by noontime the schwinn gateway was ready for its first official ride. i rolled it back outside and took off. i learned that the wheels are 28 x 1-3/8", just the ones on the ross 10-speed but a larger diameter (the specs on the target page said they were 2"). the bigger wheels made a noticeable difference; i felt like i was going farther and faster with much less effort. the gateway is heavy with its all-steel frame; not noticeable when moving, but takes a little more effort to start up from a dead stop. whoever originally assembled the bike didn't do a good job aligning the handlebar because it's tilted at an upwards angle, so i ride like i'm taking a heavy pot off the stove, with my wrists at an awkward angle. that's just a simple matter of adjustment with an allen wrench. another thing i noticed is the back wheel makes a rickety noise when i'm coasting. not sure if this is a feature or a defect.
i went to the cafe to show my parents the new bike. i ended up leaving the bike with them so they could bring it back to belmont. since my father was going to the super market, i got a ride back to my place with him, along with some prepared lunch.
with rain not imminent for at least a few hours, i decided to visit haymarket in boston to look for some good deals on in-season cherries. i took the trek 800 because it had a rear basket. i raised the handlebar to its original height before i left. even though it wasn't raining, every once in a while it'd get a little misty.
i ended up buying: 2 lbs. rainier cherries ($4), 2 lbs. bing cherries ($4), 10 long curly hot peppers ($1), 3 scallions ($1), 1 ripe pineapple ($1), 7 plums ($1), 4 lemons ($1), and 2 boxes of strawberries ($1). i also wanted to get some mangoes but i knew star market was having a sale this week at $1 each and that was about the same asking price here so i'll get them from stars.
i came home via the longfellow bridge, the shorter but less scenic route. almost home, i was behind a little kid pedaling furiously on his BMX bike. even just coasting i managed to pass him. larger wheels make a difference!
in the late afternoon i made a run at market basket to pick up some snacks and drinks, also something frozen for dinner because i wasn't inspired to do any cooking. while at the checkout counter, i haphazardly balanced my shopping basket on the edge of the conveyer belt. sure enough, it toppled to the floor. normally that wouldn't be a big deal but i had a bottle of soda that exploded upon impact, spraying everyone within the vicinity with carbonated tamarind drink. i was very embarrassed and apologetic, wiping the floor with paper towels before one of the cashier girls told me somebody would come around and clean it up. the store custodian showed up and sprinkled sawdust on the mess, which he then quickly mopped away.
on my bike and just about to leave, my father called me. earlier when i was at the cafe my mother complained about chest pains. the pain was mostly gone but she decided to go see the doctor anyway as a precaution. given that she fit some of the risk factors, her doctor decided to send her immediately via ambulance to mt.auburn hospital for additional tests. my father was sort of freaking out and told me my sister was already enroute to the hospital and that i should go to.
very briefly i imagined the worst. but without seeing it for myself and hearing it from the doctors, who knew what was going on. riding an ambulance sounds serious but it's common hospital practice. god knows i've had my own opportunities to take ambulance rides from my slew of motorcycle accidents (i've refused them all).
so i rushed home, dropped off my stuff, then biked to the emergency ward of mt.auburn hospital. everyone in the waiting room was in a state of suffering. at least there was a television tuned to the evening news reporting the latest whitey bulger story. i didn't see my mother or sister, so i asked the receptionist, who told me my mother was already inside, and that my sister was updating her patient information. i found my sister and one of the attendants brought us in to see my mother. it was a busy night and they were all out of rooms, so patients were parked on rolling hospital beds in the hallways. that's where we found her.
my mother was adamant there was nothing wrong with her, and that the doctors and the hospital were making a big fuss over nothing. she was embarrassed about the ambulance ride, escorted by a fire engine no less. she told her doctor she could drive herself to the hospital but they wouldn't let her, so she left the car at the clinic back in cambridge. i read her charts, which didn't really say much, just said she was here for precautionary measures, and would be undergoing some more tests. my sister knew there'd be a lot of waiting so she brought my mother the ipad so she could pass the time. there was really nothing i could do so i volunteered to get the car.
i rode to central cambridge, to the harvard vanguard clinic. the bike wouldn't fit in the back of the car so i locked it to a post instead and drove the car back to my place. i then walked back to harvard vanguard to retrieve my bike. i've made so many bike trips today that i've lost count.
my sister e-mailed me updates from her phone. first they were saying my mother would need to be there for at least a few hours so they can run a bunch of tests: blood work, EKG, x-ray. then she told me that they wanted to keep her overnight for observations, and then tomorrow morning they'd make her do a stress test. when i called my father later in the evening at the hospital, he said my mother already got her own room (on the 3rd floor) and was prepared to spend the night there. he said given her symptoms, she might possibly be suffering some kind of anemia, but they'll have to do some more tests. hopefully by tomorrow morning they'll finally let her out.
for dinner i heated up a brick of lasagna in the oven.