Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Trip I took last week.....

     Hardly a shocking or provocative title for a guy who travels almost every week, but what if this blog wasn't about travel but about a trip down a long set of stairs and an unplanned ride in a medical helicopter?  OK, then maybe......

     They want to blame the cookies.   You see, people who are dieting hate cookie eaters more than anything else.  They are jealous.  I'll go on record saying that I don't believe it was my cookie diet that caused my tumble down the stairs but I'll agree that it may have been contributory.  I'm probably getting ahead of myself since we haven't talked about me falling down the stairs, but let's leave that until the end and I'll give you the lead-in to the fall and you can decide what happened.....

     I lost 5lbs the week prior to my fall, and yes I ate oatmeal raisin cookies for 5 straight days during it.  I knew exactly the calories that I was consuming each day and I ate them in 3 hours intervals to keep my blood sugars and metabolism in check. I also used interval exercise training and cinnamon to help with this too.  The
I was yellow and now am I blue?
irony of the week was that I had run up and down those same 16 stairs, literally hundreds of times that week, as I used this as a mid-morning and mid-afternoon exercise. I never fell once then. In the middle of that week there was a blood drive locally, and I certainly felt healthy enough to donate, so I did. I gave my blood, sat at the table for a minute or two and then headed back to work.   I didn't fall or faint once.  During my initial exam I did notice that my blood pressure had changed dramatically from where it had been in recent years.  I was 110 over 68 or something like that and it wasn't uncommon for me to be in the 130's or pre-hypertensive stage regularly.  This morning as I write this I am 106/61.  I was also slightly anemic (I know you are thinking it's the cookies) but I've been slightly anemic with no cause or issues for a decade now.  The doctor finally agreed to stop looking for a cause when I reminded her that I was one of her most high-energy patients that she had, and that I operate on about 6 hours of sleep each night (It's 4:18 am as I write this). I was kind of proud that I dropped my blood pressure, as the same doctor had told me that high blood pressure was another risk factor for heart disease.  She never thought to warn me of low blood pressure, but why would she have, as mine had always been on the elevated side.  My wife has low blood pressure and she gets woozy in the hot tub sometimes, and I laugh at her.  I don't laugh at her anymore, a few days ago I got up and exited the tub after 15 minutes and when I went into the house, I had to kneel down for a little while to get my bearings. 

     So what happened that night?  To start with, we decided to have an impromptu gathering of a few close
My view for much of the evening
friends in the Garaj-Mahal.  I had actually given up drinking for the majority of the 60 days prior to that night and I decided to drink gin and sodas that evening, oh and play drinking games.  Ok now, that may not sound like the smartest plan, but after I explain, um I'm sure it's still not going to sound like the smartest plan.  Truly, I followed up my 60 days of abstinence with an evening of standing (and winning !) at a beer pong table.  If I order drinks in a bar, I often order a water too, it's one of my tricks for not having hangovers, however, that night, I drank just the gin and sodas and likely after a day of vigorous exercise, dehydrated myself pretty well. I was back on "normal" food at that point so I ate well, but I had exercised a little more that day to make up for the calories in the food and alcohol that I knew I would consume.  I felt fine during the party and around 11 pm the last guests departed and I headed up the stairs, presumably to turn out the lights.  I say presumably because 10 minutes later I lay in a heap, unresponsive but awake, at the bottom of the stairs and the 2 bumps on my head forever robbed me of those previous ten minutes and a couple of hours after too. 

     My wife heard me come down the stairs, hard, and she thinks I fell from about halfway down.  She opened the fire door to find me in a sitting-type position, with my eyes open, but unresponsive to her questions.  I'll say it right out, she panicked a little.  If you ever doubt someone is truly, deeply and madly in
This will get the neighbors talking
love with you, put them in this kind of position where they see your mortality, and it will confirm it one way or another. My rock steady partner was reduced to a scatterbrained wreck, and I'm sorry I put her through that, but it was awfully flattering. I don't ever see her that way, so it was nice to get a peek behind her organized and efficient exterior.  She had the sense to run and grab my brother and sister in law, who had just left to walk home, and they returned, saw me, and called 911.  This particular BIL fixes a lot around my house, and that night, he "fixed" the situation quickly.  The local ambulance crew came, and they gave my wife busy work, so that they could examine me.  They say they had some trouble finding my blood pressure and pulse initially, and I can believe it, because hours later in the hospital, it had only risen to 91/53.  They tell me that I was joking with the crew and I even questioned the need for an air ambulance (that sounds like me), but I don't remember any of it.  I actually met two different protocols they have for calling in the copter, the number of stairs that I may have fallen and the head injury I sustained, so it was unlikely that an inebriated, injured person was going to get them to call it off.  I haven't gotten the bill yet, but I wish I at least remembered the ride.  Oh, and FYI, if you want to set a small town abuzz, lose 25 lbs quickly and then have a medical copter land in your yard late one night.  I'm surprised I'm not awash in good-wishes casseroles, right now. 

     At the hospital they X-rayed and CAT scanned me, but by then the only thing I really needed was some fluids.  As I became aware, I told my wife to get me some water or I was checking myself out. That was the point that I gained my memory back.  Another brother in law who lives down the street had driven my wife and first BIL to Rochester initially, and I suspect he barely got home before we called
him back to come get us (Thank you!).  While at the hospital, I had an urgent need to go to the bathroom, and I only mention this because I think it's medically relevant, I passed the largest stool of my life while I was there (now you can blame the cookies).  It's my theory that I may have tried to do this while upstairs in the garage and suffered vasovagal syncope right after straining to pass it.  I think I had followed a perfect plan to drop my blood pressure all day, and this may have been the final straw to make me faint.  I suspect it happened halfway down the stairs, and thankfully I fell backwards and hit my head twice, but only got a skinned arm and a small bump on my knee as I slid on my back to the bottom. 

    As I close I want to thank all involved with my care and those who have expressed so much concern for me.  I'm embarrassed that I put my family and everyone through this experience and will try to learn some lessons from it.  Feel free to remind me if you see me engaging in any of these behaviors, except of course, if I'm eating oatmeal raisin cookies. 

2 comments:

Molly said...

Who knew you'd get TOO healthy (BP-wise!) LOL!

Just glad you're alright, Dad! I always knew SOMEONE wouldn't make it down those stairs on feet exclusively!

cdyarger said...

Ok, I'll admit it - I panicked!! I always thought I would handle a situation like that better than I did. Guess I really MUST love this crazy guy! NO more oatmeal cookie diet and beer pong. They DO NOT mix well! I am also thankful for my brothers and sisters-in-law - both the one that stayed with Nolan and the one who made me coffee to take with me - You are all very special people and I love you!!!