Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Drugs and Showers

It is now about 40 hours since I discharged myself out from Yverdon hospital.

Since my cycling accident of Sunday I'm now on plan to recover as quickly as possible. As Lance once commented: In sport recovery time is Everything

Agata has pinned a drug taking schedule to the fridge door.  Since I am eating like crazy this is difficult to miss and so has worked quite well

Here are the Drugs that I have acquired from the Pharmacy

Now the next topic is how to take a shower? Small areas which have scabbed can be showered on.  But  large areas of still quite raw skin should not be run under a tap.  Luckily technology is here

First a set of fluffy cotton towels with a slippery clear plastic surface on one side.   That slippery surface goes against your raw skin.

Next,  cover the fluffy cotton with a clear plastic layer which has a single self adhesive side.

Result: shown above.  Now its safe to take a shower.

As midnight approaches I am drugged up and squeaky clean. Time for bed I venture.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Start Wining and Stop Whining

With Agata's expertise in the Wine department and Marcus's constant need for a small compact Power tool who would believe that the Bosch IXO Vino can keep us both delightfully happy.

The IXO Vino is simply the standard unit shipped in a wine box with a motorised corkscrew opener.

It is just absolutely brilliant

  • The attachment for electrically removing the cork from the bottle actually works!  It works better here than any other powered opener I have ever used.  Honest.

  • An of course for years the regular Bosch IXO has been our compact Power tool of choice.

  • So now the IXO Vino is conveniently stowed on the kitchen worktop waiting for a DIY operation or just a plain old wine opening.

  • Clearly this device is pretty much unavailable in Switzerland, but we found ours via import at  Conrad DE.  If however you live in the UK, the options are of course almost endless

I know I'm officially still on the Antibiotics but I felt it important to stop whining and make a full end to end test this evening.  I can report A-OK.

Bosch IXO Vino Specification
The Big Bosch IXO Vino Video

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sick Machine

I am now definitively sick, however don't believe that I am idle. Why?, because whilst I cannot work due to my injuries the world in which I live  (modern, European democracy) makes sure that being sick is not so easy.

Here are some of the obligatory tasks done this Monday August 29th 2011:

  • Get out of Hospital:  Doctor wanted to keep me in, but a snoring neighbour, an uncomfortable bed  (no sleep in over 24 hours since Sunday AM) means that being at home will really benefit my recovery.

  • Medical Certificate: Obtain from Hospital / Doctor certificate saying that you are unable to attend work.

  • Local Doctor: Visit Local Doctor and inform of incapacity. Arrange appointment in future for inspection and possible removal of stitches

  • Drugs: Before leaving hospital, ask and receive medical prescription for antibiotics and painkillers.  Plus it seems some stomach calming tablets since the painkillers are so  strong.

  • Pharmacy: Order Drugs (not all available).  Start up a dossier for which they will need (this week) a number from your accident Insurance.

  • Accident Insurance: Call Winterthur or their proxy and ask them how to make a claim. Start this page.  Get Accident number.

  • Employers: Email direct employer and tell them approximate duration of time off from work due to accident.

  • Clients: Email clients and any work colleagues and inform them of time you will be away from work.  Ask for any critical projects to be handed over to other people.

  • Manager: Tell Immediate Manager and any client manager of accident and approx dates you will be away.

  • Pharmacy-2: With Accident number confirm Pharmacy dossier, meaning the Accident Insurance will directly pay bills of Pharmacy.

  • Drug Schedule: Agata made me a spreadsheet telling me what drugs to take well.   How brilliant is that!

  • Update Facebook && Blog  (well of course!)
So overall, and not including the very painful, restless Monday night that I am having so far, it is also very busy.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


As the picture above describes the Yverdon Triathlon of Sunday August 28th did not go precisely according to plan.

Both Agata and Marcus were quite excited overall because this was a new Triathlon and the cold Saturday night weather correctly convinced us to take Wet Suits including Agata's Super Fab  Ironman W Racer purchase.

The first complication came when due to the large number of last minute entrants the start was delayed to 08.30.  Also we found out the entrance and exit to the Neuchatel lake was very slippy, several people doing just that!

We were delighted to be there with Bruno, my old work colleague and an excellent cyclist.   We had met on the cycle commute from Neuchatel to Boudry many times.  He is fast!

So we began at 08.30.   Swim finished fine.   Took me the usual eternity to transition to bike.  Bruno swam slower but transitioned quicker and so I had to catch him up ....

I passed Bruno on the uphill and then there was a steep downhill.   The speed is measured by iPhone with Runkeeper. 

As you will see after a peak speed of almost 65Km/h Marcus hill descent came to an abrupt end. I think I hit a pothole/grating and CRASHED badly. First bad fall in >25 years.

I say think, because as I write this 24 hours later it is still a blank.  I just remember going down the hill, not even crashing, then waking up in an ambulance.   The mind is sometime very protective?

These are the ripped clothes that were removed.  My sun allergy that makes me always wear long sleeved clothing, this  saved me from further skin damage

According to race officials without a helmet I would most probably have been killed.  Click to enlarge to see damage

 The inside is cracked, one side is shown here

After substantial cleanup and tens of minutes of care, attention and stitching I am looking much better than on entry I can promise you

Into a ward and for 24 hours I am on a no food and no drink regime.  All I allowed is saline solution (NaCl),  Painkillers drip  (which I only had when necessary), and Antibiotics (I took when offered, they sounded good.

By Sunday evening I has asked to go home but they would not let me.  Apparently Head Trauma can take some hours to develop and they wanted to make sure I was in hospital and not at home if my condition suddenly  deteriorated.

Okay, 10am Monday Morning and I am allowed a Breakfast. If I can't finish it or if I am sick then I can't go home.   I managed to pass this test pretty easily as I was very hungry I can tell you :-)

Back at home it was time to admire the damage.  It looks better after a cleanup.

And even better now   (taken at 17.00 Monday)

So what did I learn?

  • Not all roads are as smooth as around Lausanne

  • My bicycle is ruined.  I will need a new one.  So a pretty expensive day

  • My brain seems to be okay, no better or worse than before Agata tells me

  • On an unknown Triathlon perhaps take the first lap of the bike course slowly.

  • Perhaps the ear infection of Thursday / Friday made my balance a little bit off.   Even so I don't know if I would have survived the bend at 64Km/h even in good health


Friday, August 26, 2011

Bernanke's Big Speech

Personally I am still going for the power of simple numbers.  UK FTSE 100 to 5000 and the US DJIA to 10000

I make the prediction ahead of time as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is about to give the Markets and the world "next steps" to rescue the economy speak.

Inevitably whatever he says we are in for a rocky ride short and medium term ...

  • Quantative Easing 2 (QE2) more accurately described as Printing Money like Crazy 2, at best prevented disaster, at the time of printing, but at worst just kicked the can down the road for an even bigger disaster.

  • The FED Already promised to keep Interest rates low, well almost zero till 2013.  As someone with investments in USD, thanks a bunch.  If I consider bank charges, keeping USD in a box under the floorboards is beginning to look attractive
I have no idea what new measures and tactics he might propose.   In fact maybe his tactic should be:

World leaders, Dignitaries,  we have tried everything to game the system,  but apparently there is no magic painless solution. Perhaps we should be prepared to live a less lavish lifestyle until we have paid back our debts in full.

Ben Bernanke to give that speech
Bernanke speech is here

Drug is the Love, got a hook on me

Now it is some 8 hours after my first dosage of Tramal Gouttes.   This extremely powerful morphine substitute was prescribed last night by the doctors of the CHUV hopsital that I visited regarding my diagnosed Ear infection.

I have used this extreme painkiller before on the ocaision of my continued hand paralysis having fallen onto the ice.

Tramal is so agressively powerful that it masked the servere head pains of this Friday morning and enabled me to cycle into work! Amazing.

I thought it thru and pondered,  what is the big picture from using Tramal from my perspective:

  • Fantastically strong pain killer, you feel like you are floating after you have injested your portion

  • The Hopsital doctor said 15 drops per go, but the box says 25.  With my previous paralysis problems  (much more severe than the current mere ear infection)  I took a maximum of 5 drops per dose.   So after 15 drops this morning I fell pretty spaced out!

  • Does not seem to affect balance

  • Can loosen skin:  Previously after continied usage (>2 months) I noticed the whole of my outer body skin layer became loose.  Most strange.

  • Cost was about 30 CHF  (40 USD)

  • Can make body kind of numb: in other words there is a general lack of sensation of touch

Learning Points
The learning point for today is that I can see how Atheletes can be drawn into taken illegal substances that allows them to perform supehumanlu.  For me it made the difference between lying in bed moaning and groaning and being able to cycle 20Km to work

And now I suggest you get back to Roxy

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sick as a Dog

Okay, I have swam 5 times in the last week, however acquiring what has been diagnosed as an ear infection is totally unacceptible.

I am very cross with my body and in particular my immune system.  Shame on you!

 This Thursday evening I was feeling so awful that Agata drove me to the CHUV casualty ward where (as shown above) they have an unusual waiting room decor to say the least.

The diagnosis was ear infection and the nice doctor said he also has this same complaint this summer.  Turns out the CHUV hospital did not have any of the Ciproxin HC Suspension Auriculaire so it was off to the Mon Repos 24 hour pharmacy

Agata and I paid more attention to the automated drug distriution system.  We handed over the presciption and the assistant typed it in.  About 1 minute later with some whirring and clicking the goods were ejected from the warehouse via an automated conveyor belt landing in front of us.   We like this hi-tek!

So now I have the drugs including some Tramal Gouttes.  I promise to use then responsibly.

Mini Me Tools

As earlier noted both Marcus and his bicycle are getting lighter.   It is now time to start focusing on the cycle toolkit.  I would regard it as irresponsible not to take some tools whenever I go for a cycle.

Above is the outgoing minimalist tool to which I added some Lezyne Alloy Tyre levers

Now we have changed to:

Agata Tool Solution - 70 grams
Lezyne Matrix Tyre Lever  20 grams

 Lezyne SV-5 Multi Tool   50 grams

She gets dedicated tyre levers and multi tool

Marcus Tool Solution - 73 grams

 Topeak Mini 9 Pro Carbon 9 Function Multi Tool

This is quite ingenious in that it includes 2 tyre levers.  Admittedly they are not suitable for general use but they look good enough for an emergency tyre removal and then remounting after tube change.

We also considered this Carbon variation for Agata but for now she will be using the full metal version.

So now both our tools are below 75grams in total.  Marcus's solution is heavier but is one thing and slightly smaller in overall volume.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lloydtron Intelligent Battery Charger

What happens when you place  (I'm guessing a Zinc Carbon) battery into a IKEA battery charger?

Answer:  Batteries leak out, blowing up charger and marking our wooden cabinet.  So the above is the replacement

Ironically this is able to charge not only the usual NiMH batteries (AA and AAA sizes), but also Alkaline Batteries, which are traditionally not rechargeable.

So far:

  • I removed the plastic flap cover that came with the unit.  Served no purpose
  • Its very difficult to get the batteries out.  Design flaw.
  • It works fine as a charger - er that's good news then!
  • The LCD charging display (per battery) is very good and tells you about charging and finishing.

Recommended, unless you can show me a fancier unit.

JLS Batteries NiMh charger

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

We ordered Fibre

If you want an Internet connection with >30Mbits/second you have to move up to Fibre.

However in Lausanne this presents a problem.   Swisscom has been under a legal dispute in Switzerland for fibre deployment, and the result to many end users is that they don't offer a service.

I waited for over 2 years for Fibre and reached breaking point when we were mailed a why not sign up for Fibre brochure.  I wrote a stinky letter back telling them to stop sending me stuff I can't have.

2 weeks later a man rang me up saying that Fibre was available but he had to come to our house for me to sign the contract.   This is the highlights of the disastrous situation:

  • The guy was not only late, he actually could not find our apartment.  I ended up walking outside and waiting on the street trying to guide him in.

  • Finally I got in his car and was surprised to find he had both an iPhone and a TomTom GPS.  If he did not had the brains to use those,  what were my chances of a Fibre order going smoothly?

  • He did not seem to know anything about Fibre, but I am guessing he knew much more about collecting a commission.

  • I signed up for a 20 Mbit service as a test.  He then told me someone (else) would come to do a survey in 8-10 weeks!

  • I kept stressing that Fibre would mean an Optical Network Terminal (ONT) in our basement and an Ethernet connection to our apartment, necessitating new wiring.  Was the ONT in place?   He said he knew of no specifics  ( == clueless)

    I hoped the technical feasibility of the installation would have been something that was checked before his arrival?

So I guess I have to wait patiently for that phone call, and site survey and hope that finally after the 2 years of waiting, Fibre will at last be connected.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Upgrading Agatas wetsuit

Agata spends at least 8 hours a day just next to the beach at Lake Leman.  Ostensibly she is not in fact a beach bum, rather she makes a claim to actually be working [hard] in the vacinity for a large multi-national.  Hmmm.

So with this proximity her almost daily visits to the Lake or Bellerive pool give rise to a lot of swimming.

And so it is with mixed feelings that she has actually given in to my nagging and looked at a new wetsuit

The old wetsuit, well barely qualifies as a wetsuit. Her refusal to upgrade is based on the line "But my wetsuit is not broken".  Then magically the other day the zip busted!

Whilst I am glad she has taken the plunge to a decent, buoyant, non arm restricted, low friction, modern 2011 wetsuit I am also a little afraid.  Her choice was the Auqa Sphere Ironman Ladies Wracer.

Her swim speed has been creeping up and she does not realise that with a new suit she may quite literally be able to leave me behind.   I think I might have to actually do some structured swim training like Agata and improve my stroke.

After her 1Km Saturday Lake swim test, things are looking very good ... well for her!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

As Easy as Pi

We entered the Lausanne Triathlon 2011.   I must say I was less than enthusiastic because the Olympic Category was not available.  So we entered the Sprint Triathlon  (750m swim + 20Km Bike + 5Km run).  I mean, it hardly seems worth getting out of bed for this on a Sunday morning it was going to be so short.

Actually,  looking at Marcus's slow-ish result, not quite as as short as expected.

Saturday - The Pros
The ITU race was on Saturday.  We went to Ouchy to see the race and get our numbers for Sunday.

 Pro Mens Race

 Come on Team GB!

A casualty

The Race village with some interesting shops

 Fancy Bike

Sunday Race Review

We had decided not to use Wetsuits because we felt they might be disallowed due to high water temperatures.  So it was SMUG mode == on when we arrived and indeed wetsuits were not allowed.

In fact Agata and Marcus cycled the 5Km down to the Lakeside start wearing our triathlon suits, meaning all we had to carry was a tiny rucksack with some running shoes and a towel.  Fantastic!

The swim (sans wetsuit) was consequently slow.  About 50% of the Male swimmers did not go around the final Buoy (i.e. cheated) so my relative swim time might look below par.

Onto the cycle: I had a great time,   sprinting past people on the hills, shouting out encouragement and asking people politely to move to the right so I can overtake on the left  (last year I got a time penalty for right overtaking!).  I recorded the time on my iPhone Runkeeper

Last the 5Km run.  Well the first lap was slow, but I speeded up on lap 2/2.

After I finished I hung around waiting for Agata to pass.  She did and her finish time was only about 10 minutes longer than mine.  She is catching me up!

Since we were not given any medals we thought the above might be a good substitute and recovery drink, combined into one :-)

Next year, I promise to be faster, a lot faster!

Upgraded Transition

I bought some inexpensive Shimano TR31 triathlon shoes  and without any practice did the pro thing:  Namely attach shoes to bike, so  after swim transition run with cycle in socks to start point and get on bike.   The idea is that you tighten your shoes whilst cycling.

All would have been well except that I did lose at least 30 seconds fiddling with Runkeeper on the iPhone, since I had to save the previous run and start a new one, and in bright sunlight I could not see anything!

Upgraded Clothing

With my intense sun allergy not wearing a wetsuit might have serious consequences.   But at the Triathlon village in Lausanne Saturday we found the above Compressport R2 calf protectors.  They covered my legs from ankle to knee.  So the only skin showing on the bike/run was my knees.   Brilliant.

Marcus Ate: 2xSIS Gels
Marcus Drank: 400ml SIS Carbohydrate Fluid
Marcus Time 01:25
Agata Time  01:39

Saturday, August 20, 2011

All night screwing Around

Oh yes, the exciting lives that Agata and I lead.  Our good friend Ingrid invited us to a private soiree 15Km away to assemble her new baby furniture.   Great we thought, what could be better than a 15Km cycle ride (and back) coupled with an evening of home assembly.

We performed a similar task about a month ago so we feel that our reputation must be spreading.  The things we will do for a spot of dinner and a glass of wine ...

 Ingrid starts off the evening correctly: Drinks and nibbles.

That is more boxes than we expected 

 Vojto and Agata are doing all the heavy large assemblies

 Agata seems to be combining assembly with a Stretching exercise workout, she's very clever.

Ingrid is officially in charge of the plastic mallet

"Are we nearly done yet" Marcus pleads

Learning Points
  • The furniture was imported from Poland.  The instructions were in secret Polish code

  • Some of the instructions sheets were so faintly printed that even a Polish speaker / reader could not really decode them

  • Ingrid chose the Polish furniture from Pinio since it's made of real pieces of wood and not Medium Density Fibreboard  (MDF).  Very traditional but it is clear that you can NOT get the tolerences for mass produced consumer items using that natural technology.

  • Now more than ever I begin to respect IKEA who produce in much higher volume, with much clearer instructions and to build tolerences so much higher that there is just no comparison.

  • Our baby Bosch IXO power tool was light and small enough to carry in our cycling rucksack and was again just brilliant  (Check out this limited edition version, I think we might need it urgently)

  • Yet again Agata and Marcus prove that an active evening in with a spot of wine, good company, and a  healthy dinner is a mighty fine thing