Saturday, March 28, 2015

Self diagnosed spring injury

It's been a week since my last entry and some small progress has been made in healing of my mysterious arm injury. Since I am writing it means it's gotten a little bit better. I'm not riding so I've had time to think on this injury some. At first I thought it was a bulging disc or a pinched nerve in my neck since I could not feel my right thumb and index fingers for a couple of days. Also I have lost strength in that arm by I reckon 20-25%. I ruled that out because I have constant point tenderness in the lateral aspect of my right humerus. I can feel some minor swelling in the area nothing noticeable to the naked eye. I figured that much of my initial pain was from minor bone crepitus and muscle spasm.

I came to the conclusion without consulting a doctor or doing xrays that I took a fall a little while back and got a hairline fracture someplace in my right humerus. I mistook the pain of that fall for arthritic pain in my right elbow. It was not exacerbated because I ride one day, rest one day and ride the next. Well riding three days in a row two of which were on a rigid single speed and sleeping in the back of my truck during some time off from school was enough to really do it. I've been an EMT long enough to know that little is done for a hairline fracture, most times we don't know we have them or if you're stupid like me just blow it off as pain associated with a somewhat active lifestyle. What I would have been told is wear a sling, rest, don't ride for 6-8 weeks, Ice therapy for swelling, anti-inflammatory meds for pain and if the numbness and weakness worsens in my hand and arm to get in touch with the doc.

Well I'm doing most of that just not wearing a sling. I am also using a TENS unit borrowed from BIL for pain control initially and now I just use it when I "try" to sleep. The tens unit has been a real sanity saver. I've seen tens units a fair amount in my working history and thought if they worked for an individual patient then good for them. Trying to sleep while getting a mild electric shock is a challenge, you get use to anything I suppose. My goal as always is to stay away form narcotics (cause they make me vomit uncontrollably) and keep the use of anti-inflammatory meds to a minimum to save my liver and renal functions as much as possible. I only take anti-inflammatory meds now when I wake up and before I try to sleep.

All this is happening in my dominant right arm which makes certain things a challenge. I cannot pick anything of any real weight with my right arm because of the immediate pain and the pain that I know will come later. Because of the challenge of sleep I nap throughout the day which is fine and quite zen. It's fine with the school schedule, I have work next week with a CPR recert so those days will be challenges. Nothing I can't get through I suppose.

So where does this leave me? Well when I tick off 6-8 weeks of no riding that puts me into late April/early May time frame. I was hoping by then to be in pretty decent riding shape by then. Now I am forced to ride a trainer sitting up with no pressure on the hands at all so no getting into the bends or resting on the hoods even. I have not crawled onto the trainer yet I wanted to give it another week or two before I started back. My summer out west is a big question mark right now. The very last thing I want to do is get out there and have an injury get worse and not be able to do dick and have to drive back across country early. In short I'm trying hard to be a good patient to myself.

I have not unloaded the truck since I have been back because of this issue and I really should. I can do very little I find. I suppose I could do some light walking or hiking which is a thought I suppose it just feels lame. I suppose it's better than sitting around stuffing my face with store bought brownies all day. I'll swing by the drug store and pick up a sling for when I walk so my arm is not jarred around so much.

I have a couple of sheets of 3/4 inch plywood I either need to return to the hardware store or make into a small bouldering wall, oh and I'd need permission to build such a thing here at big sister's place. Ugh, I really need to get a little place of my own. Either task requires a functioning relatively pain free arm. The truck for summer trips is pretty much done. Now I have issues with a mysterious vibration in the rear end which I need to get looked at sooner rather than later. I would have by now it's just that the auto mechanic that I use is out because of his recent hip surgery. So goes life.

I figure that's about it for now. Cycling for the most part will be put on a side burner for a bit, so prepare yourselves for a many "Head full of weird" entries.  Thanks for reading.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Off the bike for a while

This is going to be short so I'll just make bullet points:

-Shooting pains down right arm with numbness in right thumb with loss of strength on same side.

-Woke up one morning with this issue and it has yet to go away.

-Never had neck or back problems ever.

-Not bicycle related this "injury". It came out of the blue.

-Been off the bikes for over a week and a half now with only minimal improvement.

-Can only sleep on left side with a pillow propped under my head.

-Considered a doc but I could do without the expensive MRI and CT scans and I definitely don't want narcotics.

-Probably won't write for a bit because of this mysterious injury.

-Summer trips and even riding at this point are a big question mark.

Thanks for reading and hang around I'll post random pics from my spring break trip.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Orange (trail) is the new black

I finished loading the truck on sunday morning and headed out towards Dahlonega, Ga. Future note to self in the future go back to alpine starts. The reasons why are simple traffic, riding time and forgetting shit. Getting to Dahlonega requires a drive through The ATL. It's a nerve wracking experience especially when I have bikes (Voodoo and Kona S/S) on the rack. the 75/85- I-20 interchange is no joke friends. Thankfully I did it on a weekend so it was not as cutthroat like it usually is through the week.

Riding time was effected as well. I rushed to get up there and was harried to find the trail fortunately the MTB project app was wonderful. Gone are the days of scratching through guide books to find sketchy directions from years ago that were not up dated. Using my "challenged" phone (more on that later) and GPS I was able to get to the trailhead for the IMBA Epic up there Jake and Bull mountain. I did not get up there until after 1500ish (3pm) which is cutting it close for me because I don't know the trail or area and yeah I did not have a map of the trail either (forgetting shit) Of course it took me FOREVER to get away from the truck it usually does and I snapped a pic of the trail head map then realized that the battery was damn near dead on my phone.

Let me say here I had a feeling that I MAY be headed for disaster at this point. No one knew where I was at specifically, with no map and a damn near dead battery on my phone. Rain was in the forecast and the parking lot was rapidly emptying because it was sunday and most normal folks had lives to get back to. I also knew that from a couple of things I read that these trails can be marked poorly or not at all. I figured life was a gamble and if I got lost or stuck I could survive a night out in the rain. People have died from such thinking. I have read Deep Survival enough to know better. Such is life and at times you gotta gamble. My reasoning was that I could ALWAYS backtrack. I decided to follow the orange trail at a little over ten miles I figured I'd pull in to the truck well before dark and the rain.

I followed the orange trail and found that the last round of winter storms have been real tough on the trail. I could see how IMBA could give this place an Epic status. I equated it to seeing a beautiful woman after she's been thrown down some stairs. Sure she looks the worse for wear right now, though you can still see the beauty underneath the bruises and broken bones she'll still be beautiful given time and a little work. The local crews obviously put in a lot of time clearing out snags and marking the trail. It's a great piece of trail design esp the one section that they obviously rerouted but still crossed the old tread path on a fall line. It was a nice climb. I was riding the Voodoo because I was pressed for time and I did not know the terrain. It was my second day of riding after riding Dauset the previous day on the Kona S/S and unintentionally dropping the hammer and riding like a madman there. I was feeling it by the time I got back to the truck which thankfully was before dark and before the evening rainstorm started. I've said it before and I'll say it again, when riding an unknown trail I will be tons more cautious walking pieces I could ride. I figure on that day at least I was pushing my luck enough already.

 I saw only one other rider climbing up a piece of trail I was coming down I heard him before I saw him. A easily 300 lbs guy on a niner in all new gear riding with his helmet on his bars. Look I get it the helmet can get warm, just dude when you got a new lid like that it makes your head cooler. He had that crazy near bonked look in his eyes. I asked him if he was cool and he just kept on huffing on up the trail. Climb bro climb!

I got back to the truck and saw that the lot was empty. I figured that hell with an empty lot I could take a shower then discovered in my late start rush that I forgot my soap and wash cloths. I had deodorant just forgot every damn thing else (slap head with palm of hand) The battery died on the phone about 3/4 of the way on the ride. Lucky me I did not get lost although I did go up the blue trail(?)  a bit just for a look see in the end I figure I did between 11-15 miles for those of you who keep up with that.

I cooked a yummy can of chunky soup had a beer or three used a chair (yes an actual dining room chair) someone left behind to sit in and study for a spell. I crawled into the truck read some and fell asleep only to be woken up by the sound of rain on the camper shell that night.

And that is my first day of my small riding vacation. C'mon back to hear about buckets of rain my ride on TVA land and my time up in Chattanooga which was back in 2011 voted one of America's best towns.
You'll also hear of my freak sleeping injury which even as I am writing this I still can't figure out. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

And the chain goes...POP

I went by the LBS and got links added to my chain for the Kona S/S. I knew the risks going in that the chain might just pop on the first real climb annnnd it did. Which was all fine and good you gamble sometimes you win sometimes you lose. I lost this time with no serious bodily injury resulting from it. After the initial "Ahh shit" I laughed about it and then got miffed with myself for a few reasons.

In my excitement of knowing that temps were going to be in the mid 70's on Wednesday I loaded up the Kona without putting my seat bag onto it. Which contains my Surly Jethro Tule this prevented me from flipping my wheel over and continuing my ride. I had to run the chain over the 20t freewheel with the tensioner run up onto the chainstay and grind back to the truck so I could flip it all over. It all got fixed. Because I forgot my seat bag I had to cram everything into jersey pockets which really annoys me. I don't mind cramming a beer into a jersey pocket, when I cram a tube, tire levers and a oversized old alien multi tool into jersey pockets it's downright laughable.

I got back to the truck flipped the wheel and headed back out for a very pleasant ride. Yes riding single speed hurts, it was just a damn fine day. Just windy enough to keep the new mosquito population down yet warm enough for shorts and a short sleeve jersey. During my ride I ran across the B man. Bman and I go back a bit here in Georgia he showed me around the trails at TAB and then I got sucked into the vortex of nursing pre-reqs and nursing school and we fell out of touch. I heard from another rider that Bman had a nasty spill that sent him to the hospital. Naturally I was concerned I just had no way of getting in touch with the dude. Well we had a quick conversation trail side and he was doing fine cause his spill was last summer. He said he was knocked out for a undetermined amount of time and other riders found him. He had a classic head injury.

Scary. It brings up a couple of points one is wear a damn helmet (Bman was wearing his) the other is educate yourself on wilderness first aid in the very least. I'm big on this because you truly never know what is going to happen out on the trail or what you're going to run across. I'm still an EMT with many many years of experience there is nothing worse than bystanders with no education in the basics of first aid and CPR. They often do more harm than good without the proper training on what to do and what NOT to do. Take a class and help a fellow outdoorsy type out sometime. Hold on a second as I crawl down from my soap box.

The rain has come along with the warm weather and spring break has started, no classes until 3/16. Doing laundry tops the list as usual with rainy day projects then after that comes getting gear organized. I was able to get my last two action packers. I will go through the trouble of labeling them Climb, Hike, Bike and Eat. I like the action packers because they are durable you can lock them if you like, stackable AND waterproof. I also braved the Atlanta IKEA for a Moshult futon mattress. I got it because although I love my crash pad it's just tough to sleep on it's too firm I figure a nice foam futon mattress would be alright. It's foldable as of now I can sleep in the truck in relative comfort which brings up visions of road trips:

Can’t find a place, which feels like home
can’t find a room, where I’m all
can’t find the words to write about
can’t find a place, where I won’t
be found.

I’m longing for the road
I’m longing for a road sweet road
longing for a road
my road sweet road.

Can’t find a sign, which warns me on
can’t find a stop, that will push the rewind
can’t find the lights, that
will keep me slow
can’t find any help, while my engine is running low.

longing for the road
I’m longing for a road sweet road
I’m longing for a
my road sweet road.

An anthem for us dirtbags out there. With that I'll end here and start on laundry and going through my gear. Thanks for reading.