Sunday, October 18, 2015

RIP my Brother

My bedroom door opened near midnight last Friday and the sound awoke me.  Through the bright hallway light I see my son walking toward me.  He begins to speak and says he has some really bad news to tell me.  My first thought was that he had crashed the car.  Christopher proceeds to tell me that my older Brother Joey had been killed.  His life taken by some drunken scumbag that did not even have a license nor should have even been in this country of ours.

In Loving Memory of

Joey Vaughn Locke

February 23, 1964 - October 9, 2015

Killed. Still hard to grasp what has actually happened.  It has been a week since my Brothers murder.  In all honesty I expected him to die in some high speed crash but I did not expect him to be killed by some piece of shit illegal immigrant.

Both my brothers are now gone.  It is so hard to accept this.  I keep looking at old photos and remembering all the fun times we had.  Then I come back to reality and they are gone.

Joey was my older brother and was always there for me.   I still remember that time while we were hunting on the farm when we were little kids.  We were working our way through  the woods to another track of land and crossed by a trailer where someone was living.  At the time I did not know who it was but it turned out to be my crazy grandmother's sister.  I think she was a little mental because she got a gun and started shooting at us.  We took off running like a bat out of hell.  I heard a few bullets narrowly miss us.  I kept stopping to wait for Joey but he kept telling me to keep running.  I did not want to leave him.  We reached a fence and looked back to see if the crazy lady was still there.  We could see her reloading her rifle.  Joey grabbed me and tossed me over the fence and told me to run like hell.   Luckily the old bitch was a poor shot.  I have dozens of more stories. Each one Joey was my protector and was there for me.

One of the best summers of my life was back in 1990.  I spent the summer up at the farm with Joey and his girlfriend Lisa. We spent time on the beach, we shot guns and we also hit a few local races. I remember both of us getting 1st and 2nd on that night in the Open Money class. Joey got the holeshot and took off.  I went down in the first turn and broke my rear brake lever.  I charge back the entire race and passed over 20 other riders to catch Joey on the last lap.  He saw me behind him and just let me by.  He wanted me to win because I had ridden so hard.  To Joey we had both won and we did.

My last event I ever raced with Joey was the Cohutta 100 Mountain Bike race.  That was one long day in the saddle for sure.  Joey  and our friend Selby had competed in the shorter event.  He always wanted to return to the event and complete the entire 100 mile distance.  Ever since he turned 50 he talked about doing more endurance events like we used to.
Joey had a very hard time dealing with the death of my little brother John.  Joey was our older brother and he was supposed to protect us which he always did.  Now Joey and John are together again.  I love you and will miss you both so much. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Life in The Small Chainring

It has been awhile since I last posted anything so here is a little update.   

A little over 4 months ago I had knee surgery to fix up my right knee in hopes that I could resume my normal riding/racing lifestyle. After all the physical therapy the knee is better (minus the numbness which may never go away) - no more pain at least when I do normal activities.  Strength is o.k. but no where near the level I was a couple of years ago. My biggest problem now is my right hip.  I am actually afraid to go see the doctor about it because I am really not that pleased with how my by body responded to knee surgery. I would hate to go through any type of procedure on my hip so I have been taking it really easy and hoping that with time I can at least resume a somewhat active lifestyle. The one other problem is my ability to deal with heat.  Every time I push myself when it is hot I get really sick. 

I have been riding a lot with Carolynn on our tandem this summer.  When the trails were dry which was not often we hit them. When they were wet we hit the road.  The temps were down late spring/early summer so we actually got in some nice rides after work and I have not been effected by the heat.    I have actually enjoyed the slower paced rides.

Most of the summer has actually been very fun with no pressure.  Carolynn and I had a great time down in Eureka Springs in July.   We hit several trail systems including her favorite - Blowing Springs.

It was time to head to the lake once the normal summer temps arrived.  A great time was had out on Beaver Lake.  Carolynn's new SUP while a little unstable compared to some models is very fast.
 We never seemed to make any time to visit the tourist attractions when we travel.  Well times are a changing.  A visit to Pivot Rock was in made this past summer.   Hopefully these tourist attractions get a little better.  I was not impressed with this natural formation.
We did not play all the time.  Some work was actually done this summer.  Our hot water heater died on us so my friend Ashley came over and taught Christopher how to replace one. 
Ironically one of the things that may have caused me the greatest damage to my body is the one thing I can still compete at.  After surgery I got back on the motorcycle a little soon.  It has taken me a couple of months but I have finally built up enough strength to race a Hare Scrambles and finish strong.  After winning the first round in March I got my second win of the season this past weekend up in Thurman, IA.  Still got sick after the race but at least I had a win to show for it. But is it worth it?  What long term damage is happening?

Another summer in the books and I am still trying to adjust to this new way of life.   A life which has me stuck in the small chain ring. Part of me feels like quitting everything and just living a sedentary life.  The other part does not want to give up just yet. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

I Think I Need Stitches

With the high risk sports that my family does, things like racing motorcycles and flying downhill on our mountain bikes,  it turns out home is the most dangerous place there is

I get a call today from my son that he has had an accident.  A little slip in the tub and that he broke the ceramic soap dish holder.  Damn I think. Another project that I need to add to that ever growing To Do list. 

Turns out the bathroom is the most dangerous place there is in the house.  While taking a shower after working all day on the house/yard he slipped in the shower.  I asked how he slipped and he just said he did.  I left it at that.  He told his girlfriend who was over at the time that "I think I need stitches"  After inspection she quickly agreed and drove him to the hospital

No shit you need stitches and a lot more.  A tendon was cut so we need to visit the surgeon tomorrow.  The ER doc stitched his hand up until we see a specialist.

After he got home from the hospital I asked Christopher what he was doing in the shower to cause him to slip and fall.  I think that shit eating grin says it all....

Friday, May 1, 2015

Long Road Back

It has been 10 days since my surgery on my knee.  I wish I could say my recovery has gone well but in my eyes it does not look promising.  Hopefully I am wrong and things will start to turn around soon.

Pre-surgery I had a normal pair of cycling legs.I do not think my legs will ever look like this again

I had a funny feeling going into the operating room. Something inside of me was saying that it is time to quit. Time to settle down and just be a normal sedentary person.  Quality of Life is apparently becoming very important to me.

During pre-op the nurses asked me at least 5 times what leg I was getting worked on.  I was not really worried about getting the wrong leg worked on despite some of the stories Carolynn told me.  Plus I most likely will have to get my left leg worked on also.   The doctor said the procedure should be done all arthroscopically but there was a chance that he would have to make an incision below my patella to remove the cyst.  I kept having the above picture in my head of a large incision.

Luckly everything went well and all done arthroscopically.  Although it does not look like it I was actually in good spirits after the surgery.  The doctor was able to remove my cyst and he also repaired some of the  meniscus and patella damage I had. The osteoarthritis I have can not be cured but is quite common for someone my age.

I was instructed to "act like a normal person",use RICE and to begin therapy the following day.  With pain medication PT went well.  I had to stop taking my feel good pills because they caused some major constipation.  That is no fun at all. 

Why is it so hard to just sit still.  I spent 3 days like this.  I started to walk around the house without crutches I had Max for company and to fend off Carolynn's cat Betsy.   Those two fought everyday.  Now I know what goes on when everyone is at work.

After 4 days my damn knee looks like shit. Very swollen - 2 inches larger in circumference than my other knee.  I do not know if that is normal or not. 

Follow visit to KCOI went well.  Despite my knee looking like crap to me the doctor said it looked good and that I appeared to be walking good. The nurses really liked my sexy stockings.

The doctor said I should wait another week and just walk and do PT.  I started to include using my mini cycle trainer.  Carolynn bought this thing for years ago to use at work - it fits under your desk and you can spin away while you work.   First time using it was weird.  Legs just did not want to turn circle even with little to no resistance.   Second time was better. 

Weather was really nice on Wednesday so I decide to try and ride really easy outside on my bike.  Plan was just to ride around my neighborhood.    First back did not go well.  Knee felt really unstable.  Range of motion was also limited.  One of the roads I was on has a very small hill that I do not even think about normally.  I tried to ride up it but could not.  Knee just would not take the pressure.  I turned around and returned home after only riding 4 miles.   Looks like it will take a lot longer to recover than I thought.  Am I just getting old or is this normal?  Either way I have a long road to travel to recover.  I am trying to find the motivation to get fit again. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

What a Pain in my Knee

This past month I finally broke down and decided to find out what is going on with my knee. I have not mentioned it very much but I have been hindered by knee pain over the last year.  I can cycle o.k. and really do no feel pain much while riding especially if I tape them.  After some workouts like running my knee will start to burn and pain sets in.  Usually after some some ice and compression I will be fine again in a day or so.  During a very busy period of work which included a lot  kneeling the pain really started to effect my ability to work.  I can deal with taking days off from exercising t but not working.

I got into see Dr. Browne with KCOI a couple of weeks ago and the x-ray's did not show much other than and old broken fibula and some signs of arthritis .  The doctor asked me why I did not put down the broken bone in my patient history.  I told him I ran out of space.....  After nearly an hour of waiting and examinations it was decided I need an MRI.
After a week I made the trip down to Leawood, KS again to review my MRI result.  Dr. Browne was happy to announce that he found out the cause of my pain. Turns out I have a cyst in my knee.  It does not look like much but damn that thing hurts especially when I bend my knee back all the way or kneel down.  I also have a torn meniscus

I plan to have the cyst removed next week.  The doctor also said he will clean up the tears of my meniscus.  Hopefully they will not find much else wrong.  Looking forward to having no more pain in my knee.