Las year, I began to notice that everyday activities I enjoyed, bike riding, hiking, etc, were getting much more difficult than they had ever been before. I passed this off to simply being old and tried to work around it for many months. Unfortunately, the symptoms got worse, to the point where even climbing a single flight of stairs got me all out of breath, heart pounding, vertigo, etc. Yeah, all the fun stuff. I had an annual physical planned before long, so I determined to talk with my doctor about this difficulty. During the physical, the doctor gave me a six-second EKG (electrocardiogram) which showed some definite abnormalities and more tests were scheduled. More about these tomorrow. Without giving away any spoilers, there were at least three problems needing resolution, and some big decisions about how to proceed.
I guess the big thing to me was the shock of needing surgery. I mean, my dad had heart surgery, but he was old. Then I realized he wasn't that much older than me when he had his procedures. It suddenly hit me how much mortality sucks. In my head, I am still about twenty-seven years old. The problem is, the rest of me disagrees. When did this aging thing happen? Now I am a science teacher, and I talk to people at the Denver museum about hearts all the time so I know these things are very fixable, but this is me, not some theoretical person out there. The only thing to do was to go through the various tests prescribed by the doctors, narrow down what, precisely, was wrong, and work with them to find the best course of action. This is why I had medical insurance after all. That early in the process I could delay thinking about the severity of it all, convincing myself not to get too panicky until we knew all the results and the doctors could make a final determination.
So here we go. Tomorrow I will talk about each of the tests involved in discovering exactly what was wrong with me, and what it was like going through each of them. If you would like, please leave any comments, and I will do my best to respond.