Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Rough Times

It has been a crazy 3 weeks since my last post.  I had not forgotten about my blog, just had too much going on.  First, my wife was sick with the stomach flu so I did my best to take care of her while still trying to avoid contact (impossible to do) due to my depleted immune system.  Then her grandfather passed away and between the arrangements, visitation and the funeral that was a full week.  Then 3 days after his funeral, I finally succumbed to the stomach flu.  After 2 full days of it, I was feeling better but terribly weak.  I went back to work last Wednesday night and managed to survive my normal 4 day rotation. 

Through all of this, my RA was doing quite well ... then late Sunday night a cold front blew in and well, you know what that does to RA.  The cold has made my RA a bit cranky but not too bad.  I now have a new item to add to my bucket list.  I received a confirmation from my rheumatologist Monday morning that I had better prepare myself for a hip replacement.  As soon as he said that, before I could even say anything, he quickly added that I would not have to give up riding ... only temporarily (4-6 months) while healing.  I guess you see why I like my doc so much.  It's nice having a doc that rides instead of one telling you to get rid of those contraptions.  Anyway, he said it's nothing pressing, but will most likely come to that in the next few years.  He has me scheduled for a TB blood test and right hip x-rays next visit.  I also took the Our Hands Can book to show him on this visit.  I told him that I was honored to have been included in the project and that I was on page 24.  He was impressed and sat there reading through several pages of it in the middle of my exam.  

I have done a few shorter rides, logging nearly 1500 miles since the third week in October.  I recently rode out to a bridge that was built in 1904.  It was a solid bridge but the real story was the trip out there this time.  I took off with the approximate GPS coordinates loaded up. Once I hit the dirt, I turn on my GPS.  As I am going farther I realize it looks like I am riding on private land, but my GPS still indicates it is the road the bridge is on. I keep riding and soon I'm crossing cattle guards in open, empty fields.  Out in the middle of these fields, I find an old concrete bridge that has not been logged on any bridge report that I can find so far.  I continue on and start climbing a steep, rocky uphill.  Soon I'm pulling up into the back end of a rock quarry the length of a football field long and dug down about 20 feet. At first I hesitate but decide to ride further into the quarry, then I finally see someone ... 2 drunk Mexicans (you can't make stuff like this up!). Nice guys, they understood me and told me where I needed to be, the road 50 feet west of where I was. I am assuming this was an old county road bed at one time ... I don't know.
Almost surreal how green the field is (have no idea what it is) in December.
San Bois bridge, built in 1904.
Unnamed concrete bridge that I found riding in the middle of nowhere.
Yes, that is a good sized whole in the bridge deck.


Cathy said...

Terry, you have definitely had some rough times lately. I am sorry to hear about everything that has gone on. I love that no matter what, you always have a great riding story to share with us.

Cathy said...

P.S. I love that you shared your Our Hands Can! Phot0 Book with your rheumatologist. That's so cool!

Lana said...

I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I am glad that everyone is your home is feeling better. Definitely awesome that you showed the book to your rheumatologist. It seems like the hip surgery is a bit aways so enjoy riding in the meantime. That first pick is my favorite –a welcome visual this time of the year. Also, very interesting the people you meet on your riding adventures. You should also start taking pics of the people. ;-)

Squirrel said...

Sorry to hear all your bad news, Terry. At least the replacement won't affect your riding long term! Looks like lovely weather on the ride, glad you enjoyed it. Also great that you showed your doctor the book, sometimes I think rheumatologists are too far removed from the everyday experiences that make up the full picture of life with RA.

Lene said...

Sorry you've had such a rough time lately, Terry. Hope you'll have an upswing soon.

Thanks for showing Our Hands Can! to your rheumie. I thoroughly enjoyed working with you when we were putting it together.

Terry said...

Thank you Cathy, it was kind of funny, my doc just stopped the exam and started looking through and reading parts of the book.

Lana, thank you and yes we are all much better now. Yes the hip surgery is 5 years down the road unless it worsens ... no biggie. It was crazy riding down along side the Arkansas river with everything going brown for the winter, then turn toward this farm and see bright green every where. I had not considered photographing the people I run into out on rides. I really enjoy visiting with most every one I meet on rides.

Squirrel, thank you. The hip is no big deal, it's a ways away ... I might get hit by a bus before then. haha (just kidding), but I don't worry about the future. My doc really enjoyed the book, it was cool to see him takeing it as seriously as he did. Hope you are doing well these days.

Hello Lene, thank you and it's looking up already! I enjoyed the project myself and it (the book) really put into perspective how fortunate I am to not have any more damage than I do. It's heartbreaking to see some of the people in the book.