Friday, January 27, 2012

The Little Things

After 2 weeks off at Christmas/New Years, I went back to work on the 3rd of January.  Since then, I have had 2 days off, I have worked 22 of the last 24 days.  This has my RA grumbling a bit more than normal but I will survive.  As I typed that I immediately felt a strange alliance with Gloria Gaynor and her song from the late 70's.  Odd how a simple word or two can pull up something that you have not thought about in decades.  Now I can't get that crazy song out of my head.
Sunday was a beautiful warm day but I was so tired from work that I wasn't up to a full day of riding.  I just decided to do a short urban ride instead.  I didn't even put my boots, riding pants and knee pads on, just opted for jeans and my work boots.  I did grab my heavy, black Fieldsheer jacket with pads built into it (weighs 11 pounds) and my Shoei DS helmet.  I am really starting to like this helmet the more I wear it now.  It looks like a dirt helmet but has a face shield that raises and lowers.  It is unbelievably quieter than a regular dirt helmet with goggles.  Anyway, while out exploring some dirt roads on the back side of the small town I live in, I turned down a road I have been by many times but never knew where it went.  As I was riding down the road, I was soon greeted by a winding hill.  I rode by a house where there was the cutest little girl, not more than 3 or 4 years old with long blond hair, riding a brand new electric ATV by herself in the front yard.  She grinned big and did a dainty little girl wave at me.  I waved back as I rode past her house and proceeded toward the hill.  Turns out there was nothing much up that way so, after several miles, I turned around and headed back out the way I came in.  As I was dropping off of the hill I could see she was still riding in the front yard.  I got closer and she stopped and again did her dainty little wave at me.  This time however after getting closer, I could see that she had put on a tiny black jacket and her bicycle helmet.  I couldn't help but grin big underneath my helmet while waving back at her again.  I don't know if I inspired her to put them on or if her parents, no one was outside with her (which really bothered me), made her put them on.  She reminded me so much of my daughter at that age ... somedays it's just the little things in to make you smile.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

All In All, A Good Week

I have some good news since my last post.  My rheumatologist worked me in an emergency visit this past Wednesday due to my insurance running out.  This way I would be good for 3 to 4 months before getting in to see a new one.  I had found a new rheumatologist, a good one too rated 5 stars (just like my current one), located 100 miles north of where we live.  When I arrived for my office visit Wednesday morning, it turns out that my insurance company and the doctors network came to an agreement just the day before.  I will not have to go through changing doctors and driving 200 miles every time I need to see a doc after all.  I was greatly relieved to hear that news.
I have been doing ok lately despite noticing a decrease in flexibility over the past few months.  It hurts to realize you are slipping backwards but all I can do is enjoy everyday the best way I can.  Some days this is a day of hard riding, some days it is on the couch watching a movie.  We have had an incredibly mild winter so far.  This afternoon at 6 pm, we are sitting at 67 with the threat of severe storms, large hail and tornadoes into the evening.  I just got back from a short ride on the 650 and it feels like a spring day outside. 
Anyone who has been around off road racing knows the name Husqvarna.  In the 70's and 80's they owned the off road racing world.  Back in the 2 stroke days, Husky's were known for being loud, I think some of them actually made my ears bleed!  I have owned three of them in the past and just two days ago, Husquvarna introduced a retro concept bike.  It's got to be the coolest thing I have seen in years!  Cosmetically, they hit a home run bringing back the 70's white plastic and red/chrome gas tank while utilizing a 650cc 4 stroke single with fuel injection, LED dashboard, a tailight tucked in above the fender but under the seat and a headlight hidden by a number plate.  I would sell my KTM, KLR and my Silverado to get one of these.  I just hope that this bike becomes a reality while I am still able to ride.  
Images from CycleWorld.com

Monday, January 16, 2012

"Thrilled To Have RA"

Isn’t it amazing how the media only picks up the atypical cases of RA to promote. The average person doesn’t know the difference between OA and RA, then sees one of the media's stories or one of the drug commercials for RA and thinks “how lucky those people are to have a treatable disease”.  Kelly at rawarrior.com recently wrote about a lady who was thrilled to have RA instead of lupus.  I don't want to get into a "my disease is worse than your disease" war, but anyone who is "thrilled to have RA" seriously needs to have their head examined.  Of course we are all different and perhaps she has a very mild onset of the disease, if so I'm happy for her but she needs to understand the full effects of RA before opening her mouth to the media. 
I have been very fortunate so far to maintain a somewhat active lifestyle, but I can feel myself slipping over the past two years. I also hurt every damn day, I just push myself to go on and enjoy life. It’s not something that comes natural or easy any more. 
I am looking for a new rheumatologist for the time being.  I have a good rheumatologist, have good insurance so what could possibly be wrong you ask?  In this day of "never take anything for granted", my insurance company tried to push a new contract through while adding a clause that would relieve them from paying the full charges from any specialist.  The network that my rheumatologist is in refused to sign it so therefore, I am without a rheumatologist at the end of this month.  I have talked to both parties and both are pointing the finger at the other.  All I know is, I am the one who is losing out in spite of paying in my healthcare premiums every month.
I have been working on my 650 and have made progress in the 6 weeks that I have owned it.  I went for a short 65 mile ride this afternoon in search of an abandoned railroad bridge.  I found the old railroad bed and a cool arched drainage tunnel underneath the abandoned railroad bed, but it was too muddy and rutted to take the KLR through to get to the bridge.  If I would have got stuck, at 440 pounds, I would still be there trying to pull the big bike out.