Shingles! Maybe in addition to Orbital Cellulitis, but doc yesterday didn’t think so. I have an appointment with an Ophthalmologist and hope to get an “everything’s OK” from him or her. I’m continually hopeful, but yesterday was a slog.

To back up a little, we left Lino’s on Wed evening and rode to the Jonquière train station. Our train was on time and we left at 10:50 pm. The train was comfortable enough itself and we had two seats that kind of made a bed, but the track network was pretty bumpy and lots of swaying. I didn’t have a good sleeping night (John, did. Jealous that he can sleep anywhere through just about anything!).

We got to Montreal at 9:40 am and then started the trials. First trial was getting my health insurance ID card electronically. Second trial was going to a brand new hospital, but finding out after going through triage that they didn’t accept the insurance. Third trial was going to a supposedly in-network hospital but also finding out they didn’t take the insurance. Fourth trial was being on the phone with the insurance company for almost an hour to make sure this visit would be covered. Fifth trial was waiting to be called into an exam room. Suffice to say that from 10 am to almost 7 we were waiting. John sat through the whole thing watching over our panniers that we lugged up a hill from the bike rack to the Urgences (ER). It was a great help that he was there but I felt so bad for him. He took it in stride and did planning and reading while he was waiting.

The trip to our warm showers host was uneventful except for a 30 minute stop at Jean Coutu to fill my Valtrex prescription for the Shingles. Doc said to keep taking the antibiotics as directed, so I’m well drugged up now.

At Vincent’s and Lilie’s, they had pizza and wine waiting for us. They also had friends over, Joanne and André, and we had a nice evening chatting and sharing touring stories. By 10, both John and I were ready for bed and I crashed hard. I woke up at 6 and took my Valtrex and thought, “Oh, I’ll wake up at 7 or 7:30 in time to take my antibiotics. It was 8:30 when I finally woke up!

So, off to my appointment. I’ll update the rest of today later or in tomorrow’s post.

Update, August 5, 9:28 (or 21:28 elsewhere in the world):
I had my appointment with the ophthalmologist(s). A nice woman resident who examined my retina every which way to make sure there was no cell damage. My vision is 20-20 in both eyes with my glasses on. After she was done, her supervisor took a look and confirmed that all was OK. I’m to keep on with the antibiotics and Valtrex and to watch for any changes in my vision.

I’ve been feeling more effects from the Shingles. Sharp, shooting pain through my forehead and back to my ear. It comes and goes. The worst thing today was the pupil dilation at the clinic. I asked if they had any of the plastic shade inserts for my glasses, but they didn’t. It was a bright sunny day and I had to ride 5 miles back to our hosts’. I made my way to the closest dollar store and bought a pair of $1.25 (Canadian) sunglasses as they didn’t have any clip-ons, put them on, and then put my glasses over them. Far from fashionable, but it got me home. I was told the dilation would be gone tomorrow, and it was only after dusk that I was comfortable without sunglasses. The plan is to ride 25 miles tomorrow to another Warm Showers host with John, and then Monday I’ll head for the border and John will head for Le P’tit Train du Nord, a 234 km cycling trail in the eastern part of the Laurentian mountains. It looks beautiful and if I wasn’t dealing with this eye thing, I probably would have gone along on at least part of the trail.

However, I am dealing, and I have a place to stay in Potsdam and Doris’ sister Vlasta and her friend Jim will pick me up just over the border and make Monday a 60 mile day instead of 90. The kindness of strangers (to me, anyway). They have said I can stay at the house as long as I need to and I am planning on a couple days off to recoup and hopefully finish the ride home in 6 or 7 days after I restart.

Day 30: 8.5 miles 476 ft climbing.

Day 31: 9.5 miles, 500 ft of climbing.