Wednesday, January 23, 2008

"What Condition My Condition Is In"

OK I want to make this as brief as possible and not bore you with too many details.
First of all, I am alive and I don't plan on checking out anytime soon. Patti and I met with the cardiologist for nearly 2 hrs. this morning. One of the things I need to work on is anxiety. We arrived at the hospital only to find out that the cardiac tape from my test yesterday had not been sent as they promised. My heart rate was up about 10 bpm right there. I called the clinic to bitch, the Dr's staff called the clinic to bitch. Test results were faxed 10 minutes later.
A lot of time was spent on history. This of course is where Bill comes through looking really good. (Type A - Anal Retentive) I reach into my backpack and pull out a log of every single workout I've done in the past year. Everything, Total Time, Time in each heart rate zone, average hr, max hr, calories burned. All put together in a color coded spread sheet. "So Mr. Vitali, this is very impressive." "Are you some sort of mathematician?" "It's obvious to me that you take this cycling thing quite seriously."

Anyway, we did find that the last time this happened back in June I also had a virus. My heart rate had many spikes up into the 180's and close to 200 during a couple of races and several workouts with no harsh effects. We found that it is most likely atrial fib. which now I'm told is much better than ventricular, because the ventricles are the actual pumps. It's not without its risks however. If it were ventricular it could kill me were to happen during a race and I couldn't get immediate medical attention. My ventricles would just flutter, not pump any blood, dead in about 2 minutes maybe 3.

So, now the question is why? What's causing it?... We don't know. His feeling is the virus is more than likely playing a key role. Any time you have a virus it will interfere with the electrical signals going to the heart. This is obviously occurring in my case because it shows on the EKG. The Dr. wants to be very thorough so he is asking me to wear an event monitor for the next 30 days. If I feel an event, all I do is press the red button and it takes a three minute recording of my heart. I can then phone it in and the hospital has it on their computer in a very short time. If it looks serious I get a phone call and they tell me what to do. It's like On Star for people. Kind of a cool little toy.

He also suggested a Beta Blocker to help slow my heart rate down. He said I would hate him for this idea because it will also have an effect on the intensity levels of my workouts. Meaning it will slow me down. So, I have the prescription it's up to me. Patti and I will discuss it more tonight. He also said the Beta Blocker would make me feel tired.
So what are my next steps?

1. Wear the monitor!!!!!!!!!!!!
2. Listen closer to my body and don't feel I have to keep up with the youngsters. If I'm sick rest!
3. Reduce my stress...I know you're all laughing now.
4. Monitor my blood pressure
5. No more caffeine
6. Much more SLEEP
7. A pale ale every now and then won't hurt : ) That means fewer points earned on my Granite City Mug Club Card
Maybe I can sell it for a premium to Winky.
8. My family history is not very good (I have BAD genes dammit!) So I need to look at some other factors.

Anyway life goes on. I still don't have all the answers I wanted, but that's the way it is I guess. I'm comfortable for now with the info I received. Maybe the event monitor will help shed some more light on what is happening. In the mean time he said it's OK to workout just to be careful. If it happens again (if a get a serious event were my heart rate doesn't go down)...straight to urgent care or ER. I'm hoping I'll be on my bike soon : )
Thank you to all of my friends and family for your thoughts and prayers. Thanks especially to my wife Patti and my grade level team for helping me get through this scare. I love you all very much. I guess this did get a bit long.
Time for a nap : )

On a funny note: My friend and colleague Kevin asked me if I was still wearing my heart rate monitor around the house. I told him no because I wore the battery out. I don't think they were meant to be worn 24 hrs a day.


Kenny said...

Well Jesus H. Christ! We are all very happy you'll be with us this summer, riding as usual. Plus, you've got the best excuse. Whenever you're getting your ass kicked on a ride you can yell, "My heart, my heart!" Then we'll all slow down and you'll sandbag us for the prime, you bastard.
I love you, too.

Vito said...

It's nice to know that I have an excuse.