Sunday, August 30, 2015

the bitterest pill

i think that a little ways back i mentioned an ambulance ride.

yeah, well.

so barb and i were doing the bitter pill. you know, like you do. and we were totally kicking butt on the navigation. when we saw that map in the morning and saw where the trek went, we KNEW we weren't going to get any more than 8 checkpoints if we did well, because ALL THOSE MILES OF BUSHWHACKING.

and it also meant we were going to have to spend our day mostly in foot travel, which is not our best thing. i move very slow on foot. biking is what we're good at.

and we were pretty much resigned to not getting to the bike portion of the race in time to ride.

well, them's the breaks.

we were pretty proud of ourselves for our awesome navigation on the trek, too, and our sheer bullheadedness in keeping on keeping on.

but then some time between checkpoints 5 and 6, i experienced some chest pain. later on when people were trying to get me to say what KIND of chest pain (burning? stabbing? aching?) all i could do was describe it as EXTREME SUBSUMING PAIN. and radiating to the elbow and up to my ear on the left side.

the kind of pain that makes you wonder if you are dying NOW.

and also shortness of breath and dizziness and nausea.

but you know, we were way up on the woodard trail and IF you're having a heart attack and you CAN still move, your chances of survival increase if you can get you over THERE where a rescue team can get to you.

you don't move fast, but you keep moving. i required a lot of resting along the way.

eventually we ran into a race volunteer, who called race direction, and together they decided to call a truck.

we kept moving, slowly, toward that extraction point.

eventually we met up with the first wave of responders, some very nice EMTs who did an assessment and decided that we could continue to proceed slowly, but that what we really needed was a paramedic.

so we kept moving. slowly.

and eventually met up with the second team with a paramedic. there was another assessment and it was decided that some more slow careful movement would not be out of place both toward the goal of getting me to the easiest extraction point, and also for some observation.

mostly, the shooty stabby i-need-to-lie-down-now pain was completely absent.

...unless we were walking uphill.

so the paramedic called it quits on the walking and we waited (turns out not too long) for colchester technical rescue to arrive. and they put me on the sled on the big wheel and heaved me out to the trailer and rode me down the mountain to the truck.

the short version of everything else is that while i did not have a heart attack, we are not yet certain that i do not have some blockages. the nice young cardiologist tells me that if i DO have blockages, they are not major blockages, nor are they in any major vessels because, among other things,  of my general level of exercise without pain up to a certain extent.

and while we're waiting to do some more tests, i ought to be just fine if when i get pain, i just back the heck off and slow down. he goes on to say that if i experience pain and it goes away if i back the heck off on a consistent basis, that's also very common symptomology for minor blockages of minor vessels and while it should not be ignored, is not immediately life threatening.

he also advises not doing any athletic stuff alone in remote places.

so there you have it.

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