Are the most annoying roads the ones that have corrugations stretching from edge to edge? Or is the most annoying road the one riddled with potholes that requires significant weaving around to avoid clunking into each hole?
Holes are definitely to be avoided on the road, unless you like truing wheels and replacing rims. And, of course, avoiding extra holes in your body is a healthy path to follow, also. In April 2020, a dog gave me two pretty deep holes in my calf muscle when he attacked me. In November 2021, it was a surgeon and associated medical staff that put eight holes in me.
But that was just a few days ago. What else did we get up to in October and November?
Sadly, there wasn’t much adventure. Six months into the pain and nausea and it had become incredibly debilitating. I could only stay upright for about 1.5 hours before I needed to lay down, such was the pain. My digestion was terrible and I could not eat more than a half cup of food at a time, and the only foods that were remotely safe to eat were bananas and lettuce. I was beyond miserable. Friends and family became increasingly concerned.
But in my upright hours I would spend time sipping hot water while looking at my ‘roads ridden’ map. I looked at the big green spaces that need to be ridden. I plotted potential routes for the future when all the pain is gone…. whenever that might be.
On one low pain (hahahhahahaha!) day with the most perfect weather ever, I talked Nigel into helping me launch the floatilla. I’ve wanted to do this for several years but have not gotten around to it. We’ve had the fish boat for about a decade. And I bought all the little floaties I could find while inflatable drink holders were in fashion between 2017-2019, knowing that someday they would disappear. So I thought I’d get a big supply so Verne and Kermit would have back-ups and back-ups of back-ups. This also meant we could do a bit of an Australian Armada for fun. And it was fun!
Nigel had also booked to drive the race car again at Mt Panorama in Bathurst. I was in no condition to cycle tour there or back, as I had hoped. I felt terrible but still had fun supporting him in the things that make him happy. He improved substantially over last year, consistently going 15kph faster in every part of the track and managing to hit 212 kph on Conrad Straight (the pros in the real cars get top speeds close to 300kph). The instructor even let him use 4th gear over the top of the mountain even though they usually make you stay in third.
Take a ride around the track with him in the lap below. This track is one of the most challenging circuits in the world with some of the steepest grades of any circuit track. Believe me, the steep, curvy stuff he is doing at 100kph or more at the top of the track is pretty scary even at 60 kph (the track is a public road and he’s taken me for a lap before).
We used Dom’s Dine and Discover vouchers to go to the National Motor Museum at Mt Panorama, too. The state-sponsored vouchers include two $25 restaurant vouchers and two $25 vouchers for museums, art galleries etc. It’s a waste of COVID recovery money, as no one needs any incentive to head out and do stuff after being in long lockdowns! But thanks, Dom (NSW Premier), we ‘discovered’.
On our way back from Bathurst, we did stop at the Ages of Fishes Museum in Canowindra for me. I’ve wanted to go there since 2006, so this was a tick off the Bucket List for me. The fossils here are of international significance and only about 1/5 of the deposit has been excavated. The density and diversity of the fish fossils was so fascinating. I was in nerd heaven!!!! Nigel found it very interesting, too, and we were lucky to be the only ones there (no school groups).
You can read more about this amazing but little known place here:
We also stopped and spent the night in Temora – hoping to go to the Chinese restaurant there so Nigel could get his favourite “Peking Pork Spareribs”. Unfortunately the restaurant was closed, but we were able to visit the Temora Aviation Museum.
The Temora Aviation Museum is built on the site of the biggest and longest lasting RAAF Elementary Flying Training School during World War II. 10 EFTS was established in May 1941 and training ceased in May 1945. A total of 2,527 pilots were trained in Tiger Moths at Temora with another 111 being partially trained.
All of the historic military aircraft are kept in flying condition. Many of the planes are the only airworthy ones in Australia, or in some cases, the world. We had a guided tour and were impressed with the aircraft stories. They were getting ready for a flying weekend (where they take the planes out and demo them), so we were treated to a Blackhawk helicopter showing off as it flew in for the weekend.
You can read all about this really cool place here:
After all of the racing and museum ‘discovering’, it was home to lay around in pain and live out this year’s journal title for a bit longer…. just waiting…. on my gastroscopy follow-up appointment.
And so on Wednesday the 24th, I drove down to Wangaratta to get the gastroscopy results. The surgeon told me that everything came back okay, so he thought the next step would be to remove my gallbladder. We chatted a bit more about my intensifying pain, significant weight loss and other worsening symptoms (e.g. I can puke when I sneeze or breathe too deeply). He had me lay down on the table. He was concerned about how sore I was when he pushed around on my upper abdomen. (I did not puke on him, but it was a possibility).
And this is how “The Waiting” for help with 8 months of worsening symptoms became resolved.
He sent me across the street to the Emergency Department. He called over and told them to admit me to the hospital, and that he would do emergency surgery to remove my gallbladder the next day when he was on call.
24 hours later, at 3pm on Thanksgiving Day, I was gallbladder-less. Upon examination, the gallbladder was inflamed, contracted and adhered to my small intestine. It was at high risk of rupturing, so it needed to be gone.
As soon as I was back to the ward after the surgery, I noted that all that nausea, all that feeling like I could puke at any time for the last 8 months, all of that was gone. I had a lot of pain, but it was not the same pain I had pre-surgery. It was just pain from all those holes (2 blood test holes, 2 infusion site holes, 4 laparoscopic surgery holes).
Recovery is speeding along. Once back to the ward I looked about 8 months pregnant. By Friday afternoon, I only looked 6 months pregnant. By Saturday I could walk around the block. 70 hours post-surgery on Sunday I went for a 5km walk.
The pain is rapidly diminishing. The swelling, which is a combination of wound trauma, the CO2 gas they pump into you to expand the abdominal cavity, and constipation from the narcotics, is going down slowly.
They were confident I would have a trouble-free recovery and didn’t even send me home with prescription painkillers. I am allowed back to normal daily activities in one week (my 5km walk today might have been a bit early at 70 hours post-surgery!). I am allowed back on the bike for gentle rides in two weeks. I am allowed back to strenuous exercise in six weeks.
So, yeah, 2022 is in my sights. It is going to be a much better year! And I am FINALLY, after 4.5 years, going to reclaim my health!!!!!!!!