Wheel alignment

Monday, 31 August 2020

The elephant in the room

Well, it came sooner than expected but we've just addressed the elephant in the room.  Going back to late last year, I suffered a torn retina whilst riding the bike.  My eye filled with blood and riding home some 140 km was quite a challenge.  To fix it, I had a vitrectomy (watch it on YouTube if you're not squeamish)!  It was totally successful but the surgeon warned me that one side effect was a cataract which would form sooner or later.  In my case, it was sooner than expected. 

All was fine on the February bike tour then lockdown kicked in during March.  Stuck around home doing jobs, I didn't really notice anything but as soon as lockdown ended and driving/riding started up again, the partial loss of long sight in one eye became noticeable.  Not a good position to be in, especially when conducting advanced riding tests. A right royal pain in the arse to use a technical term.

A check with a local optometrist confirmed the onset of a cataract.  Still legal to drive and ride but it was pushing the envelope at the higher performance end of the spectrum.  So it was back to the surgeon.  Not bad enough to qualify for an operation on the public health system but going privately was fine as it was starting to drive me nuts.

Turned up for the procedure a week ago and Jennie and I were ushered into a lounge adjacent to the operating theatre.  Drops were put into the eye to dilate the pupil and the surgeon came in and drew an arrow over the appropriate eye.  Wives aren't noted for dishing out sympathy because they think that their husbands are big wusses. "Pain?  You want to try having 3 kids, blah, blah......".  In this case, the lack of sympathy manifested itself by her wanting to write something on my forehead above the arrow.  Those words were "Insert Coins Here".  Smartarse.  

"Insert coins here" in the fairground dummy

Anyway, cataract removal and replacing the lens only took a few minutes and was completely painless.  The only downside of being fully conscious was seeing instruments of torture hovering near my eye, albeit not in clear focus.  Whatever instruments the surgeon used made noises like something from an episode of Dr. Who when he was battling the Daleks.  In fairness though, I was warned so didn't panic when it started up.  Although I could talk during the op, the surgical team bizarrely gave me a small squeaky yellow rubber duck to hold during the procedure.  They said to give it a squeeze if I felt uncomfortable, wanted to sneeze or whatever and they'd stop.  Didn't actually need to put it to use although when they wheeled me back into the theatre lounge, I made good use of it to announce my arrival to all and sundry.  Jennie's eye-rolling suggested that she'd prefer to be someone else's wife at that point in time.  Sort of evened things up for her earlier smartarse remark.  

With vision having been restored, it actually felt a little odd, like I was slightly drunk.  Guess it takes the brain a little while to recalibrate.  With running a formal IAM assessment ride coming up (taking out a police officer, no less!), it was sensible to see what it was like back on the bike with no pressure.  A short trip to the local gas station went absolutely fine and put me at ease.

Setting off from home for the meet-up some 160 km away, it was an absolutely glorious day with spring only a few days away. We all need days like this after the trials of this year. The eye was fine, the sun was out and the prospect of meeting up with other riders that you know and trust was eagerly anticipated.

Getting ready for a full day in the saddle

Officer Andy and trainee Observer (mentor) Bruce had ridden over from the Bay of Plenty province to our meeting point where we had a mix of city, expressway and tight country lanes all within easy reach for an assessment ride.  As well as road riding, Andy takes part in competitive trials riding so balance and slow speed riding weren't going to be an issue.  With Andy and Bruce on adventure bikes, I felt like the runt of the litter - I'd need a stepladder to get on them! 

Some photos taken by Bruce's on-board camera during the ride - thanks Bruce!

Andy and yours truly in town

Lifesaver (shoulder check) before making the turn


Life at its best - a deserted back road


Tall timber - Honda Africa Twin (Andy) and Triumph Explorer 1200 (Bruce)

As you might expect, Andy was extremely professional in his riding but there was a complete absence of ego and very happy to receive suggestions for fine tuning.  It won't take long at all before he's ready to take his Advanced Roadcraft Test.  Bruce also did well in his observing capacity and will make a great Observer in the near future.

Aren't days like this what riding motorcycles are all about?  Great weather, riding partners who you trust implicitly and a great mix of road conditions over some 450 km  - nirvana!

24 comments:

  1. Great to see (tee hee) that your surgery was a success and that you're back onto the bike.

    Unfortunately my Dad lost an eye a few years ago (melanoma) and he's pretty much given up bikes (although I have managed to persuade him to have a couple of little scoots up the road on the WR). He's fine driving (although he had some adjusting to do) but doesn't want to push his luck on bikes. Anyway, we're just lucky the optometrist spotted the issue early.

    I definitely think it's time you got an Adv bike...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Andrew, it was quite a relief to be perfectly honest. I suppose it's natural to imagine the worst case scenario.

    Sorry to hear about your Dad. I would definitely stop riding based on what I experienced when I suffered the retinal bleed.

    I'm not discounting an adventure bike when I retire from IAM. Having too much fun on the KTM at present 😎

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Come take the Mouse for a ride when you're next down here...

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the kind offer - one of our members has one too. That's the sort of bike I'd go for.

      One of our members has just bought an off-road Multistrada and a Desert Sled from the south island. He and a mate are flying down tomorrow to collect them. Envious as heck!

      Delete
  3. Good to hear you got your eye issues sorted out finally. From your description of them putting instruments into your eyeball whilst awake seems quite horrifying.
    Did you get to take the rubber duckie home?

    You boys wanna get your asses over to PI next year and Andrew bring your dad before its too late.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers Steve, it's quite a relief. I was quite qpprehensive beforehand but it wasn't too bad at all.

      We were looking at South America this year but don't think that it will ever happen. With our daughter in Melbourne, going to the GP would be a good addition 😄

      Delete
    2. The start of a cunning plan whilst Jennie goes shopping, ya reckon?

      Delete
  4. Wonderful to hear that the surgery went well and it didn’t impact your riding.

    I enjoy reading your posts!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Richard. I'm not ready to give up riding yet and Jennie certainly won't want me under her feet 😄.

      Delete
  5. Hi Geoff. Good to hear that the surgery seems to have been a success. Hopefully see you before the end of the year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lee - really chuffed to be back to "normal", whatever that may be! Looking forward to catching up.

      Delete
  6. I would struggle with seeing what was going on Geoff, glad to hear it was painless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Warren. With everything being out of focus, it wasn't too bad but I could have done without the weird sounds!

      Delete
  7. I am sure you suffered big time but in the end you survived. Good for you, Geoff. Great to hear that all's back to normal. Enjoy a fresh view on things.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks Sonja, even though I think you're siding with Jennie :-) . It certainly is nice to have 20/20 vision again!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Glad you got they eye sorted mate. I've had some ptergiums cut off when I was young and I have had one persistant bastard keep growing back over my left eye. It doesn't cause me any issue, just makes my eye look bloodshot all the time. I have been a bit reticent to get it cut off in case something goes wrong and I lose some sight and my medical - and hence my job.
    Great to see some motorbicycling going on over there. The weather should be on the improve for you soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers Dave, a much happier camper with the job done. I gather that there's a reasonably high chance of petergium regrowth even as an adult if you have it removed so it looks like you're taking the best option. All that UV exposure eh?

      Hope you're keeping safe up in QLD. Our daughter lives in Melbourne city centre!

      Delete
  10. So glad the procedure was successful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks! I know that the procedure is supposed to be pretty routine these days but it's a relief to know that it worked perfectly :-)

      Delete
  11. The retina issue sounds kind of scary. Good to hear all went well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kofla and thanks. Yes, anything to do with a loss of vision is a big deal. Fortunately, it worked out ok for which I'm totally thankful.

      Delete
  12. Glad it all worked out Geoff, I did not look at the video on YouTube and can you read the Speedometer now?
    All the best from Wiesbaden, yes I've abandoned England....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hiya Nikos!
      Thanks and all good. Almost don't need glasses at all and reading instrumentation no problem at all. So you've abandoned Cheshire for good? Reading UK newspapers depresses me about the handling of C-19 and Brexit. All the very best for the future!

      Delete