Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Christmas 2010

I'm back in PEI gearing up for my last semester of my undergraduate degree after a fabulous 3 weeks at home. I was less than enthusiastic to come back and get back to the grind but knowing it's the last time I'll have to do so for a while was a motivating factor. It feels like I never left even though my trip home was definitely eventful.

My first week in Mississauga was awesome; baking parties, seeing friends I haven't seen in way too long, training with the canoe club and spending quality time with the fam jam. Couldn't get much better! The week that followed was almost the complete opposite. Tuesday, Alex and I had all 4 of our wisdom teeth taken out which wasn't nearly as bad as I was anticipating.
Wednesday, I passed out in my kitchen and, according to my mom who luckily happened to be there to catch me, I seized and was unconscious for about 40 seconds - 1 minute. I was taken to the hospital and stayed over night for observation, and then I was transfered to the hospital where my cardiologist and the HCM specialist is. After a second night in the hospital, it was recommended that I get an Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator given my family history and the genetic mutation responsible for HCM. I was really lucky because the staff at the hospital were unreal and let me go home for Christmas eve and then somehow got me close to the top of the list for surgeries. I had the device implanted at about noon on Christmas Day and was home by 7pm the same day. My family post-poned Christmas dinner to Boxing day so I still got a giant turkey dinner and stuffing and pie and mississippi mud and all the Parkes family Christmas essentials.

I was awake for the procedure. They gave me a sedative and a local anesthetic and threw a blanket over my head so I couldn't see anything. I think I spent the 45 minutes it took dosing on and off but I could feel the surgeon tugging and pulling and testing the device and then stitching me up. Having the device tested was the weirdest feeling ever. I could hear the surgeon tell the tech a bunch of numbers and next thing I know my heart rate is going through the roof! The surgery went well though and the recovery wasn't all that bad. My last week at home was consumed mostly with lazing around which I like to think can be considered "recovering".

I'm not quite sure how I feel about having the defibrillator yet. I'm not sure it's sunk in entirely yet. Already I can tell that I am going to lose, at least initially, quite a bit of the range of motion in my left shoulder. The device still feels like a foreign body in my shoulder, which it is, but I'm hoping that I'll get used to it and it won't feel so obviously bulky and huge all the time. I'm also hoping that my scar isn't noticeable once it heals, as it's right under my collarbone and quite visible in most clothes. I'm not allowed to do much with my left arm for the next month, but once I'm allowed to train again, I'll get a better feel for how inhibiting it is. Until then I'm planning on going to physiotherapy to make sure that I am doing all I can to ensure that my shoulder doesn't get too messed up and that I don't hurt myself when I get back into the pool and the weight room and back to training 3 weeks from now. I have a feeling it's going to be a longer process getting back to where I was pre-surgery than I originally thought it would be, but I suppose only time will tell.

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