Monday, December 1, 2008

Rehab Day 3 and the Crash

(Ok. I've fallen behind in my documenting efforts. Thanks Jeffry for reminding me to continue the story...if not for others, then at least for myself. This picks up on November 14th.)

Looking forward to my stress test on Monday, I couldn't wait to get to rehab. With any luck, they would remove my monitor pending the outcome of my stress test. Plus, Ed upped the workout. I might actually break a sweat.

As always, I started with the treadmill for 20 minutes. While walking, I met Derek. I thought I was the youngest patient by far for the first two days until meeting Derek, 43, and was once a runner like me. Derek had been sick for about a year and had a pacemaker installed 5 weeks before I met him. In my first few days, I watched Derek interact with Ed and the nurses about a clear problem he suffered. After talking to him today, I learned that his heart rate would not get up over 65 during exercise. Ed thought the pacemaker was set wrong and advised Derek to see his doctor for an adjustment. After 2 appointments (and a great deal of persistence by Ed), Derek convinced the doctor to take another look. Sure enough, they missed a setting. They did a quick fix (non-invasive). An hour later, Derek hit the treadmill and said he felt like a different person. This event has a second level of'll see in 2 more posts.

As I said before, my workout was increased. I went from 4.0 mph on the treadmill with a 4% incline to 4.0 with a 6% incline. Not yet a run, but it was closer. After the treadmill (on which I finally broke a sweat) I hit the arm bike. Two minutes moving at a rate of 1.8 revolutions per minute. No problem. Then came the leg bike.

I started the leg bike for 10 minutes at 1.8 rpm and moved up to 2.2 and eventually 2.4 for today. About 6 minutes in, I started to get winded and felt "funny" I stopped pedaling to catch my breath. Adele was monitoring and she asked if I stopped early. I said yes. Next thing I knew, I was laid out on a stretcher with people taking my blood pressure and pouring water down my throat. The pressure dropped quickly from 100/60 to 80/42. Not enough to sustain consciousness apparently. Within 20 minutes, it came back up and Ed released me.

First thought...I'm not Superman. It was a bummer. I always thought I had a Superman quality. One who could stand a lot of stress, absorb a lot of push back and recover quickly from illness or injury. Clearly, I was not taking this seriously enough. It didn't help that one of the other patients chuckled and said "sucks when you find out you can't do what you used to". (These words will hold some significance in a matter of wait.) And my Superman flew out the window. I was left sitting on the bench. Still sidelined for the season.

They say if you can't be an athlete, at least be an athletic supporter. Rachel ran the Richmond Marathon on November 16th and did awesome. We loved being out there to cheer her on and to remind myself that I'll be back here next year once again.

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