In the passenger seat of the Volvo my right hand clenched with white knuckles the handhold. I’ve never been particularly comfortable in the passenger seat, and it always seems worse when The Wife is driving, especially when we’re running late. I tried to divert my eyes from the road, yet still struggled to relax my death grip on the handhold. Each jolting acceleration, every sharp turn, and all of the bumps and potholes reminded me of the reason for this particular mid-afternoon journey — a visIn the passenger seat of the Volvo my right hand clenched with white knuckles the handhold. I’ve never been particularly comfortable in the passenger seat, and it always seems worse when The Wife is driving, especially when we’re running late. I tried to divert my eyes from the road, yet still struggled to relax my death grip on the handhold. Each jolting acceleration, every sharp turn, and all of the bumps and potholes reminded me of the reason for this particular mid-afternoon journey — a visit to the doctor to check up on The Clavicle. As I expected, the first order of business was another x-ray photo shoot. I stood this way and that as the radiologist, positioned safely away from the ionizing radiation zipping through my shoulder, directed the poses. For the last, she casually said, “now raise your left arm up over your head for this one.” I looked at her to see if she was serious. She was. “OK, I’ll try. Just give me a minute,” I said. Ouch! Slowly and painfully I got it up where she wanted it. I sure hope it was worth it. The resident (or med student?) came in and asked me the usual questions. Toward the end he flipped through the folder and said something about my earlier knee surgery. I informed him that my knees were fine and that perhaps they had pulled my daughter’s file by mistake. He looked confused for a moment and then figured out that they had put some entirely random patient’s knee surgery stuff into my folder. Sheesh. Ample enough reason right there to make the extra effort to avoid surgery! Eventually the orthopedist came in, having looked at the x-rays, and said it was looking pretty good but it wasn’t quite “there” yet. I asked some questions about the brace – how tight it should be, how exactly the clavicle strap should be positioned, etc. He said it was basically a 2-person job, and as he fiddled with the Velcro he had the other doctor pull back on my shoulder while he cinched down on the strap. Ouch again! I think I saw The Wife smile with gleeful anticipation. I made an immediate decision to, at least temporarily, go back to the full dose of Lorcet Plus at the next opportunity. On the plus side, he wants to stick with this plan of attack in order to avoid surgery, and he said it should be OK for me to ride the trainer. This morning as the 6:15 alarm went off on my Timex Ironman and the Tuesday levee ride got underway, I was already on the bike down in the basement riding slowly into the steady breeze of a box fan and listening to the drone of the stationary trainer’s plastic fans. I had rescued this particular folding trainer from the garbage pile in front of someone’s house a few years back, and although it had been partially submerged during the Katrina flooding the bearings still seemed smooth so I hung onto it for just this sort of occasion. The newly tightened brace that engulfs my chest and left shoulder was restrictive enough that I never even tried to get down on the elbow pads of the clip-on aero bars, but I was glad I’d bolted them on because it allowed for a higher hand position that worked out fairly well. I spun the trainer for about 45 minutes at a fairly low effort level, and in spite of my underlying hatred for the contraption and the extra heat and constriction caused by my Velcro overcoat, it felt good to have the legs moving again. I guess I’ll get the trainer set up semi-permanently down there so I can maybe watch the morning news on the tiny little portable TV or listen to the radio to minimize the monotony of riding a bike that’s going nowhere. So here I am at work, having just taken another pill. After a fairly productive and caffeine-assisted morning I am starting to feel a little depleted. The Lorcet definitely makes me want to zone out, and after four or five hours in front of the monitor I find my eyes becoming more and more reluctant to focus. I think it’s nap time.