Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Currently convalescing with crocheting

I need stuff to do while I don't have the ability to ride the bike. 
I can only read and clean the house so much and DVDs are only 1-2 hours long.
After seeing Tin Lizzie's post about reflective fabrics and yarns, my interest in rekindling my hatred for knitting was re-ignited. I re-learned the steps for crocheting and practiced a bit. I was still lousy at this. It took a few tries to gain enough confidence in my remedial skills and I ordered some of the reflective yarns. Neon yellow, neon green and safety orange.
This would be the ugliest damn scarf.

I figured out how to chain-up!

Some subdued colors for a less hideous version too.

One color on.
Almost finished!
Pudge is my scarf model

When I started chaining on the third and final color, I became concerned: it looks like a flag. Whoa, what country was this? Would I be wearing the National Colors of some despised entity? Would I find myself cycling past someone and get harassment if they didn't agree with the politics of this nation?

Thankfully, the closest these colors come to an official flag of a sovereign nation is:

Mali (green, yellow, red)

Guinea (red, yellow and green)

Ireland (green, white and orange)
I think I may rip out the orange and use that yarn in another scarf.

UPDATE: I ripped out the orange with plans for the orange in another scarf.

Here's the finished (orange-less) product:

Not bad for a noob.

 I'm delighted to have this new interest... it keeps my mind off the bad things and the worsening pain in my knee. I bought a few more non-reflective yarns and a new larger needle with plans for another project.
I have an exaggerated limp from the increasing pain and I'm glad to be sitting, and also sad to be sitting. I'd rather be on the bike.

Someone said to me today when they saw my difficulties in walking: "I bet you'll be glad to have this surgery."

Yes, yes I will.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

This is your knee...

...and this is your knee on drugs. Lots of drugs. 800mg ibuprofen 3 times a day. I still cannot completely straighten my left knee. My surgeon will be digging around inside it later this month with the warning: "I might get in there and see that it's a lost cause and then we can look at replacement."

The MRI. Sadly, this view doesn't show the larger meniscus tear and the chunk that's floating around. 


I've been putting off taking Fizz out of my office. For two weeks now I've been making excuses for not placing Fizz in the storage room. I've not tried to get on the bike for fear of twisting my knee, it's had good days and bad days since the injury. It's also been insanely cold: like single digits and teens cold. I resigned myself to a non-cyclist's life, albeit temporarily. I rolled Fizz out of my office and back to the bike storage area with Ruby. I noted a thick coating of dust on Ruby and cleaned her off.

At least they aren't using the bike storage area as a workspace and throwing garbage onto the bikes.

What bothers me more than my inability to ride is that I've become accustomed to not riding. It's going to be hard to get back into my habits and routine.

A balmy 21! That's OK, I can ride when it's warmer.

Friday, January 2, 2015

First 'Post' of the year

Look what came in the 'post'! Thanks, Mary!

You might also notice those are two Netflix DVDs underneath the Coffeeneuring patch. I anticipate watching a great deal of TV over the winter and I upped my subscription. I'm taking a mental tally of all the things that will be different this winter: less biking, more TV, no Errandonnee-ing. Argh, I'm going to miss out on earning that patch!

However, I was able to get some biking in to perform some maintenance on one of my Geocaches today, it's just a mile away from work and it had gone missing again last week. It's a magnetized cache that I've hidden among the War memorials along the North Shore.

I was able to dismount the bike without laying it down on the ground, this is more progress in the knee's mobility. I still need to lay the bike down to mount it though. This means I'm not able to go on errands, group rides or anything that requires getting on the bike in front of other people; I feel silly.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Laying it down: no more bike jail

My new mounting technique
It's been 12 days since I was last on the bike. I needed to find a way to get ON the bike. I can walk and pedal without much issue**, it's the mounting of the bike that twists the knee to a point where it doesn't feel stable. So, I wondered if laying the bike on the ground, straddling the frame and then pulling the bike upright while it's underneath me would work.
It did.
While it's a very silly, awkward thing to see, it serves its purpose: getting me out on the bike.

Outta bike jail!

Testing out the handlebar extender and sturdier camera mount

Yaaaa! 4.62 miles!

** your mileage may vary when it comes to 'not much issue'. For me, that means "no Quasimodo-like gait" or "just the average limp".

I'm also thrilled with the results of a reflective black tape that blends in almost perfectly with the black racks:

Looks like the total mileage for the year is 3,969. I think I like this number, it's full of odd numbers divisible by 3. Very round, very satisfying. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A tale of heartwarmery

I'm still 36 miles away from 4000 miles. I haven't been on the bike in 10 days and instead I've been riding that roller coaster of emotions and unknowns since the injury: "When will I get to ride again?" "Will I need surgery?" "How long is the recovery?"

Everyone's been very supportive and empathetic... because every cyclist has that thought in the back of their heads: you never know when you'll sustain an injury that will keep you off the bike for a while. Knowing that I have bad knees I somewhat expected a doozy to hit me one day or another.

So, it's circulated amongst my cyclist friends that I 'needed' 36 miles: they brainstormed and one generous soul offered to tandem ride me around for the remaining 36 miles. It would 'count' if I was pedaling with one leg, right? A bakfiets or pedal-cab wouldn't count because I wouldn't be pedaling.

The offer means more than those 36 miles.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Chasing 4000... and then this happened

I'm less than 36 miles from that number: 4000
4000 miles traveled on the bike for the year.
It's a nice number, a nice even one, lots of zeros there.
I don't think I'm going to make it.
Because this:

The urgent care facility prodding and poking devices

Suddenly, without warning and with no trauma: my knee stopped working. It refused to straighten out, just like that while I was walking through the kitchen at home Thursday night. Much pain when trying to bear weight, swelling and lots of movement in the knee cap took place.

Does this look swollen?

Friday I called off work for the first time in 2 years. I tried to get an appointment with a orthopedist, but no luck: the soonest anyone could see me was Monday. I went to one of those urgent care places: they took x-rays and found nothing other than "Wow, your knees are beat up! They look like they've been through a war! I thought I was looking at 80 year-old knees!"
Thanks for the editorial remarks, Doc. She categorized it as a sprain. Interestingly, the affected knee gave no response when she thwacked at it with the rubber mallet. I still have awesome blood pressure: 110/60
I'd gladly trade my low blood pressure and cholesterol numbers for better knees.
48 hours later, I still can't bend my knee. The swelling and pain in the kneecap have gone away, but tightness in the back of the knee keeps me in bed, relying on Spouse for food and water. I've forgotten how much I hate crutches.

The view from my perch.

I'm bored and I want wear clothes other than pajamas and get back on the bike.

Just 36 miles, that's all I wanted.

December 22nd UPDATE:

After seeing an actual orthopedist who is suspicious that I have yet another meniscus tear, I have an MRI scheduled.

Having suffered a meniscus tear 8 years ago in the same knee, I can say this pain is much, much worse.

I was glad to be at work (!) and not wearing sweatpants.

By the end of Monday... after 4 days, I was finally able to straighten my leg.

December 29th UPDATE:

I got a call from the orthopedist's office, the tear is significant with hunks of meniscal debris floating around inside the knee. So significant they aren't bothering with the "Well, these are your options: injections, therapy, or surgery" route, they went right to "We're scheduling you to see a surgeon."

While I do feel well enough to pedal on flat trails, when I try and mount the bike, my knee says "NO!" to the minor twisting of the knee required to hoist the right leg over the top bar. 

While I could see a surgeon a few days sooner, I opted to wait a few days and see the surgeon of my choice.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Watch for bicycles... and submarines and dinosaurs

It's a shame that this sign is required, I'm sure it was unavoidable after too many people not looking where they're going crashed into each other.

Bicycles, submarines and dinosaurs, oh my!

This is the Carnegie Science Center. they're re-doing the landscaping, I hadn't ever seen the "Watch for bicycles." sign with all the vegetation and the direction I'm normally going.
Pittsburghers are notorious for just stepping out into traffic without looking, I've seen many near misses between cars and people just blindly stepping out in front of moving traffic. My born-and-bred in Pittsburgh spouse has vicious scars all over his legs from a car vs teenage boy incident. I've seen the way this man crosses the street and I'm amazed he made it beyond age 14. You'd think he'd learn to look both ways before crossing the street after his legs were mangled under a car, right? Nope.
It must be something in the Pittsburgh water.
I'll try and look at this positively, it keeps me on my toes: you never know when someone will randomly step in front of your bike.

Our office is getting 'new' furniture today and the Bike coordinator found this bit of awesomeness behind his old desk. He came to me with it and said: "You're Red Rider, right?"  Close enough. I think it's a spinning-wind ornament. Nice.
Poor cyclist looks like they're in the fetal position.