On March 8, a Sunday, I hiked nine miles in the mountains. While it was not a steep hike, there was continuous uphill one way and downhill on the return for the two out and back hikes. I had no problems or shortness of breath, or feeling tired.
On Tuesday night, two days later, I had pretty severe chest pain about 11PM and went to the emergency room. The ECG - all three of them - showed no heart attack, but they admitted me about 3AM for more testing. As things turned out, they decided they needed to look inside my coronary arteries and found that two of them were blocked! One was 100% blocked and one was 90% blocked. Three stents later, they were open and blood was flowing again. The cardiologist told me that he believed I had had a minor heart attack with no permanent damage. I spent another night in the hospital and then got sent home Thursday afternoon.
I'm not overweight, not a smoker, never do drugs, and drink very moderately. Plus, I get a lot of exercise. My diet is not perfect - butter, cheese, ice cream, and salt have been my pals. But my diet is not horrible either. In the hospital, my cholesterol was about 180. Despite all that, I had major blockages. I now have enough medications to supply a pharmacy in a third-world country. I am trying to eat very carefully. And I got permission to start walking again, starting slowly, about a week ago. I was going to participate in a cardio rehabilitation program and had my orientation earlier this week, but then they shut the program down yesterday because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I was looking forward to being monitored while exercising, so that is a bummer.
My dad needed a triple-bypass in his mid-50's so maybe I have some genetic risk factors. That seems to be the most likely thing that caused this. The cardiology nurse told me that all my walking and hiking probably delayed something that was almost inevitable, given that I do eat a certain amount of saturated fats. And my blood pressure was high, which was never a problem before, so now I am taking my BP at home a few times a day.
I won't do any serious hiking until May, when I have another cardiology appointment. But I am walking and am up to about 2 miles. My goal will be to get to three miles in a few more days and four by the end of next week.
A few weeks ago, I was planning on hiking strongly the rest of March and into April. Now, I feel grateful to be healthy and look forward to hitting the trails in about a month, assuming they don't shut the parks down. Shenandoah is still open, but camping anywhere in it is off limits, and certain really popular trails are closed, all due to the pandemic.
Happy trails, folks!
Mesothelioma Lawyer Center
3 years ago