Tuesday, April 11, 2017

"... and you biked here"

Regular readers are aware that I recently underwent some rather serious surgery, recovery from which is keeping me sidelined from any exercise more strenuous than walking. Thus, I don't have a lot of material to write about right now. However, to keep my avid readers from going through complete withdrawal, I figured I would document some little tidbits and older stories.

The main symptom which I had been experiencing was that I would get out of breath and feel some tightness in my chest when I exercised. Back in August the shortness of breath was severe enough that I absolutely couldn't run, but I somewhat chalked that up to the awful August weather that we experience in DC. Over the course of the fall and winter, my symptoms improved but never fully went away.

Anyway, my favorite episode in the long sleuthing process towards a diagnosis was when I went for a CT scan of my chest in early February. The weather that day was wintry but not extreme, maybe mid-thirties in temperature. Very comfortable cycling weather if you dress right. Rather than deal with the mess and expense of parking at the hospital, I decided to bike the mile and a half or so there.

I walk into the CT scan room. The technician is looking down at his clipboard. "So," he says, "your diagnosis is dyspnea* on exertion." He looked up at me and took in the fact that I was standing there holding my bike helmet and jacket, paused and said, "... and you biked here." I've got to hand it to him - I biked to most of my medical appointments and he was the only person to notice the dissonance between my symptoms and my behavior. 

I grinned. "Yeah, it's slowing me down but it's not stopping me."

To his credit, he didn't roll his eyes at me or chastise me. Actually, he started talking about how he really should exercise more - I guess being confronted with my perseverance made him feel guilty.

Not only was this the most amusing of my visits to the hospital, it was actually the one that revealed a key clue towards my ultimate diagnosis. 

*Shortness of breath