The Lost Ride

Just a few short weeks ago, we were driving our car between fishing shacks on the thick ice of Lake Winnebago.

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Now the ice is gone, the birds have returned, grass is greening, and the trees are budding with leaves.

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Spring at last!

On Saturday, the temperature was pleasant, the sun was shining, and the country roads beckoned.  The YellowMobile and I answered the call with joy.  After a change of clothes and a quick check of the bike, we were off, waving to our neighbors as we glided past, expecting a long, easy ride.

And that’s about the last thing I remember.

Kathy said that I returned about two hours later and put away the bike and my shoes, same as always, then I told her that I’d had to use the gps to find my way home because I couldn’t remember.  As I became more distraught, she helped me change clothes and took me directly to the emergency room.  I don’t remember any of this either.  I do remember the shock of not being able to tell the doctor the day of the week, or the month, or even my age.

They hooked me up to machines large and small, poked and prodded and queried.  What they found was that my ticker has a valve which is quickly approaching its expiration date, and that I experienced something called “temporary amnesia.”

No, really!

I’d never heard of it either!  But it sounds suspiciously like something you’d claim after doing something really, really stupid or shameful.  They seem to get a lot of it in the political arena – “I don’t recall”.

But the hospital doctors said that they do get a couple cases each year where people come in having lost a day or two of memory without any significant indication of trauma.  They still don’t know how my heart valve fits into the picture and whether it was a factor or not.  What they did say was, that temporary amnesia usually follows some sort of overexertion coupled with overheating.  When it’s over, it usually never happens to that person again, but they may never recover their lost hours or days.  I still don’t remember mine.

The reason I’m passing this along is because, unlike a regular bike, we velonauts can create this kind of condition in our enclosed vehicles.  In my case, it was probably brought on by warmer weather than I was accustomed to while stupidly wearing my winter biking clothes.  But, of course…

I don’t recall.

For my fellow amnesia sufferers, I do have a theory…

High in the castle towers of Disneyland, Walt has hidden a monstrous, huge machine – beaming out its insidious, undeniable call.

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Oh look, there’s Walt now

Of course, many answer willingly…

Disney June 2011 Events

But for those few who resist, the beam’s unceasing effects can culminate in a sudden catastrophic breakdown of our defenses.

And dotted across this great land, in cities large and small, in rural communities and farms – the eyes gloss over…

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…the jaw goes slack…

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…and one by one they shuffle off to the distant beckoning.

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It is of course, the Great Amnesiac Spring Migration.

And somehow, they all eventually end up on a strange little boat, in the dark, going nowhere but round and round to the sound of…

It’s a small world after all,

it’s a small world after all,

it’s a small world after all…

it’s a small, small world…

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Gah!  Gives me the willies just thinking about it!!  Luckily, Kathy caught me just in time.

So remember to be careful out there and dress for the weather.  And to all of my velo-buddies living beyond the borders of the good ol’ U.S. of A. – you may think that you’re safe, but just remember-

it’s a small…

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Paris

small…

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Hong Kong

small…

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Tokyo

small…

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Shanghai

world.

6 thoughts on “The Lost Ride

  1. Wow are you serious about the memory loss? We are dealing with my father in Law and his memory loss. He is 85. I hope all is better now. Take care now.
    Kevin

    • Well hello Kevin,

      Yes I’m afraid that part is all true. Sorry to hear about your father in law and hope his is temporary too. I don’t want to imagine what it would be like, living with a continuing loss of memory. Now that is scary! All my best wishes to you and yours Kevin!

      Stuart

  2. Hey Stuart,

    Can there something be done with the heart valve? That sounds serious to me! I hope you still can keep cycling, it would be a pity to be stopped if your health isn’t cooperating.
    My father in law also has memory loss, for quite some years now. Its Alzheimers dissease, nothing can be done there, he’s 84 now, and is living in a nursing home for 5 years now.
    I hope you get well soon!

    Greetings from Norway,

    Adri.

    • Hello Adri,

      Thanks for your concern. My heart problem is hereditary so I’ve been expecting this to happen eventually – I was just hoping for later rather than sooner. It can be fixed by replacing the valve, which my Mother had done when she was my age, with very good results. I’m hoping they’ve become even better at the surgery by now. So, if all goes well, I should be back to cycling and bogging my surreal view of the world in no time.

      I’m very sorry to hear about your father in law. I can’t imagine it. I don’t remember anything, but Kathy said that I was reduced to a blubbering idiot after I’d made it safely home. Horrifying! It must take a great deal of courage to live with it all the time. All the best to you Adri!

      Stuart

  3. Reading your post I was massively unsure wheather you were joking or not. Good post on a scary subject. I once had what I’d call a kind of memory loss. I was driving home from my base where I did my military service. To save gas I tucked myself behind a truck and gentle music was playing. I saw a roadsign to a small village called Tarp. After what I believed was only 5 minutes I saw the roadsign to Hamburg! But that’s a 2 hour drive!
    I asked the doc and he said that it can happen when you do highly experienced tasks and in the same time are relaxed. You have the memory still but your brain has decided that it is unimportant.
    Hopefully it’s a similar condition with you and that no physical reason is to blame.

    Cheers … Lars

    • Thanks for your note and concern Lars! I was out to see the doctor yesterday and he believes that my defective heart just wasn’t able to supply all of the blood that my brain required, so it decided that getting me home was more important than memory. Pretty good thinking really.

      So, there will be more testing in the immediate future, a new heart valve not long after that, and then a pretty long recovery. It looks like bicycling will have to wait awhile…

      I’m glad your episode wasn’t anything to be concerned about. Still a little freaky, I’ll bet. I’m hoping that my brain won’t start doing too much thinking on its own. Otherwise, it may well decide that most of what I think about is unimportant. Cheers to you Lars!

      Stuart

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