Up From the Depths

Jeffrey here.  Joey yielded the floor.

As Joey posted in March, 3 ½ weeks after my pulmonary embolism, 2 ½ weeks after I contracted pneumonia, events proved the naysayers correct.  Only 120 miles into the Ride to Seattle, I flamed out on a California hillside south of Bodega Bay.  It was all I could do to roll downhill to Valley Ford and wait for my friends Nattie and Julie to fetch me back to San Jose.

Nancy flew out from NYC and took me on her business trip to San Francisco.

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Nancy. All business. All class. Sunshine! Fun!

Her business concluded, we flew home.

Darkness spared Nancy my annoying reminders that I had biked coast-to-coast over the terrain below.  I was happy to reminisce quietly in front of the flight tracker.

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Marked in red near our path are cities in which Joey and I spent significant time on previous Rides.

Now I try to strike a balance of activity (to get stronger) and rest (to avoid setbacks).  It’s been hard.  Shortness of breath.  Chest discomfort.  Deep sadness at failing to reach my West Coast goal.  Unpredictable ups and downs, reasons unknown.

Three weeks after suspending the Ride, I consulted the experts.

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L to R:  Joey, Jeffrey, Dr. Shujaat. [Photo by Shira.]

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L to R:  Dr. Graf, Joey, Jeffrey. [Photo by Marina.]

Concerned about my uneven recovery, the docs ordered diagnostic scans.  The verdict:  The embolus is a clot, nothing more sinister.  It is dissolving.  My left lung works again.  My heart is undamaged.  Coronary calcification score (lower is better):  zero.

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The dark artery-blocking embolus (circled in red) shrank between early February (L) and late March (R).

The docs’ prescription: time.  Only with time will everything mend.

Part of the process is to look to the future.

In early May, I intend to embark with Joey on the second leg of this year’s Ride.  We will pedal 800 miles (1300 km) from Indiana through Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas, to Louisiana.

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We’ll start in Jeffersonville, Indiana. “A” is Gadsden, Alabama. “B” is Oak Grove, Louisiana.

There is much to explore.

Consider Alabama.

Alabama enacted cruel anti-immigrant laws.  Yet many Alabamians revere the Bible, which commands us to love and protect neighbors and strangers without regard to place of birth.

In 2016, Alabama conducted a “Tax Delinquency Amnesty Program” for tax-stealing citizens.  Yet Alabama officials show no mercy to tax-paying immigrants who happen to be in Alabama without federal permission.

Does Alabama’s government reflect the will of its people?  Or, as on the federal level today, does the government defy the majority?  Perhaps we will find out.

But first we must go south.

Dear Reader, I will push the envelope.  I will get stronger.  I will prepare for the Southern Ride.  I will let you know how it goes.

Meanwhile, please join me in wishing Alfonso well.

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I met Alfonso in March in New Jersey.  Days before, he buried his 31 year old son.  Alfonso’s cart overflowed with Easter baskets, his gifts for the students at the school where he is a boiler operator.  It was moving to meet someone who remains so loving and kind despite recent personal tragedy.

I have met wonderful Americans like Alfonso on Rides through 32 states.  I will meet more in May as Joey and I pedal south from Indiana.

Onward.  Upward.  Southward.

Stay tuned.

 

14 thoughts on “Up From the Depths

  1. Hi, Jeff,

    Wow: Alfonso! I don’t know his full story, but what you shared is incredible.
    And please don’t push the envelope too hard!

    XX to you and Nancy,
    Gina

    Gina L. Taglieri
    Director of Development
    Human Rights First American ideals. Universal values.
    Direct: 212.845.5252 | Cell: 917.860.9450 | taglierig@humanrightsfirst.org
    humanrightsfirst.org | Facebook | @HumanRights1st

  2. Happy to hear about
    Your recovery.You have an amazing partner in your wife Nancy☺👍You are an inspiring team!!

  3. Good news! This time round I think the “Little Engine that Could” – will….. Hope you are planning shorter rides each day.

  4. You are incredible! So glad you are getting better and thanks for taking us along! Xoxo Beth

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  5. You are definitely NOT a failure, dear friend and big hearted man! You are looking terrific and I love the tie!! Ross and Jamaine live in Murfreesboro- just off your proposed route. It is a college town where Ross is getting an MFA to teach music and Jamaine will be getting her MA in English as A Second Language this Spring. She is doing her student teaching now. Might have some interesting immigrant students for you to talk to! I still keep thinking of NYC in APril withAmelia but I might jus fly her down here instead. I am so proud to be your friend!

  6. Wishing you a complete recovery in due time and lots of time to rest and recuperate. I am sure you are learning to pace yourself. Marlene Oslick

  7. Wish you a complete and full recovery, Jeffrey and am looking forward to following you and Joey
    (Los Dos Amigos) on the second leg of your Ride in May.

    Also, am joining you in wishing Alfonso well!

  8. I believe, Jeffrey and Joey will rise up!

    Love, Marc

    On Wed, Apr 4, 2018 at 5:26 PM, Ride for Human Rights wrote:

    > Joey posted: “Jeffrey here. Joey yielded the floor. As Joey posted in > March, 3 ½ weeks after my pulmonary embolism, 2 ½ weeks after I contracted > pneumonia, events proved the naysayers correct. Only 120 miles into the > Ride to Seattle, I flamed out on a California hil” >

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