RTA Big Ride 2006 diary

Day 5: Tumut -> Gundagai (62KM)
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I'm writing this entry at 8:30pm after having spent 6 hours in Gundagai Base Hospital. Basically the doctor suspects a kidney infection or maybe kidney stones. They had me on a canula and a drip for the entire time, while taking a couple of urine samples.

The story starts with me tossing and turning all night, feeling a bit nauseous and almost throwing up a couple of times. At breakfast someone mentioned of hearing about another person who was feeling crook after yesterday's trip to the caves and Talbingo. I had a bit of porridge and some tea, but couldn't face the scrambled eggs, and figured that getting on the bike in the breeze would do me a world of good.

The run up to morning tea at Lacmalac Hall was good, near Argalong was good. The GPS tracked the satellites immediately, which makes me suspect that the amount of cloud cover, trees or other sky obstruction required to break communication is very small. The route was all reasonably flat except for a sharp curving dip down to a bridge across the Goobarragandra river. However, by then I was starting to feel the need to constantly urinate, while having nothing. Hydration was not appearing to be a problem as I was drinking, if anything, more than usual as I thought that my body was telling me it needed more fluids.

Out on the road
Out on the road

The rest of the ride out to lunch at Brungle was more and more of a chore. By the time I got there I was feeling crap. I had half of the ham, cheese and salad bread roll and put the rest aside to eat later. Then I had half of the banana I had from breakfast, but couldn't stomach any more, and had to sit at the table with my head in my arms for a while.

I noticed that the CWA hall had a framed copy of the motto on the back wall:

Honour to God
Loyalty to the Throne
Service to the Country
Through Country Women
For Country Women
By Country Women

I wandered slowly back to the bike, put the half-eaten roll in the panniers and refilled the water bottles. Then I noticed the St. John tent near the entrance to the CWA hall so I went over there and sat down, saying that I was really feeling like crap. As I sat down I came over all dizzy and they told me to come into the tent. I stood up and almost fell over and dry retched again. They immediately took me into the tent, lay me down and started taking my blood pressure etc. I told them my symptoms and they put a canula on me and started a drip. The NSW ambulance driver had just pulled up so they got them to have a look. The immediate response was to pile me into the ambulance and go straight to Gundagai.

The blood pressure seemed ok when I was lying down, but a sitting reading shot up. Blood sugar levels were ok, and the immediate problem was deemed to be severe dehydration, possibly caused by some kidney issue. My core temperature was, I found out later, 40°. No wonder they were worried about me. At Gundagai, I was put another drip and had a urine sample. It showed some blood in a ward test, which had them obviously concerned. A second sample was taken later for lab testing. As I said, the doctor was worried about a urinary tract infection or a kidney infection, but I had no real pain in my abdomen, so kidney stones was also a possibility.

After about 5 hours I was allowed some tomato and processed cheese white triangle sandwiches and some jelly. I can't ever recall hospital food tasting so good, but I haven't had any since I was a kid anyway. Maybe that's the only way to have it - left until you feel so hungry that any food is welcome. After 6 hours on the drip, they were satisfied that I was ok to go. The doctor had been horrified that I was going to be going back to the ride and was saying that I should just go back to Sydney, but they'd found nothing obviously wrong such that I'd feel like I wasn't being a quitter doing so. Besides, I had the sponsors and their money to consider. They needed value for money.

The doctor gave me a prescription for antibiotics which I need to fill in Junee and I'll have to see a doctor as soon as I get back to Sydney. Besides that, I'm back on the ride. The bike was at the information tent and I got my luggage and found the plates etc., just in time for the end of dinner which was rice and some sort of meat in sauce. I can't say I had much of an appetite for it, and the sandwiches at hospital had pretty much filled me up. Anyway, I picked at it for a while and had the fruit dessert, which went down ok. Then I went back and set up my tent and am now writing this.

At the briefing we were told a sad little story about the rest day in Tumut. Apparently some of the people in the Housing Commission took their inflatable mattresses - ride property - down to the Tumut river and went down the white water, tearing the mattresses to shreds. They then came back to camp and bragged about the experience to a person who they thought was just another rider. Unfortunately that person was one of those in charge of the Housing Commission. Busted!

There was a sign on the hospital wall - one of the many from drug companies advertising their wares in the guise of providing medical information. It listed the 5 stages of psychosis and amused me. The stages are:

  1. Psychotic hyper-alerting
  2. Psychotic attentive
  3. Psychotic demanding
  4. Psychotic threatening
  5. Frankly violent

Frankly violent?? Did they feel that they'd overused "psychotic"? Is it a case of doctors comparing notes and informally and saying to one another "well frankly, he was psychotic earlier but now he's just really violent"? They must have had a lack of imagination when thinking up a technical term for the state of behaviour.

Debbie is coming around the tents warning people that we're possibly in for a wind storm a bit like that which ripped through Goulburn three years ago on the ride and tore up some big tents. Certainly I'm noticing a bit of dust being blown up.

James has a picture of from Gundagai, which I thought I'd link to, since I have none.

Dog on the tuckerbox
Dog on the tuckerbox

Ride Statistics
DST  41.93 km (out of 61.7) 
TM  2:27:05 
Max. speed  ??? 
Avg. speed  18.3 km/h 
Avg. RPM  69 
Max. RPM  119 

Route map

Day 5 route map (from Google Earth)
Day 5 route map (from Google Earth)

Day 5 route profile
Day 5 route profile

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