Every Tuesday morning at 5am I lay in my bed and listen to the music play on my alarm and I debate either getting out of bed and going to 6am spinning or resetting my alarm and sleeping for another 2 hours. It wasn’t too difficult of a choice this morning though, you see one year ago today I was in the hospital with what was originally thought to be a heart attack. I was only 31 years old, fit and healthy, a non smoker doing everything right. And then, following a difficult outdoor bicycle ride, a switch was flipped and I ended up having a severe tachycardic event.
I remember coming in from my ride that day, it was a Sunday afternoon, clear and cold out and I had ridden as hard as I could, the hills in my neighborhood. I was out for about 40 minutes and when I came back things started to go horribly wrong. My heart was beating so fast and so irregularly that I didn’t have the energy to even talk to Ray, I thought if I did I would likely pass out. Anyway, long story short, I went to my doctor and she sent me for blood tests. About 4 hours later she called me back and told me to go to the ER immediately because all the markers came back that I’d had a heart attack.
That began the most brutal months I’ve ever lived through. I was in the ER for two days, sitting there in absolute terror, the heart attack markers just kept climbing, they drew blood every hour and hooked me up to the EKG every hour. I was only allowed out of bed to go to the bathroom, escorted the entire time (at one point I considered just not coming out of the bathroom at all!). You can imagine the things that go through your mind when you have a serious organ malfunction. How long would I be in the hospital? Would I have to have surgery? If I did, would I live through it? Ray and I had just moved in together officially the week before that, would he leave me if I was really sick? Would I ever see our house or our dog again? Was this a sign that I wasn’t meant to be happy? I had finally gotten what I wanted, to live together, was it being ripped away from me? Questions that now seem sort of silly but in the moment are incredibly real and insanely frightening. I couldn’t eat and I couldn’t sleep, I didn’t want to read my book or talk to Ray. I just sat in the bed, hooked up to all the wires and bells and whistles for 2 days. In hindsight, I made my situation worse by not eating, my blood sugar tanked for two days and my adrenaline was up which made for an even more uncomfortable time, mentally.
So this morning, one year later, when it came time to decide whether I spin or sleep…..I knew that the best way to celebrate this last year being over was to spin….as hard as I could, to pedal as fast as I could, as heavy as I could in order to leave any remant of the last year and all its fear and anxiety and sickness far, far behind me. There came a point in the class when we were arrow racing, tucked right down onto the handlebars, pedalling at your absolute top speed for 75 seconds, sweating so hard I couldn’t open my eyes, that I felt it all let go. This is me now. This is where I am now. What happened is over and as it pops up occassionally I’ll deal with it….but I am no more defined by my heart condition than I am by my hair colour.
Love List ~ November 8, 2011
MY LIFE, MY LOVE, MY HEALTH. That is all.