9.26.2010

Time flies and junk

Recumbent tricycle „Kettwiesel“ by Hase Spezia...Image via WikipediaI just realized it's been a week since my last post.
As expected, the NAMI walk did wear me out quite a bit. I spent most of Monday curled up in bed with Oreo and a book and even had a midday nap.
Tuesday was physical therapy which was harder than usual for me (still tired). And the trigger point injections were wearing off by then. My therapist was trying to do some range of motion and traction stuff with my neck and I just could not relax. The constant tension is a big issue for me in terms of posture and pain and migraine.
I forgot to mention last week that I had a chance to try out a recumbent tricycle last Saturday.  It was absolutely amazing.  I had a regular bicycle several years ago with the idea of using it to commute to campus.  I didn't want to admit it at the time, but I was afraid every time I rode it.  I didn't feel balanced or secure and I really wasn't comfortable turning and moving to look behind me.  So I quit riding for some time.  I thought maybe it was more the bike than me, so in 2008 Tom got a beautiful vintage Schwinn from a friend and we put rearview mirrors and wire panniers on it.  I rode it twice, terrified both times that I was falling/going to fall.  By the end of the second ride I was also in pain and exhausted.  We eventually sold it.  I occasionally look back on it with wistful regret - I love the sensation of riding, I was really hoping to get into touring (Dervla Murphy is a hero of mine) and riding used to be fun.
When I started physical therapy again, my therapist started having me warm up using their recumbent exercise bike. And it dawned on me that a recumbent bike or even better a trike might be something I could try to start riding again.
There was a sports fair nearby last weekend and a local bike store that sells adaptive bicycles had several bikes out. I tried an upright trike and it was okay, but not wonderful. I did feel much, much safer and more confident though. Then I tried the recumbent. It was amazing! Pedaling felt super efficient and wonderful and stretchy. My arms and hands were in a neutral position so there was no pain or tingling or numbness. I felt absolutely secure and far more confident of my ability to steer and be aware of things around me because I wasn't devoting so much attention to not falling or being afraid of falling. It felt a little like being in a go-cart. The only major problem was how low to the ground it was - which made it a challenge for me to get in and out of and made it a bit less visible. Nevertheless, I really fell in love with it. And there are models that are elevated a bit more to roughly the same eye level as a passenger car.
Unfortunately, they're fairly expensive, especially on our budget. But we're hoping to save up and maybe find something used or eventually squirrel away enough money. We're also hoping to go out to the bike shop one day to see if we can arrange a longer trail-ride for me to get a better idea of how I like it for longer than the 1/4 block or so I could ride at the sports fair.
I'm also planning on getting a pedal exerciser to work with while I'm on the couch or floor to build up some stamina in my legs and get some good stretching in.
In other news, the ArtFire opt-in drive got enough subscribers, including me, which means I will have an ArtFire Pro account for $5.95/month. I opt-ed in as a sort of "if it works, then I'll really buckle down and open shop." And it did. So, come November I hope to have at least a little something up and running. October is going to be entirely too busy for me to do it then - we're going to see my parents and my grandmother.
And, in less happy news, my Nana has esophageal cancer. She fortunately is not in any pain, but she is still having trouble eating despite having a stent put in to help expand the esophagus. Given her age and relative health she and her doctors have decided to forgo treatment and let nature take its course. I support her fully in this decision, and totally understand her desire to be as comfortable as possible in the time remaining rather than go through chemo or radiation and the side-effects related to them. It does mean, though, that it is just a matter of time until we say goodbye. I am, though, very grateful to have a bit of warning and the chance to prepare and say goodbye. I've been trying to talk to her at least once a week and she sounds fairly good. And, like I said, Tom and I are going to visit her mid-way through our trip out to see my parents.
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3 comments:

Leonie said...

The idea of the recumbent sounds like a great solution to many problems. I'm hoping you have spaces to ride it near to your house. Sad news about your Nana, I hope that she stays comfortable for as long as possible and gets the very best care.

cholling said...

As for being in pain and exhausted, that'll happen the first couple of times you ride a bike after a long hiatus, even if you used to bike all the time. I remember this spring the first time I rode after just a few months' lapse I thought a mile and a half trip would wear me out and all the hills had gotten ten times steeper over the winter. But after a couple more rides I was fine.

It's funny recumbents make you feel less like you're going to fall. I've never ridden one, but whenever I see one I think, "How do you balance the thing while you're lying on your back?"

Shoveling Ferret said...

Yeah, I know I'll feel it the first few rides - that's part of why I want to get a pedal exerciser to use at home to build up a bit of muscle.

I can't imagine how a regular recumbent balances, but a trike -yay, tripod!