Sunday, October 15, 2017

Post-trip Struggle in Paris, Not Over Yet

The battery died on me again. I went out to Place de Bastille and Rue St-Antoine and the camera gave up after take a dozen shots. The battery is so small that I have to keep recharging it every night and I keep forgetting it.

I had to go out despite the post-exertional sickness in the afternoon. Yesterday was the first sunny day in Paris since we arrived and it felt like summer. People were sunbathing in Place des Vosges in shorts. I felt like walking on and on following the St-Antoine till it ends. But I knew better; I turned around when my fitbit pedometer hit about 5000. This morning I feel OK. and I don't think I'll crap out this afternoon either since I reined in on the distance.

And, yes, I did crap out in the afternoon of 10/13 as I thought I would. I felt worse yesterday afternoon, making it a post-exertional sickness, not post-exercise fatigue. So, it seems, the post-trip struggle in Paris is not over yet.

You can't really tell if the struggle is over until it is well over. I figured it is over if I could walk 2 days in a row. But the struggle means frequent post-exertional sicknesses. So, the end of the post-trip struggle should really be defined as when the normal post-exertional sickness frequency returns. And I wouldn't know that till at least one month has past from the end, since my normal pre-trip frequency is currently one a month. (In Paris, I had 2 so far).

Back to Paris. I keep thinking Paris has a lot in common with Seoul. You forget historic and architectural difference, and the street scenes looks much much the same. The bus ride to Place de Bastille was no exception. It looked just like alley ways in Sinchon or Sang-il dong with millions people coming and going in narrow streets with shops on both sides. Add to that the Norman demeanor,  it has more more commonality with Seoul than, say, Chicago. (I was going to say New York, but New York is so multicultural, it has a little bit of Seoul and Paris mixed in it).

Friday, October 13, 2017

Is the Post-trip Struggle in Paris Over?

This isn't the Paris I knew. When I was here some 25 years ago, there were only a few guards in front of the gate of Elysee Palace. I even took a picture with one of them.  Now there are a slew of them all around it, in military fatigue and armed with Uzis. The alley ways around it was block off and I had to track back to Marigny to get to Champs-Elysee Clemenceau station. The recent terror attacks must have had some effect.

Ave. Marigny

On the health front, the post-trip struggle in Paris seems to be be over. I went out for two days in a row and I'm OK today, though I'll probably crap out this afternoon.  We'll have to wait and find out.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Post-trip Struggle in Paris

The familiar pattern of one-day-up-next-day-down continues. I walked 7,000 steps going up and down three stations  on Metro 9 taking photos yesterday. St Ambrosia, Oberkampf and Republique, I think. That's nothing compared to 12,000 steps and 600 feet elevation that I took on Navajo trail in Brice Canyon. Or 16,000 steps on Misty trail in Yosemite. Yet, I stayed home all day with fatigue today. I'll have recovered from this post-trip struggle when I can go out 2 days in a row.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Big Crash, Finally

This was just about the worst post-exertional sickness I've had since  I started out on this trip in April. I still was under the influence of Benadryl, with some sluggishness and muscular resistance. We went out to Notre Dame and Latin Quarter and I ended up registering 12,000 steps. I've done more than that in this trip and didn't get sick. This time, I stayed in bed all day.

This makes me think that Benadryl has the opposite effect of Sudafed on CFS: it lowers the exercise tolerance. Now, it could well be just coincidence, and there are other factors like jet lag and colder weather here in Paris, or the walk pattern/pace was more taxing. You wouldn't know till you do controlled trial. I could try Benadryl again and experiment, but I don't think I ever will. It has bad effect the next day, period, even if it doesn't lower the exercise tolerance of CFS.

Even if Sudafed and Benadryl have effect on my exercise tolerance, it does not mean that they do on other patients. Even for me, I didn't notice the effect till recently. I've been taking Sudafed since 2009, but only noticed that it partially relieves the ache and fatigue; its effect on the exercise tolerance was not noticed. It could be that my tolerance has increased and became flexible that I'm starting to notice the effect, where as the threshold was a brick wall back then.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Paris, Day 3

I'm still struggling with the jet lag. I swallowed a Benadryl to help sleep and my CFS worsened yesterday. It was like good old days: weakness, ache and draining fatigue returned in full force and I had to frequently sit down while out, and lie down while in. Too bad it didn't help much with the jet lag itself. Jet lag will take a finite amount of time no matter what, just like the post-exertional sickness, and the sleeping pill only makes it easier to endure by letting you sleep during that period. It doesn't shorten the jet lag.

The trip itself I handled very well. We checked out of Union Hotel at 11:30, hung out in SF till 4 PM and then I fetched the car to load up our stuff. I then returned the car to the garage and we took BART to the airport. The red eye flight wasn't till 10:30, so we hung out some more in the airport. I spent most of 16 hours flight drifting in and out of sleep. I didn't get up at all except once to go to the bathroom. We arrived at our rental home at 10:30 and I slept fine to make up for the deficit. This was about the best handling of long flight ever, before or after CFS.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

SF, Day 2

Some post-exercise fatigue, but no crash after 2 km walk yesterday. In fact my pace was faster than usual in the afternoon on the way to Sunset for the haircut line and I had to consciously slow down to about 94. So, I'm tempted to declare my post-trip struggle over. Except that I'm not really settled in yet. I won't be till November, thanks to the unexpected trip aboard.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017


The trip is now officially over. Sacramento was supposed to be the end, but it wasn't home. Not yet, anyway. The ding ding sound of F train, the smell of joints on the street and the sight of homeless poop marked the true home coming. And I was back in my element.

I walked 1.3 miles, or about 2 km, from the car garage to the hotel in Mission District. My phone buzzed all the while with the heat warning. It's only 85 in SF, yet they were treating it like a natural disaster. Any case, I must've finally recovered from the 3 day post-trip crash. If I don't crash again tomorrow, I'll declare the post-trip struggle over. 2 km is the normal distance I was walking before the trip, which means my exercise threshold is no worse than before the trip. That will be only a week of post-trip struggle. A promising start to the post-trip phase if that materializes.

I have to go abroad for a month in a few days. It's a long, private family story, so don't ask. I'll have to treat this as part of the "travel treatment" and then observe the after-effect when I return. So the conclusion about this experiment will have to wait for at least for another month.