Sunday, December 14, 2008

Wacky couple of days

I left y'all stranded for a bit, but not without good reason.

I spent most of the day Friday in the hospital emergency room, getting all checked out for a sudden onset of right lateral chest pain; wired up, x-rayed, and poked/prodded.

This story actually started back in 95 when I was spraying up a frame in a lush metallic purple. It was early in my building career and I was still young, stupid, and eager to find my place in the world of frame fabrication. I was sharing shop space, had constructed a make shift paint booth, and had a frame to finish up and get out by the weekend. I had left my respirator at worries, I thought, I'll just make sure the fan is running on high, have good cross through ventilation and move fast. I was laying down Dupont Imron, a now notoriously nasty chemical paint system, and had a final color layer and the clears to go. I shot the frame without respiratory protection, cleaned up, and went about my business feeling great. What I did not know was the exposure I had succumbed to and the eventual problems I would face.

Later that day and into the next, I began having chest discomfort, numbness in my hands, and an aching in my jaw and teeth that would not stop. I finally allowed my co-workers at the fire department to convince me to go to the Emergency Room, where it turned out I was experiencing a heart attack at the tender age of 25. Turns out that acute exposure to Imron has the side effect of coronary vasospasm, a physiologic condition that prevents the natural flow of blood to the heart, therefore depriving the myocardium of oxygen. Three hospitals, lots of medical tests, and emotional ups and downs later I was discharged.

A week later, while hiking with my climbing pack for some "cardiac rehabilitation", I began to experience a very rapid heart rate, so fast that I could not count it. Subsequent weeks of testing revealed I had developed a lethal ventricular tachycardia and was told that I was finished in both the Fire Department and as a builder, as the requisite internal cardiac defibrillator was not compatible with either the physical aspect of firefighting or the electrical fields created by welding and machining.

Ever the stubborn patient, I pushed for a widening of the accepted parameters of a patient with my cardiac condition, and have successfully continued my life with a smile, albeit with some restrictions.

I tell you all this to get back to the present with some familiarity of context. Friday's pain is the first complication I've had in nearly 12 years, and although nothing definitive was found, it was enough to make me take a brief break. So, I did not get as much accomplished this week as I'd hoped, but did get back in the shop for a half day both Saturday and today. Here's what got done...

Eric's frame/fork/stem is all sprayed up with a vanilla cream powder and I'm getting ready to begin masking for the subsequent layers of wet paint tomorrow.

I also got to looking at the custom rack and just was not feeling the design, so I began making a new one today...I figure Eric's been so patient waiting for the matching Hot Rods I might as well take advantage of the time and insure that the whole package is super duper spot on and that I'm totally happy with it. Got the basic rack fabbed up, the eyelet inserts machined, and will work on the final riser pieces in the next few days.

Here's a shot of the eyelet inserts that will be brazed into the rack tubing...

Christi and I worked on a few items to ship order of bars for Eric at the Slippery Pig, Phoenix's hippest mountain bike shop, some tees from the BF sale, and some random bearings and collars for the Fat Community.

Gonna lace up some wheels tonight and am looking forward to hitting the paint booth tomorrow.

Final thought...embrace the day and give your family and friends a hug and let them know how much you appreciate them, cause life can change in a flash.




Winter Bicycles said...

Beejeezum- Between you and Garro I better watch my back.

Hope all is well!

DM said...

Scary stuff. Look after yourself, Rody. Health and family come first.

Roy said...

Glad to hear they didn't find something serious this time, reading your blog and figuring out your work scedules I would say, Slow down a bit ;-)! we can all wait and your health is priority nr.1 for you and your family period. Kinda know how you feel, spend a couple days at IC in Iran during travels (on the bike) with heartfailure (most likely myocarditis)took me months to recover strength and confidence to get back on the bike... but still going strong now (will be ten years ago in 2009).
Take care! all the best Roy

laffeaux said...

Glad you're doing okay! Hopefully the health issues disappear for at least another 12 years.

The frame is looking nice. :)

We have 3-4 inches of snow on the ground right now so all biking is done for a week or two. I maybe riding inside until January. :(

Mimbres Man said...

Found your link via Garro's.
Scary stuff indeed.
I am now 48. My dad died of coronary heart disease at 64. Lately I've been riding single speed exclusively and I don't use a heart rate monitor while riding, but I try to be fully aware of my heart rate when riding. Sometimes that means stopping and letting my heart rate to go back to a normal rate.
Take care for sure!

steve garro said...

be careful there, yo! hope you are doing well! aern't life changing health issues a bitch? old dave porter is trying to learn how to braze with one eye now AND set himself on fire last year! us builders have to be careful. denise says "hi" and she says to slow down too. gotta listen to denise or she'll come kick your ass, man! steve.

Chauncey Matthews said...

What everybody said....slow down a bit dude! The world needs many more Luv Handles! ;)
Also, thanks for the background story-I've painted my last 5 frames with Imron- I read all the warnings and I'm VERY careful with it, but it's still good to get a reality check every now and then.

Merry Christmas!