Saturday, July 30, 2011

Progress Report

A friend, who had ankle surgery some years ago, says his ankle does well for 50-mile rides, but that's its limit.  I rode 47 miles today and the ankle did fine.  Fine is a relative term.  The ankle swells at the end of the day daily somewhere between the instep and the ankle bone, toward inside of the foot.  It's sore to the touch.  The soreness is either from scar tissue or screw heads hitting the skin.  I'm seriously contemplating having the screws removed.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

July 28: When Dr. Jake Reappears

Yesterday afternoon, the foot felt almost good.  Well, I know all about that and then hurting myself in new and unexpected places, so I didn't push it, not at all.  Today, though, I had to go to court.  My nice shoes aren't as roomy as the tennis shoes I've been wearing 98% of the time since you-know-when.  With a compression sock under my dress sock and a swollen foot to boot, the shoe was very tight and the foot felt bad.  I walked gingerly all day.

Not having heard from Dr. Jake for a week and assuming he was on vacation, I decided to email Dr. Fagan, another podiatrist I saw at some point on this journey.  I logged in to my Kaiser account and was pleasantly surprised to see an email from Dr. Jake.  "No fracture," he said.  I guess it's a sprain.  I wish there were a way to wrap up the foot where I hurt it to keep the swelling down, but compression sock is the best I can do at the base of the toes.  I should also work on rest, ice, and elevation part of RICE course of treatment now that I know it's not a fracture.

Fracture or not, I'm riding.  Twenty-eight days and counting.  A slight change in plans, no Marin/Mt. Tam century -- we're going to Santa Barbara that weekend.  People from VeloSF are doing the Leipheimer Gran Fondo on October 1.  I'm seriously considering riding with them.  It's a very hilly century, which should be good training and a good gauge of my condition in preparation for Solvang Fall Double.


Monday, July 25, 2011

My Left Foot, etc.

Somehow left foot blogging has usurped bike ride stories, which migrated to MY OTHER BLOG perhaps taking up temporary residence there until my next birthday.  Who knows what I'll do with it thereafter.

Unfit to ride in as a carpool passenger because it requires more walking than I can handle, I resumed driving in.  Jessica suggested that I practice walking gradually by parking the car farther than a block away from the building.  (Caution: bike content ahead)  I ran (very much figuratively) with that suggestion and parked in front of VeloSF.  During lunch hour, I went to the gym and spun for 52:25.  The foot felt better after the ride.  I was quite encouraged and walked back to the office comfortably.  As I walked to the car after work, however, it was two blocks too far and the the still undiagnosed (paging Dr. Jake Lee) "stress fracture" bugged me again.  But it's not as bad as it was late last week when it was sore to the touch.  It seems that recovery process for this injury will be the same as with the ankle: a gradual improvement with occasional setbacks.  I can live with that because I have to.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Few Changes

This is still me.  Messing around with the design -- the old one seemed staid, Victorian, and looked oddly indoors-focused.  This one is more outdoorsy.  I also added a photo of a Llewellyn stem.  It's not my stem, but I like the picture.  Mine has identical design, but it doesn't have polished stainless lugs.


Biking and Hiking

I broke my chain climbing Pinehurst this morning.  I walked the bike up to the top in my cycling shoes.  Jessica came with the car and the dog and my tennis shoes 15 minutes later.  She parked, I stashed the bike in the car, and we walked the dog on a single-track trail in Oakland hills, I, now shod in tennis shoes.  We walked out about a third of a mile and back.  Not sure what possessed me to attempt this, but the foot has felt significantly better, as I've been nursing it for the past couple of days.  During the walk it felt OK.  I made sure to walk cautiously and slowly and came through unscathed and inspired.  But no brisk mile-long walks on hard surfaces in the near future.  Not yet.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I swallowed my pride and at Wayne's suggestion rearmpitted myself with a crutch.  OK, walking feels better with a crutch, but what a step backward in the recovery process that is.  I can walk short distances without pain and seemingly without damaging myself if I walk very carefully, carrying my foot as a club.  Because of the crutch and careful walking the foot hurt less today than any day in the past week.  But that's because I am nursing the injury, not because it's better.  Dr. Jake has suggested an x-ray and it looks like I'll get one tomorrow.  Not looking forward to what it may reveal.

Fingers crossed.


Now What?!

Pain is not responding to Arnica or Advil and there's some swelling at the base of the toes.  Perhaps I can try an analgesic that starts with a different letter of the alphabet.  Though short-term it won't be much use, as it appears I have given myself a stress fracture, says Wayne.  All that enthusiastic walking coming up on the toes and going from relatively little walking to walking over two miles from carpool to the office and from the office to the bus was too much too soon.  Treatment: immobilization!  Wayne recommends going back to a crutch -- waaaaaah!

Good news is that it doesn't affect my riding.  Because soles of cycling shoes are very stiff, they don't allow the foot to flex and the foot is effectively immobilized.  A silver lining.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Incremental Improvements

Complaining about the weather had the desired effect.  Even though it drizzled in the morning again, the fog lifted in the late morning and stayed away the rest of the day, making the afternoon ride with Jessica a pleasure.  Our intrepid forecasters are predicting a warming trend.  Perhaps this will motivate me to ride in early mornings with my friends again.

The hole in the foot seems to be shrinking, but very slowly.  It also feels a little shallower.  Surprising how walking differently, something that felt good at the time, has made me feel so bad.  Jessica swears by Arnica gel, so I used it last night and this morning, with little noticeable improvement.  I am back to hobbling and am contemplating driving to San Francisco again, as I don't think I can walk half a mile from carpool drop-off to the office in the morning and from the office to the bus after work.  Of course I can continue cycle commuting.  Mercifully, this ache does not affect my riding.

A good thing, too.  Jessica said many times how glad she is that I ride double centuries rather than run marathons.  I am too.  I wonder how long it takes runners to start running after similar injuries.

A Santa Rosa TV station runs ads for Snoopy's Home Ice Arena, an indoor rink 75 miles to the north.  This makes me muse about getting back on the ice.  How would that feel? Physically? Psychologically? Emotionally? Three months ago, I told my friend Steve that I thought of playing very stationary tennis in July, which could still happen, especially if this damn base-of-the-toes pain ebbs soon.  I've also talked about skating before 2012.  I fully plan to do so.  Maybe even before I get on the court.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Hole in The Foot

So the ache at the base of three middle toes is still there and now it affects my gait and I even feel it on the bottom of my foot and I don't like it.  it hurts on top of the foot and on the bottom in roughly the same place, as if there's a hole in the foot.  And I'm tired because I sleep badly, lying awake at 3:00 a.m., then at 4:30 a.m., then at 5:30 a.m. thinking about my job, worrying about what's going to happen to some of our more serious cases.  This has been going on for years and I'm used to it.  Lately, though, it's been more frequent, which is surprising because I have a new job where instead of one person working with me I have five.  Where in the past I worried about everything that needed to get done, now I know that it will get done.  I think because I have others doing the work, the control freak in me worries because I have ceded control over day-to-day handling of most of the cases to my able colleagues and I don't know what happening in the cases every minute of every day.  This is a good thing in theory.  I have to appreciate that this is a good thing and quit worrying.

Today, though, my job committed the unpardonable sin of infecting my ride.  I rode home on Lafayette-Moraga bike path, worrying irrationally about work.  This made me angry and unhappy.  Cycling is my sanctuary, an escape from work and daily worries.  Work worries on the ride -- no way!  I think the realization and appreciation that lack of control is a good thing will improve matters.  I just remembered that I used to banish worries by imagining a swirling toilet with my bad thoughts going down the drain.  Will have to resurrect this method of dealing with these troubles.


Friday, July 15, 2011

What's Going On

Living 11 miles from San Francisco, the most overused cliche/quote I hear this time of the year is Mark Twain's "The coldest winter I spent was the summer in San Francisco."  OK, in 2011 it's almost true.  We had glorious weather in Santa Barbara during the first week of July, then returned to Oakland to find gloom of rare ferocity.  The past five days we've had stubborn fog and highs in the mid-50s.  Which reminds me of a bulletin board note I read a few days ago: "Today's Forecast: High -- 55 degrees, Low -- 55 degrees; Current Temperature -- 55 degrees."  This succinctly describes this week's weather but contains one important omission: the fog is so dense, it's practically raining.  On Wednesday, someone came to work with an umbrella, explaining that it was raining out in the Avenues.  Except that it wasn't.  It was fogging.

All of which leaves me unmovated to ride early in the morning in the dark and the dank in out misty hills.  And that's why this week's riding has been all about indoor riding and commuting in the fairly dry flats.  Going to brave the tiny drops of water this weekend and ride outdoors.  Someone once said : "Don't postpone joy," so I'm going to ride outdoors with family.  It'll be slow and lots of people will pass us, but it will be fun and I won't mind a bit.

P.S. Today's an OK ankle day, but I have a level 5-6 pain across the base of the middle three toes.  As that brilliant 1970s philosopher Roseanne Rosanna Danna said: "It's always something.  If it's not one thing, it's another...." and today it's toes or thereabouts.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Rehab X: Seven Squared and Beyond

On June 30, I was bemoaning turning 49 on Facebook, when Neil Berg remarked that all the birthday meant was that the Earth has gone around the Sun once more with me along for the ride, and I didn't feel so bad.  But I was older and was feeling older because I'd been seriously injured three months earlier, losing lots of strength and fitness as a result.  Bad feelings were tempered by the fact that I got a new bike, a Llewellyn, which I picked up on my birthday.

The first ride on the Llewellyn followed the next day.  The bike felt wonderfully smooth and stable and springy, just as a very well made steel bike should.  The next day, I hatched the idea to ride every day of my 50th trip around the Sun.  That sort of undertaking is blog-worthy.  So blog-worthy, in fact, that it deserves ITS OWN BLOG.  I hope I'm not spreading my writing too thin, but I think riding and writing about it will be fun.  The biggest challenge may be riding the day after double centuries, the days on which I usually nap and do as little as possible.

As for the other stuff, my rehab is ebbing and flowing.  Two days ago I came up with a brilliant idea to come up strongly on my toes as I walk, almost doing calf raises with every step.  The first day it worked very well.  I had no pain in the foot at all and was walking strongly.  Next morning I woke up with a sore left calf.  I stretched it as well as I could, but it was still tight and I had to rush off to PT.  Wayne mercilessly manipulated me, all to the good and the calf felt better than before therapy.  In late afternoon, I went to continue my streak at VeloSF.  After 50 minutes of pedaling nowhere fast, I rushed off to catch the bus, walking the fastest I've walked since March.  This fast walking didn't feel so good, but I didn't want to miss my bus and persisted.  I made the bus.  When I got off the bus the foot hurt badly and I limped for the first time in nearly a month as I walked a block to my car.  Yeah, hundreds of calf raises, PT, high cadence pedaling, and fast walking all piled together were too much too soon.  Four Advil and some ice abated the pain a bit, but it was still sore the next morning.  Things improved as the day went on, but two days ago I felt better.  I live hopeful than in two days I'll feel better than I did two days ago and certainly better than today.