Saturday, 30 August 2014

Ready to go.....

Earlier this week I took back to the hospital the heart monitor that I had been wearing for six days..... The information will be downloaded and I will find out the results when I next meet with the Cardiologist. As that appointment isn't until October, there is obviously no immediate concern about my current condition. 
With that in mind, tomorrow I head off on my Bournemouth- Holyhead- Bournemouth cycling trip..... I have shown a rough plan of my route below:-


Bournemouth-Holyhead-Bournemouth  (The Rough Route)
The plan is to cycle to Holyhead via Chepstow Shrewsbury and Bets-y-coed. On our return we will take a more direct and diagonal route via the Lon Las Cymru.

I have read some very good reports about this route and I have wanted to ride it for sometime... Over the past few years when ever the plans have been made to tackle this ride something has always cropped up to stop us doing it. That is why I wasn't going to let this heart fiasco of the last couple of weeks stop me having a go at it....

I'm doing the ride with Peter Calcutt a friend from the Backpackers Club. We will be met on the first night stop at Frome in Somerset by Howard Kelly another Backpackers Club friend who will ride with us for the next three or four days before he has to return home to prepare for another trip......
Howard recently rode with me on my South Downs MTB ride......

If all the logistics come together alright we might be joined on the last day of the trip by Jason Boynton-Lee. 
Before I retired, Jason and I used to work together and he also rode with me on the Cherbourg to Santander (ACCR) ride back in 2009.....

Although I have decided not to post daily reports as I go along on this trip.... I will be doing a proper report on the trip on my return home.... 
Following that I will start to tell you about my next 'Big Adventure' which is due to start in seven months time and will mean some major changes to my life..........

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Just Like a Stuck Throttle........

At the end of my last post I mentioned my surprise hospital visit......
If it's of interest this is what happened...

One morning I woke up and immediately felt that something wasn't quite right. It took a minute or two for me to realize what it was...

My heart seemed to be pounding away flat out.
Normally my resting heart rate is about 45bpm particularly on waking up in the morning, but this seemed way way higher. It was as if I had just cycled to the top of an alpine climb..... 
At first I put this high rate down to the possibility of a dream or nightmare that I couldn't remember and I just lay there in bed trying to relax and get the rate down to normal.

After about ten minutes nothing had changed and I don't mind admitting that I was a bit concerned.
If you have ever had the throttle on a car stick wide open, that is what this felt like, but without any means of switching it off....

Anne insisted that I rang  the emergency health line and after answering lots of questions I was told that I should get someone to drive me to the emergency dept of the local hospital within the next hour......
The Royal Bournemouth Hospital
Before long we were at the hospital emergency dept....we spoke to the girl on the reception desk and had hardly sat down before I was called into an initial consultation room by a senior nurse and the next thing I was whisked to the 'Majors' section of the department and being checked over by a couple of Doctors...

I was told it would seem that I had a bit of an electrical short circuit in my heart causing my heat to keep racing along at 155bpm.... I was told that they would try and correct it with the use of a drug which should have the effect of causing my heart to hesitate and hopefully return to it's normal rate.... I was told that I would experience a 'sinking feeling' as the drug was administered.
They tried this twice and I experienced the feeling of dropping through the floor twice, but unfortunately it didn't work....

By now I felt both tired and breathless and the decision was made for me to undergo a cardiac procedure called a 'Catheter Ablation' .... It was arranged for this to take place in the afternoon and I was taken to a room in the Cardiac Ward where I was wired up to some machines and prepared for my visit to the operating theatre......

In the early afternoon I was wheeled along the corridor and the procedure was completed....
It consisted of me being given sedation to make me drowsy...I was wired up to more machines.... Local anaesthetic was injected into my groin....tubes were then inserted into the main vein of my groin and then long thin wires were passed through the tubes and up into my heart.... X-ray machines were used throughout so that the Doctor could guide the wires to the correct place in my heart and see the heart rhythm disturbance on a computer...

Once the Doctor had located the areas of abnormal electrical activity between the heart valve and a large blood vessel in the top right chamber of my heart, the ablation was performed. 
This is done by applying radiofrequency energy which heated up the tip of one of the wires positioned in my heart.

I was told that I would be awake throughout all of this.....but although I remember the start of the procedure and I remember the end of it.... I don't remember anything from the middle part..... 
Later I was told that I had needed an electric shock to the heart in order to restore its rhythm, so that accounts for me having no memory of a good chunk of all these goings on..... 

Anyway.... my heart was restored to it's normal pace....and after a few hours of further checks and observations I was allowed home in the early evening.
I was told that my heart appeared to be fit and healthy and that it was just a bit of bad luck that this had happened.......

That was about three weeks ago...today I had a heart rate monitoring device fitted to check out my heart rate etc over the next six days.....

In ten days time I hope to be setting out on my Bournemouth-Holyhead-Bournemouth cycle trip..
I am just hoping that my heart continues to run at a nice steady pace.............

Monday, 4 August 2014

Plans....Make 'em Flexible... (part three)

........ The next morning we woke up to the sound of rain on the tents and that was the pattern for most of that day. 
We spent the time sorting things out on the bikes and around camp and just took life easy.... 
We also reflected on our decision to come off the trail and we both agreed that we were pleased not to still be riding the bikes along the track in what was now not the best riding conditions...

A check of the weather forecast was showing us that the next day was going to be a vast improvement and our plan was to take the bikes on a road route to visit Bignor Roman Villa...

The next morning as promised the sun was shining and it was dry....
We set off from our campsite at about 0930hrs and in just over an hour, after a really enjoyable ride along some lovely country roads, we arrived at the site of the villa..

First thing we did on our arrival... was to have coffee and cake...what else..!!


Howard getting his priorities right....

Coffee...Tea....and Cake.
 Bignor Roman Villa is a wonderful archaeological site that has some stunning Roman mosaics etc to see...
We both spent a really enjoyable couple of hours taking in everything that Bignor has to offer....
Throughout most of the year there are lots of School visits made to the site and it offers both fun and education for the children that visit...... (and that includes us)
Some of the stunning scenery surrounding Bignor

Some of the Bignor Mosaic floors.

Another section of mosaic showing the underfloor Roman heating ducts

Some of the Bignor buildings protecting the mosaics...

More Bignor scenery...
 After our visit we headed off to the pub about 2 miles down the road....
We had a good lunch there until eventually we headed off on our return ride back to our campsite.....
That evening we visited another pub about a mile from our campsite and enjoyed a pleasant evening chatting as we ate a very nice meal......with beer of course.... 

Tents packed and ready to head off....
The next morning, which again was bright and sunny, we broke camp and followed a road route we had worked out along country roads and lanes back to Petersfield...
It was a wonderful route, with lovely views and very quiet, in fact we only met one car until we were just a couple of miles from the town itself.......

We settled down at the outside tables of a cafe in the main square for a spot of lunch and then we headed off for the Rail Station and our respective trains home....

We'd had a really good five days out on the bikes....... it wasn't the trip that we had originally planned, but had proved to be so much better because we had decided not to stick stubbornly to our plans and had decided to be 'more flexible.'

My next trip will be my Bournemouth - Holyhead - Bournemouth trip setting off at the end of this month..... 
That will  be an 'easy' road touring trip of about 700 miles over fourteen days....no heroics...no fast pace....no battling against the clock..
Just a nice and steady touring pace with time for lot's of stops for coffee and photos.  
Well that's the plan...... it will be interesting to see how flexible those plans need to be.....!!!

NB: Sorry for my delay in posting this third and final report on the trip.....
         Truth is.... I've just had a bit of a surprise unplanned visit to the hospital....
         I will explain all in the next post

Lot's of Changes Ahead ....

I thought that it was about time that I posted another entry on this blog, although to be honest most days have seemed a bit like Groundhog...