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Transplant Athlete
Saturday, September 30, 2006
  My 3 Day Spa Visit

While Adrienne was sitting with me in the ER, she met the hot technician taking care of me. She didn't meet the hot doctor. When we got to the floor where I would be spending the next couple of days, a hot pregnant nurse breezes into my room to retrieve something (the last time I saw her). That's when Adrienne notices the pattern and says "Wait a Minute, you get a three day spa visit and hot nurses?!?!?! What's going on here?" The next morning I met Bre, another hot nurse, who whould be taking care of me for the next couple of days.

They finally discharged me on Friday morning. I was told activities as tolerated, which means no cycling for a couple of days. I'm probably going to wait for my one week follow up with the doctor before I do any exercise. Luckily, its early in the season and this won't affect my training at all. I'm supposed to take Levaquin 500 mgs QD x 7 days. This is after 3 days of IV antibiotics. I still have a cough, but I'm getting better.

I want to thank everyone who sent well wishes while I was in the hospital.

 
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Friday, September 29, 2006
  Rollin' With Jim Henson

"Guess who's going to be checked into the hotel with Pneumonia?" I asked my wife over the phone from the Reston Hospital Emergency Room.

Earlier in the day, I had described my symptoms to Joan, a nurse at Metropolitan Nephrology. She briefly put me on hold to talk to Dr. Howard. "The first words out of Dr. Howard's mouth were 'Emergency Room'," She said when she got back on the phone. She described another option, but it also required a trip to the hospital.

So I called Adrienne, who had a tough deadline at work coming up in a few days, and told her I needed to get to the hospital. She immediately dropped everything to come home.

You know the drill: you show up at the ER at 2:30 and wait to get a room, then you wait to be examined, a dozen doctors and nurses ask the same questions over and over again. I wasn't shocked by the diagnosis, I'm immuno-compromised, I get sick. I was shocked when the hot(Sara Silverman look-alike) doctor said, "We need to admit you overnight at the least, maybe for two to three days." When she said 3 days, I must admit the first thought that crossed my mind was "3 days without the kids, Yes..." Adrienne is referring to this as a 3 day spa vacation.

While I was in the ER, Cardio Pulmonary arrived to administer a peak flow test to determine what my lung function was like, then they would administer a nebulizer treatment and re-administer the test to see if there was any improvement. So take a deep breath and blow. I buried the needle. The woman looked at me thought for a second and then walked out of the room. After a few minutes she came back in and told me a nebulizing treatment wouldn't help me and then walked out. Its not my fault that the test is calibrated for the average american male. It really felt like there was no resistance in the test, so anybody might have been able to max it out, but according to the package, no healthy average male or female could max out the test.

So, they admitted me and somewhere near 10 or 11pm I was upstairs in a bed getting more IV Antibiotics.

So when should I have gone to see a doctor? When I got a cough? By itself, not a huge indicator. Should I have gone on Thursday when I spiked a 100.6 degree fever? That's not very high. My transplant manual suggests that a fever of 101 degrees is worthy of seeing a doctor. I like to think I go to a doctor when I have a problem. Shingles, awfully painful, worthy of a doctor visit. Cough, annoying, but not painful. Gradually, my condition was getting worse, but slowly enough that there was no need for immediate help. Well. Lesson Learned.

"My Hope Is Still To Leave The World A Bit Better Than When I Got Here."
- Jim Henson creator of the Muppets, Sesame Street, etc. died of Pneumonia in 1990.

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Sunday, September 24, 2006
  I'm Sick

I've had a low fever (99.8 - 100.6), hacking cough, and high blood pressure since Thursday. I probably shouldn't have pulled the kids in the trailer on Thursday. I've had the hacking cough for almost a week. Adrienne and I pulled the kids into Ashburn so they could go to the "JW Tumbles" open house (kind of a poor man's "The Little Gym" but a death trap IMHO). So, I'm guessing that the hacking cough might be allergy related, because we both have the cough, or its some strange disease we got from 50 toddlers being in close proximity to one another.

On top of that, my nephrologist called on Friday. My creatinine is high for me. It could be nothing, it could be something big. I'm supposed to redo the test on Monday and then call for the results on Tuesday. While I was on the phone, I mentioned my high blood pressure and he added another blood pressure medicine, funny thing though, my bp hasn't gone down yet, it's almost like it isn't working. (158/99) as high as (178/109).

I will update as I learn more.

 
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Sunday, September 17, 2006
  Get Your Swim On!

Coach Jason just turned me on to this site: Go Swim. Check out the "Drill Of The Week", they show videos of proper swim technique, whatever skill they've happened to pick for the week. I'll post a permanent link soon. Yes its free and yes it'll help you swim faster, go now and bookmark the site if you swim.
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Friday, September 15, 2006
  We're Proud Of You Joe

But you're lookin' a little plump there doughboy...

 
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Thursday, September 14, 2006
  I Am Loving This...

It was 60 degrees and a light rain was falling this morning as I left to drop Q off at her Preschool. We pulled around the SUVs and Vans waiting in line and cut in line. I have to imagine the staff and teachers were amazed that we would ride in the rain, but the trailer protects them against rain and spray from my rear wheel. There are holes in the floor to let water drain out, so we've had water come up through them when we've crossed streams, but the kids stay dry in the rain.

RJ and I then went to the gym, he wasn't happy to be dropped off. I checked in on him every 15 minutes or so and he wouldn't leave Miss April's lap. After my workout, we bought some groceries and stopped in at Sterling Appliance to check out new dishwashers. By then it had stopped raining and we hit the road to pick up Q. Again we pulled around the long line of idling vehicles and I rode right up to the door. I got about 50 minutes of riding today and a full hour of weight training.

 
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Wednesday, September 13, 2006
  How Could This Happen?

My Mom was riding my sister's bike along the Boardwalk in Seaside Heights, NJ this weekend when she ran into Three Brothers Pizza. She rode a bike into a building. How can you not see a building? And worse, the buildings run parallel to the boardwalk. So, somehow the geometry of it all escapes me.

She broke her wrist and now has a hard cast on it. Now, this woman is constantly harrassing me about my riding long distances and she is constantly worried about my safety, but was she wearing a helmet?

NO

Whats up with that? Her excuse? "I don't own a helmet" Mom, you are old enough to go out and buy a helmet and oh yeah, there's a bike shop 2 blocks from your house. When I chastised her for not wearing a helmet she said, "I landed on my hands, a helmet wouldn't have helped my wrist." And people wonder why I'm a smartass.
 
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Tuesday, September 12, 2006
  This Is Going To Be Awesome

I dropped off Q at her preschool, and we were a sight, sitting in line with all the SUV's and Vans pouring out exhaust as we waited to reach the "Carpool" area. The teachers and staff take the kids out of the cars and escort them to their classrooms. Then I pulled RJ up to the Washington Sports Club and dumped him in baby-sitting. He was not happy to see me leave, but I got an hour workout in with a personal trainer. I checked in on him occasionally and he seemed fine. The first time, he was sitting in the baby-sitter's lap when I came by; the second time he was standing in the middle of the area looking around; and when I came to get him out he was quietly doing a puzzle with the baby-sitter.

Then we got back in the bike and headed down to the preschool. We were early, so I took my time. The timing is awesome and I think this is going to work out great. Again we were in line, but Q's teacher told me I should just pull up to the handicapped parking in the future and they would bring her out of or take her in to class. The director was concerned about the kids in the trailer with all that exhaust swirling around.

My first thought this morning was that I might inspire one or two of the other families to ride their bikes; after all, they are all within riding distance. I'll check the directory, but I'm pretty sure they are all within 4 miles of the school. I don't mean to be holier than thou, but we as a country can't afford to waste fuel like that. I think its patriotic to run errands with a bicycle. Maybe we should update the Uncle Sam "I want you" posters.

 
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Monday, September 11, 2006
  Washington Sports Club

I just joined the Washington Sports Club of Sterling. It is roughly two miles from Q's Preschool, so I can drop her off and then pedal up to the gym, drop RJ in with the club's baby-sitter and get a workout in...That's the plan anyway. It was a tough choice, Gold's might have been a bit bigger and had a massage therapist co-located in their facility.

I plan on complaining to the BBB and the FTC about the Gold's Gym, its the principle of the thing.

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Friday, September 08, 2006
  Another Cyclist Is Born

Drew and Deb had a boy, MAX. Mommy and baby are doing well as you can see from the picture I snagged off of his site.

Check out more baby pictures at his blog. Drew is already thinking about getting a trike to better pull a trailer. Congrats Mom and Dad. Outstanding!

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  Update on Golds Gym

I received a response from the General Manager of the Gold's Gym, its short so I'll include it.

"It's unfortunate that the advertised price on the coupon is somewhat misleading. The advertising coupon was a piggy back coupon between us and the New Leesburg Gold's Gym. The new owner of the Leesburg club is a former employee of ours and made arrangements with our owner to piggy back their advertising because they both were advertising in the same zip codes. As you can see, the rate he is offering is a pre-sale rate because he has yet to open his doors. Fairly soon after opening, his pricing structure will be very similar to ours. The best options that I can set up for you here is: $0 down/$49.99, $50 down/$39.99 monthly or $250 down/$29.99 monthly. Hopefully this will fit into your budget. Again I would recommend Fitness First in Reston if you want to save a few dollars."

They admit that the use of the locations on the ad with the pricing is "somewhat misleading". If they think its misleading, and I think its misleading, then it meets the Federal Trade Commissions first test of false advertising which essentially says what would a reasonable person looking at the words, phrases and pictures think. I think it also meets the test of would the claim be material to the consumer's decision to purchase. (hell yes, I drove right over there to sign up after getting it in the mail).

Now about that disclaimer. The FTC says and I quote, "When the disclosure of qualifying information is necessary to prevent an ad from being deceptive, the information should be presented clearly and conspicuously so that consumers can actually notice and understand it. A fine-print disclosure at the bottom of a print ad, a disclaimer buried in a body of text unrelated to the claim being qualified, a brief video superscript in a television ad, or a disclaimer that is easily missed on a website are not likely to be effective. Nor can advertisers use fine print to contradict other statements in an ad or to clear up misimpressions that the ad would leave otherwise.To ensure that disclosures are effective, advertisers should use clear and unambiguous language, place any qualifying information close to the claim being qualified, and avoid using small type or any distracting elements that could undercut the disclosure. Although there is no hard-and-fast rule about the size of type in a print ad or the length of time a disclosure must appear on TV, the FTC often has taken action when a disclaimer or disclosure is too small, flashes across the screen too quickly, is buried in other information, or is otherwise hard for consumers to understand.

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Thursday, September 07, 2006
  Choosing The Right Gym

Is harder than it looks. I've been thinking about this for awhile and researching online. Yesterday I went to Washington Sports Club in Sterling to check them out and today it was Gold's Gym in Herndon. They give you a tour and they all look pretty much the same. Cardio equipment, free weights, yoga classes. My wife is concerned with the babysitting, she doesn't want to turn over our child to a pedophile and she wasn't happy when she heard that they don't do FBI background checks on the childcare people. But...both gyms I looked at had large glass windows into the childcare area, so you can see if your child is getting abused.

After the tour, they start throwing numbers at you and I swear, its as confusing as going to buy a new car. They lead off with their standard plans $150 initiation fee and $50/per month is usually the cheapest. But wait...They're having a special right now that drops the plan to...And if you act now, we'll drop $50 off the initiation fee.

Lifetime Fitness - Centreville, VA

My first choice for a gym would be Lifetime Fitness. They have a huge facility, pools, childcare maze, climbing wall, etc., but they are 30 minutes away by car and probably longer on a bike pulling a trailer. Their standard rates are what everyone else has been quoting as standard.

Washington Sports Club (WSC) - Sterling

Just up the road from Q's preschool, they are on the small side, but relatively clean. They don't have a massage therapist available, but I was told I could go to another club. They had several plans available, but the bottom line cheapest plan was a $32 initiation fee, $50 card activation fee, and then $40 per month for a yearly commitment. Childcare was $2 per day per child. I figure that would make my one year investment $754 and the second year would be $610. For those keeping score at home, that's about the same as an entry level hardtail mountain bike.

Ballys - Falls Church

I mention Bally's because their commercials call for $65 down and $20 per month.

Gold's Gym - Herndon/Reston

This is a nicer and larger facility. They have a wellness company co-located within their facility that offers massage, chiropractic, acupuncture...They are about the same distance from my daughter's preschool, but in the opposite direction from WSC. They had a Premium level which gives access to 40 Gold's gyms in the region, a multiclub membership that gives access to the closest 4 or 5 gyms, and then they had the LMT plan which was just access to the Herndon/Reston facility. The bottom line cheapest plan they had was $50 down and $40/per month. Babysitting would cost $25 per month, which I assume would cost me about $10 more per month than WSC. If he could have dropped his price that $10 per month, I would have signed right there.

I left to pick Q up from Preschool. What should be waiting for me in my mailbox, but an advertisement for Gold's Gym. As you can see from the image below, it lists 5 locations on the right hand side including the Herndon/Reston gym I'd like to join. The price is exactly what I was hoping to pay: $0 down and $27.99 per month. The fine print says "Some restrictions apply see club for details" I figured that meant I wouldn't get the 2 free personal trainer sessions or maybe the free fitness tests, or even that some times were off limits. I went back to the Gold's and asked what the restrictions were and I was told to wait a minute and then the membership person sprinted out to the parking lot to catch the manager. There is another line in the fine print that says based on LVA membership. I figured that maybe LVA was a level below LMT. The membership person came back in and told me that they would not be honoring the advertisement. He said that the advertisement only applied to their Leesburg, Virginia facility (apparently LVA is Gold's Gym code for Leesburg) and because they didn't own that facility they couldn't even tell me how to get there.

I feel like I got shafted. I'm considering writing a letter to Gold's corporate and cc'ing the local franchise owner, but I'll follow up with the General Manager first and see if we can resolve this at his level. The advertisement is clearly misleading, I would go so far as to say bait and switch, but you be the judge. Here it is (click to make it larger):

 
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Monday, September 04, 2006
  Speaking of Brattleboro, VT

Yes, they've even been cycling nude. For the record, The RAAM rules state nudity by riders and crew during the race is strictly prohibited. I wonder if that's written into the BMB rules?
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  BMB Report

Wes Cheney wrote up this report on BMB. Check it out. It accurately describes what its like to be a Ultra Cyclist, but my favorite part is when he describes his stop in Brattleboro on the way back. Its a mix of surrealism and confusion that has to be experienced firsthand to be believed. Been there, done that! Good Job Wes.

Someday...BMB...Someday.

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Sunday, September 03, 2006
  New Functionality

Check out my new Calendar. I'll be putting my daily workout information on the site(starting yesterday). If you see voids on the calendar, call me on it, send me an email, tell me to get crackin'. My future events are also on the calendar. I think this format will make it easier to see my workouts. Enjoy.
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Friday, September 01, 2006
  I'm not getting any...

ALTITUDE tent.

Jeez people, get yer minds out of the gutter...
My wife reads my blog occasionally and she told me in no uncertain terms, "No Altitude tent, but you can get your fat lazy @$$ to the gym."

 
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I've gone through kidney failure twice. The first time in 2000, my mother donated a kidney; and again in 2008, I'm on dialysis waiting for a breakthrough in immuno-suppression medicines before seeking a new kidney.

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Warning Signs for Kidney Disease:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Burning or Difficulty when Urinating
  • Frequent Urination at Night
  • Blood in your urine
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