Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Found Some Pics

..of myself at the Got the Nerve Triathlon website. They're watermarked, but still...

Being chased out of the water by an alien:

Digging on the bike:

Still digging:

Sunday, January 28, 2007


Kind of a little bit of everything, just to get caught up.

Men's Summit
I had the privelege of speaking at the Men's Summit for my church. It was an amazing gathering of men; there's something about how God works through the hearts of men, and I gained a great deal of strength and perspective from the experience.

Strength, because I was reminded of how a true Band of brothers works. I think we become stronger when we join together. I liken it to the Iroquois League. They banded together to become stronger, a novel concept at the time, and became one of the most powerful groups of Native Americans. They used the arrow as a symbol, as I recall, of their strength. A single arrow was easily broken, but a group of arrows, banded together, was unbreakable, even by the strongest of warriors.

I also gained a perspective, that I am part of something larger. My part is not big, or particularly important, but the role I play as a light of Christ's love is part of the larger play of many people's lives, and in many ways it is that which is important. My friend John has a quote that says, "There is no light at the end of the tunnel. You carry the light with you." All I can do is love people, but if I do it well, real change might actually occur in the world...or perhaps only in my small part of it...which is okay, too.

Daisy continues to get better, but only by the smallest of increments. She doesn't pee in the house when we are home, and she doesn't wake up 3 or 4 times per night, two blessings for which I am hugely grateful. That being said, she is still out if a lot of the time, still wandering aimlessly, and she still has trouble keeping it together when we are gone. hang in there, little pup...

Physical Therapy
I started physical therapy for my leg and back last week. It makes a big difference. It is tough to do some of the exercises, but others are easy. I will write more about this in this week, showcasing my incredible (LOL) range of motion and strength. HEY! It could happen!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Release the HOUND!

All week, we were pretty sure Daisy was done. We took her to the vets on Wednesday, and were confident she had Cushing's Disease. On Thursday, they ran the tests and confirmed that it was, indeed, Cushing's Disease. There are two kinds, one pretty much making it a done deal, and the other, we believed, was a pretty expensive and involved treatment regimen. In talking with the vet, he asked to run another test to determine what kind she had, and we agreed. On Friday they ran the tests and asked us to come in at 6.30, when the results would be back.

Daisy is really Mrs. Fish's dog, and of course my daughter loves her because she's a kid and kids love dogs. It's part of God's design for their DNA. So I'm trying to make sure they're okay, and realizing that we're pretty much going to put Daisy to sleep. I'm not doing well with this at all.

We get to the vet and they give us the bill for Daisy. Mrs. Fish is a little miffed, but I recall writing a check after Josie died and I much prefer the up-front method. Just me. They take us back to the office, and after what seems an eternity, the vet comes in. He explains that Daisy has Cushing's, but she can get medication that will probably alleviate her symptoms. My wife and I were bracing for an $11 pill given daily--simple math makes the decision as to what to do easy at that point. But, the vet explains that she will only need 1/4 of the pill....3 times a week. There is quite a difference between $240 a month and $33 a month.

It sank in with Mrs. Fish and Little Fish what the vet was saying. There is a good chance she will return to ful functioning. She'll probably get her mind back. The first thing to change is that she'll stop peeing in the house. We could have our doggie back, in as little as a week or two.

My wife cried. My daughter cried. I explained to Little Fish that I guess God just wasn't ready to use Daisy in Heaven, and she just cried some more and said it was good. She said it was her first time crying happy tears. I hadn't thought about it, but she's right.

Daisy is home now, sleeping on her little bed.

Monday, January 15, 2007

My Generation's Sinatra

It looks like the rest of the world shares my fascination with all things David. Witness THIS REVIEW section of his album Looking for the Best, which contains 1,030 reviews of the smash album, with appropriate commentary/homage to the genius that is David Hasselhoff.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Little Dog Lost

My dog Daisy has had ongoing health problems for the past two months, notably bladder control, wandering, being disoriented and general tiredness all the time. We've taken her to the vets multiple times, but they continue to be baffled. We've been able to say what it isn't, ruling out diabetes, cancer, and probably renal failure, but have not been able to say what it is.

Last Tuesday was my daughter's 9th birthday (Little Fish!) and we had some of the girls in the neighborhood over to celebrate. While they were coming in, Daisy was inadvertantly let out. Part of her general malaise has been this tendency to wander endlessly, doing a circuit through wahtever room we happen to be in. I noticed, after some time, that she was not underfoot. I immediately looked around, then asked Mrs. Fish if she had seen Daisy: Negative.

The search began, and we looked in the house, then the outside area of the house, then the neighborhood. Several of our neighbors came over and helped us look (we are blessed to live in that kind of neighborhood, the kind in which many of us grew up, the kind I was convinced, at one point, no longer existed) for Daisy. One of my neighbors, Miss B., wandered up to the ballfield, about a quarter mile away from the house...and there was Daisy!!!

She had wandered into a t-ball field and could not figure out how to get out. Miss B. scooped her up and called us--I drove up and she plopped her in the front seat of my car. It was a good thing she was found, because the temperature was below freezing that night, with snow, and I am certain that, had Miss B. not found her, Daisy would not have made it through the night. Sighs of relief were, and are still, heard through the Fish-house.

Now, if only we can figure out what is wrong with Little Daisy...

Double Docs

Caution: Graphic Medical Descriptions
I went to the doctors this week. Two of them. I am still feeling stiff and am in pain from getting hit by the pickup truck. I've had radiating pain across my lower back, scar tissue building up in the forearm area where I landed on the rocks, and most pressingly, a pain down the outside of my left leg. I wanted to make sure that nothing was missed or that things were on track for healing so i scheduled an appointment with an osteopath.

Dr. Z. is on eof those older, talkative, has-a-story-for-every-situation type of guys. He was also a rider in his youth, covering 300+ miles on trips with his buddies over long weekends...yeesh! He said the first two items were okay, but that the reason my thigh was hurting is because when I landed, i bruised a major nerve running down that side. I told him it still hurt, and he said I could expect it to do so for some time.
"How much time?"
"Six months...longer. I've seen some of these take over a year-and-a-half to heal fully. If it gets worse, call me and we'll snip it. It will go numb, but at least you'll be out of pain."

It doesn't hurt bad enough for that, so I'll just keep on going. Carp.

I also had to get a pair of x-rays while I was there, just to make sure no fractures were missed in the original x-rays. The nurse informed me I would probably have to take my pants off, but she could give me a gown if I wanted. I told her my brief history, and said, "I've been poked, prodded, stuck, disrobed, marked and sliced. I think I'll be okay with this, too." She laughed and we took the x-rays: Normal.

Doctor II...
I was also having problems related to the testicular removal surgery (radical left orchiectomy, for those keeping track), most notably blood in my semen. I called Dr. Wenger, the guy who performed the surgery, and left a message with his nurse.

I was a little worried (blood does NOT belong there!) so I was glad when they called back and said it was most likely an infection. Apparently, these things are not uncommon, and the SOP is to give horsepills (500mg of Cipro 2x per day) for a week to clear it up...oh, and no ejaculations for a month.
Yup. Actually, it was funny because the woman giving me the news was obviously in a crowded room, and she was trying to keep her voice down as she told me the news. For a second, I considered playing deaf, and saying, "I'm sorry what? What? Um, can you speak up--I'm having trouble hearing you." Maybe next time.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

My Day in Court: Preliminary Hearing

I showed up at court and saw the officer who was first on the scene pulling up at the same time, and he walked in ahead of me. I entered the building and announced myself at the front desk area, and felt the people in the waiting area tense up. I realized that one of them was probably the defendant and the rest were his family. The officer came out from a back room right away and sequestered me in a different area. We talked for a little bit, and he told me what would happen. "Also," he said, "he has hired his own attorney. The attorney may grill you. It's nothing personal, just that he's paid to try to make you look bad."

The courtroom was set up by dyslexics. The judge enters from the right side, so the witness chair is set up on the left. This means that the prosecution sits on that side (the officer informed me they always sit on the same side as the witness chair...learn something every day), not the traditional right side, like you see in all of those television crime dramas.

"The prosecution would like to call FishrCutB8/Rob." It is very weird hearing your name called in conjunction with a court case. My daughter takes drama classes (like she NEEDS them) and the one thing they ALWAYS stress is the three Bs: Be Seen, Be Heard, Be Understood. It was my mantra while I was up on the stand, and it brought great calm.

The officer asked me to describe the events of that day, and I told how I was riding along (should have inserted the cliche: "minding my own business...") when I felt a force hit me from behind and lift me up off my bicycle. As I was in the air, I heard a voice in my head say, "Get Safe", so as I hit the pavement on my left side, I sprang off with my right foot and landed in the grass on the side of the road. He asked about my experience on a bike (4 years) number of miles ridden per year (500-800+) was I wearing a helmet (YES!), and the like. He also presented evidence of my injuries (nice photos...eek!) and the truck that ran me over ("Is this the truck that struck you?"). Then he rested and it was the attorney's turn.

He asked a lot of questions, but the central ones were:
Q: Did I notice the driver driving eratically?
A: No.
Q: What direction was I facing when I landed?
A: Toward the direction of traffic.
Q: Did the truck squeal tires when leaving?
A: No.
Q: How far were you from the truck when you landed and saw it stop?
A: About 30 feet.
Q: Shouldn't you have been in the other side of the road?
A: No. There are two reasons for this. First, by traveling with traffic, if you get hit, it efectively dampens the impact because you are traveling in the same direction. A 15 mph bike hit by a 40 mph truck has an effective impact of 25 mph. Conversely, in a head on collision, a 15 mph bike hit by a 40 mph truck has an effective impact of 55 mph. Second, Pennsylvania state law dictates I travel with traffic, as far to the right as possible, which is where I was when I was struck.
Q: Are there grates on the road there?
A: Yes, off to the side of the road.
Q: How did you proceed around them?
A: I didn't. I went past them. By ducking in and out of obstacles on the side of the road, you make yourself erratic, and it's this lack of predictability that gets cyclists hurt when they cut back out in front of cars.
Q: Is it safe to say there was a lot of glare from the setting sun that day.
A: Yes

Then the officer on the scene gave his testimony. He described coming up to me, lying on the ground, bleeding and in pain. I was already on the back board and neck brace at that point. He got my description of the truck. Also, he recovered a cap from the hub of the truck, which would later be used to identify the year, make and model. Then, he was cross-examined. The critical questions were:
Q: Did the defendant turn himself in?
A: Yes.
Q: Was he cooperative?
A: Yes.
Q: What was his demeanor?
A: He was very upset, and even cried at one point. (Interesting. Not to pound my own chest, but I got run over by a truck and didn't cry.)
Q: Is it likely you would never have caught him if he hadn't turned himself in?
A: I can't say, because we had a stakeout on the road and he travels it every day.
Q: Did you read him Miranda?
A: No.
There were also questions about the timeline, and the fact that I was hit, the press release went out, and the defendant turned himself in after reading about it. His mom followed with her testimony, and said her son had not been drinking or doing drugs prior to driving that day.

Finally they gave closing arguments. The defense attorney went first, stating that there was a lot of glare on the road that caused the accident. Also, the defendant thought he hit something on the side of the road. There was no report of him driving erratically. The defendant was not drinking, which is, according to him, the primary reason to file charges of this sort. And, because of my apparent state of mind, I may not have accurately seen the defendant's truck come to a complete stop, then take off at a high rate of speed. He finished with the defendant having the accident, going home, reading about it, checking and seeing damage to his truck, putting two and two together and turning himself in. He asked that, because of all this, the charges against his client be dropped.

The officer gave the closing argument for the state, saying that his failure to stop and render aid was the central issue. Also, there is a clear difference between hitting a squirrel or a grate and hitting a human being, and that a reasonable person would know the difference. He concluded with the defendant turning himself in for fear of geting nailed.

I was sitting in the back and realized SOMETHING HAD BEEN MISSED! In a court, you don't speak unless spoken to, and I wanted to scream, but I was struck mute (not easy for an Irishman, I assure you, especially when we have something to say). I wanted to scream "YOU FORGOT TO ADDRESS MY STATE OF MIND!" Ironically, screaming that in a courtroom would have addressed that very issue...

Because this was a preliminary hearing, it was up to the judge to weigh all of the evidence and testimony and decide if they should move to trial. He started off saying that there was a serious injury that resulted from the actions of the defendant. Furthermore, the defendant's failure to stop and render aid, especially given the obvious difference between striking a person and striking a grate were, in his mind, critical. Last, he stated that my "state of mind" was obviously sound enough to look at a truck, identify it from 30 feet away, remember it all, then give a thorough description of the vehicle to the police when they did show up. (THANK YOU VERY MUCH!).

The Crappy
On my way over to the courthouse, I passed a cyclist who was struck by a car. I'm not sure what happened or how bad it was, but there was an ambulance on the scene.

The Cool
The Assistant District Attorney, who is responsible for prosecuting the case for the court is a cyclist who rides up to 2K per year.

The Funny
I told my daughter I was going to court, and she asked, "Can I come?"
"If you'd like." (She ended up stayinghome with a friend--they had no school that day.)
"Is there going to be a big audience, like in Judge Judy?"
"Probably not, honey."

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

My Day in Court...

...is today. I got my subpoena and have to go before 'Da Judge and tell what happened when the guy ran me over on my bike. I was pretty nervous last night, but I feel better about things now. Still, it will be weird facing the guy that did the damage.