Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Set your body free

Nothing is more frightening than suddenly having a medical incident that scares you to death. As an avid skier and general dumb as they come action sport participant, I have managed to rack up many an injury. One of my most trivial, yet most scary, is the curious case of the re-appearing broken ribs.

After skiing for a day, I decided to hot dog off a jump and do a quick grab. I'm not a park and piper. Yah, I'll drop 20 feet off a cliff and giggle, but the actual act of launching up in to the air on skiis terrifies me. Which is hilarious because I love that feeling while BMXing or wakeboarding... eh. I came down a little fast, caught my ski behind me and landed squarely on my left lower rib cage. Pop... Pop... Pop... Three broken ribs.

Flash forward 5 years or so...

After a hard workout... WHOOOAAA... Why does my chest hurt so badly??? HOLY CRAP! Am I having a heart attack??? To make a long story short, I went to a few docs and was diagnosed with being an idiot (as far as my chosen hobbies) who ripped up the muscles in his rib cage pretty badly. The stress from med school didn't help (do you know how bad boards are???) and things spiraled. Thank God that it was just muscle and bone, not heart.

So what if it was heart? Do you know what to do? It's something EVERY athlete should be aware of. You never know where or who an MI (the medical short-hand for heart attack) can happen to. Plenty have happened in middle of nowhere, just as a ton have happened in the home.

1. Crushing chest pain (mine was sharp and didn't feel like an elephant). In fact, having an elephant on your chest is a common complaint

2. Pain in LEFT shoulder, or LEFT jaw. Also pain radiating in your back

3. generally feeling like crap, even a feeling of doom.

4. general super awareness of your heart, be it fast or slow (depends on the exact cardiac event). Palpitations (thumping more or less, out of rhythm) can be felt

IF these symptoms show up, CALL 911 or push the freaking button on your spot!
Best of luck to you out there! Oh yah, get yourself a CPR lesson. Save someones life. You'll feel so bad-a.

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