Trip to the doctor

My early understanding of triathlon was very simple, maybe even ignorant, first swim, then bike and finally run across the finishline.  Then my excitment for the sport grew and it was neccessary to understand and be able to answer one question, how can I become the best triathlete I can be?  My ongoing adventure to seek out this answer started a couple of years ago.  I sought out answers on the internet, magazines, medical journals, conversations with friends, anywhere that would make me a better triathlete. I had become a student of the game.  As I explore different avenues I have come to realize that in order for me to become the triathlete I know I can, I need to understand how my body works, adapts and responds to the many stresses of triathlon specific training.

Most people are nervous to go to the doctor becuase they are afraid of what they might find out. Im not a huge fan of going to the doctor either since they usually are no help and offer no more insight on what I already suspect is wrong. However with the growing desire to understand my body I was excited to head to the doctor to see what the hell is going on.  

I honestly can't remember the last time I went to the doctor. To put things in perspective the last time I went to the doctor's office the doctor measured my weight and height, took my blood pressure and stuck that thing in my ears (I still have no idea what they are looking for when they do that).

My trip to the doctor on Friday (6/28) was eye opening.  Besides the basics (mentioned above) my "resting" pulse was taken as well as my blood oxygen saturation level.  Both of these measurements were taken by an IPod sized device with a plastic clip that was attached to my index finger.  Now, I have to argue my resting heart rate which was 67 BPM.  First, the nurse took it while I was sitting up.  I thought my true resting heart rate should be taken upon waking up and while laying down.  My resting heart rate should be lower and Im officially calling shananigans on that measurement.  My blood oxygen saturation level was 97%.  I was immediately annoyed that it wasn't 100% and questioned the nurse.  She said she has only seen a 100% saturation level a couple of times. I guess I'll have to settle for 97%. I also weighed 185 lbs (fully clothed with wallet and phone).  Talk about a clydsdale in the making.  What else should I have expected after stuffing my face for a month straight? After these tests I was then hooked up to an EKG machine! This was going to be awesome and when did an EKG become standard protocol?  Anyway, I had about 8 chords/wires hooked up to my body (one on each arm, a few on my chest and one on each leg right around my calves)  Literlly one second later the test was complete?  It took a few minutes to hook this machine up to me and only one second for it to obtain a reading?  I was very excited and eager to look at and find out what type of information I could extract from this EKG report.

The doctor entered the room and immediately examined my EKG.  "So you're an athlete?" I instantly perked up, "yes I am, how did you know that looking at my EKG?"  He then pointed out my low heart rate (told you it was lower than 67BPM) and that my left ventricle was strong and muscular.  Keep in mind that an EKG read out is just a line with peaks and troughs so how he concluded that I have no idea but, it did make me happy that despite feeling like shit and not training for the past month and half that I still represented an athlete on the inside.

After the EKG breakdown I began to take the doctor through the past 6 months making sure to tell him every last detail (my training volume, nutrition, levels of fatigue, light headedness, headaches, sleep paterns, worries, concerns, fears etc.)  I wanted to ensure he had a complete understanding on how I was feeling so  he could make the correct diagnosis.  He asked me a few follow up questions about my headaches or should I say migranes?  I told him they weren't my concern.  Being lightheaded for the past week all day long had become my major concern.  He concluded that I needed blood work done and I immediately agreed with him.

He began to rattle off a series of test names which I immediately questioned to find out what each one measured.  I asked if these tested for all hormonal imbalances?  He responded, no, so I proceeded to tell him that I wanted to be tested for EVERYTHING!  I also requested a cortisol test and he threw in a Lymes Disease test, and a diabetes test for good measure.

Annoyingly I could not have my blood drawn there so I have to wait until Monday for the blood work.





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