Wednesday, September 29

Out on Probation

Came on Vacation, Left on Probation
Well, after a lot of discussion and delay, they let me out of the hospital this afternoon - on a probationary status. Unable to find any evidence of brain damage or continuing tendency to form blood clots, the doctors decided to obsess over my heart rate. Specifically, they thought it was too low when they took it in the middle of the night last night. In the final analysis, I got out by promising to go visit the cardiologist tomorrow so he can decide if I have "bradycardia." I could see it if there was some symptom (the heart beats strongly and regularly), or my blood weren't properly oxygenated, but it seems a little overcautious since the heart rate is just fine when I'm awake and sitting up. What's more, Miguel Indurain had a resting heart rate of 28. I have a long way to go before I get into THAT class. As I told my wife, "I think I've gotten into a medical treadmill."

Darn Water Pump Must Need Work!
The neurology doctor said it was a bit like taking the car in for a shifting problem and the mechanic decides there's a water pump item that needs attention. At least they took me off the darn blood thinners so I won't bleed like crazy at the slightest provocation any more.

A close inspection of Buddy reveals no apparent damage, other than some grease on the chainstay, caused when the chain came off, apparently while I was not alert to what was going on.

I'm also under rather vague orders to "not overdo it" while on the bike for a while. I guess if I ride hard and something lets loose, I've overdone it. In the short term, my left shoulder hurts when I move much so I'll not be putting in many miles, at least for the rest of the week. I'd really also like to be done with bleeding before I ride any long distances. Regardless, I don't think I'll ride to work before next week.
A little blurb on helmets: it is interesting to note that the presumption developed among the staff, while I was in the hospital, that I was NOT wearing a helmet. I have no idea why this was the case, because I WAS wearing a helmet, which did me little, if any good because those things offer virtually no face protection and certainly do not protect shoulders. On the other hand, I have no evidence that the presence of my helmet made things worse than they would have been otherwise. The only evidence that the helmet was present was a little ding on the left side, with no evidence of foam compression. Certainly, the helmet was not used in a manner consistent with the CPSC test standard. In this case, a helmet made to the Snell standard might have done a little better because those provide added coverage area, but I don't think it would have made a big difference. It is also interesting to note that the small amount of brain bleeding that occurred was almost directly opposite the point of helmet contact. Perhaps my brain bounced around and the helmet might have made things either better or worse. In the final analysis, I'd have to say that wearing the helmet saved me from having to listen to a lot of well-intended post crash lectures. Whether or not it did more than that, we shall never know.
Damaged Helmet, Above My Left Eye
Alternate View of Damaged Helmet
Thursday Update: Take Asprin and Call Me in a Year
So, dutifully, I went to the cardiologist, in accordance with my parole. He was totally unconcerned with heart rate, instead telling me to just take an aspirin a day and call him in a year, unless I had some tangible reason to be concerned. FWIW, and because Cycler asked, my heart rate has always been on the low side for whatever weight and physical condition I happened to be in. I really can't say that cycling has really changed it a whole lot, because as I cycle more, I do other stuff less. It all balances out. The lesson is: when getting a pulse checked in the middle of the night at a hospital, I'm going to think "stressful thoughts" or start waving arms around to get things pumped up a skosh. As for the cardiologist, I think he had enough sick people to make his Lexus payments that he didn't need me cluttering up his office.

It was also interesting to hear the cardiologist talk about the heart rates of pro cyclists. Basically, he pays them no mind, because they're often doped up enough to rob their heart data (and other health indicators) of any meaning for regular people.


RANTWICK said...

"I'd really also like to be done with bleeding before I ride any long distances"

Um, ya think? I'm pleased that you intend to get right back at it, but do it slowly, you madman.

The presumption of staff is a natural one, because everybody has been programmed to believe that helmets are the magic bullet of bike safety. Just pop one on, and nothing bad could possibly happen.

Anonymous said...

I hear you about the heart rate "issues". I'm a lab rat (not my species, my occupation) and while testing a new device for determining the condition of peripheral arteries (a 30 minute test) my resting rate went down to 42 BPM (I was meditating), for both the tests. Yes I spent over an hour hooked up to that machine because the people reading the test results remotely thought I was having some kind of medical emergency. Then they decided their machine was busted, and I had to be re-tested. My pulse started around 50 and went back down to 42 during the test as I went back to meditating (that's what I do to kill time when I can't read) and stayed there until the test was complete.

Chandra said...

Steve my friend,
Take it easy and slow.
Lots of good vibes sent your way!

Peace :)

Ed W said...

Of course you're brain damaged! You ride a bicycle instead of driving a car!

Next you'll start questioning the magic properties inherent in helmets.

Just what are we gonna do with you?

Big Oak said...

Glad you are out. Please be careful where you point your front wheel.

Justine Valinotti said...

Steve: Before you get back on your bike, I'm going to bring you some homemade chicken soup. Don't tell me you're a vegetarian: Then I'll know you really are brain damaged! ;-)

Get better, get well!

cycler said...

You need yourself one of these:
And just in case you get dizzy and fall over, maybe you should wear it all the time!
I'm a helmet wearer myself, but I share your cynicism about the non-cycling communities belief in the magic properties of styrofoam.
OTOH, single vehicle low speed crashes like yours are the ones that helmets are probably the most helpful in.
Just out of curiosity, do you know what your resting pulse rate was a) before you started biking a lot and b) before the blood thinners?
It seems like those would be important data points.
Glad you're out, even if on parole, and observe the marahoner's recovery guide by estimating what is "not pushing it" and then cutting that by half.

Apertome said...

Really glad you're home ... now I hope you heal quickly! Weird presumptions by the staff ... Ed W's comment cracked me up!

Rat Trap Press said...

I step away from my computer for a day or two and all of this happens. Well, I'm glad you're doing okay. I can recommend a great orthopedic surgeon for your shoulder should you need one.

acline said...

Interesting report, especially re: the helmet. In any case, I'm glad to hear you're home and recovering.

m e l i g r o s a said...

take good care of yourself
glad you are well

Anonymous said...


That's the same helmet I wear every time I throw a leg over a 2-wheeled conveyance,

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