Tuesday, March 3, 2009

UH OH: The plumbing inside is old!

Thats what the doctor said. He said I had a youthful outlook on life but I had to remember that the plumbing inside was old. Was he was trying to tell me something?

My lab results were outstanding, including my sugar. My blood pressure was 142/80. For an excited man nearly 80, that is pretty good also. He listened to my heart and lungs, checked my reflexes and punched in all the right places. I'm raring to go. So, what's the beef?

I mean, I had a physical and he okayed me for this trip last summer. THAT WAS BEFORE I EVEN ORDERED THE TRIKE! I was okay but he wanted to see me again in November. So, he saw me in November and again gave me the go ahead, but he wanted to see me again a week before I leave.

At my final physical yesterday he concluding that, yes, I'm in pretty good shape for the shape I'm in, but he called to my attention that, as he put it, while I had a youthful outlook, my inside plumbing was old. Yes, it was still working well but it was old. So, what's new about that doc?

He said that the only way he could say for certain that my heart was up to the stress of extreme dessert heat or the pressure of climbing mountains for two months was to do a stress test. So, he had the nurse proceed with an EKG in the office. SURPRISE SURPRISE, he found something questionable. He decided I should have a nuclear EKG under stress. The quickest I could get that test was next Friday.

WHY DIDN'T WE DO ALL THIS LAST SUMMER WHEN I WAS JUST IN THE PLANNING STAGE? Good question! It seems I might have been in perfect shape last summer but ready to have a stroke this spring. Also, the insurance wouldn't pay for just a screening EKG. There had to be something wrong to justify it. There wasn't anything wrong with me last summer. The critical time to do the EKG, anyway, was just before the undertaking. Sound thinking by a cool head. I have complete confidence in my doctor.

Next Thursday morning I am to stop drinking coffee or taking any caffien. I am to stop eating or drinking, including water, after 10PM thursday evening. I am not to take my morning meds. They will do the stress test at the Wadsworth Hospital at 7AM Friday. I won't get the results until the following Tuesday. Then, and only then, will he clear me for my cross country bike trip. Sounds reasonable, huh?

Not really! THIS REALLY PUT A FLY IN THE BUTTERMILK! My schedule calls for me to ship my trike to San Diego on thursday. I certainly can't ship the trike without knowing for sure that I will be able to follow it. What a pickle to be in. Why me, Lord?

I've been through all this before with my heart. It is a big heart, really. It is an athletic heart. My heartbeat, my pulse is slow, even under stress. It takes a lot to get me pumped up. I get there but it takes awhile.

This was first discovered when I was in my late 30"s. They had me off work for six weeks. Nothing changed and I went back to work. Same old same old. I was just fine. Worked without a problem until they closed the plant.

When I went to Merrill Lynch they went into shock over my heart. They wouldn't hire me until I was cleared by the Cleveland Clinic. Took the nuclear EKG under stress and again just an athletic heart and I did great at Merrill. At this junction I was put on blood pressure meds to get my blood pressure down quite low. Repeated all this again when I went to Prudential. Back to Cleveland Clinic for a repeat performance. I was okayed and worked until I retired at age 60.

During my 18 years of retirement I've paddled, hiked, sailed, worked hard and played games around the world, literally. I've never had a problem. After 600 miles of the Appalachian Trail I was totally exhausted. I had trained hard in Ohio terrain before starting the hike but walking 33 miles with a full pack did not prepare me for constantly climbing mountains. I started to have some pressure in my chest that two days of rest did not relieve.

I'd talked to the doctor about several "what ifs" before I left. He said to get off the trail and have my heart checked. I came home and did it all over again with the same results. It was hard to accept but I played it safe and did not return to the trail. I've always wanted to live on the cutting edge but I want to do it in a prudent fashion. Don't want to be foolish.

I delayed the start of this cross country trip for six weeks because of a strained back, which I've worked my way through. What's wrong with another delay? Two things. First is the weather. I'm pedaling a trike across the desserts of California and Arizonia about as late in the year as it can be safely done. It is in the upper 80's and low 90's now. Soon it will be above a hundred in the shade and no shade.

Secondly, and even more complicated, I just kicked off a major church fund raising centered around this trike trip to a very enthused congregation. One little girl in particular will be crushed if anything happens to her plans to win the award for the most pledges. Not wanting to be premature when the only known delay is in the shipping of the trike, I haven't told anyone else except the family. I did call the little girls grandmother and suggest that she delay her spirited efforts until after my EKG results are in. THAT WILL NOT BE UNTIL NEXT TUESDAY. Again, what a pickle and why me Lord?

I've got a major case of the blahs this morning. Fixed Julie's breakfast but couldn't eat with her. Because of the potential confusion over the fund raising I was unable to sleep last night. I'm beat this morning. But, I have been there and done this before. Thankfully, it does not involve my ability to earn a living this time. I'll work it out. The day after the EKG I go to Cincinnatti for the wedding of my granddaugher. Being with the family is always a lifting experience. Having said that, however, the next seven days will seem like an eternity. My works are good and by faith I shall endure with patience.

Romans 5:3-4

".....tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience;
and experience, hope and hope maketh not ashamed"....

God Bless!

1 comment:

Mark Pierce said...

My dearest Dad,

I love you. I am so proud of you. I know you must be terribly disappointed about the extra caution of your doctor. But I'm also happy to hear that you are being wise in listening to his advice, regardless of your disappointment. I'm sorry that you may be delayed. I am here for you if you want to talk. Please call me anytime.

Always your loving and loyal son, Mark