Tough

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Trigg Island, December 2010  Pentax K-5  ISO200

Woo hoo.  I came as near to exhaustion as I think I’ve ever come yesterday, near to collapse.

I have to have an MRI scan (just routine) tomorrow, Wednesday, at 7:20am at the Mount Medical Centre in Mount’s Bay Rd in Perth.  Knowing how difficult freeway traffic might be and how hard it is to park there, I decided to take bus and train.

So yesterday I did a trial run, just to see that the timing would be OK but also to get into the city this way without the car for a nice day’s city browsing.

Up at 4:45am (I woke before the 5am alarm) for a quick shower and small brekky, then walk 250m to the bus stop on Marmion Ave for the 6:02am bus to Clarkson.  No problems.  Immediate train from Clarkson station, which is the northern end of the line, so plenty of seating.  Very nice, smooth, quiet ride to the city.  The train arrived at the Esplanade station at 6:58am as promised.

Then the walking started. It took 5 mins just to reach the bus port, looking for the 350 bus I’d been told about by Transperth on the phone.  The Blue CAT used to go along Mount’s Bay Rd but no more.  I was assured this bus would be easy.

But I couldn’t find any 350 service or any other suitable one.  The info office is closed at that hour, so I thought I’d walk to the Med Centre, about 500m, I thought.

It was twice that, 1Km.  But it was quite nice at that hour and I made it just on 7:20am.  I found the radiology clinic just to make sure I don’t get lost tomorrow.  There was plenty of vacant parking at that hour, by the way.

Then I started walking back to the city.  I’d noticed a bus earlier, but didn’t see one this time so I just kept walking. Increasingly tired, though.  I stopped and sat for a while, but it didn’t help much.  I walked on, up Mill Street, a moderate slope, and had to stop there too. The feelings of fatigue just didn’t go away.

It rained!  Such a fine morning, yet here were these big drops, enough to seek shelter, and to wet the seats I wanted to sit on.

So I reached Hay St near Boffins, just about dropping.  Bought paper and had a Subway breakfast sitting out on the pavement, very nice.  I thought that might help recovery, but no. I was feeling woozy and my vision was being affected.  I wanted to go on, to browse the shops, but I just couldn’t, so I set off back to the Esplanade bus/train station.

Phew!  By this time I was dragging my feet with fatigue, needing to stop every 100m or so.  Going through my mind was the phrase, “I can’t go on. I’ll go on” that I’d read a few days ago. Keep going, keep going, you’ll get there. Shuffling, almost.

But I got to the Transperth office and found it’s a 950 bus, so that’s sorted for tomorrow.  Then another 5 min walk, with a rest stop, to the train station.  Drooping, I had to sit down.  The train was fine and I reached Clarkson and got a bus straight away.  But it was a 483 which stops 800m away from my house.

That 800m was a big task.  I was shuffling by now, so tired I just wanted to lie down in the street. I finally reached my house but knew I wouldn’t be able to get up the front steps, so had to go through the garage and back door.

After some water and dropping everything, I hit the bed and slept for 3 1/2 hours!  I have never been so exhausted before. It’s a combination of a BMI of 41, blood sugars averaging 14 and not enough walking recently.  I measured it out last night using Google Earth.  I walked a total of about 4Km!  You’d think I would have lost some weight?  No, I’ve bloody well gained 0.4Kg this morning.  Dammit.

At least I know tomorrow will be easier as I’ll catch the 950 bus from the bus port to the Mount, so won’t have that 2Km walk there and back.  I expected to feel incredibly sore this morning, but not so.  Phew.

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The MRI scan is just to make sure there’s no narrowing of the spinal openings at the top of my spine after the shoulder trouble I had late last year.

At 9am in the same Medical Centre, I have my preliminary consultation with the gastric surgeon to talk gastric sleeve or whatever.  I need more info on which type to have and what the restrictions will be afterwards.  I’m sure he’s going to tell me I will need to lose 5-10Kg before he’ll operate, so I’ve started the 5:2 diet, using Optifast for the two “fasting” days each week.  It’s quite hard to stick to it and yesterday was a bad day to be doing it, so I didn’t try.

But first I have to have a colonoscopy, as there would be no point having 90% of my stomach removed if I had a bowel problem.  The earliest for that is 24 March, so I wait.  The proctologist is quite concerned about my blood thinning and anti coagulation medications, so I’ll have to stop them a week before and rely on aspirin.  That’s OK with me.

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Sitting on the train yesterday, I could see the traffic on the freeway and even at 6:15am it was pretty congested, a sea of brake lights and stopped cars.  But it seemed congested for no reason.  There was no crash or road work, so why was the flow actually stopped in places?!

I think it’s the inability of drivers to merge properly as traffic enters the freeway.  I read years ago that in fluid dynamics, if two fluid streams (cf streams of cars) are merged, either the velocity must increase, or the pipe diameter must increase to maintain the same flow rate.  Since neither can happen in dense freeway traffic, congestion is inevitable but some drivers slow and brake too much. This has a multiplier effect. It only takes one driver to brake too hard and soon all the cars are bunched up and slowing to the point of stopping.  Yet a kilometre down the road, the traffic has opened up and is free flowing again.

What’s the answer?  Longer merging lanes?  Merging lane redesign?

No, I think it’s driver training, to leave greater gaps between cars so that side traffic can merge into those gaps and there’s far less need to brake.  I make it a rule to leave at least 30-50m in front of me for that reason, and not to brake unless absolutely necessary, but I constantly find cars want to fill that gap and reduce my spacing.  Sigh.  Making Perth drivers see sense will never happen.

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