Tuesday, November 28, 2023


 Road to Recovery - Day 23

Only days when I exercise and ride count as the road to recovery.

This morning I did a complete 'normal' ride on the P2 level down in the garage: 34 minutes, 9.6 kms. That is what passes for 'normal'. On the exercise front, I am close to being able to do 20 full 90 degree squats. Today I managed ~80-90% of the 90 degree knee bends. There is still some minor discomfort going up and down stairs. The fact is, I am approaching a complete return to normal.

Adding to the theme of today's entry, I am also reading more than I have in the past.

I have quite the collection of books. It's not over-the-top by any means. Yet it's quite a lot of books. 

There are some key law books, as you might expect. There also works of philosophy and history ranging from Homer to Voltaire, including Thoreau. There is mostly literature, ranging from Shakespeare to Douglas Adams, including Mark Twain and Agatha Christie. A few recipe books including the Larousse Gastronomique. Even a quirky ribald collection of limericks I inherited. 

The sad fact is that, unlike Susan, I am not a reader.

Maybe it's because as a lawyer, the occupational hazard is one heck of a lot of reading. So I have read. I have read a lot... of law. Literature and the other genres mentioned above, not so much. Either I begin to read my books, or admit that they're just décor.

And yet I truly do aspire to read, so I plucked Voltaire - Mélanges off the bookshelf recently.

It's a collection of Voltaire's works, including correspondence, treatises and speeches. It's the work that made Voltaire famous, and infamous simultaneously, work that forced him to flee to England to escape the wrath of the French crown and the Catholic Church. Sounds terribly boring, I know. But it's like time travel. I'm learning a lot about 18th century Europe and the Age of Enlightenment.

If Paris can emerge as my favourite place to visit and explore in the 21st century, emerging from a truly dismal 18th century past, then there is hope for us, in these dismal times.

Oh... wait. Hope was the last journal entry. I am supposed to be focusing on progress.

Yes I am definitely making progress.

Monday, November 13, 2023


Blue skies, white clouds, red and yellow leaves, cool air, and strong gusting headwinds. 

Today in my desk journal I noted “ROAD to RECOVERY - Day 13”.

That is certainly true, but the truth needs context. 

For several years until the end of August of this year, every weekday began at 6:00 a.m. thanks to my watch gently vibrating me awake. Stealthily rising, gathering my clothes, and leaving our bedroom, doing my best not to wake Susan. Exercising, dressing, gearing up, and quietly leaving our home with my Brompton, for an 8 to 10 kilometre ride along one of three routes through our neighbourhood.

Towards the end of August I managed to overwork the many muscles in my right leg by refusing, stupidly I now see, to accept adapting my pace to the hills along my path. So ended my weekday morning rituals, terminated by pain as the soft tissues in my right leg rebelled against the persecution I had inflicted. With the benefit of hindsight I realize that as I applied significant force to the pedals to maintain my speed and pace, I was favouring my left leg and overworking my right. That was because in my lifetime my left leg was the one that suffered injuries, not my right leg. To protect the left, I messed up the right. dumb, dumb, dumb.  

Two weeks later, we were off to Europe and countless daily steps, up and down and around, with trudging up and down stairs thrown in for good measure. My leg saw this not as a well-deserved vacation, but as counter-insurgency measures intended to stifle their rebellion. 

That was September. 

We returned home and I quickly conceded defeat. 

In an earnest attempt at reparation (not that I had much choice) I spared my right leg as much as possible. Climbing the three flights of stairs in our home sparingly, with my left leg doing all the work. Keeping errands in the car to a minimum, with Susan at the wheel, as I twisted and shifted, moaning, under the constant attacks of pain and breathtaking discomfort, all meant to remind me that my right leg had won the war and had beaten me into submission.

That was October. 

This is November. 

Tomorrow I am having X-rays and ultrasounds.

My doctor, playing the role of a United Nations envoy, is assessing the war zone, searching for a path to peace and reconciliation. 

Thirteen weekdays ago, I was finally able to start a slow path to restoring my rituals. I am calling that path my ROAD to RECOVERY. 

For each step I take, for each exercise I do, for each token bike ride I take in the garage, I constantly murmur to my right leg my mea culpas, my heartfelt apologies, and my endless assurances that there will never again be persecution. That all future movement and travels will be disciplined, fair, reasonable, measured, and balanced.

Perhaps it’s the approaching medical assessment, or just the discipline of my determination to get back to ‘normal’, but I have been making slow and steady progress day after day.  

This afternoon I was able to chance my first outdoor ride since the troubles began in August. Even though it was a modest 4.69 km jaunt, it was truly joyful, and I am grateful. 

The struggles may be ending.

Peace may be in sight. 

There is hope.
The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.