Saturday, April 7

Mysteries of nature and body...

Mother Nature has whacked the Windy City upside the head! I know it’s all relative and far worse in some areas. Still, Chicago is where I am. Allow me a myopic rant. As I write this, it’s in the low 20s with a high that will remain below freezing. The meteorologist then twisted her knife by adding, “When you step out the door, the wind-chill will feel like you’re in the single digits...” I knew I shouldn’t have delayed the purchase of that heated vest! Of course, the second I purchase it now, the weather will warm. So, I’ve been riding cold. Doing so more often than not ignites (no pun intended) urticaria demons. Cold weather is one of the triggers I’ve been able to isolate.

On my last outing, within 20 minutes, I couldn’t ignore the sensation of my face warming and expanding inside my helmet. This heating up spreads to my legs and then my thighs. It is a strange, miserable feeling that reminds me of those bizarre stories I’ve read about people who spontaneously combust and I can’t help thinking this is how it all begins. This heating (and subsequent appearance of hives) happens when I’m out walking in the cold too. On my gal-pal, it happens faster and is more aggressive. It has become my signal to turn Queenie around and return home for it is too distracting to dare continue. When I remove my gear, I’m a mess of reddish, itchy, splotchy, swollen welts. Doctors? I know they mean well, but they don’t seem interested in the “why” of this. They’ve push; I mean, “prescribed” their powerful potions and declared the hives “idiopathic”—a fancy way of saying, “we don’t know why.”
I’m damned if I do, damned if I don’t. With the drugs, the hives are mostly kept at bay but I’m not fit to operate a motorcycle safely. Without the drugs, I’m Quasimodo for the next hour! Lately, I’ve not been taking the one drug that makes me loopy, stare off into space until my head wants to crash down to my desk, and fall into a deep sleep. The trade off? I take the lesser evil drug, which only does an adequate job and leaves me vulnerable to unpredictable outbreaks. At least, my head doesn’t feel like my brain responds only in slow motion.

The weather will improve. For now, I will ride until the elevation in my body heat warns me to stop; and, I will try to embrace my Quasidomo-ness when it rears its disfigured head. I will ride, however brief, to keep that physical, muscle memory sharp and fit for the smell of spring, sniff-sniff, scratch-scratch, really is in the air.

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