Here’s blood in your eye and other mysteries

I went to the ophthalmologist the other day for a routine check up. Over the course of the last 30 years I hit an eye disease trifecta: detached retina, cataracts, and glaucoma. (I also have myopia and astigmatism so maybe it’s a quinella.) With the help of surgery and medication I see fine under all conditions. I have floaters that make close work like bike mechanics a pain.

My eye exam was going fine until the doctor shined a bright light to look at my optic nerve and retina. He looked at the right eye (the one without the retinal detachment) and all was well. When he looked at my left eye, he stopped and looked again. Then again. I have an intraocular hemorrhage; a blood vessel inside my eye is leaking. I haven’t noticed any change in my vision because the hemorrhage is close to the dead spot on my retina. (We all have one. The brain compensates for it.) Sometimes this is caused by diabetes or high blood pressure. I have neither (although the machine at the drug store today said my BP is ever so slightly elevated). Otherwise the hemorrhage is regarded as ideopathic – medical speak for “dunno”.

So I go back in a month and have my blood pressure checked before hand. (I’ll just go back to the drugstore and take several readings.) I am hoping this doesn’t delay my tour. Stay tuned.

Today I finished with the winter maintenance on my three upright bikes. The rehabilitation of my Bike Friday was something of a miracle. With drop style handlebars, I couldn’t ride it more than a mile without serious lower back pain. I switched to H-bars, a flat bar with upright posts at the ends. Voila. I can now ride the bike in comfort. More than eliminating the back pain, the bike actually decompresses my lower spine. Another mystery.

My CrossCheck came home today. I had a shop do a tune up, change the chain and cassette, replace the aged front wheel and hub, and put on new bar tape. All was well until I was stuck in my ring finger by a frayed shifter cable. It was a new cable. Today Beth the mechanic said it was seriously frayed. How the heck did that happen? Mystery number 3.

The Mule came home a couple of weeks ago. Beth built me two new wheels (nifty Velocity rims), changed the chain and cassette, installed new bar tape, and did a tune up which involved servicing the hubs. It rode very nicely with two exceptions. The front brake didn’t so much squeal as it shrieked. Think Godzilla. And the front derailer refused to shift into the granny gear. So I took it back. I had them install a slightly bigger chainring. They also cleaned the rims. Tim, the shop owner, took it for a ride and all was well.

I rode it home and took it to a hill near my house. The brakes were quiet and the front derailer shifter perfectly. Yay.

Today I rode it to Friday Coffee Club. For the life of me, I couldn’t get the front derailer to shift into the granny. I have no idea why it worked fine yesterday and not today. Mystery number 4. Tim suggested that the front shifter felt “crunchy” and that maybe I should swap it out. Since that part costs $100 I’ll try cleaning and lubing the spring in the derailer and dialing the barrel adjuster out a tad first.

Oddly, the chain will shift if I first shift up onto my biggest chainring then down to the granny. I think The Mule is messing with me.

Otherwise the bike rides like a dream. Between the mild winter which allowed me to ride over 2,500 miles already this year and my lighter “engine” I am tour-ready.

Big Nellie is feeling neglected down in the basement. I’ll bring it up this week and see how the gears and brakes work. Hopefully there will be no more mysteries.

10 thoughts on “Here’s blood in your eye and other mysteries

  1. As a person with hypertension on two medicines, I diagnosed my own high blood pressure. I take it myself. At one point it was 200/110. When the medical assistant in the doctors office took it, I was told 140/80. Every doctor I know has always said do not trust drug store blood pressure machines. They are not calibrated and are often inaccurate. Instead buy your own machine and bring it to your next doctors appointment and check it against the doctors finding. And then check your pressure regularly.

    1. The drug store machine said 129/79 which is high for me. I took it twice.
      It could be the hemorrhage was cause by my aspirin regimen.
      I’ll go to the doctor before my eye appointment.

  2. The front derailleur problems sounds like 1) a weak spring (worn or just dirty) if shifting two rings gets it enough momentum to make the drop but shifting one ring does not. I’m guessing shifting up works fine, since cable tension pulls it up and spring tension drops it down. (Or potentially 2) the cable is sticking inside the housing somewhere since, again, pulling on the cable is more forceful than letting it relax and get pushed back by the spring.) Does the derailleur move freely if you move it by hand? If not, 3) pivot points could be dirty or worn. Good luck with the eye issue. Blood pressure is a funny thing. My systolic pressure was routinely 20-30 points higher at the doctor’s office than while donating blood. White coat syndrome? (That made little sense to me since: 1) I worked in a hospital, and 2) having a big needle stuck in your arm sounds more stressful than talking to a PA.) The effect of riding my bike to the doctor’ office vs donating blood at work? Who knows? But I would never take one higher-than-normal reading very seriously – unless in that 200 range without a good reason.

      1. I leave May 23 following Adventure Cycling’s Atlantic Coast Route. From Bar Harbor I’ll take the Northern Tier to Erie PA then ride to Pittsburgh where I’ll pick up the GAP Trail to the C&O. It’s a combination of brutal hills and pancake flat trails

  3. I am spending mother’s day with my son on the C&O trail. My timing is off this time but hope to catch you in Oct for one of your Friday rides.

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