21 November 2011

rothar -- my new best friend

I just got my bike from the nonprofit recycle bike place today. It is a blue ladies' hybrid, most parts recycled, a tad rusty but in perfect working condition. It has suicide gears, which I am new to but already love. I am the happiest person right now.

I named him Rothar, which is the name of the bike shop and basically means bicycle in Irish (pronounced ˈrohər according to wiktionary, but I just say "rahthar" 'cause I'm a dumb American). 

He's a very good bike. I bought a 45 euro lock for him, already have a helmet, and just got a high-visibility vest from this abandoned plant that I found a few weeks ago (funnily enough, I got the vest with permission from the guy who is only just now letting the property... I first found it whilst trespassing, haha. Didn't tell him that, tho. And he invited me back to their grand opening night on Dec 1st!). The vest is in the wash right now. Used to belong to a construction worker. Might be decades old... no way of telling.

I just rode to work and back, trying to get a feel for the route, and even while getting lost a few times (having to follow the flow of traffic, with all its one-way streets, rather than footpaths), I did about 8-10 km in the hour that it normally takes me to walk 4.5-5 km. I'm SO ready to start riding this bike 10+ km a day on top of my work commute. Dublin traffic may kill me, but there's a lot of cyclists and we're travelling pretty much the same speeds as the cars in most cases, traffic is so slow. Bike lanes in Dublin are a joke unless you're travelling in a straight line beside a waterway (the Liffey or one of the canals). I'm getting used to being on the left side of the road, too. And dodging buses. Taxis are worse than buses, but buses are SO BIG.

Yes, Mama, I always wear my helmet, and always will. (NOTE FROM 2013: actually I stopped wearing my helmet in Dublin traffic a few months after this post, haha)


I've been having a lot of digestive issues lately, due to coeliac or damage from coeliac. Basically my chest has been aching like I got shot with a shotgun for a week or so, my acid reflux is so bad. I was so worried for a while there that I'd have to go back to the States to get hiatal hernia surgery. Well, I don't care if my stomach literally catches fire, you're not taking me away from Dublin and Ireland and my Rothar until my year is friggin' up.

Luckily, taking digestive enzymes with betaine HCl seems to be helping me out, as does laying off fats, which I don't think I'm digesting properly. I think I may have low stomach acid--hypochloridia. I've been talking to other coeliacs online and it seems to be common among us, along with a lazy pancreas that doesn't produce enough digestive enzymes. I just got super-duper enzymes with 600 mg HCl and 90 mg ox bile, so I will try those with some full meals tomorrow and see if they help or not. I've also been taking slippery elm bark, which is a wonderful supplement that coats the throat, stomach, and intestines to soothe inflammation. Taking it is basically drinking slime, but you do what you have to, ya know? I do plan on seeing a doctor eventually but I want to find the right one, given that I'll be paying 50-75 euro for the privilege. I don't want one that will just prescribe nexium et al. after a five minute conversation, because I tried taking over-the-counter ppi pantoprazole and it seemed to make things worse. Like, my stomach stopped emptying out after meals and I stopped getting hungry at all. I only made it about six days into the 14-day course of it.

But I still can't eat normal portion sizes, and since I have to lay off calorie-dense foods like nuts and seeds because of the high fat content, I got myself some hemp protein powder to mix into things in order to build myself some good biking muscles. I will also start eating a lot more fish and lean meats. I'm not sure how well I tolerate eggs. And I def. can't eat dairy, like butter and ice cream and stuff, or any candies or anything. Hopefully finding the right dosage of HCl will allow me more fats etc. so that I can build my body back up! 

I want to be strong and active, not weak and pale, sitting on my ass in an office all day. That's why I've been walking to work instead of taking the bus. Now I can go so many places. In a few weeks I will attempt to bike to Howth lighthouse--about a 20 km journey one way.


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