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Mike's Blog: The Heart of a Runner, Part 06

Dialing back the machismo

Editor's note: Mike Ashland loved running. But after he moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Oregon, and began working on a home renovation with his partner, he found himself more and more exhausted. Medical tests revealed that without his knowledge, he had suffered a massive heart attack that destroyed nearly half of his heart muscle. Within a month, Ashland went from being a marathon runner to a critically ill heart patient. With no job and no health insurance, he found himself facing the most serious crisis of his life. Ashland chronicles his perilous journey in this blog.

February 13

Okay, it's an idiotic thing -- maybe a guy thing. I heard we have a cold front coming in along with some rain (and maybe snow), so I went out to the woodpile to chop and stack some extra firewood while it was still sunny outside. I know.

But I did it slowly and had nitro in my pocket.

By the time I got back into the house, I was a bit gray and wiped out, so I crashed on the couch with absolutely no sympathy from anyone. I spent the rest of the day trying to get my energy back. It's idiotic, like I said. But just hanging around waiting for the next doctor appointment or run to the emergency room doesn't cut it, either.

It felt so good to walk and move around at the coast on Saturday. Chopping a bit of wood Sunday morning wasn't so much about feeling physically good as feeling like a contributor and not an invalid. Though the pressure in my chest returned for most of the afternoon on Sunday, it disappeared shortly after going to bed and I slept like a rock.

This morning, though I'm still tired, I feel pretty darn good. BP is holding at 98/56 and almost no pain. Two days to my appointment at Oregon Health Sciences University hospital.

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