Monday, January 14, 2013

Run away home

Tomorrow, the follow-up at Valley Medical. Gird for battle.

Last time the young doctor, Dr. T., asked for:
  • the latest neuropsychological exam
  • the results of a hearing test after the accident
  • four blood tests
  • the images and report from the latest brain MRI
Even if he did treat me like a lab rat I figure it's in my best interest to provide information. More information = more science (hopefully) and less art.

The last one still needs gathering. Originally the plan was to take the train to and from San Francisco, where the MRI lives.
Sunny and cold, it's a beautiful winter morning. On impulse I get into (wool) bike clothes and pull the Waterford out of the garage. It helps with stress management. Front-loading the stress management seems like a good idea.

The main route is simple: the Loop, Sawyer Camp Trail, San Andreas Trail, Highway 35. The part in the city is not straightforward and I'm wishing for a smart phone, with Google Maps close at hand. Since the accident I've made a fair number of 'where am I?' calls to Danny from my not-so-smart phone. The goal is to minimize those.

Pushing away from the house, there's a sense of freedom.

When I got back from Las Vegas the first couple of days were stressful. Fraught with baggage (literally). Bags from the Christmas Trip and NMX lurk in the living room, waiting to be unpacked.

Mostly it's life wreckage though. Like a shadow in front of the sun. So I broke the rules and had a glass of wine 2 nights in a row. That wasn't a good idea. After giving up alcohol (mostly) it could not be more clear, the impact on my brain. Makes me irrational. Moody. Depressed. Stupid.

Now I'm free. At some point in Portola Valley I realize it's possible to ride to Daly City, then take BART the last few miles into San Francisco. Never done that before. Always good to try something new.

Also, my ankle is kinda done. Saturday I fell backward off the front steps and heard something rip. It's a sprain. There's been swelling, bruising, ice, and Advil. Today is the first day back in the saddle.

I phone Danny, who is looking at Google Maps in his office. He confirms how to do the BART thing. Go 2 miles past the dreaded Hwy 35/1 interchange, John Daly Blvd. The new plan!

The trail winds around Crystal Springs Reservoir, which stores drinking water from Hetch Hetchy. There is something peaceful and relaxing about staring at the blue surface.

Under the reservoir runs the San Andreas. The last photo looks southward along the fault. Try to see a line running from the right foreground to that little speck of blue reservoir near the center. Beyond that point the fault curves left and goes into the Santa Cruz Mountains. Making good, hilly roads to ride.

It's considerably less peaceful during rush hour on John Daly Boulevard, crossing 280. I run the gauntlet, giving drivers meaningful looks (don't kill me, man). BART whooshes right into the heart of the Mission District, about a mile from the hospital. The staff are bubbly and helpful, burning a CD with the MRI images on the spot, printing out the report. It's stupefying, their persistent cheer in a place where people find out what their cancer or broken hip looks like and where people like me can't get out fast enough.

On a packed commuter train, suddenly I'm part of the working world again. Everyone has a laptop or smart phone. Two interesting neighbors. On my left is a engineer at Pinterest who presented at South by Southwest and was a blogger before there was such a thing. Opposite sits a mechanical engineer with a degree from Davis who says it's too dangerous to bike in the city. All her arguments are fear-based and familiar but she gets a demo of my Solas blinkie anyway. For the first time today my toes are warm. The CD and MRI report are stashed in my bike bag.

Fifty miles, mission accomplished. Trains, like an old friend, enabling my escape. And bringing me back to face tomorrow.

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