14 Days of Retirement

IMG_4287The day after my 62nd birthday, I officially retired. Has it really been 14 days since my first day of retirement? Where has all the time gone? Honestly, with cardio rehab three times a week and at least one doctors appointment every week I really don’t feel like I’m retired yet.

The first five days all the family celebrated by going to a cabin in the North Georgia Mountains. It was great to have the kids and grandkids all together for a few days. The cabin was awesome. And the view! Oh my, it was gorgeous. It rained a lot the first day and a half but by the weekend we had enough sun to sit out at the infinty pool to soak up the sun and enjoy the view.

Next week is my final week of rehab so things will change a bit once that is off my plate. I believe after next week the frequency of my doctors appointments will reduce too. Yeah!

I haven’t felt the need to post much right now because it’s the same old, same old. Three rehab sessions each week and on non-rehab days I walk five miles. I will say I’m feeling better and stronger. The use of the rowing machine and weight machines at rehab have been a big help. Oh! and NO FEVERS in over two weeks now! The doctors never could figure out the cause but they are gone so I don’t really care anymore.

In the past week I have added a little bit of running to my walks. Just short 30 second sprints and each day I add one or two more. I’m up to six sprints now. Once I get up to twelve I’ll probably start trying one minute sprints. On my last walk I placed all six sprints within the same one mile split. My split time for the mile was 14:39. Just before I found out I needed a triple bypass, at times I was logging running mile splits slower than this. How did I not know something was wrong back then? Well… I guess I did realize it but never would have guessed it was a heart problem. A mile split of 14:39 with only three minutes of running included is pretty impressive to me right now.

On Labor Day weekend I plan to consider rehab officially over and will begin training to run a 10K in December. Registration for the local Jingle Jam 10K opens right after Labor Day and I plan to sign up. It’s a course with quite a few hills so I’m not sure how ready I will be, but it’s a goal. Hey, if I can’t run the whole thing–so what! At least I’ll plan to be there.

I’m considering a gym membership too. We have a small gym in the clubhouse of my neighborhood but the equipment is somewhat limited. I’m really going to miss the Concept 2 rowing machine and the muscle specific weight machines available at rehab. We have an Anytime Fitness gym within walking distance of my house so I plan to go check it out next week and then decide.

So far, retirement has been great. Super busy right now and so far I’m not really getting much done that I thought I would. Where does all the time go and how did I get anything done before? Crazy! Unless there is a drastic change of some sort this will likely be my last post concerning my recovery from open heart surgery. The next time you see something from me it will be about my preparation for my next 10K!

 

Last Two Weeks of Work

I had to think about what I wanted to title this post. I could have picked, “First Two Weeks Back to Work” since its the first two weeks back after having a triple bypass but instead, I went with the title above because it’s my last two weeks of work before I retire!

Officially my last day is July 31st but since I do work for the federal government you have to deal with red tape before you can do anything. Friday was my last work day. Monday (my 62nd birthday) and Tuesday I’ll be out-processing.

I must say the past two weeks have been difficult. I had 60 mL of fluid removed from my chest cavity in the hopes it would stop my frequent fevers. But nope, that didn’t do it. I was put back on 400 mg of Motrin twice a day to help but it wasn’t really working. Granted, no fevers but I still had headaches and flu like bodyaches as if I had a fever. So for much of the past two weeks I’ve felt down right awful.

The doctors have pretty muched ruled out infection. I did see a infectious disease doctor since my last post and I’ll see him again in a few weeks. He was honest with me from the start and said since it had been eight weeks since surgery it was highly unlikely an infection was involved with my fever. In the past two weeks I’ve also seen my surgeon who had released me from his care and has given me the go ahead to do anything I feel physically able to do. Saw my Cardiologist and I’ll see him again in a few weeks and he’s in agreement with the surgeon, do whatever you feel capable to do. He’s sticking with this advice to go ahead and sign up for a race around the end of the year because I’ll be ready. My goal is to begin running again in September. It will be just like starting over once I do and at this point I’m not sure if I’ll start at the beginning of September or late in September or somewhere in between.

For the most part all the Doctors are telling me they don’t understand the cause of the fevers but they all seem to be saying this is something I will need to work through and eventually it will go away. I get it but when you feel like crap its not very comforting.

high-fever-clipart-1

 

On Thursday I decided to change things up a bit. I stopped taking the Motrin. It didn’t take long before I saw the low grade fever return. I decided to take only Tylenol or aspirin but if I can get through the fever without it I’ll do it. Thurday afternoon: fever. I sweated it out through the night but the fever broke and I felt better. I was little tired because I’m not sleeping all that well but overall once the fever breaks I don’t feel too bad. Friday afternoon: ditto, fever again. Sweated it out again and discovered using ice packs on my head seem to help just about as well as Tylenol or aspirin. On Saturday morning I actually went out for a four mile walk! For the past two weeks, other than my Cardio Rehab sessions I haven’t done anything so this is an improvement.

At the time of this writing it is late Saturday afternoon, early evening. I do have a low grade fever again. I’ve used ice packs twice and lowered my fever by one degree anyway. At this very moment, I have sweat rolling down from my forehead. Right now I’d rather have to deal with a night of fever so I can have at least eight to twelve hours of feeling almost normal during the day.

I’m not sure where this is leading but sometimes you have to listen to your body and do what you think is right. I can only hope this will pass very soon because it is beginning to wear me down. I feel like another phase of my life is about to close and another exciting adventure is about to begin. I can’t but wonder where this will go.

Seven Weeks After Surgery: Progress & Milestones

driving-car

Seven weeks down since my triple bypass and this week my surgeon gave the all clear for physical activity and driving a car. Yeah! There’s a milestone for you. Main thing is, if it hurts–stop. The low-grade fevers continue but not nearly as bad as last week. My surgeon has scheduled me for a thoracentesis on Tuesday. This is where they make a small incision in my back and then run a cath inside my chest cavity and drain fluid trapped inside. This is the only thing they’ve found that could be the source of my fevers. As a extra precaution I’m getting referred to a infectious disease doctor. I hoping the thoracentesis clears things up!

Monday, Wednesday and Thursday were my cardio rehab days. I don’t know all the names of the equipment they have me use so I’m not going into detail on that. I’ll just say it’s a mix of cardio and weights.

Since the fevers weren’t as bad this week I did get more walking miles in. It felt good to get back out there, even on the hot days. Well, everyday is a hot day when it’s July in Georgia but some days are better than others. Next week I’ll be back to work so my walking miles will drop again. That’s OK. Only two weeks until I retire!!!

This will be my last post that will be titled as a post surgery update. Since I’ve got the all clear from the surgeon the next phase will be rebuilding. It looks like my cardio rehab will continue until Labor Day anyway. I’m pretty optimistic that by Labor Day I’ll be able to start running again. Fingers crossed!

So here’s the recap for the week:

July 8th – Sunday

Nothing. Fever finally broke but I felt too drained to do much.

July 9th – Monday

Cardio Rehab.

July 10th – Tuesday

5.01 miles       1:33:20           18:37 pace

July 11th – Wednesday

Cardio Rehab.

July 12th – Thursday

Cardio Rehab.

July 13th – Friday

4.93 miles       1:40:47           20:27 pace
I stopped several times to talk to people and forgot to pause my watch. Pace was probably closer to 18:30

July 14th – Saturday

5.00 miles       1:37:30           19:29 pace
Don’t know why but I got a bit of a sunburn on my face and shoulders.

Six Weeks After Triple Bypass: A Bit of a Setback

Hard to believe it’s been six weeks since my bypass surgery. Overall, things have gone very well. You may recall my daily boughts with low-grade fever. As a precaution to another issue I was taking two Motrin twice a day and guess what? The fevers went away along the my annoying right shoulder pain. I can’t remember if I mentioned the shoulder thing but I think I did. The Motrin dosage was for two weeks. Shortly after going back to my normal medication routine, the low-grade fever returned.

On Tuesday, just a few hours after my five mile walk I started to feel bad. Headache, body aches and a low-grade fever. At first, I started with Tylenol to help. It helped some but didn’t really get rid of the fever. On July the 4th, I pretty much just lied around watching Wimbledon and sleeping. Later in the evening I took two Motrin and then I sweated the night away. By morning the fever had broke.

No Cardio Rehab on Wednesday because of July the 4th but on Thursday I wan’t feeling my old self but good enough to do my rehab for the day. I got held up to leave because my heart rate was too high. When I woke up I noticed my heart rate was higher than normal. I guess the fever had caused my heart rate to go up some.

In just a few hours after rehab, guess what? The fever was back. I contacted my Surgeon and another chest x-ray was ordered. I haven’t heard the results yet but if this x-ray doesn’t show somthing I think I’m getting referred to a infectious disease specialist. In the meantime, I’m back to the Tylenol and resting. That was pretty much my routine thoroughout Thursday through Saturday. No walking. Not eating much. Just watching tennis and sleeping.

I don’t know why exactly but around 11 p.m last night (Saturday evening) I decided to take two Motrin to see what happens. Well… for the next four hours I sweated my butt off and the fever was gone! I got up this morning feeling much better than I have in days. Things were fine all morning but my early afternoon a very low grade fever started again. I’m pretty confident two Motrin will kill the fever but until I can find the cause of it I don’t want to stop it completely. I took a couple of Tylenol in the early afternoon and I’m about to take two Motrin this evening. After that, I’ll just wait and see what happens.

I already have an appointment scheduled with my Surgeon on Wednesday. This is supposed to be our last visit where he releases me, I go back to work and work with my Cardiologist in the future. With the fever thing I’m not sure what’s going to happen.

Not much happened in week six after bypass but here’s the workout rundown for the week:

July 1st – Sunday

5.15 miles        1:34:55          18:26 pace

July 2nd – Monday

Cardio Rehab: Too much to keep track of the machine names. I did it!

July 3rd – Tuesday

5.17 miles       1:32:57           17:38 pace

July 4th – Wednesday

Not a damn thing.

July 5th – Thursday

Cardio Rehab: Again, I did it!

July 6th – Friday

Not a damn thing again.

July 7th – Saturday

Nope. Still didn’t do a damn thing.

Five Weeks After Triple Bypass

IMG_4250My fifth week since triple bypass has come and gone and I started the week with Cardio Rehab at University Hospital. I decided on my rehab days I’ll limit most of my physical activity to just what the staff at the hospital give me to do. On non-rehab days I’ll continue my five mile walks. I have rehab three days as week: Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. It seems like rehab days are easier than my five mile walk days. I’m imagining this will change in a few weeks.

Short post this here’s the workout rundown for the week:

June 24th – Sunday

4.99 miles        1:31:22          18:21 pace

June 25th – Monday

First Day of Cardio Rehab: Didn’t do all the much but answer a 100 questions.

June 26th – Tuesday

4.89 miles       1:31:47          18:46 pace

June 27th – Wednesday

Cardio Rehab: 15 minutes on bike, 15 minutes on treadmill.

June 28th – Thursday

Cardio Rehab: 15 minutes on treadmill, 15 minutes on bike.

June 29th – Friday

5.04 miles       1:31:43          18:12 pace

June 30th – Saturday

4.78 miles       1:26:28          18:05 pace

 

 

A Little Late: 4 Weeks After Cabbage!

pexels-photo-301599

Week five is almost over and I’m just now getting to my recap of week number four after my coronary artery bypass graft, also sometimes called “cabbage”!

First off, week four was just downright HOT! I think every day the heat index reached 105 degrees or above. I tried to get out as early as I could but still, by the time I finished the actual temperature was in the 90’s already. I have no idea what the heat index was.

My mornings are going by pretty quickly. By the time I get up, eat some breakfast, get dressed, go walk, cooldown, and shower it’s time for lunch already. I admit my afternoon and evenings are becoming a little harder to keep myself entertained. The afternoons are mostly reading, listening to music, napping (but not much this week), and surfing the net. It’s Ok, but I’m ready for a little more variety. I still have two weeks (as of this writing) before they will let me drive a car. Not that I get out that much anyway but it would be nice to get out a little more.

I’m feeling fine. Getting stronger everyday. I’ve got nerve endings in my upper chest area that are firing off like crazy. Sometimes I can’t stand anything touching my chest so I’m walking around without a shirt on as much as possible. One advantage of being a male I suppose.

I started the week with a fast paced walk of 2.39 miles at a 15:29 per mile pace. Now I have to admit it wasn’t exactly a walk but it wasn’t a run either. I’ve never tried speed walking and I’m pretty sure this wasn’t quite it either. Anyone watching me probably thought I was a dork. It was mostly a running posture but both feet stayed on the ground all the time. I did OK, but I probably won’t do that again. I’ll just wait until I can really run. Anyway, here’s the week’s rundown:

June 17th – Sunday

2.39 miles          36:58          15:29 pace

June 18th – Monday

4.12 miles       1:19:34          19:16 pace

June 19th – Tuesday

4.51 miles       1:24:03          18:38 pace

June 20th – Wednesday

4.52 miles       1:24:34          18:42 pace

June 21st – Thursday

4.87 miles       1:23:20          17:05 pace

June 15th – Friday

Rest Day

June 16th – Saturday

5.01 miles       1:25:42          17:05 pace

I MADE IT TO FIVE MILES!!! I haven’t had any hard, fast goals since my surgery. I’ve just gone out and taken it day by day. I don’t know about you but I think getting up to five miles of walking in four weeks after bypass surgery is pretty damn good!

Week five after surgery will include Cardio Rehab at University Hospital three days a week so my schedule will be changing. Five miles will most likely be my maximum walking distance for awhile. My plan for now is to just continue on like I am as much as possible. When the day comes I can run, I’ll just add running as a segment of my walk. As my running time increases I’ll probably eventually cut back on my total workout time. That’s my plan for now anyway. Good chance it will change some as I continue to progress. Time will tell.

 

Recap: Third Week After Bypass Surgery

IMG_4241I’m continuing with my steady progress after my triple bypass. I’m feeling better and feeling stronger each and every day.

Last Monday was a bust because I had an appointment with my Cardiologist and he didn’t like the appearance of the leg where they took out the vein used from my heart. He was concerned about a possibility of a clot. So instead of spending an hour or two at the hospital I spent most of the day. The preliminary report was there was a small clot in not a vein but a capillary. The Doctor told me to start taking 400mg of Motrin twice a day for two weeks. The following day my Surgeon called with the final report and all was good and told me not to worry about it. Surgeon did say it wouldn’t hurt anything to continue the Motrin if I wanted. So I have continued. The real benefit for me is my right shoulder pain has stopped. I’m hoping once I stop taking the Motrin the pain won’t come back. Oh yeah, and my evening fevers are now gone too.

My sister drove down from Kentucky to spend the week with me. It was nice to have her around and it helped since the wifey is back to work now. I think she was bored most of the time but we had some good times together too. Probably our highlight of the week was going to lunch at TakoSushi and driving to Trenton, SC to get some fresh peaches! WOOWOO! HA!

Wednesday was my final day of having a at-home nurse coming to the house. I’m doing well. All my vitals are good and I can monitor things just fine on my own. It was good to have a nurse around if nothing else so I could compare notes.

June 10th – Sunday

1.94 miles          31:53          16:24 pace

June 11th – Monday

Zip. Zero. Nada!

June 12th – Tuesday

4.01 miles       1:05:49           16:24 pace

June 13th – Wednesday

4.01 miles       1:11:39          18:23 pace

June 14th – Thursday

4.00 miles       1:13:39          18:23 pace

June 15th – Friday

4.01 miles      1:07:30           16:50 pace

June 16th – Saturday

2.5 miles           50:53            20:23 pace

Overall I’m very happy with my results for the week. For the most part I’m walking further and faster. I’m starting to get the itch to run but I know that’s not going to happen for probably another 6-8 weeks at best. I did pick up a few pounds over the week though. Next week I’ve got to start watching my diet a little closer so I stay heart healthy and can lose some more weight.

There you have it. Back in a week or so!