October 17, 2012
This story is my truly real belief of how my bicycle saved my life.
I have been diabetic for a couple years, but never really toke it serious. I think I was of the mindset that it would some how go away or cure itself. So I stupidly ignored it and it in fact did not go away. It just seemed to get worse and worse. I started taking care of myself sort of haphazardly. My family life toke a turn. My wife started menopause, my two sons grew up & didn't need me, and I started going through womanpause. "Womanpause", what a concept! When women go through their "change of life", it's called menopause. With men it's "mid life crisis". Excuse me! I'm not having a crisis, it must be womanpause!
For a good while I really didn't care. I knew I could have a stroke or whatever else due to high blood glucose numbers. I would lie down at night knowing I may not wake up the next morning, or even worse wake up with some dibilitaing health issue. When a good friend (of 18 years), Richard, was then diagnosed with diabetes, he tried taking care of himself, and struggled with high blood glucose numbers. He lost a little weight, but it stalled, and his numbers started going back up. Richard decided to start riding a bike, the pounds came off (104 so far), and his BG numbers got right, and his A1C numbers came down to normal limits, for lack of a better word.
Rich then called me up to see what I was doing about my diabetes. I had to say, "nothing". We started talking regularly, mostly about our diabetic "stuff". We then started talking about bike riding. We both knew we needed the exercise so we chose biking. We both bought nice comfort bikes and started riding together.
We both have and are enjoying the bike riding. We sort of started pushing each other. We turned our rides into a friendly compitition. We text each other with the stats from an individual ride. ( we have to ride on our own through the week). Week ends and Holidays, we ride together, and push each other to stride to better our rides, and challenge ourselves so we can go farther and faster. I think this "challenging" keeps us bettering our health by bettering our rides and keeps working our bodies. I think every one knows, one can work out and do good, but without challenging, to keep increasing the workout, ones body gets used to the workout and in turn, the workout isn't a workout any longer. Please be patient, the chicken soup is coming.
Rich and I both signed up to ride the Tour de Cure 2013. We both signed up as individual riders. Ali Tighe, our contact at ADA, ( American Diabetes Association), said we should start a team. THIS is where Broken Spoke Red Rider came from. Our team name. In order to further spread the word about this ride, we decided to attend other organized rides, and represent the Tour and ADA at these rides. I started surfing the net to find these rides and get information on them. We then decided, as a team, which ones we could and would attend.
On October 13, 2012, we drove 130 miles to Hancock, MD. Had our bikes on the back rack, and ADA Tour de Cure flyers ready to go. We rode 23.6 miles with a group and learned some history of that area. The history lessons from the DNR Ranger were very interesting. We had a good ride. Talked up the Tour de Cure with every one there. We even had the pleasure of leavng some flyers in the C & O bicycle shop there in Hancock, so after we left other folks could still be informed. After the ride we stopped for a bite to eat and had an uneventful ride home. I had an uneventful evening at home. I was tired from the long day on the road and trail, so around 9:30-10:00, I turned in for the night. I haven't forgotten the chicken soup I promised you.
I was awakened around 1 am Sunday, October 14, 2012 to the feeling of an elephant sitting on my chest. My left shoulder was hurting. I thought I had a bad case of indigestion, and maybe was sleeping on my arm wrong. The pain eased a bit, then started again, even harder! I kept telling myself I had indigestion! It will pass! After 3 1/2 hours, it had not eased at all, so I decided I better wake my wife.
I explained to her what I was feeling, and said I think she needed to take me to the hospital. She asked if I could get to the car. I tried to get up and couldn't, so she called 911. The paramedics came in, I explained my feelings again. Crystal, the paramedic put on a 3 lead and said it showed no sign of a heart attack. She said they could take me to the nearest hospital so I could get checked out if I would like them to do so. I had to do something! The pain was so intense!
After the paramedics got me into the ambulance, they started an IV, and hooked up a 12 lead on my chest. At that time, the EKG/ heart monitor did in fact show I was in fact having a heart attack. Crystal told the driver to forget the local hospital, we're going to Southern Maryland Hospital Center, and get us there fast. On the 20 minute or so ride to the hospital, Crystal called the ER and talked to a doctor. They were ready when we got there. They got me stabilized, and off to the cath lab within 10 or 15 minutes. On the way to the hospital, and while there, all that kept running through my mind was my brand new, 3 day old grandson. You see, just 3 days before this, October 10, 2012, My sons son was born. Mind you, I am not affraid to die. When it's my turn to go, I will go peacefully, with no questions asked. (As if I have any say in the matter). But with a new grandson, I really didn't want this to be "my time".
In the cath lab, a cardiologist and his team did a catheritization on me. They found that the Right Caranary Artery was 100% blocked. This was the cause of my heart attack. They placed a stent, and less than 2 minutes later, my pain was gone, and the heart attack stopped! I then spent 36 hours in intesive care, then was moved to a regular room on the floor. Testing and blood tests up to 48 hours afterwards shows that damage to the heart muscle was very minimal, and I am going to make a full recovery. It's going to take a rest and rehab period, but I am going to be fine.
The doctors and nurses can't believe it, but soon as I was out of ICU, I was out of bed and roaming the hospital halls. They would smile and say how good I was doing for a man who just had a heart attack. When I was released from the hospital Tuesday afternoon, one nurse was kidding me about not wanting a wheelchair to take me out to my car. I told her I was NOT kidding, I AM WALKING OUT! And I did!
OK, I'll open the chicken soup now! Some folks said they felt my biking is what caused my heart attack. In fact it was a plaque build up that caused it. Remeber when we were growing up, we were told any time we were sick we should eat chicken soup. Well, I believe my bike is the chicken soup that saved my life!!! My bike has my body so strong & healthy, ( not to mention, my Blood Glucose numbers are on the way down) it fought this heart attack off and is making an amazing recovery. I have to thank Richard for the push that made it possible.
Now 72 hours after suffering a heart attack, I am home. Resting and recovering, and counting the days until my cardiologist tells me I can get back on my bike. I am going to have to start over and train hard to be in shape in time for the Tour de Cure, but I am determined I WILL MAKE IT!!!!