Posted by: Budger | October 9, 2007

Keeping the Pace

It’s been a very busy/interesting week.  First of all, for those of you following my biking adventures, I am going to be unable to ride in this year’s MS 150.  On Thursday, I had to have emergency surgery to implant a pacemaker.  I am doing much better now, so no worries.  I am very disappointed about the ride, but very grateful that the problem was identified and fixed.  And once again, I have been reminded of how truly blessed I am to have my friends and family.

It all started because of the ride.  My training was really going terribly.  I was so tired, and I was easily getting out of breath.  In June I did a 35 mile ride and I felt great. Now 3 months later, I was struggling to do 10.  I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know what.  As the queen of rationalization, I came up with a list of reasons.  You’re run down after the death of Eric’s mom.  You didn’t train as you should during the summer.  Just keep riding and it will get better.  Finally I knew I had to go to the doctor.  At first they thought it might be a sinus/respiratory infection, but still it didn’t get any better.  So my doctor sent me back to the Cardiologist I had seen 4 years ago.  He put me on a Holter monitor, which is like a portable EKG, for 24 hours.  On Thursday I went back for a Sonogram of the heart, and to get the monitor removed.

I was feeling really terrible on Thursday, so after the Sonogram, the cardiologist asked that they download the monitor while I was there.  That’s when all HELL broke loose.  Next thing I know the nurse is telling the doctor that my heart rate consistently dropped to less than 20 during the night, and at one point stopped altogether for 6 seconds.  The doctor said he was going to admit me through the ER for emergency Pacemaker implant.  What????  Do you want to run that by me again?  Did I mention that my husband is out of state on  business?  As the doctor wheeled in the wheelchair, he told me I would be done with surgery before Eric could get there.  I called Eric, and said "Get home!"  He tried to reassure and told me to do what the doctor said, and he would try to catch the next flight.

As I was being wheeled across the parking lot to the ER, I started calling my friends until I could get one.  I left everything in Sandra’s hands to call whomever, and make sure someone took care of the dogs.  The ER was a zoo, as they hooked me up to machines.  Did I mention that all project management crisis control went out the window, as I was bawling like a baby.

As they wheeled me into the Cath Lab, Eric called to say he couldn’t get a flight.  He was in Stockton; his luggage was in San Ramon, and the next airplane out was in San Francisco.  He assured me as best he could, and I handed the phone back to the nurse.  OK, let’s get this show on the road.

I was awake through the entire procedure (amazing), and in an hour it was done.  After the surgery, the tech came and put a monitor over the implant area and told me she was reading my telemetry.  God I hope it’s boring, I thought.

They took me to a room, and a minute later my support crew was on the scene.  My amazing support crew is made up of my friends, and they are always there when I need them.  Shannon and Debbie swooped in, and had a plan for the dogs.  Denise arrived and stayed with me throughout the night.  Shannon left around midnight, and Debbie came back in the morning.

One of the doctor’s orders was that my left arm went in  a sling and cannot be moved for a week.  (I’m typing one-handed. )  The other instruction was that I had to lay flat on my back for 6 hours, and the bed could not be elevated.  I was told even if the nurse starts to put the bed up, to tell them NO.  The first nurses aid in the room starts to put the bed up, and all four of us, in unison, yelled NO.  After that it was decided, without me,  that I would not be left alone.

As it turns out it was for the better as they all kept me laughing, and took my mind off my situation.  I can’t express how grateful I am for such great friends.

Friday, Eric showed up with beautiful roses, ready to take me home.  I’m off work for a week, and I still can’t move my arm yet, but other than that I feel so much better.  I don’t think I realized how bad I felt until I started feeling good. 

Once again, I’m reminded of the importance of family and friends.  My monkey may have fired a shot across the bow, but I won the battle, and I’m not giving up on the war.  This year I will support my team from the sidelines, as they supported me.  In 6 weeks I’ll start my training again.  As the doctor ran down to both me and my friends…

No – 2007 MS150

Yes – Trip to New York

Yes – January 5k Run

Yes – 2008 MS150

I always follow doctor’s orders.


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