Wrote this a few mornings ago but my pocket computer barfed, and so here it is a little late.
It's been easily over six months since the last time I achieved some sort of satisfying, sound sleep.
The night prior to breaking my leg, for one reason or another, I didn't actually get sleep, and had a very very short nap before hopping onto my steed and riding off to confront that ill fated event. I suppose I slept like a baby the following night in the hospital, strung out from all that had happened and pumped up on morphine. They finally left Al and I alone enough to attempt to sleep around 02:00, only to be woken up at 06:00 to begin prep for surgery. I started to shake uncontrollably in my bed, at which point I looked up at the nurses, very puzzled and informed them that I had no idea why I was shaking. They seemed more alarmed than I, providing a solution of additional morphine, which worked rather well. I suppose that sleeping through the surgery counts too, to some extent. That was the last time I had woken up to seeing a very comforting male bodied face, my general doctor who had heard what happened and come by to check on me post operation. He told me they did a good job sealing me back up, everything would be fine and to go back to sleep, and so I did after mumbling a thank you to him.
All in all the next morning I was able to get up and walk to the bathroom (mostly) on my own. Thank my lucky stars, thanks to those wonderful human beings who dedicate their lives into medicine and the craft of reassembling others whom attempt to live life outside of everyday fear.
After that sleeping in the hospital was obnoxious. Different nurses checking in on me through all hours of the night, the IV needle poking the pit of my elbow, kinking the IV tube, too cold, too hot, needing help peeing, some machine I can't see is beeping, trying desperately hard not to think anything at all about how much of a financial cluster fuck this will all eventually be. They gave me drugs, pain killers, liquids, and a slew of substances I will never be able to recall again. It helped, but with only one specific thing, to make me ignore the pain generated from the trauma that hit my right femur, hip, and ass. It wasn't until the 2nd or 3rd night that I realized sleeping will never be the same for me again. What I didn't understand at the time was how much more the lack of sleeping will effect the rest of my waking life, than the minor fact that it'll be a good year or two before my right leg will feel remotely like it used to.
To help with coming off of one of the drugs (either of the Oxies), my doctor prescribed Ambien (in addition to an anti-anxiety pill, because withdrawals suck). I tested it out for a night, thought it to be amazing, and shared that revelation to a friend. He in turn told me an Ambien story of his own, where he woke up (sleep walking) in the middle of the night at his girlfriend's, walked to the corner of the room, decided to relieve himself, did so right there, then crawled back into bed with no memory of doing so (his girlfriend however was more than willing to remind him). Even after hearing that I decided to try Ambien again a few nights later, and when I found my cane the next morning sitting somewhere other than where I left it before going to sleep (no pee puddles though!), I put the drug away and haven't touched it since then.
I'm (mostly) off the meds now, taking supplements to help my bones and joints. Doing stretches and PT at home to rebuild the leg. Walking more than a few blocks is a little bit of a stretch, but on a good day I'm pretty much up to my old cycling self again (can't wait for Spring time actually). The range in that join (femur to hip) is still a little bit limited, trying to sit cross legged is not possible, and generally I need to fidget after a few minutes of sitting in the same position.
Sleeping is another story, I didn't really realize how much I tend to do so on my sides. Laying on my right puts pressure on the hardware in my leg and the muscles that are still healing. Laying on my left brings the weight in my right leg into an odd spot that induces cramping. Every night has turned into this dance of switching positions, attempting to sleep on my back or belly, pretzel configurations with my limbs trying to find some sweet spot that will take something longer than half an hour to become agitated, prompting me to toss and turn again. This has caused me to avoid having other close ones over for the night as I simply don't want to them to get woken up constantly by my rotational marathon, and also avoiding staying with others elsewhere since I'm very much used to the firmness of my mattress and all others I need time to adjust.
Recently about two months ago it's gotten a little better. I can deal with sleeping on a sleeping pad while camping just fine. Fighting less in an office chair. Not waking those sleeping next to me as much. I am more ignorant of my leg cramping up. However even though my physical agony is turning into something tolerable, sleep still doesn't welcome me. I find myself being up till past midnight working on projects and other things, reading the far reaches of the internet. Going to sleep exhausted, waking up somewhere between 03:00 to 06:00 most nights and not really being able to get myself back to sleep till around 08:00. Even now, as I write this, I've been awake for three hours starting at 05:00. Went to pee but was fine, was hydrated, not hungry, mostly warm, no real leg pain. My body just decides that about 4 hours of sleep is all I need and that it's time to wake up.
I turn into a zombie for the rest of the day, waking up late, having an extremely hard time getting myself out of bed. I feel more short tempered with friends, my eating habits turn more cut back, going through my day with less energy than I want to. Surprisingly though most of the time I don't feel anymore sleepy or wanting a nap, which is strange, my body simply tells me sleep isn't a now thing.
I've (re)instated a no laptop in bedroom rule, which has sort of worked but mostly failed since the rest of the house has been so horribly cold. I've been trying to cut back on acidic foods after 18:00, but that's been rather hard as I haven't been cooking for myself much lately. Dropping back on my alcohol intake. Showering before bed. Herbal teas. Simply avoiding the internet and only reading fiction. Getting into bed earlier than midnight and doing nothing till I fall asleep. None of it seems to help in any sort of significant way.
So after laying in bed for thirty minutes right now, staring at the ceiling for another forty minutes and wasting some other amount of time flicking through my RSS feeds, I thought it best to write all this down. Maybe doing so will give me some new insight as to what's going on. Because without sleep, my waking days feel more like dreams.
At some point when I was deciding to acquire my Bike Friday, Reed got a little envious and ordered a custom built one for himself. We decided the right thing to do was to travel somewhere and tour for a bit after getting our bikes, together, holding hands, the whole way. Well it took about a year but we finally went somewhere. There is, as it turns out, a sanctioned and well kept bike trail linking Copenhagen to Berlin. About 80% - 90% of it keeps you on bike only trails or very extremely once an hour low traffic roads. You'll see a ton of beautiful country side, and it's for the most part flat (except for a day in Germany).
I flew to Copenhagen (my first time) on July 30th, still cracked out from my sleepless leg leading up to Iceland. Some time around 07:00 in the morning I got out of the airport and next to a metro stop started resembling my nifty folding bike, which I've now named The One Trick Pony. I have to say that this particular photo makes me all giddy, instant bike!
With no cell service and some precached up Google bike maps (glad I thought about that before getting onto the plane) I started to trek across the city toward my friend Mona Jensen's place. After a very slow ride and drawing a lot of stares towards my odd small wheeled bicycle with trailer thing, I eventually made it. We ended up spending much of the day cruising around the city, bought my first two of nine total SIM cards for this trip (the two ended up not actually supporting data and I couldn't even get them activated).
Later we made our way to Christiania. I got to meet her friend who was their public relations person, and got a fairly interesting tour of their mini city. For being a neighborhood of squats with some sort of tourism thing going, they had their shit pretty together. Also aside from a falafel, I had my best Danish vegan meal there, which wasn't all that great. While hanging out my friend Jens Hillerup, who being the awesome hacker that he is, had a spare data ready Danish SIM card (3/9), I think I still owe him some money for. Hello maps!
The next morning Mona rode with me to the Illutron barge. After waiting for a while Reed finally showed up from the airport on his silly folding bike too. We hanged out for a bit, Mona did a walk through of the barge (hacker space on water!) then ran around the city for a while. Went and checked out Labitat, Jens gave us a proper tour, I have to say they have a pretty neat lab there.
Later in the eve we met back up with Mona at the barge, had some sort of dinner thing, beers, and passed out.
In the morning we showered (on the barge, but that's another story), saddled up, and head out of Copenhagen. We were really astonished by how friendly car drivers were to cyclists out there, even to the point of them simply getting out of our way. Additionally another constant theme was the fact that even though our bikes were weird, we tended to be the only ones riding the most functional for touring bikes, which I think I'll get into in another post. Reed eventually tried to make friends with some sheep.
By the end of the first day we reached a place named Køge, which is pronounced [ˈkøːə] but don't hold me to that as I apparently never got it right. We kind of didn't have the greatest of experience in this city, it felt too much like Marin, and was even more expensive.
After some deliberation, a review of how much our enjoyment level was of the ride was here in Denmark so far, and paying for our overpriced hostel room, we decided it might be a smart idea to skip out on the majority of Denmark and high tail it to Germany. With getting some help from our state side Danish friend Rikke, we hopped onto a train the next morning (yelled at for boarding on first class) and got dropped off about 30 km out of a town named Gedser. While biking to the port there I found some high priced Danish Lärabars, a bag of dehydrated mulberries (which lasted me through the whole trip, so good), and at a garage sale a very odd t-shirt with the word Confusion written on it in hand writing I couldn't immediately read.
The ferry which was to take us over the Baltic Sea ended up being huge. We were essentially pedaling our tiny bikes inside this giant ship on an 8 lane highway next to the largest semi trucks I've ever seen in my life. The ferry took about an hour, during of which we were encouraged to roam around the 4 story mall on the thing, dine in three different restaurants, play in their arcade, get a pedicure, or shop in whatever their version of a high end department clothing store is. While eating some fries and reviewing our next half day of riding, I pulled out the two (3/9 and 4/9) German SIM cards that Astera sent me to see if we could get it running (which we weren't able to till we found some internet access). Our last views of Denmark were a vast ocean field of wind turbines.
Copenhagen was fun and I enjoyed hanging out with Mona and Jens, but wow the rest of Denmark was surprisingly boring, bare, and whenever a city did come into view, rather expensive for light travelers. I would like to go back some time and play in their amusement park though.
Met up with Andi and (surprised to realize we were on the same city, let alone land mass) Ella for foods, drinks, and a quick dip in a hot tub before heading back to KEF. As it turns out their airport has no lockers and you can't check in your luggage 19 hours before your flight, bastards.
As you can see by 23:00 it was still light outside. Andi's friends were excited that they were just now able to start using candles again. Iceland is a lovely place but I sure have no intentions of living up that far North anytime soon.
I put this together using Kdenlive on Linux. The only snag that I hit was scaling titles from from 1080p to 720p, which seems to be a known bug and apparently fixed that I didn't feel like compiling a bunch of fresh stuff. I hope to do a little more video later on down the line.