Stressed? Not me!

Stress away!

I have done so many of these.

The exercise puts stress on the heart by increasing the speed and incline every 3 minutes. They also take your blood pressure and ask if you’re feeling any discomfort. Sounds easy but the incline gets you.

Blood pressure is good. 

No discomfort.

The test continues uneventfully and I step off. 

Once again I have bettered the previous test without any discomfort. Which is weird because the last few casual runs have always caused discomfort.

But the stress test doesn’t lie!

This is, surely, all a storm in a teacup!

June 29.

The ED

I arrive at the ED and checked in. My GP has called ahead. They’re expecting me.

Chest X-Ray. Echo test. Blood tests.

I’m not in a panic and am more curious than worried.

The tests begin.

  • Chest X-Ray – fine.
  • Echo – fine
  • Bloods – fine

The consulting doc suggests a stress test – basically a running test on a treadmill with lots of wires, graphs and pretty flashing lights. I’ve done quite a few but this time may be different.

I make a stress test appointment for Thursday.

I walk the 2km back to work.

June 26. Midday.

The Call

Red-phone-backup-supportI suppose it’s serious when your GP tells you that you can put his number on speed dial.

Something’s gone downhill.

This was that time. The chest pains were happening almost every run now. Always dissipating but nevertheless theyhad become regular. I did a 5k parkrun with my daughter and all was well until we hit 2 km. Talk about a pain in the … chest!

And so the call to the GP.

“Yeah, maybe get yourself to the ED. I’d call an ambulance.”

I took a taxi!

June 26. Morning.

It’s only heartburn!

I’d never taken Gaviscon before. Tastes okay.

I’d started to feel some chest pain during my training. First there was the early high heart rate. Now the chest pain. You’d think I’d put 2 + 2 together. Nope! It’s probably just heartburn.

To be fair, the pain subsided and I did finish off my run really well. I didn’t mention it to the FBH*.

I rarely make notes in Garmin Connect but I made one on that day: “Had to double up today cos I missed Friday. Onwards! :)”

I thought no more of it. It’s now June 23.

*FBH – Far Better Half

The Beginning

June 3 Albany, Western Australia. Elleker half marathon.

I wasn’t ready for this. I hadn’t really prepared at all. And you just don’t decide to run a half marathon! But I’d paid my fee and it gave me an excuse to see my 90 year old dad.

We arrived late. I didn’t have a great warm up. We headed off for the 21.1km. But even without proper preparation it was a good run on a beautiful winter’s day. No personal best but also nothing that indicated what was about to come.

My wife came second in her event, winning fifty dollars!

It’s Not Just Me …

I was at my daughter’s parkrun on Saturday in Yokine, Western Australia. Lovely place and a great location, albeit a tad freeeeezing on this particular day.

The FBH and I were doing our usual casual but brisk walk that turned into a bit of a light run from about half way. We eventually warmed up and enjoyed yet another parkrun which we tend to do every weekend. It’s always hard getting out of bed but it’s always well worth the effort.

As I handed in my token, a couple were sitting down after their run and one of them complained of having chest pains during the run. He also mentioned he was asthmatic  and this could have been the cause.

I normally mind my own business in these things, not out of lack of care but not having the whole story and I may be off the mark.

But this time I decided to have a chat and show him my arm wound just for impact.

“Have a guess how I got that?”, I asked. It certainly got his attention!

I was able to have a good discussion with him about my altercation with chest pains and what it led to. I certainly advised him I was no doctor and I wasn’t diagnosing his symptoms but I did suggest he get checked out. At least if there were no issues he’d have some peace of mind.

I’d hate to turn into someone who catastrophes every little niggle but in some cases where it’s life or death maybe a little bit of caution is helpful.

 

Recovery Run

img_0490Recovery runs are easy workouts that may flush out lactic acid build up, which can help prevent delayed onset of muscle soreness and speed up recovery. Something athletes do after a half marathon or marathon or during training to recover from high intensity sessions like intervals.

My runs at the moment are simply recovering from surgery.

Since The Big Day (17 July, the date of at the triple bypass) I’ve been slowly getting back to normal activity through walking and then stretching to longer walks and then more brisk walks.

At today’s parkrun at Yokine, Western Australia, I got into what I’d call normal running.

I started off walking and then decided to run a light pole, walk a light pole to see how I’d feel.

I certainly didn’t run the whole 5km today but towards the end of the run I felt that my cadence was coming back and the rhythm was feeling like something familiar.

Bypass image
Image courtesy of Annals of Cardiothoracic Surgery

It’s still a bit “jumpy” where the surgeon took the two mammary arteries to use be, but certainly better then last week.

I also felt a tingling in my left thumb where the radial artery was taken from to help with the surgery.

The left arm is healing really nicely too, thanks to John Ranger, the guy who performed the suturing. He’s done an amazing piece of work.

It’s is almost nine weeks since the surgery and in terms of realising how after you’ve progressed, it’s more the things that don’t happen that make you realise its all coming together.

For example, just 3 or 4 weeks ago, my mammary arteries would cause a nerve tingling that was very aggravating. Now that’s completely gone! But you don’t realise it’s gone for a few days, if you know what I mean.

So, the progress is definitely there and just when you think something doesn’t look or feel right, it seems to go away.

I’ve never had heart surgery before (and hopefully never again) so I’m not really sure how this is supposed to go! But, so far so good!