Monday, January 09, 2006

Catching Myself Up

It feels like years since it's been clear...

Well, I'm back in blog, so to speak. A bit irritable, but apparently none the worse for the wear.

See, over a year ago...well, let me track back even further than that to summer 2003, when I tore my right bicep opening a locked window (got the fucker open too, but that's another story). I was on the shelf, workout wise, for a long time, rehabbing my arm and getting it healed.

So last fall, I was in the gym with a trainer after having done all the proper rehabilitation on my arm and making it good as new again (e.g. 80 lb. dumbell curls, support in bench pressing 300 lbs., so on and so forth). So there I am in the squat rack, having just finished an intense superset of squats, when I start to feel a little light headed.

Nothing I'm not used to, mind you, but it never really goes away. I relax in a sauna (it's pronounced sow-na, by the way, not saw-na) as we Finns are want to do, shower, take my time getting dressed, walk out and get on the subway...

...where I promptly come within seconds of passing out. I groped my way to a seat (I'm not sure if someone got up or if I threw them off, it's hazy), where I regain consciousness.

That was the first of what my doctors are now calling a "vascular event". It *could* have been as simple as a pooling of blood in my arms, legs, and stomach after an intense workout. Or not. It had never happened to me in such a extreme way before, and usually when I sit in a sauna for five or ten minutes, I can gather myself up and move easily again.

Since then, I've had a couple of transient moments where I've been a bit out of sorts. Imagine you're drunk or stoned, how the world feels like it's at arm's length, like you're watching your life go on without you, and you'll have a sense of what I mean. Nothing to worry about, right?

In November, I finally had the last straw as far as not seeing a doctor went. I nearly passed out while standing for a few hours, and shortly thereafter began having chest "congestion" (won't call it pain, but I can't ignore my chest felt tight). I immediately booked an appointment and ended up referred to a cardiologist. My cholesterol and blood pressure are both pretty high, but never high enough that my doctor was overly concerned about them, as they both seemed to be under control and more important, lowering. Now he is.

I've always had an enlarged heart, what with all the sports I played (scouted in three, nearly signed in one), and I'm thinking my metabolism is a little screwy because of the active life I've lived. Naturally, as I age, I'm slowing down and ain't a damn thing I can do about that, except try to stay in shape and watch my diet.

The diet part is easy enough, and I've been fairly good (altho lately, near perfect) about that, but the injury to my arm kicked out a critical component of my lifestyle. I had, while rehabbing, tried to increase my aerobic work to compensate, but it appears that my muscles craved the anaerobic load I was working with.

And of course, since that near-fainting spell, I've been reluctant to really push it in the gym.

Right now, the doctor's are studying the results of the tests I took, a stress test (which I was surprised how easily it tired me out) and a nuclear echocardiogram, which was an event in and of itself. I haven't heard back yet, but it should be shortly.

So, my apologies to you if it was an abrupt parting last week, but as far as I can see, I'm back now.