Saturday, February 13, 2016

Stagnant, given the gravity of my health, isn't a bad thing

After my trip with First Descents, I knew kayaking was something that I wanted to make a habit of. It was a physical activity where I actually felt like I could hold my own. After searching Craigslist, I bought a beautiful green and black creek boat, which has been used nearly every weekend since its purchase date. My father spent hours teaching me how to roll, so when I flipped over, I did not always have to abandon ship. Despite hours of technique work, my boat still has yet to make its first real paddle. Up to this point, it has only been in the motionless, chlorinated waters of my grandmother’s pool. I appreciate the practice time, but at some point before the first frost I would like to get it up to the Lehigh River or out West to the Youghiogheny.

Stagnant, given the gravity of my health, isn't a bad thing

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After my trip with First Descents, I knew kayaking was something that I wanted to make a habit of. It was a physical activity where I actually felt like I could hold my own. After searching Craigslist, I bought a beautiful green and black creek boat, which has been used nearly every weekend since its purchase date. My father spent hours teaching me how to roll, so when I flipped over, I did not always have to abandon ship. Despite hours of technique work, my boat still has yet to make its first real paddle. Up to this point, it has only been in the motionless, chlorinated waters of my grandmother’s pool. I appreciate the practice time, but at some point before the first frost I would like to get it up to the Lehigh River or out West to the Youghiogheny.

On a separate note, my life has also felt rather stagnant. In part due to the state of my kayaking and partially because the last two blog stories I posted, I never finished, but mostly it is because I am in my fifth year of school. More than just my laziness has prevented me from getting to the river or writing though. First it was laziness and vacation, but then I was in the hospital for yet another pulmonary embolism right when my fall semester had started. I began this semester a week behind and had quite a bit of work to catch up on. In terms of physical strength it has been worse than still. This summer I was summiting mountains, and now I feel winded after a few flights of stairs. 

Though the last two paragraphs may paint a sad story, I am still rather content with my life. Given the gravity of the things I went through I am just happy to be healthy, relatively speaking of course. When I was in the hospital, they had to do multiple cardiac catheterizations, the third and last of which they allowed me to stay awake for. It was one of the coolest things I had ever experienced, and it allowed me to fully grasp what was happening inside of me. From the operating table in the cath lab, I watched the X-ray screens as Jonathan J. Rome, MD snaked a tube from an incision in my groin, up my femoral artery, to my lungs. Then he and his team released radioactive dye into my bloodstream. Nearly all of the blood vessel branches that make up my lungs lit up on the X-ray. It was beautiful, and also a huge relief. The cath prior had shown that only half of one lung and a third of the other was receiving blood. The clot busting medication the doctors fed through my IV, the one my father jokingly called Draino for my vessels, had done its job.

I also stay happy because I know that things will start moving and eventually I will be even better than I was. Setbacks have never affected me much. In due time I will be back in the gym, working in time to write, and hopefully this weekend I will be running brown (kayaking) with my buddy on the Youghiogheny.

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