August 29th, 2013
Yesterday afternoon I had a visit from my hopsice nurse, Vanessa, who was back from a two week vacation. We had a conference call with Dana my doc, to discuss my relative state of anxiety over the last few days.
Over the weekend I changed pain meds. I made a switch from Fentanyl patches, with dilaudid as needed for breakthrough pain (as well as gababpentin for nerve pain), to methadone and just methadone. One drug to rule the three. Methadone is apparently quite good for nerve pain and will obviate the need for the gabapentin. This meant having a period of the weekend that I was prepared to do very little of too much importance (ride bikes down steep hills, run heavy machines, etc..) because the incoming and outgoing drugs had to overlap to insure that what we know is a significant amount of pain lingering under that opioid blanket didn’t come out to play! The switch went fairly well. I did not end up uncovered. The pain remained under control the whole time, and only at one point during the weekend did I feel what I recognized as the edges of a narcotic high (while I printed and packaged your photographs and got them ready to send out… if you end up with the wrong one.. well.)
I DID notice, however, over the next few days, that while the pain remained under control I was feeling a bit listless. A little overwhelmed. A little panicked about the shear amount that has to get done in time for the show tomorrow, and yet without the usual gung ho energy to get up and DO something about it. I think it’s quite possible that the fentanyl/dilaudid combination had some level of palliative anti-anxiety effect that the methadone does not have to the same degree.. Or it’s possible that I just have a mountain of things to do by tomorrow and there are only so many hours in a day!!! That the switch in medication happened at a time when stress was bound to be running high anyway.
Today. I need to finish building a couple of big ash and steel racks that I started yesterday for displaying photographs of bikes that I’ve built over the years (the steel for these racks will arrive via UPS tomorrow.. yes.. the day of the show). I need also to finish printing photographs to HANG from these racks. It occurred to me that the three bikes I’m showing over the weekend really have VERY little to do with the sort of bikes that I typically built during my career as a bike builder, and that having a way to show people what sort of work I’ve done might be interesting.
I also need to build some sort of ash and apple crate piece meal rack to hold the actual BIKES that I will be showing at this event. These bikes will be, as I’ve mentioned, the three ASS bikes.
The Assless, which you may remember. The bike that I built myself when my doctors told me that I was not allowed to ride a bike with a seat.. Many of the parts for which were donated by the amazing companies that make them. Companies that I had only had relationships with at that point for 9 months or so, new builder that I was, but who were very very supportive when they heard my news!
The Hardass, which I built when I emerged from a second round of surgeries and chemotherapy too beat up to ride any of the bikes that I had in my stable from before. A bike that would allow me to sit more upright. I bike that was meant to be ridden more in and out of the saddle, so that I wouldn’t have to spend so much time with a newly reconstructed ass just hunkered down on a bike seat. I built the hardass frame to accommodate the parts from the Assless. It was my decision that the Assless shouldn’t simply languish.. nor should it be hung on the wall like some sort of trophy. So it was transmogrified! It BECAME the Hardass. Same parts, different frame, and now with a seat post and saddle. For the show, the parts will go back to the Assless (put it on the list of things that has to happen between now and tomorrow), and the Hardass will get its very own parts.
And Finally, the Ultimate Tight Ass. Aka, the U.T.A., which I built when I was diagnosed with stage 4 metatstatic terminal we-got-nothin’-practical-left-for-you cancer, last nov/dec. The Hardass had led me out into the woods.. it had clearly wanted to ride over stuff and so I followed it. This turned out to be a slippery slope, and before I knew it I was up in Vermont chasing my brother around woods doing nose wheelies on a fully rigid single speed 26″ mountain bike with only a front brake. A few days of that and I realized that if I was going to have sustained fun with this mountain biking thing, I’d need a better suited bike. When I was told that I had 6 months to live, I decided that I could probably clear out the time in my schedule to BUILD IT! I got the most astonishing donations from the very best parts manufacturers working, to build myself my ULTIMATE bike, the understanding being that when I was no longer able to ride it *cough* I would auction it off for some sort of charity around my whole cancer experience.
So! Those will be the bikes at the show. I have decided that I will not only be auctioning off the U.T.A., but the Assless as well! A strange thing to do, perhaps, but it’s a bike that has made its way around the interwebs and gotten a certain amount of attention, and the cause is indeed a good one (VNSNY – home hospice program. Read about the decision here). Perhaps there is someone out there who wants to donate some money to a good cause, AND end up with one of the more unique and storied bikes in my collection. The details of how these auctions will run will be released tomorrow! This is not going to be conventional. (would you expect it to be?). The auctions WILL, however, be accessible to people who are not at the show! You will be able to participate online.
SO. Now. Back to work. Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid! Todd Miller is dropping his kids at the school bus in Vermont as we I write this and then is rolling directly to me. St G is at the ready. My Sam and Em and Hillary, of course, are a constant source of help and support (despite the mountain of deadlines that they’re all under simultaneously). And there are countless others who have offered. You may be called upon!
Whoever you are, I hope to see you tomorrow or saturday at the BIKE CULT SHOW!! Spread the word!