my shoulder and above the unit for a few seconds to download the data from it, then he parks himself at the computer to analyse the data have a play with the unit. ie speed it up and slow it down etc.
That was sort of funny …but not really ….because he says, “What I’m going to do now could put you into a total heart-block” and I’m thinking, “oh yeah, that’s death mode …..FFS!!!”
Within seconds, he then goes, “Oh no, you’re still firing OK.” It turns out that the units are set to a minimum firing rate of 50bpm and the unit was driving me, because the old body was happy to tick along at 48. All good it would seem.
He then mentions that I’m good for another 12 years & 3 months, but he’ll see me again in 6 months and it that’s all good, annually after that.
I wander back to the car, we go to the supermarket, then on to Wakefield ….an hour early for my 11am check-in.
They processed me straight through though, filling out three forms, then getting taken up to Rm204, I get stripped off and into the gown, nursey inserts a line into my left arm, then gives me a shave and puts some tight knee high compression socks on me ….and we wait until 1230.
Usual story, I get wheeled down to theatre, line installed in the right groin area, asked a few questions, crap gets fed into both lines ….and that’s all I have to say about that! Basically they used the same ‘good-oil’ local I was given for the TOE and although awake, the mind has no recollection.
So I’m back in the room, there’s a sandwich and orange juice …but turns out there was two sandwiches and a platter of fruit to go with the orange juice ….oh, and chocolate from Ann’s handbag and a lemon cake from the cafeteria which all disappeared like it was never there, I’ve got a blood pressure monitor doing it’s thing automatically every so many minutes, and once that is off, I get to use the facilities for a purge and a clean-up.
Apparently I could have had a shower, but I just opted to give myself a sponge bath to get all the iodine and bits of blood off, get comfortable in mt trackies and a T-shirt and settle back down to wait for dinner.
Doc turned up and we went over a few things (like dumping the meds), but it turns out that I have to stay on the blood thinners for 6 weeks and that is to prevent any rejection and clotting around the puncture repair plug, which has a gauze mesh and the body will just grow tissue over it. I haven’t been comfortable on the thinners, but that sounded like a good excuse so I rolled with it.
Ann was there until about 2100, Eboni dropped in on her way home and I finally turned the lights off at 2300 for a kip.
Nursey comes in at 0500 for the checks and I was surprised at the colour and swelling in the groin area ….but I flashed her anyway and gave it a poke so she could see it didn’t hurt. I’d been sleeping on top of the covers, but cold about 0200 so pulled them up, then was surprised at how hot I was when nursey came in and when I mentioned that, she askes, “So you’ve got a temperature then?” and I replied that no doubt, she would tell me that, but we were just cruisin’ at 36.5º.
I eventually got up around 0700 for a scrub, (shower this time) and was waiting when my Wednesday Arrival nursey came in. Turns out, all was good, Doctor wasn’t coming, so she went through the release procedure, I got changed, Ann turned up, breakfast turned up (so I paused briefly for that) ….then we gapped it and went for 2nd breakfast.
I’ve already made an appointment with my GP to start the ball rolling to get a clearance to drive again!! So hopefully Johnnie Walker might soon be a figment of my imagination.
Wow, doesn’t time fly!?
It’s been two months since my last post and I haven’t been sitting idle.
I’ve pedalled around the Wellington Bays again (about 50Km), rode over Haywards to Porirua and back via Tawa (65Km), rode to Naenae to see Aunty Helen (no, not the politician one) (40-something Km), then rode to Petone for a sweetie …or two ….ok, maybe half a kilo, but who’s counting?!
We had a work celebratory event that including go-karts, beersies, flash wines and a big feed…or two. Did I mention karting? ….yes well, that was fun!!
I’ve reduced my work to half-days and that’s different ….but as yet I haven’t found the time to relax and enjoy it!
We (NZ Distance Riders) have held our October event, namely the NI1600 & NI800 rides, whereby Brett kindly collected and transported me to Turangi to participate as a volunteer (sob, sob) and that was great …..until I witnessed Julian Boyd do the two rides back to back, completing the 2400+ Km in 32Hrs. Naturally, I thought, “Bastard, why didn’t I think of that!” and yes well, I suppose you can guess what affect that has made on my future plans?!
We also held the 1KC rides out of Hamilton and Wellington, which are fundraisers for Muscular Dystrophy. Once again, Brett was “the man” and fetched and carried me.
Oh yes, and the weight has stayed in the 85’s with dips to 84.6Kg a few times,so that’s all good too …and the restrictions have been lifted to somewhere between Level 2 & 3, in Covid terms.
…and now I’m hoping I’ve arrived at the final stages of being Johnnie Walker, as it’s Puncture Repair time!
Tomorrow, Ann will take me to the hospital for a Pacemaker check-up at 0900, then over to Wakefield Hospital PFO procedure … and hopefully that will eliminate the possibility of future strokes or TIA’s.
I didn’t ask enough questions about this, so I’m going in a bit blind, but based on how everything else has gone, I’m expecting to be in and out, hopefully with no glitches, …..and ever so hopefully that I’ll be back on the bike within the month and Long John Silver will re-emerge from the shadows!....YeeeeHaaaa!!
This blog is pretty much just about motorcycling ...but every now and then I might rant or dribble on about other things.