Saturday, October 25, 2014

60 Days After

Next week, two months on the dot from the time I had my heart attack, I will be back at the hospital for an echo stress test. It's a cardiac rehab thing where the doctors will see how my heart moves and functions while I'm exercising.

I hope to get some information from this - particularly how much I can push myself in my daily exercise. The past two months, I took to climbing stairs and then switching to walking.

I started doing 30 minute walks, then I got bored so I did 40 minute walks. Then that became boring as well so I did hour-long walks. Now, I'm doing it twice a day and found out my speed and stamina have increased.

That hour-long walk now takes 40 minutes. I now have to walk further to meet my 60 minute target. I think I want to run, but it is not safe and I could have a heart attack, a stroke or an embolism if I do it wrong or over-exert myself. I also want to know whether I can go swimming again, but walking works for me.

One of these days, maybe tomorrow, I'll write about my walking adventures. They're pretty dumb and interesting, like Jiro Takiguchi and his comic book.

The 60 days also saw a huge change in my lifestyle. First up, no cigarettes. I quit smoking cold turkey and have never had a single stick since the day I got a heart attack.

I reformatted my diet. I asked my sister - a control and health freak - to set up a system for me. I took the system and improved it for my own use. Her recipe to make soup, I have altered to include things I need, such as tomatoes due to my meds not allowing me to have vegetables.

Oh yeah, the doctors found blood clots in my heart, which is potentially life-threatening. So they prescribed Warfarin for me. Warfarin is very sensitive to many things so I had to get rid of leafy green vegetables which formed a large part of my diet. I also stopped taking garlic, western herbs, soy products and a bunch of other stuff.

I also cannot drink cranberry juice, or I might die of brain hemorrhage. It's fucking serious. My friends and family members save for my sister will never be able to understand all this. In some cases, they're dumb. In others, they're delusional or in denial. Also, there is an anti-knowledge culture in our society.

Each person's medical condition is different, but for most people out there, these are just broad categories. "He has hart disease." "Oh? DUUUUUUUUUUH What colour pill does he take?" "She has diabetes? Does she take injections or does she take pills? Are they gonna cut off her foot?"

It doesn't help that most of the medical fraternity in Malaysia do not explain. Thank God for Google.

I'm always pissed off with our dumb society and our stupid people. This is what got me sick in the first place. That and cigarettes and an extremely unhealthy diet. But mostly it was idiots.

After the heart attack, in these two months, I have had a few days when I felt sorry for myself but for the most part, I felt lucky. My sister kept on bugging me about it. "You don't realise how lucky you are."

I had the strength and presence of mind to go to the hospital. We did reach the ER on time. I responded to the anti-thrombolytic agent they injected in me (probably Heparin) as an emergency treatment, I responded to medication, my arteries were okay with the angiogram and angioplasty. I was not allergic to anything. The list goes on.

In terms of my mental well-being, I am quite okay. I'm confident I can keep my cholesterol level low, that I can keep on not smoking, and maintaining my exercise regime. I believe I can get my heart to function better after six months.

In fact, I want to increase the intensity of my exercise regime, and I want to go longer. I want to check out the newly refurbished public gym at Bangsar Sports Complex. I'll have to wait for Wednesday to find out from the doctors.