Sunday, September 29, 2019


By my reckoning it has been three months since I last bicycled. The combination throughout that period of tooth surgery, hernia surgery and eye surgeries has kept me metaphorically flat on my back.  Each of the surgeons recommended restraint from exercise; and I had no inclination to contradict their advice for fear of contaminating my recovery.  Two days ago I completed the final program of eye drops, the last in the series of outstanding medical attendances.  Upon the breaking of a sunny day today I resolved to put myself back on the saddle and to reacquaint myself with the ineluctable benefit of moderate physical activity.

By coincidence my Electra Townie bicycle was during the same period of convalescence completely overhauled - new tyres, gear changer and modified rear axle hub. The reconditioned bicycle performed beautifully this morning when we rode along the former railway right-of-way from Church Street to the highway near Carleton Place, about 13 kms in all (both ways).

For the past three months I was able to withstand the temporary deprivation of cycling not only in deference to the advice of the surgeons but also because of my interest to discover whether the withdrawal from repeated cycling would alter the neuropathy in my lower limbs.  Apparently not. The strict neurological ailment has no correlation to my former monotonous muscular activity when bicycling almost daily throughout the entire year. Indeed during my convalescence I experimented with other prescription pharmaceuticals in an attempt to alleviate the recurring pain which radiates between my knees and the bottoms of my feet.  Those drugs had minor influence at best; and I am not convinced they've improved anything at all.  Only days ago I received an unexpected telephone call from the Ottawa Civic Hospital in which the clerk dragged me through a questionnaire in anticipation of an MRI which my neurologist had requisitioned over a year ago following my preliminary visit to his office. I am hopeful that I will be called for the probe before we leave for the winter; and that it will address the question for which the neurologist and I seek an answer.  I am inclined to suspect deterioration of both spinal discs and also nerves adjoining the sciatic connection, neither of which is easily remedied if at all.

Meanwhile the restitution of my bicycling regime re-establishes the fulcrum of my daily achievement and as a result revitalizes the source of my psychological health. I admit without embarrassment that in addition to bicycling my routine agenda now comprises little more than reading, writing, piano, music, photography and motoring. Each is an undistinguished through critical element of my self-expression. In anticipation of unpredictable change, I have often chewed over variations of them if necessary.  The bicycling theme is aligned unquestionably with the motoring motif.  For those imperatives I have contemplated acquiring an electric tricycle to accommodate whatever qualifications might foreseeably arise in either of them. The writing and piano threads I have pondered combining with the latest electronic sound system connected directly to a laptop computer or iPhone.  The photography can naturally be incorporated in the computer idiom.  That leaves only reading and music which admit conveniently to any number of modern audio channels.

There is a corollary to my surgeries which warrants attention; that is, that the addition of anaesthetics and narcotics has for the moment sullied the buoyancy of my mental state. This production is familiar to me following open-heart surgery years ago when it took almost precisely one year to magically recover from the medicinal pollution.  The elevation was instant, a sudden evaporation of impurities.  Meanwhile however I suffer the sequel of modern medicine. I certainly don't complain about the constitutional feature of the drugs; but I recognize the imbalance it precipitates and the odd sense of alienation and disquietude it engenders. It is part of the reason I resort to lonely travel in my automobile throughout the countryside - it's a method of removal from anxiety and a partial solution to my sociopathic feelings. Arguably it is all nothing more than curmudgeonly declension but for the time being I prefer to think of it otherwise.

The road to satisfaction incorporates more than a bicycle. We are regularly quizzed about our current teetotaling and reminded of the "Dunkard's Progress (from the first glass to the grave)". The prospect of reclamation is minimal. We instead content ourselves to limit the quantities of donuts, pecan pies and Nanaimo bars while cultivating the habit of fresh fruit, raw vegetables, beans and fish. I confess the expropriation of honey and nuts (and sometimes maple syrup). While the more realistic prospect of imminent death continues to persist, the temptation to "enjoy life" equally prevails. Toxic abuse is however more an uncontrolled reaction to weightier internal struggles; and on balance I am resolved to observe the present course of action.

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