November 2019 Update

Pier and beach

As mentioned in last months update, I’ve been very good and have indeed wrapped myself in cotton wool, sort of! The idea being my wounds, would heel and I wouldn’t get any more, not that it’s done any good, I still ended up at the hospital!

At the very end of October, I took Passepartout to St John Street cycles in Bridgwater for a well-deserved service. I had planned to cycle there as I have in the past. But with the weather the way it is at the moment, I decided it was better to drive, bad mistake! The traffic was a nightmare, what should have been a two and a half, maybe three-hour journey, turned out to be more like eight! But at least my bike is now all serviced ready to go away on another tour.

Flooded fields
It’s been rather wet, this is a cycle path not a stream!
More Ailments

Over the next few days, I developed a pain in my right calf, which became so bad I couldn’t bear any weight on it and could only stand with the aid of a crutch! Time to go to the doctors, once again!

After an examination by the doctor, who thought it could be a blood clot! Caused by my sitting in the car for so long the other day, decided to take a blood test! And said that if I didn’t anything by the end of the day, then everything was okay and there was no need to worry. The end of the day came, and I never heard back. So I assumed it wasn’t a blood clot, although I was still in a lot of pain, and unable to walk very well!

Sea, ship, castle
One of the few sunny days we’ve had in the past month

The following morning, I was still in pain, so I decided it was probably best to stay in and rest. After all, I was meant to be wrapping myself in cotton wool! Around mid-morning the phone went, it was the doctor, telling me that my blood didn’t get to the laboratory in time, and was no good, so could I go for another blood test today! But this time over the hospital, just to make sure they did get it on time! That was fine by me. It wasn’t as if I was exactly busy! She said that the same would apply as last time, no news is good news!

More Waiting

After the hospital, I returned home. It got to around 5 o’clock, and I hadn’t heard anything, so I assumed I was in the clear. Literally, just as I thought that the phone rang, it was the doctor! She said my D-Dimer level was high, (whatever that is!) and could be a clot! So I needed to go to the surgery and pick up a prescription for some syringes, (I think they thin the blood), and I’ve also made an appointment for you at the hospital for a scan in a few days, she said!

At The Hospital

After a few days of injecting myself with the syringes, I was still in pain. But at least I was off to the hospital, and would hopefully receive an answer! The hospital took all day, firstly waiting for the scan, then secondly waiting to see a doctor! After eventually getting to see the doctor the news was good, they couldn’t find a clot! But, that could be because of the injections! So could I stop taken them and come back the following week for another scan!

The week went by, and I was still in pain although it had eased off slightly. Back at the hospital, they once again scanned me. And again I went to see the doctor, and what’s the first thing he says to me? Which I tend to hear a lot whenever I see a new doctor! “Well, you’ve had an interesting time!” Referring to my time in hospital last year!

To which I gave my usual reply of, “so they tell me!” as I don’t remember too much of it.

“Well the good news is it isn’t a DVT,” the doctor said

“That’s good, but what do you think it is” I replied

“I’m not too sure, it could be sciatica, especially as you have a history of back problems, or possibly something to do with your hip! I’m sorry I don’t know, but it’s definitely not a clot!” said the doctor, and his best advice was to take painkillers!

That was all at the beginning of the month, and my leg is feeling a lot better now, albeit still a bit painful! So what it was, who knows, just another one of my mysterious problems! I am an enigma!

Away From The Health Issues

As I said, my leg is a lot better now, and I can once again bear weight on it and walk. Which is good news especially as I was asked to babysit Indya one afternoon, and the easiest option was to take her out for a walk in her pram, which I found made a good zimmer frame!

Sleeping baby
Indya in her pram, all ready to go out with grandpa

I’ve only been out a couple of times on the bike this month, it’s either been too windy, too wet or generally both! One day last weekend when it was nice I set off on the pub bike, only managing to get a few miles before my back wheel started to rub against the brake. I stopped to look, but couldn’t find anything wrong, so continued riding, but the rubbing got worse! Pulling over once more, I still couldn’t find any reason, but thought it best to return home and swap bikes.

After returning home I was going to go back out on Passepartout, but I’d now lost interest and decided not to bother! Instead, I took another look at the back wheel on my pub bike and this time found the problem! The wheel had split, through wear over the years! Luckily I didn’t continue. The chances are that the wheel could have collapsed on me!

A Day Out

Julie and I decided to go to London for the day yesterday. (30th November) It was the only day we both had free before Christmas, it was so busy! London is busy at the best of times, but this was unbelievable, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it that busy! It may have been down to that “Black Friday” thing, who knows?

People
One of the entrances to Borough Market

First off we went to Borough Market, which was a delight, an old market full of independent stalls mostly selling groceries. There was also an area that sold street food (very trendy at the moment!) from around the world. We sat down and had Japanese!

Tall buildings by water
The London skyline

We then went for a walk along the side of the Thames before heading to Covent Garden and Seven Dials. Where Julie went shopping, and I sat in a pub, or rather I didn’t, it was so busy I had to stand at the bar! A pleasant day, despite it being so busy!

Finally

I’ve been wracking my brain over the past few weeks wondering where I could go on my bike. And even considered heading over to Asia! But decided that probably wasn’t the wisest of moves at the moment! Anyway, I can’t go too far now as I start a new course of treatment! Which might involve me having to go to the hospital two or three times a week! I find out tomorrow (2nd December) when I go for my first appointment!

Christmas lights
Christmas lights in London

The open wound on my heel. The one that stopped me from having my operation last month is slowly but surely getting better. Unfortunately not enough for me to be considered for an operation!

I’m thinking of renaming my website to “travels on a bike 2 the doctors!” all I seem to talk about these days is visits to the doctors and my ailments!

October 2019 Update

Sky line

Not too much to say this month, as most of October has been spent cycling around France, Germany and Holland, in a bid to get fit for my upcoming surgery. And I’ve only been home for a week and a half, but it’s been a busy time, catching up with family and friends, especially my new grandchild Indya, who, as you would expect has grown quite a bit, and is already smiling!

Smiling baby
Indya smiling, happy, just like her granddad!!

I was only home for a day before I had an appointment at the hospital for my pre-op assessment. No problem, as I’ve just said, one of the reasons for going away was to get fit and give me the best chance of a speedy recovery after surgery, and I certainly was feeling fit! In fact, I’d not felt this good in a long time!

Cruise ship and tall building
I saw this cruise ship in Rotterdam, in fact I’ve seen it loads of times on different tours around the Med
At The Pre-Op

Well, the pre-op was a very short-lived affair! I got the usual questions, do you smoke, how much alcohol do you drink? I always get confused with that question and confuse units of alcohol with pints!?!

Next question, what medication are you on? As I reeled off what is a very short list these days, I arrived at steroids.

“Steroids?” She asked

“Yes, I’m on a reducing dose, which finishes in three weeks, one week after surgery” I replied

“I’ll have to run that one past your surgeon, I’m not too sure if they’ll operate while you’re on steroids!” (Steroids weaken the immune system, meaning you’re more prone to infection)

Great I thought, but at least I’ll only be on 5mg by the time they operate, so it might be okay!

Deer
Deer I saw in Dagenham park last week on my ride into London

Next question, do you have any open wounds? Unfortunately, I did and showed her my cuts and grazes which are all part of normal life for me, I’m always cutting or knocking myself! She didn’t seem too bothered by them until I came to the blister on the back of my heel. Which if you remember came up when I was in Angers, on the 5th October at the beginning of my tour! Well, because of the steroids and living in a pair of shoes that rubbed every time I walked, it’s no longer a blister it’s a rather large open wound! Despite my best efforts to dress it every day and put antiseptic cream on it!

That was it, she had to cancel the operation! They won’t operate on anybody with an open wound, especially not one that has had sepsis in the past!

Now What

I’ve now got to wait until my heel is better and I haven’t got any open wounds, which could be a problem! I think I’ll have to wrap myself in cotton wool and stay in bed! I’ve got a week and a half left on the steroids, so hopefully, things will start to heal if you’ll pardon the pun!

I must admit that I thought it was all a bit ironic! I cycle 1500-miles to get fit and indeed do feel fit, only to be told I’m not fit!

Not too sure what I’m going to do for the next few weeks/months, I would like to go away again on my bike, but it’s just not the right time of year, both weather-wise and there are very few campsites open!

Tuesday 22nd October. Harwich to Bognor Regis. 89 Miles.

Well I’d like to say that it’s good to be back in England, but it’s not!

Busy roads, with drivers that don’t have any patience, roads that are full of potholes! And worst of all the rubbish that litters the countryside is unbelievable! What’s the matter with people, do they not care anymore! I’m ashamed to call this country home!

Ditch with litter in it
There’s litter wherever you look

Well that’s the rant over with!

It was very cold this morning, in fact it’s not warmed up all day, I even had to get my gloves and fleece out!

Viaduct
The viaduct in Central park, Chelmsford

It wasn’t a particularly pleasant ride to start with, not until I reached Chelmsford, then things seemed to improve. The roads improved and so did the drivers! There was still rubbish everywhere though!

Cycling into London was really nice. By surprise I found a Greenway which took me all the way to the queen Elizabeth Olympic park.

Path
The Greenway in the centre of London

I would have liked to cycle home tomorrow, but to find somewhere to stay in London tonight at short notice is ridiculously expensive!

So I took the easier and cheaper option by getting the train! Besides it not a particularly nice ride home from London anyway!

Sculpture
The Arcelor Mittal Orbit at the queen Elizabeth Olympic park

All in all it’s been a very enjoyable tour, and my fitness seems to have returned to pre-sepsis levels. It’s just a shame that I’ve now got to go back into hospital! But then now is obviously the right time, to give me the best chance of a speedy recovery!

Total miles of both legs of this tour 1766.

Monday 21st October. Rotterdam to Hook of Holland. 34 Miles.

Well that was nearly a disastrous ending to the whole trip! I only booked the ferry the wrong way, England to Holland, instead of Holland to England, what an idiot!

Trees on water
The bobbing forest

Thankfully the very kind girl on check-in changed the route at no extra cost! I thought the times of the ferries were different to ones I’d got!

Ships cabin with bunk beds
Definitely lucked out on the cabin, there’s even a TV

Spent the morning hanging around the hotel, it was pouring with rain. And I didn’t have to be at the ferry until 11pm. Well that was what I thought!

Box shaped apartments
The cube house

After spending the morning in the hotel, I then went out to play the tourist.

I liked Rotterdam, I thought it was a lovely place, made all the better by the fact that everything is accessible by bike!

Bridge
The Erasmusbrug bridge

Luckily I got bored with playing the tourist, and headed for ferry. Just as well, it was due to leave an hour earlier than I thought!

It was an easy 20-mile ride to ferry terminal at the Hook of Holland.

Cycle route signs
I liked this sign