Wednesday, April 21, 2010

More Cactus and Allison's Heart

Ok - I know I said no more cactus pictures, but these are just so pretty I could not resist. This is an ocotillo with the red blossoms. They had been green and leafy, but they're all dropping their leaves now. The yellow bushy things are jojoba plants.

More prickly pear.

Jim and Kim Waddle have been here this week on their way to the West Coast. It's always lovely seeing them, Kim is a brilliant cook and has a great wine cellar as well.

Tomorrow Ken Cameron is coming to install the rear vision camera. That will be our final RV action item to close before leaving for the summer. We expect to depart Sunday for a week in Fountain Hills. So, you may all expect pictures of somewhere new, and interesting.

I have had a personal set back. Beginning in January I've had 9 episodes (or events as the cardiologist likes to call them) of atrial fibrillation. My particular version occurs while bicycling; my pulse will jump to 230 and my heart bangs around in my chest like a mad jack hammer. The worst of it is that while this is happening, oxygen is not effectively flowing to my head or legs. Both of these things are bad when one is mountain biking. After some rest, it will settle into a bounding irregular 134 bpm rhythm for awhile. I've been prescribed Flecainide, which is a sodium channel blocker. As you all no doubt recall, muscle contraction occurs via the mechanism of the sodium-potassium pump pushing ions across the cell membrane. The drug seeks to limit the rate at which the heart can contract. So far the side effects are debilitating due to the fact that I can't sleep. I'm going to give it 2 weeks and then ask for something different. I'm very angry and sad about this. I feel like I had a life that I liked a lot, and now I have a new life that I don't like at all. There is a surgical option (cardiac ablation), but given my recent bad surgical karma, I'm reluctant to try it. It's hard to get an unbiased opinion on what one should do. The obvious choice would be to stop riding, but that's what Jim and I do. Some people play golf, other people ride. I want to ride, damn it. So, that's what is happening with me.

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