April 19, 2008
So I made it back home here in Belgium still feeling a bit ordinary, but thought the worst was over when Boom! it hit me – the head aches and fever were back and not going away this time. Isabelle my wife sent me to the doc for some blood tests and as soon as they came back, I was admitted straight into hospital. My liver had pretty much shut down which is never a good thing, along with my gall bladder and spleen.
Now its not a good idea to have these problems when you've just come back from an Asian country because immediately I was being diagnosed with hepatitis or malaria which is a great thing to hear! Especially when the Doctor says, "Its ok, you can still get a few good years in even if you have hepatitis." Kiss my ass buddy! But one by one they slowly came back negative so then it was, "hmmmm, maybe its tuberculosis?"
Belle and I were pretty scared with what was going on, as I looked pretty bad and didn't seem to be improving she thought that after saying goodbye one night that that was the last time she would do it! I also now know what its like to be afraid to close my eyes and go to sleep for fear of never waking up! I felt so terrible..But after a week of IV antibiotics I slowly improved up to the point where they came in one afternoon and just simply told me that I can go home, just like that! OK then I'm outta here...
I ended up having Epstein Barr Virus? Yeah I don't know what that is either :) They just told Belle that if I start to look a little yellow bring me back in, so throughout the year if you run into me and I'm looking a little on the yellow side then give me a heads up, thanks. I did manage to make a buddy while I was in the joint. Joseph, an 82-year-old Belgie who had some interesting war stories, so here's one:
He was 18 and in his yard one day when he saw a plane (Halifax Bomber) get shot out of the sky. It was diving pretty fast as it was on fire and they were trying to put out the flames with the rapid decent. It didn't work and they crashed flat on the plane's belly not far from his house. He ran to the plane before the Nazis found it.
He arrived to find the crew of seven all dead, bar one. It turns out they were Australian. He wanted to help the one survivor, but he told him to leave before the enemy turned up. He said that he would surrender and he'd be OK. The Nazis would surely have shot Joseph if he was caught helping him, so he ran off. He came back later once everyone had gone to see what happened. The soldier was gone and there was a big grave with the rest of the crew in it.
Man I can't even begin to imagine what people have gone through in the past, but its stories like his that help paint a grim picture.. Joseph told me that the crew are all buried about 15km from where I live at a War Cemetery. I headed over there to check it out – it's small memorial compared to the other sites in Belgium. 984 are buried here, with 45 of them being Aussies and 17 Kiwis. There's a total of 15,634+ graves of Aussie soldiers and 4,711 who perished in Belgium alone during WWI and WWII, some graves are unmarked as they weren't sure who or where they came from so they just say a "Soldier of the War". Pretty sad really...
But back to the team, Besides our goals to be a very competitive team even in our first year, the team's mission will be to raise awareness for diabetes and the positive affect of a healthy and active lifestyle in controlling and preventing the long term affects of the disease. A great initiative and a great team. seven Americans, three Aussies, two Kiwis, one Mexican, one lad from Trinidad & Tobago and my old buddy from the Ukraine, Kobza.
Of the 15 riders, four have Type 1. I missed the team training camp in California due to being sick and haven't had the chance to meet all the team, but I've heard great reports about everyone so it looks like its gonna be a great year! On the equipment side of things we're racing Orbea Orcas and training on Orbea Opals. Running gear is Sram Red and was a bit weird to get used to using but is really good. Wheels are Zipp which will be a great sponsor to have, awesome selection of wheels and bloody light and super fast! With all this put together we're riding a scary light bike which no one ever complains about.
This year over here in Belgium I'm without all my training and park up (coffee)mates. Stopping for a brew is a bit boring so as I ride past a couple of our old watering holes I'm feeling a bit empty, no texts to see what the plan is for the next days training either.
So here's to Wormy, Munge, Dag, Bender, Tank, Hanky, Rat Boy and Badger I miss ya lads!!
I'm a lone rider these days with nothing but thoughts and an iPod by my side!