So while exercising on my elliptical Wednesday I experienced bad chest pain followed by my left arm going numb and then nausea. I knew the signs and made it to the nearest ER, where after 5 hours of x-rays, blood clot tests, blood enzyme tests, etc., I was seen by two doctors. The first told me I had a 20% chance of a heart attack in the next 30 days, and suggested I go to the hospital via ambulance. I hemmed and hawed like a bright guy, his shift ended, 2nd doctor told me I was OK to go home but referred me to a cardiologist the next day. So I took off work to make that appointment, expecting to schedule a stress test, and he told me to go straight to the hospital for a card cath on Fri.
Back home now. A cardiac cath found some blockages too small to treat with a stint or angio, so the cardiologist is going medicinal with Imdur and a beta blocker. I’ve had a headache all day due to the Imdur, but the doc says such symptoms pass as your body adjusts.
Missed my great niece’s 7th birthday party today, which sucks, and I’m going on a total of 6 hour of sleep from the last two nights, because hospitals make it impossible to actually rest (didn’t fall asleep Thurs night until 6am Fri morning, slept one hour, and was then awake the rest of the day as the procedure was delayed, and a tech woke me at 4:45 this morning to take blood). And if I had a dollar for every needle stick since Wednesday my retirement plan would be very different. Took four tries to get the IV started Thurs night.
The real fun was the hospital discharge, the cardiologist told me I have 5-10 years to live if I don’t lose the weight. I’m not to do any exercise this next week except for walking, not even light weights, and had to promise him I’d lose 2 lbs per week before my follow-up with him in late Jan.
Sorry to hear about your incident (dunno what to call it !). But I’m glad you went to the hospital and they were able to figure out what was going on. I hope you have a speedy recover and make those changes they recommend so you have a lot of time to play those games in your backlog!
I hope you get better. I have a heart defect, but it was (mostly?) fixed with very minor surgery. Anyway I also find it discouraging when nurses screw up your IV line and make you bleed all over yourself.
Not how I expected my week to go, that’s for certain. Life has such an amazing way of throwing curveballs you never see coming at you. Especially, at least for me, as you get older and your routine becomes so normalized and then something like this comes along. My poor wife started crying multiple times, because as a RN who worked a cardiac unit for many years she knew how serious it was.
My cardiologist is amazingly blunt. And insightful. He accurately pegged my personality within minutes and I could tell he was shifting his rhetoric, adjusting it to maximize the impact of his words, the effectiveness of them to penetrate any resistances (such as denial) I might throw up. It was interesting to watch a highly intelligent professional with decades of experience going to work like that.
John do you mind if I ask if you’re diabetic or were at risk for it? If you’re not a person who normally gets exercise, watching what you eat just a little plus delicated walking can make quite a difference.
I’m really glad it wasn’t worse. Now you have a chance to get things in good shape so your heart doesn’t take significant damage.
John, I’m very glad to hear you are okay. Life is ever changing, so this is no different. We think, “curve ball,” and we stomp our feet, but you’ve changed your entire life. Whatever happens from this point, roll with it and embrace what you need to do.
It’s great that you’ve headed this off at the pass instead of encountering it in a more life-threatening context. Since you know the specifics of your situation, you know what you have to do. Now you just have to do it! I look forward to this thread being The Thread About John Reynolds Getting Back In Shape And Living A Longer Life.
Right? I used to hate needles. Hate them. I have literally fainted from having needles put into me. I used to do everything possible to avoid or mitigate needles, even to the point of getting an Ativan before going into the dentist to get a numbing shot. I had to drug myself to get a shot! But after the last few years, I barely flinch anymore. “Oh, you need a blood sample? Knock yourself out.” I can even critique technique. “Hmm, efficient and quick, but a little too much lateral wiggling. This shot gets two stars.”
Better to know about it now than to just have the big one in a few years. I had a physical last week and am awaiting a call from a cardialogists office because of what my doctor called a “gallop”. I guess my heart doesn’t “sound” right. But I am only expecting an ultra sound at this point.
I kind of expected something eventually regarding my heart as both my father and older brother had heart procedures. But I have been going to the gym for 25 years due to back troubles and that seems to have paid off with my ticker as well.
Good luck losing weight. Changing your diet is probably a big thing for you as well.
It’s great you get a wake up call to turn things around.
I know we have a weight loss thread around here somewhere but exercise, especially for me, is antithetical to actually losing weight. Too much rationalization of how much you exercise justifies getting a little snack when you’d have to do 2-3x the exercise to burn off those calories of that light snack.
Lose weight for 3 months, then think about exercising. But go for a walk everyday because it’s good for you.
Myfitnesspal will help you track calories and lose weight. I lost 50 lbs a few years back and it was 1-2 lbs a week and I’ve been able to keep it off.
Good luck in whatever you do, and remember it’s a marathon not a sprint.
John, I’m so glad to hear you had a close call and not one and done. Sounds as if you have good doctors and good support. Get on it.
As of a few weeks ago I’ve started a long overdue fitness/weight loss campaign. It’ll be a long haul, as it’s hard to develop and maintain new habits, but feels great to make small gains. I’m in this w you. :)
Thanks everyone for the responses. It means a lot, it truly does.
I created an account on MyFitnessPal this morning and began tracking everything. If accurate, it estimates that I can eat roughly 2k calories per day if I exercise 5 days/week for 40 minutes to lose the 2 lbs/week my cardiologist stipulated. So I’m shooting for 6 meals/day consisting of 300-350 calories apiece.
I’m not diabetic, my blood pressure and cholesterol levels are good. Slept 11 hours last night, though the headaches persist, even in sleep and in spite of taking Tylenol every 4 hours. The head pain did, however, recede toward the end of that walk this morning, but returned an hour later.
I used to be a bit of a gym rat before trashing my left shoulder’s rotator cuff back in 2004, so I know what to do. And the cardiologist said the damage is so minimal that I can live a normal lifespan if I get the weight off.
Sounds like you know what you are doing. I was a past athlete as well (Div 1 swimmer) and got a bit overweight. Doctor told me to go on the SALT diet, which was true. I also started adding flax seed to my daily salad, which helped drive down my appetite (needed about 2 tablespoons per salad or more for it to work) and got my BMI more in-line with what I needed. Good luck!