Doing it all the hard way...

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The best ride of my life

Aside from the wider tires, the Sunday ride looked like so many others.....

When El Jefe referred to a specific late March team ride as the best ride of my life my first thought was that I considered it the worst ride of my life.  How could a ride where you get dropped, have to call for a ride and end up in the ER be your best ride? 

My perplexed expression sparked him to further explain, “You were finally able to get a diagnosis for a recurring problem that could have had catastrophic results if undiagnosed.” 

After spending Sunday afternoon in the ER the events of the next weeks played out a predictable story.  An appointment with a cardiologist resulted in a plan for surgery.  Medication in advance of surgery and preparatory tests all hit the calendar radar. My denial skillset was overwhelmed.  This was going to suck.

While I generally subscribe to the philosophy that minor surgery happens to someone else and major surgery is you, this one isn’t minor for anyone.  As heart surgeries go this leans toward, but does not reach, the minor end of the spectrum.  It is, however, your freaking heart. An overnight stay at the hospital would be a first for me.
Even though I am more of a sprinter, they gave me GC socks.  I didn't complain.
The surgery went well but you have to grade on a curve. Grading on a curve has been a concept I have been struggling to embrace for a few years. Even so; it seems to be becoming a way of life.  I was hurting when I woke up and the first few hours we no fun at all.
I dug deep into my suitcase of courage
Hottie was by my side for the ugly hours after surgery and by the time I was feeling better my teammates started showing up with well wishes. The stuff those doctors can do is really nothing short of miracles.

The next morning I got the figurative slap on the ass and was sent home.  The next week went according to plan and based on my follow up with the doctor, I am on the path to what should be a full recovery.
Recovery isn't all bad......
Exactly one week after waking up in the cardiac ward of the hospital I was smiling as I applied Buttonhole in preparation for my first post-surgery ride.  I watched my heart rate and stayed focused on how everything felt. I had to fight my inclination to get out of the saddle and power up a short climb. In that sense, it wasn’t an easy ride. 

The mental energy required to keep my heart rate in zone one was equal to, or greater than, the effort to maintain zone four or five.  Once you’re in zone five you just keep the needle buried and in a way that becomes easier.

I’ve got the green light to start increasing my ride duration and assuming that goes well then I can begin to increase intensity in a few weeks.
Post Surgery ride with Hottie.  I felt Strong like Bull.
I’m sure in no time I will be back to sharing stories of big rides and babbling on about equipment reviews and other meaningless drivel.

On the bright side, as age and circumstance weaken my powers of denial, it won’t be too long before I will be able to expand my forgetfulness skillset. Someone thought through this process.

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