Motorcycles: Ultimate Health Barometers

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Lieback’s Corner (#16) / 02.20.2012

In the past few years, motorcycles have done more than fulfill my needs for pleasure and speed – they’ve also acted as health barometers.

Yes, whenever something began to feel awkward in the body, it was first noticed while catering to my passion – riding. And the latest incidents occurred while piloting sportbikes in a “spirited” manner.

The first was hernia. This past summer, after about a half-hour of spirited riding, I suffered major pain in certain areas. And the more I hung off the bike, the more the pain radiated around my mid-section and groin area. This pain progressed, prompting me to visit the doctor. The Diagnosis – double-hernia.

Surgery. Recovery. Back to riding…

All was well until a few weeks back into serious riding this past fall. Pain began in my upper right quadrant, but only when I was donning my full-suit Joe Rocket Speemaster 6.0 suit. And the aches always arrived during the weekend, when I’m a little relaxed on my diet.

This pain progressed, and I eventually ended up in the ER one weekend a few weeks ago. Test revealed nothing, but the gall bladder was the main suspect. I was sent for a HIDA scan (basically activates your gall bladder on an empty stomach to check for problems), and my doctor called a few days later. Diagnosis – the gall bladder was shot. I guess the fatty foods and tight leathers had something to do with the time of the attacks…

Surgery was required, and 10 days ago, I underwent some dicing and slicing; the surgeon removed my diseased Gall Bladder. I’m in recovery now, spending time as a mix of working from bed, studying adventure-riding techniques and enhancing my knowledge of the Isle of Man TT, a race I can say I’m obsessed with and will do anything in my powers to compete in someday, regardless of age.

Would the hernia and gall bladder issues surfaced if motorcycles weren’t involved in my life? Surely, but maybe at later stages of development that could have caused additional problems. My sole reason for fixing the hernia and gall bladder issues was based on my lack of health while riding, and there’s absolutely no arguing this fact.

And although the hernia and gall-bladder problem were realized while enjoying spirited sportbike rides, I’m sure the same issues would surface while on an extended sport-touring trip, an adventure ride (my new obsession), or simply cruising around on the Harley.

So if you’re out there riding, and feel something awkward going on inside of your body, listen, and seek medical advice. My bike diagnosed me with two problems, and I’m a much healthier guy now.

And if you do end up at the doctor’s office due to some problem your bike helped you realize, tell the doc you discovered the issue on a motorcycle. Most of these medical types associate motorcycles with one thing – accidents.

But sometimes there are other motorcycle-related reasons we end up seeking medical advice. And in my case, there were two.

Stay Twisted; Throttle yr Soul
– Ron Lieback

Lieback’s Corner is the Online Editor’s column, which delves into RL’s recent motorcycling mind breaths and wanderings.