After the PFO Procedure last Wednesday, I had a quiet weekend …after booking an appointment with my GP on the Friday, for 0900 on Monday.
The purpose of this was to start the ball rolling to get my license back, or perhaps more correctly, since they didn’t actually take my license off me, to get a clearance e to drive.
That went quite well. We had a chat, he checked the various correspondence on the file, checked the blood pressure, did a basic vision and peripheral check, then advised to go to the optician and gave me a copy of a letter for them. I promptly made an appointment for that and managed to get in at 1340 today (26/11/20).
I haven’t been very optimistic about getting my license back, but after the Doc appointment I was sort of optimistic.
I went to the optician today, handed over the letter and went in. She sat me down and did a vision test with the specs on and asked if I could read the top the line …after doing that she asked if I could read others, so I read the bottom line (fist pumps were happening in my mind)
I then took the specs off and was able to read down to the 2nd last line.
She then did a basic peripheral check then we went through for the test.
1st was both eyes on a driver test jobby, that had 120 clicks …and I scored 120!! Then it was the proper optical eye test (one eye at a time) and apparently, my results were a marked improvement on the test I had back at the beginning of June. Yowser! …and more internal fist pumps.
Then I had back-of-the-eye photos, pressure and some other test and we were done, she filled out a form and said, “You’re good to drive, here’s a certificate if you need it and I’ll send a letter to your GP.”
Like I said earlier, “Bugger Me”, I was gob-smacked!!!
I paid up and left to join Ann and on my way across the road the tears erupted. It was all over! I got to the car and Ann saw my state and obviously though I had failed between that and the babbling, but we cleared that up, I asked her to continue to drive and as we exited J’ville to go for fuel, I pulled my phone out and started to make a call.
“Who are you calling?” Ann asked, to which I replied, “I have to book a warrant for the bike so I can take it out on the weekend.” I didn’t look but I could sense one of those “Oh FFS" thoughts going through her mind. We fueled, went home, I donned my gear and I now have a WoF on the ST, so I have ridden …and I have a program of rides to clear off the schedule.
I didn’t expect to get all emotional about this but, LJS is back and man am I relieved that life is about to return to normal. It’s actually been a wonderful journey over the last 6 months, I am feeling exceedingly lucky, I’ve lost 10Kgs, I’m quite a bit fitter, I now get about with my own ‘built-in’ defribulator and I’ve had a puncture repair done on the heart so that’s good for a few more Km.
Life is good!!
Well that all seemed to go OK.
Wednesday the 18th was an early’ish start to make our way through the wet weather traffic to get to the hospital for my 0900 appointment for a Pacemaker check.
We got there early and I was seen late, but that went well. Bloody amazing these Pacemaker thingys! I pull my T-shirt collar down for the man to have a quick perusal, he then puts a mouse-like thing over my shoulder and above the unit for a few seconds to download the data from it, then he parks himself at the computer to analyse the data have a play with the unit. ie speed it up and slow it down etc.
That was sort of funny …but not really ….because he says, “What I’m going to do now could put you into a total heart-block” and I’m thinking, “oh yeah, that’s death mode …..FFS!!!”
Within seconds, he then goes, “Oh no, you’re still firing OK.” It turns out that the units are set to a minimum firing rate of 50bpm and the unit was driving me, because the old body was happy to tick along at 48. All good it would seem.
He then mentions that I’m good for another 12 years & 3 months, but he’ll see me again in 6 months and it that’s all good, annually after that.
I wander back to the car, we go to the supermarket, then on to Wakefield ….an hour early for my 11am check-in.
They processed me straight through though, filling out three forms, then getting taken up to Rm204, I get stripped off and into the gown, nursey inserts a line into my left arm, then gives me a shave and puts some tight knee high compression socks on me ….and we wait until 1230.
Usual story, I get wheeled down to theatre, line installed in the right groin area, asked a few questions, crap gets fed into both lines ….and that’s all I have to say about that! Basically they used the same ‘good-oil’ local I was given for the TOE and although awake, the mind has no recollection.
So I’m back in the room, there’s a sandwich and orange juice …but turns out there was two sandwiches and a platter of fruit to go with the orange juice ….oh, and chocolate from Ann’s handbag and a lemon cake from the cafeteria which all disappeared like it was never there, I’ve got a blood pressure monitor doing it’s thing automatically every so many minutes, and once that is off, I get to use the facilities for a purge and a clean-up.
Apparently I could have had a shower, but I just opted to give myself a sponge bath to get all the iodine and bits of blood off, get comfortable in mt trackies and a T-shirt and settle back down to wait for dinner.
Doc turned up and we went over a few things (like dumping the meds), but it turns out that I have to stay on the blood thinners for 6 weeks and that is to prevent any rejection and clotting around the puncture repair plug, which has a gauze mesh and the body will just grow tissue over it. I haven’t been comfortable on the thinners, but that sounded like a good excuse so I rolled with it.
Ann was there until about 2100, Eboni dropped in on her way home and I finally turned the lights off at 2300 for a kip.
Nursey comes in at 0500 for the checks and I was surprised at the colour and swelling in the groin area ….but I flashed her anyway and gave it a poke so she could see it didn’t hurt. I’d been sleeping on top of the covers, but cold about 0200 so pulled them up, then was surprised at how hot I was when nursey came in and when I mentioned that, she askes, “So you’ve got a temperature then?” and I replied that no doubt, she would tell me that, but we were just cruisin’ at 36.5º.
I eventually got up around 0700 for a scrub, (shower this time) and was waiting when my Wednesday Arrival nursey came in. Turns out, all was good, Doctor wasn’t coming, so she went through the release procedure, I got changed, Ann turned up, breakfast turned up (so I paused briefly for that) ….then we gapped it and went for 2nd breakfast.
I’ve already made an appointment with my GP to start the ball rolling to get a clearance to drive again!! So hopefully Johnnie Walker might soon be a figment of my imagination.
Wow, doesn’t time fly!?
It’s been two months since my last post and I haven’t been sitting idle.
I’ve pedalled around the Wellington Bays again (about 50Km), rode over Haywards to Porirua and back via Tawa (65Km), rode to Naenae to see Aunty Helen (no, not the politician one) (40-something Km), then rode to Petone for a sweetie …or two ….ok, maybe half a kilo, but who’s counting?!
We had a work celebratory event that including go-karts, beersies, flash wines and a big feed…or two. Did I mention karting? ….yes well, that was fun!!
I’ve reduced my work to half-days and that’s different ….but as yet I haven’t found the time to relax and enjoy it!
We (NZ Distance Riders) have held our October event, namely the NI1600 & NI800 rides, whereby Brett kindly collected and transported me to Turangi to participate as a volunteer (sob, sob) and that was great …..until I witnessed Julian Boyd do the two rides back to back, completing the 2400+ Km in 32Hrs. Naturally, I thought, “Bastard, why didn’t I think of that!” and yes well, I suppose you can guess what affect that has made on my future plans?!
We also held the 1KC rides out of Hamilton and Wellington, which are fundraisers for Muscular Dystrophy. Once again, Brett was “the man” and fetched and carried me.
Oh yes, and the weight has stayed in the 85’s with dips to 84.6Kg a few times,so that’s all good too …and the restrictions have been lifted to somewhere between Level 2 & 3, in Covid terms.
…and now I’m hoping I’ve arrived at the final stages of being Johnnie Walker, as it’s Puncture Repair time!
Tomorrow, Ann will take me to the hospital for a Pacemaker check-up at 0900, then over to Wakefield Hospital PFO procedure … and hopefully that will eliminate the possibility of future strokes or TIA’s.
I didn’t ask enough questions about this, so I’m going in a bit blind, but based on how everything else has gone, I’m expecting to be in and out, hopefully with no glitches, …..and ever so hopefully that I’ll be back on the bike within the month and Long John Silver will re-emerge from the shadows!....YeeeeHaaaa!!
Went for a 37 km ride on Sunday (Karori – Northland – Aro – Brooklyn – Ohiro Bay – Lyall Bay – Greta Point – Oriental Bay – Home) and managed that in 1¾ hrs, then had a consult with the Cardio people today ….and now it appears I need a puncture a repair!!
Ann took me over for the 1030 appointment with a good hour to spare, but do you think we could find a park? Bloody hell, I look at the watch as we were walking in and it was 1015.
It was hard case, because I checked in at the Clinical Measurement Unit, took a seat to wait for the ECG and we were soon led in for that, only to find that I am World Famous in the unit …or at least, it appears my reputation has preceded me because nursey mentions, “you were sent to ED last time” to which I replied, “Yes” and she goes on to say, “But you didn’t stay” and I’m thinking, oh FFS, so I responded, “No, I needed to go home so I could pack some gear for admission.” ….but she just smirked and knew I was a bad liar!
Anyway, ECG was done prior to the appointment time of 1030, then we waited to see the Doc.
Finally got in, had a quick review, then he summed up the situation that was confirmed from the TOE (Transoesophageal echocardiography) procedure. So it turns out that there is a small hole in the heart, there from birth, and to do with a flap that is there to allow highly oxygenated blood to bypass the lungs and go straight to the brain as a foetus. Once born and the lungs kick-in, the pressure shuts the flap and it seals up, but with me it appears not so, or not quite.
In the last couple of years this has allowed a couple of tiny bits of crap/clot to get through to the ‘clean’ lung/brain side of the blood system and cause the three minor strokes, so now the plan is to carry out a puncture repair on the hole and all will be sweet. I say puncture repair because that is exactly what it is.
The procedure is called a PFO (Patent Foramen Ovale) and the thing (double-sided patch) gets fed into the artery via the groin, sent up to the heart and through the flap/hole, then woomfa, Bob’s-your-uncle, they let it go, it snaps shut, we’re all done and I should get sent home the same day ….with the same likelihood of another stroke as the next Joe-Blow in the street.
Sounded good to me, so I do that then try to get a clearance to get back on into cordura and back on the road!
Doc mentions it might get done just before Christmas, so this time we pulled the Health Insurance card out to explore that avenue, Doc prescribed me with some Clopidogrol (Blood thinner to be taken three days prior to the procedure), we leave and he advises he will check it out with Wakefield Hospital.
We did a few things on the way home, had lunch and hadn’t been there long, in which time Ann had checked with Accuro that we were good to claim, and we get a call from Wakefield, who confirm I’m all good to go on 04 November. Wacko Blue you bloody beaut’ ….it looks like the end of this saga is in sight and Long John Silver might have Johnnie Walker kicked into touch by Guy Fawkes!
I suppose I should mention that the weight is now in the 85’s, has dipped to 84.8 Kg and is still drifting down, but I have eased restrictions since I’ve now lost 9-10Kg since June and I’m ‘in the ballpark’.
Nothing’s been happening with respect the strokes or pacemaker but I’ve continued to drift along on the quest to lose weight, making the odd tweek to ‘what’ and ‘quantities’ that enter the temple. Hmmm, I guess I can’t really call the bod’ that after all the years of throwing crap into it??!! Anyways, I’ve started to get a better idea of what’s working and what’s not, deciding if I can treat myself or ‘stay on the path’, so that’s going quite well with the weight finally dipping into the 85’s!! ….two or three times now!!?? ….but I have managed to stay under 87 Kg for over a week now! This has really been a milestone because 86Kg is just over 13½ stone and that was my ‘playing weight’ in the later period that I was still playing Rugby or League ….although I guess if I’m going to be real about it, there was probably quite a bit more muscle mass back then ….so I’m still on the fringes of ‘Fat Bastard’!! …albeit skinnier fat bastard.
I’ve just gone past week 6 since the pacemaker got fitted, so that means I should now be free to extend the movement envelope of my left arm (ie raise it above the shoulder and resume doing weights etc). That’s probably not going to happen for a bit though as I’m now into a daily groove on the spin bike and riding the push-bike to work plus the odd longer ride …and I’m quite e3njoying both the exercise and the benefits.
Last Saturday I went for a ride to Petone and along the Esplanade to Ewan Park. That was just over 28Km and took about 80mins, with a defuel at Ewan park (thanks to a coffee before I left). It was a bit windy at times, with a bit of misty drizzle, I caught a car going down Ngaio Gorge, but didn’t pass it (as has occurred in past years) mainly in case SWMBO found out and it wouldn’t be worth the misery. I took the cycle/walk track along the Hutt Rd, but found it a bit narrow with grit and stuff on it so came back on the road and would probably go out on the road in future. Same once I got to Petone and I took the cycle/walk path out but used the Esplanade coming back as it was smoother and easier going. I should mention here how, when I got to the top of the Gorge, I went back down so I could come up again…but I don’t want to show off ….and that didn’t happen because I’m not that stupid!! It was a good ride but!
Todays ride I wanted to extend that a bit as I had a few things I needed to get. One being a couple of LED bulbs from Mega Mitre 10 in Petone and the other, a couple of maps for the Distance Riders 1600 & 800 Km events in October. Initially the plan was to ride to Eastbourne, then come back via Mitre 10 and up the Ngauranga Gorge to J’ville, but in the end I decided to go to Whitcoulls in town …only to find they didn’t have them, but J’ville did. (FFS).
Anyways, I got away from home at 0820 and made my way down Ngaio Gorge to the Hutt Rd and along the cycle path to the interchange, then crossed to the vehicle lane to get to Petone and around the Bays to Eastbourne, making the 23Km in 51 minutes. I was quite pleased with that, considering there was about Km when I barely turned the pedals. It was a bit of nuisance too because I seemed to be riding into the wind along the Hutt Rd and thought, “that’ll be alright because I’ll get boost when I head out of Seaview”, but the bloody wind changed. Then I found when I got to Eastbourne that no actually, there wasn’t any wind and I just needed to slow down a bit!!
The other thing that is funny is how the mind plays tricks on us. I was pushing the big ring on the front and 6-8 on the back and the mind is telling me, “change down fool, you’re on an incline!” ….but I was cruising along the waters edge and could see that the height above sea level was very constant and so the other mates in my head were arguing along the likes of, “stupid fool, just keep pushing the big gear!” so I did.
From Eastbourne it was back to Seaview, then through Moera and Woburn to Alicetown and back to Mitre 10. That took about 20 mins then I made my way back to the Esplanade and into town, getting to Whitcoulls, which was just on 50Km for the ride, then I called into see Ann at the salon on the way home, eventually getting back having done 56 Km over 3hrs 5 mins.
I suppose I should mention that before I left I stole the gel-seat cover off Ann’s bike! ….and I’m very glad I did!
Nothing’s happening this week coming, but I have an ECG and session with the Cardio doctor on 22/09/20 and received a letter yesterday to advise I was booked in to see the Neuro Team at 1430 on Friday 02/10/20. That’s a real problem as that the weekend of the NI1600/800, so I’ll have to see if that can be moved as I’m supposed to be in Turangi then.
It’s been another relatively quiet week except for Wednesday.
Ann took me to the hospital, arriving about 0745, I went in and made my way to the Intervention Unit in the Radiology Department and once there I realized that this was where I was taken to have the Pacemaker fitted.
I was led to a bedspace to gown-up, then waited, got prepped (usual blood pressure and line put in my arm), then briefed on the procedure, then waited for my turn as by the time I was ready, they took the first one of five of us in for the same procedure and I was to be number two.
It’s supposedly a 30-40 minute process and I was taken in at about 0910. They sprayed some local anesthetic in my throat to ease any discomfort, then gave me a 2nd dose and asked me to gargle it a little to get it further back in my throat. I then had to lie on my left side and an oversized mouth-guard that had a big circular disc with a hole in the centre was put in my mouth. There were multiple screens behind me, I had to lean my head forward, then was told to stop trying to swallow because that system was no longer functioning properly …..and that’s all I have to say about that!
It’s not that I don’t want to tell how I gagged and spluttered, nearly threw up and how awful it was to have a shifty-scope rammed down my throat ….or how they just slipped it in with no hassle or drama and it all went amazingly well and I was such a hero ….but truth is I don’t remember a thing!!! Just being wheeled back out to my cubicle.
In the briefing, my registered nurse, Alistair, advised how the local anesthetic they use has this affect, but I didn’t think much of it until I was telling Ann about what happened, then realized I didn’t know.
So all I recall was being rolled back to the cubicle, waiting for half an hour to an hour for the numbness to ease, then being given a sip of water to test my swallowing reflex and that nothing was going to the lungs, then shortly after I was brought a jug of water and another half hour of so after that, I was brought a sandwich, crackers and an apple, which was welcome as I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink after midnight. Then after waiting some more, getting changed and waiting some more, I was finally released and got back to the car about 1245.
Oh yes! My doctor, Sasse but they called her Vin (???) did tell me that the hole was relevant and they would get me back in about a month to seal it up …at least I think that’s what she said ….or implied ….or whatever.
Anyways, I get back to the car, we chat about it for a bit, then decide to head to a café ….and the car wouldn’t start!! I did a couple of quick checks then asked Ann to call AA, the man turned up within 15mins, confirmed the battery was knackered, I asked where the best place to go would be and he advised he had batteries in his van, turned out he had one that was the same, he replaced it, we paid him and we were good to go. Bloody marvelous service! Turned out the battery was 9 yrs old (in a 2011 car) so had done alright.
We went for our coffee, then made our way back to the hospital just before 1500 for my next 1530 appointment in the cardio clinic to check the pacemaker.
That was over within 30 mins, I asked about exercise and weights, was advised I needed to take it easy for another two weeks, then we were away and pulling into the traffic for the crawl home ….and that was that!
After all the turmoil of a few weeks ago, things have been quite sedate since.
Weight-wise, I came out of hospital at 87Kg, dipped to 86.8Kg, but have muddled about in the 87’s since. A couple of reasons for the lack of progress there being…
I have managed to hop on the Spin Bike at home for 30 minutes each day, but because it’s not quite ergonomically right for my height and one can’t adjust the tension on that thing, 30 minutes is about all I can handle …the upside is that the conditioning in the legs has definitely improved.
The first week I spent at home on sick leave (and that was more about the ‘Take Care’ thing and I was able to do a little work, then week two I worked full time, but still from home, then after the two weeks I felt I had made enough progress to get back on the pushbike and on the Saturday, I
managed to ride into the salon in town, then home via Karori. I then rode to and from work on Monday and Tuesday, but it was wet so I worked from home on Wednesday & Thursday and rode again on Friday.
The ‘muscle memory’ etc has done well and I’m now feeling pretty comfortable on the bike, so today I gave the Spin Bike the flick and went for a ride. It was almost sedate as I made my way from home to town, around the bays to Evans Bay, then out through Shelly Bay and around the Peninsular. I started out with a jersey and my summer-weight motorbike gloves on and by the time I got to Seatoun, I was feeling a little uncomfortable in the nether regions, so as I crested the wee hill between Seatoun and Breaker Bay, between the temperature and the discomfort, I stopped to take the gloves and jersey off. That took a few minutes and I felt much better when I got back on the bike to continue around past Moa Point and along Llyal Bay to Onepu Rd, at which time I figured I should take that to go through Kilbirnie and over to Newtown so I could visit the boys at Boyles on Adelaide Rd for another break. 20 minutes spent chewing the fat there was good, then I made my way over to Aro Rd and over to Karori to see Ken (but the bastard wasn’t home again) so I got back on the bike, headed for home via Wilton, pausing to buy some fruit at the Crofton Supermarket and got home in just over 3hrs. 49km done with about 45-50 minutes of stops.
I don’t feel any skinnier but!!
Next week is a big week for me as originally I was booked to have the Pacemaker checked on Wednesday, then the TOE tests done the following Wednesday (2nd Sept), however both tests are now on Wednesday, so I’m wrapped, because the TOE tests weren’t supposed to happen for about three months. This test is where they shove an ultrasound device down my throat to get a close and unimpeded view of my ticker to establish if the hole in it is the likely cause of the strokes and if it needs to be sealed up.
Here’s hoping that this is a fix and Long John Silver can get back on his bike as at this stage, I have had to withdraw from the 2020 Nth Island 1600 in October and don’t know if the TT2000 in February will even be on the cards? In the meantime, I shall continue to ride up a storm on the pushbike!
The Phantom (Ghost who walks, man who cannot die)
Well, a man doesn’t have a horse called Hero, a dog called Devil, nor does he know any pygmies, …but it’s all action!
Tuesday 28th was Holter Monitor Day. That’s a little box that one wears for 24Hrs with 5 or 6 pick-ups to track the heart action for a day.
I get to the 1430 appointment early and voila, it’s all fitted up by 1438, however, nursey seems concerned and wants to give me an ECG! (I’m thinking, FFS, I had an Echo the other day and all that other stuff a month or so ago,) …but I go with the flow.
It’s complete within a few minutes, but now nursey is more concerned and wants to talk to doctor and for doctor t talk to me, ….so I take a seat. She waffled about a slow heart rate and possible inconsistency in the pattern, but mainly too slow. (I’m thinking, FFS, it’s always been low as in my late teens and early 20’s (when I was sort of fit) my resting rate was 45,) …but I take a seat and wait.
Nursey comes back and advises that I need to go to ED to see a doctor! (I’m thinking, whaaat, FFS, all the experts are here so what can ED do,) …..but I stroll down to Emergency, (where all the sick people are, and go through the hoops as if I was in Texas and Covid-19 was rampant) ….then I take a seat and wait.
By about 1530 I get called up to be interrogated by the Triage Nurse, answer all 20+ questions, mentioning that no, I’m not tired, run-down, in pain, blacking-out etc, etc. That I’ve been working out daily, feeling somewhat fitter than I have for awhile, that heartrate has always been slow (but it should be closer to 60 than 40) and I feel fine. She mentions that she’ll get one of the Cardio Doctors to come and see me!! (I bet you can’t guess what I thought??!!)
By 1630 a man is getting a little frustrated, so he strolls up to the desk and casually mentions that he needs to go. That didn’t really go down that well and nursey explains how ED is full and there are no rooms available for a consult ….so the man mentions, “Oh well since I need to see a Cardio Doctor, I’m happy to go back to Cardiology and see him there!”, Nursey responds that no, that won’t do because Cardio will be shut and no-one there! To which the man counters, “Oh, so if there’s no one about to visit him, then he might as well go then?! Nursey appeared to be getting a little testy at this point and there was mention of recording if a man left the ED “Against Medical Advice”, so the man mentioned that he would wait 10 more minutes!! …and resumed his post amidst the sick people.
He actually waited 20 minutes, then went back and gave a nod to Nursey, she nodded back and he gapped it to hook-up with Ann and head home.
As they were meandering, the man gets a call, …it’s Andrew (a Cardio Dr) and they chat about this unusual turn of events, with mentions of things like a heart block and the likelihood of a heart just stopping, how the man has had no symptoms, has not felt sick and in fact that he is somewhat fitter and in better condition than he has been for some time …and that in fact, he’s had no problems at all getting the heart rate up to 145 on recent visits to the gym, although generally he operates under 110 on fat-burn days and generally between 125-135 on cardio days, when he’s pushing a little harder. Andrew mentions that he will ring the head of dept and call back with a time for the man to visit.
Before the pair get home, Andrew rings again and says the man should present to the hospital “tonight” to get fitted with a pacemaker within the next day or so!!! (I thought FFS!!!! ….but I’m not even sick!)
The couple go home, have dinner, pack a few things and head back to the hospital …..only to get sent back to ED!!! (FFS). That’s back through the Covid screening and into the waiting room, where the man identifies several individuals, on both sides of the counter, that were there during the afternoon. He eventually (it only took an hour) gets picked-up by Andrew, taken to the Heart & Lung Ward, checked-in, gowned-up, bedded-down and tucked in for the night.
I should mention here that discussions revealed that this circumstance would be unrelated and is unlikely to have contributed in any way to the three TIA’s that the man has suffered ….although I suppose suffered isn’t really the right word to use since the man barely knew that anything had ever happened!!?? ..in fact, he even asked if they were just doing this because they wanted some practice.
Not much happened. The night was spent in a pod of 6 beds ……but all the other people sounded like they were quite unwell. It seemed like I’d wakened several times through the night, but had a reasonable nights sleep, although a couple of times (midnight & 0445) my eyes shot open to see the grim reaper hovering over me ……but it just turned out to be the night nurse coming to check blood pressure and temp.
I got moved to a Duplex at about 0900, Doctors came about 10’ish, Ann turned up about 11, I couldn’t get into the Wi-Fi and it was a fairly bland day. There was a reasonable chance that the procedure might get done that day but that was not to be the case, however, I was advised in the evening that I was scheduled for 1100 the next day.
After watching a movie, I settled down about 11, only awakened for the checks, slipping straight back into the coma until 0730.
I was up and scrubbed by 0800, came back to find food had been delivered, settled back into the bed and prepared the porridge to be consumed, had 3 or 4 spoons when Lynn (the specialist Pacemaker Nurse) came in and advised ‘no Kava for Johnnie’, which was a bit off really as I’m sure the bowl off fruit salad was screaming for me to consume it …and there was a serving of jam to go on the toast! (even if I didn’t buy the bread, I wasn’t going to be rude and not consume it).
Ann arrived shortly after and in no time at all, I was being prepped with feeds of antibiotics into the line, a sponge down with alcohol wipes around the left chest, shoulder and arm, then a cluster
of doctors arrived …and that dropped another clanger!!
Apparently, further study of the various tests revealed that I was born with a hole in my heart and that could well be the cause of the strokes! …So, …
And then we were off and I was taken down to Surgical.
A lay about down there for a bit then was taken into the theatre at about 1045, I shuffled across onto the slab, then got wired-up etc etc. The surgeon came in, introduced himself, didn’t fart around and before you knew it I was done, getting unwired, stripped of dressings etc …without really knowing what the hell had just happened because one of the precautionary features is a shield under my face so I’m not breathing germs on the area being cut. I was wheeled back up to the ward, fed, Ann rewarded me with a piece of chocolate and now I’m just waiting on a chest x-ray to check placement, a test of the device, another ECG …..and an expected release to go home at 1630!
So, it dragged out a bit and the day finished with the scan to check the unit, then X-ray to check the placement, a quick run down and briefing with Andrew from Cardio and finally getting released at 1900.
At this stage Long-John-Phantom-Walker-Silver is feeling a bit confused and somewhat blessed. He’s had three strokes with sod all symptoms or after effects, he’s fitted with a pacemaker without ever feeling sick and has managed to perform quite well as an athlete in my younger days with a hole in my heart.
I haven’t been doing any updates as there hasn’t been anything happening!
Basically, the last month has just been a big struggle with getting any weight off, which has drifted between 91 & 90kg. It did dip to 90 at one stage, then back up a bit, thanks to having visitors, then Carmelita’s birthday and other things, but today I hit 88.8kg, so that was a big milestone.
I’ve ridden the pushbike to work a couple of times but the weather has been so crappy that that has been rare. I’ve been to the gym a few times, but that’s only been on weekends and I’ve found that if I don’t get the exercise, the weight drifts back up, so the last couple of weeks has seen a minimum of 30 minutes on the spin-bike each day. I include weights at the gym but at home I’m limited to a couple of light hand weights ….and some press-ups! I eventually upped the count to 25 and have done that a few times …but being careful not to burn out, I try not to do it too frequently!
Today I had another session at the hospital and this time it was for an Echo Cardiagram. That’s done with an ultrasound and took an hour.
It started on my back with my left arm raised to open up the ribs so the thingy can get an unobscured view of the heart, then on my side but still looking in from the front, then she dropped a section of the bed out so she could look in from the side, then from under the solar plexus to look up, then from the bottom of my neck to look down.
At times I would have to breath in, then breath out and hold it and although I could see the screen, I didn’t really know what I was looking at so soon tired of that. At times though, she would be measuring distances on between peaks on the heart rate, or the height of the pulses, then at other times she appeared to be measuring sections of the heart chambers etc.
Finally, a doctor came in to insert a line into my arm, then I had to get back on my side and they did their thing again, then injected some stuff which caused the blood to bubble as it went though the heart and apparently, this was see if any blood was leaking from the right chamber into the left.
The nurse later explained that the left atrium feeds the body and right feeds the lungs and brain and as foetus, the lungs are one of the last things to develop and therefore very stiff, so there’s a flap between them that provides blood to the baby’s heart and brain. Then once it’s born and starts to breath, that pressurises the flap shut and it seals up. This test was to see if that was damaged and potential clots caused by the likes of DVT could be making their way into the right and on to the brain.
As part of this test I had to breath in and push, as if I was constipated and trying to have a crap, as that helps identify if there’s a weakness …I was just worried I’d pooh my pants so I pushed …but not too hard!!
I’m back in on Tuesday to get a Holter Heart Monitor fitted and I have to wear that for 24hrs and I suppose after that the experts might have a better idea of what’s caused the strokes and now I’m hoping like hell that it’s more cholesterol related than this type of heart issue because I want a clearance to drive again and I imagine that if it’s heart related, that just ain’t gonna happen …and I’ve got a 1600km ride to do in October!!
Week 4 was a bit of a shambles with respect to adhering to the plan because I was dragged off on leave and that meant no scales to monitor progress, or lack of, and all the newly established routines went out the door with being taken away from home and having all manner of other changes of environment.
The mokos, Amo & Whai, came to us on Sunday so we could get away around 8’ish on Monday, but I had a bit of work stuff to do first, so that delayed our departure, but we eventually got away to meet with Lou and her three mokos in Bulls …with a stop for tissues in Mana, cos the grumpy nanny had issues with the noises emanating from the back seat!
On-on from there and lunch stop for the kids in Turangi, which included a short walk for the geriatric, then eventual arrival in Rotorua at around 4’ish and settle into the digs. I suppose that I should mention here that we were booked into chalets by Kuirau Park, but on Saturday, Ann received a call to say that the park was taking in a heap of homeless people compliments of Winz. At that point we were a bit perplexed because why did they tell us that? Was it because they were informing us that we (with our five 5-9 year olds) were about to share the facilities with a bunch of meth-heads, or was it because they wanted us to move on so they could fill our discounted rate accommodation with premium paying Winz clients? Either way, bugger them!! We found a very nice home in Lynmorevia book-a-batch.
So we settled in, I went for a 30 minute walk and later on, we took the kids back to the Waikite Valley Thermal Park and that was nice and relaxing before getting some supplies and getting some kip.
Tuesday was down to the info centre, booked sessions on the Duck and at Skyline, embarking on the Amphibious Duck tour to the Blue Lake and Lake Okareka, then had lunch and a walk. My walk was accompanied by 4 scooterists, who depending on whether we were going up or down hills, they might be following or leading, but as we got back to the lakefront, there was a mention of last one and rotten eggs. At that point I mentioned that we weren’t finishing at the car, but once we had passed that, then circled the round-about, I looked over and checked that my mate was ‘still-on’ then we lit out, me lumbering and him scootering, somewhat casually I might add. I had one eye on the finish and one on him and I detected a change-up ….damn ….and be buggered, I had to step it up a notch, then the little bastard had a huge grin on his face and kicked another gear, so fat bastard had to flip to 4th to match his pace. All I can say is, that the rest of the 50’ish metres was a blur, but it was the accepted opinion that me, the fat guy with the tin hip wasn’t the rotten egg! Once we were back at the house, we had mates around for a session that evening (I was allowed one red wine).
Wednesday I went for another 30 minute walk, then we made our way to the Skyline centre ….and some fun. Unfortunately it was a little damp so the Advance track was closed, but we (4 small and 1 big kids) had three trips to take, then big kid was informed that he had to take 5th smallest kid for one ride. So, first ride was down the scenic route and big kid left last. I suppose I should mention that approaching the launch point there was a big sign that listed all sorts of conditions, suggesting that those afflicted shouldn’t participate ….I tried not to look too closely at that, did notice it mentioned heart issues but luckily I didn’t see anything about brain-fades. So, we were off, with the fat bastard (who I would have thought might have had an advantage on a gravity powered event) bringing up the rear (having given his victims a good 15-20 second start. (I should also note that I have never participated in luging prior to this, so I was a veritable novice, ….albeit a novice with a lifetime of accumulated dirty-tricks and animal cunning, so within a couple corners I had the feel of my craft and was gathering pace.)
By ¾ the way down I had picked off the 4 victims and multiple other unknown losers (who obviously didn’t know it was a race) but the last man, or I suppose that should be the first man, and last of the four, was a real joy! Ethious (the rotten egg man) has a somewhat competitive nature and on this occasion, I caught him with a bit of speed on as he was drifting from centre to right of track as I swooped through with no room to spare. That elicited a rather loud Hoyy! Followed by what would probably be described as a string of expletives and the reading of my pedigree (although a very tame 8 year old version) and one could almost hear the grinding of gears as he was demanding more pace from his ride ….and his vocal tirade continued the rest of the way down. Needless to say, there were no fist pumps but I’m sure I carried a mild smirk all the way to the top of the chairlift for the next run ….and I could hear Ethious all the way to the top!
Run two and we lined up but I took the slipway to the intermediate run, enjoyed a spirited run down and chatted to one of the young ladies working on the ride, for what seemed like several minutes until my mates arrived. We rode back to the top then I asked Ethious, “didn’t you see me when I passed you this time?” He stopped in his tracks as his brain computed that I left last and was waiting at the bottom, then I followed with, “that’s because I was going sooo faaast!” ….and the best part was that he seemed to accept that as the only possible explanation!! Yess! I’ve still got it! (even if I am down to competing with 8 yr olds!)
Run 3 and I had to take the munchkin, we were delayed as the good lady ensured my mate was tucked in properly and I was still able to enjoy a spirited ride but when I caught Whai, he had obviously been expecting us and when his head-checks revealed we were closing, he stepped up a couple of cogs and there was no way he was letting us pass! At this point I noticed that he was gaining momentum out of the sharper corners quicker than me and my mate, so my weight advantage theory obviously didn't hold water. Anyway I relaxed, content that my job had been done!
After that, I went off to visit an old Air Force mate, then watched a couple of movies.
Thursday was pissing with rain, so the morning walk, which was scheduled as a group event through the redwoods was called off. That then became a trip to chipmunks followed by the programmed jaunt to the Poly Spa and Friday was back to the Capital.
As far as being a head-case goes, I was called by an Occupational Therapist during the week and had a chat, but she didn’t have much to offer so I suppose I’m sort of on the right track. I also received another appointment letter, so I now have the ECG on 24/07/20, the follow-up with the Neuro-team on the 27th and the 24hr Heart Monitor goes on on the 28th. It was a crap week as far as exercise and diet goes as all the walks were on the short side, maxing at about 30 minutes, with no weights at all. I managed to limit the intake volumes, but a few carbs and sweets found their way into the temple, so it’s great to back where it’s easier to control the input, but it was great to get away and spend some time with the young ones.
*Sigh* …..A Friday night post spin bike ride was 92.4Kg ..... I guess that means no cava for Johnie!! ....But, to my relief, weighed in at 91.8 for the morning sample, so my bad week wasn't too bad. I was able to go to the gym though, so I made the most of it with 30 mins on the bike followed by a casual 30 mins on the cross trainer, then weights. I must say that I function much better when I can monitor the work out with readings on pulse rate, intensity level, cadence, speed, distance and Calorie burn ....but then, not knowing one's pulse rate can also prove to be more comforting.
This blog is pretty much just about motorcycling ...but every now and then I might rant or dribble on about other things.