It was a pretty steep little hill, but it promised to be the only hill on our planned ride near Carlyle Lake. We were both winded (and OLD), but this was different. Patty seldom quits on anything, but it didn’t take too much to convince her to park the bikes.
There were no other symptoms, so we cooled it around the campsite and went on to spend a quiet couple days with cousins. But, by unspoken agreement, we were heading home for some medical advice -- at a leisurely pace.
We stopped at beautiful Giant City State Park in Illinois and ate the famous (Heart-healthy, I’m sure) fried chicken in the lovely stone lodge that Al’s father built as a young engineer with the CCC.
We followed the back roads South through Mississippi Delta country skirting the big weather and trying to figure out the mechanics of catfish farming.
We’d heard of Pickensville COE but we were wowed by its natural beauty. There were six campers in 176 spaces. The still black waters of Clear Lake are beautiful in the sunset; Tug boats eased through the channel behind our campsite on the way to nearby locks .
We were close to home now, doctor appointment booked, and we took a few minutes to drive through other Alabama COE sites we had never thought to include in our travels –-”Too close.” Prairie Creek near Selma was equally lovely and Gunter Hill (nearly in our backyard) has opened a new loop which looks for all the world like an upscale suburban neighborhood with Motor homes instead of houses. The staff we talked with were friendly and welcoming (It is Alabama after all.)
So we were pleasantly distracted as we unloaded at home. No new symptoms, little anxiety, just some questions…
Then things started happening FAST
EKG…ECHOCARDIOGRAM …”Here is a prescription for Nitroglycerine.” … get a stress test in a few days…No, right now… we think a more sophisticated stress test would be best… See you a few days for the results…”No, could you come in tomorrow?” … Really, the doctor has seen your results; come in NOW. We will wait for you…. “You have had a HEART ATTACK” …HOSPITAL…5AM TOMMOROW !!!
STENT….DRAMATICALLY IMPROVED BLOOD FLOW…NO HEART MUSCLE DAMAGE
“With your family history, it was probably your active lifestyle that got you to 68.”
“No bike for a couple of weeks, then start slowly. You can start walking right now.”
Patty, who remembers childbirth as a minor discomfort “like indigestion”, claims that she never really felt bad and feels “the same” after the little medical adventure. She was on her feet all morning baking within a couple days…YOU tell her; she won’t listen to me.