Thursday, July 2, 2015

Well, that wasn't exactly optimal but it could have been worse. "No one withstands The Machine."

So, the other morning I was walking into Lowe's looking for some lumber when I got up to the door and had to sit down. Classic symptoms of a heart attack -- stabbing pain in the heart radiating down the left arm, indigestion, numbness. Holy crap, I thought, I've never had one of these before. Since I wasn't far from Rosey's work, I called her to come and get me to take me to the ER (acting on previous experience of a friend that it takes the EMT's out that way at least five minutes to drop their doughnuts and get behind the wheel of their vehicle).
So, I get there and they agree with me that it is classic symptoms, but the EKG is (more or less) normal. They admit me for observation. That night, someone comes into my room and hangs a bag of magnesium solution in my IV. What's that? I ask. They tell me. Why do I need that? The nurse tells me they have discovered from my bloodwork that I have an acute magnesium deficiency.
Hypomagnesemia (or hypomagnesaemia) is an electrolyte disturbance in which there is an abnormally low level of magnesium in the blood. . . Hypomagnesemia may result from a number of conditions including inadequate intake of magnesium, chronic diarrhea, malabsorption, alcoholism, chronic stress, and medications such as diuretic use among others. . .
Of course, I have to take diuretics every now and then to ward off water build-up that might lead to congestive heart failure and the trip to Washington had my legs and feet swollen so I was taking it again. I have also been struggling with chronic diarrhea and as far as stress, well, it comes with job. Magnesium is needed to help the smooth muscles, like the heart, fire in proper order. Lack of it can simulate a heart attack, which I discovered quite by accident.
Deficiency of magnesium causes weakness, muscle cramps, abnormal heart rhythms, increased irritability of the nervous system with tremors, athetosis, jerking, nystagmus, and an extensor plantar reflex. In addition, there may be confusion, disorientation, hallucinations, depression, epileptic fits, hypertension, a fast heart rate, and tetany.
The Albino: Well, the Prince and Count always insist on everyone being healthy before they're broken.
Westley: So it's to be torture?
The Albino: [nods enthusiastically]
Westley: I can cope with torture.
The Albino: [shakes head enthusiastically]
Westley: Don't believe me?
The Albino: You survived the Fire Swamp, so you must be very brave, but no one withstands The Machine. -- The Princess Bride, 1987.
Well, I sure had weakness and irritability on the WA trip, although I guess I should be grateful that I didn't get too deep down the well until my little "heart attack." Of course the cardiac docs, being cardiac docs and having me in their clutches, scheduled me for a stress test anyway yesterday morning, although because they didn't make early morning rounds I hadn't had a chance to discuss the fact with them that given the magnesium deficiency it probably wouldn't tell us anything. So, off I went to meet The Machine.
My heart has been gradually slowing down over the years until the usual resting rate is between 40 and 50 beats a minute. I also have a chronic arrhythmia that is not particularly worrisome, but something to keep an eye on. So, they tell me I've got to do the treadmill until the heart rate gets up to their standard written down on this piece of paper (they actually point to the piece of paper) -- 130 beats per minute. I last until I get to 102 and I'm throwing PVCs with abandon then, on the verge of a real heart attack, I quit on them. They're upset. They write down that I quit on them and they're very disappointed. I later find out from the cardio doc that he would have been happy to see what it was like at 102. Well, I said, you need to get that across to the violators of the Geneva Convention downstairs. Anyway, he agrees that whole exercise, while not exactly pointless, was probably not needed since we have accidentally discovered that it was an acute magnesium deficiency all along. Gee thanks, Doc.
So they discharged me late this morning with magnesium pills and advice to go easy on the diuretic (easier said than done) and the chronic diarrhea (like I could turn THAT off). Sorry I was unable to post while there because the hospital had my site blocked for "no security certificate" and "inappropriate content" (it seemed to alternate excuses, strangely enough).
Anyway, I'm back and I'm sorry I gave the One Hundred Life and Casualty Company consternation at my unexplained absence.


Anonymous said...

We're glad that you are better! I didn't want to have to settle the claim on the life insurance just yet.

You are doing some awesome work right now. LFA is turning into a homerun with it's growth in the region. Good folks with some support from a veteran like you is all it took.

We need to replicate that all over the place.

California Patriot said...

Whew! I was worried about you as I always check your site a couple times a day...the lack of current articles made me start praying for you! I am so glad to hear yo are now home! May God's Blessings and continual Covering be over you, Mike!

Anonymous said...

Glad you're up and running again!!

Joe said...

Glad you're still with us, sir.

W W Woodward said...

Welcome back, It's good to know that you are still your old irascible self. Take it easy for a while (at least an hour or two). God bless you, Mike.

Greg Wilson said...

Mike, I was concerned about you, given the lack of postings. You, sir, are an inspiration to us all. Stay in the fight! You remain much in our prayers. God Bless!

Arkindole said...

Dang man...good to see you back. You've been putting out some great writings and doing awesome footwork. Stay healthy.
(ya don't have to post this...)

FedUp said...

I was glad to learn about this from David's blog yesterday.
It made me do some internet investigation that might lead to a solution for my chronic fatigue.

Universal supplements aren't much help. Centrum gives you 13% of RDA, and RDA is a survivable intake, not an optimal intake.

Anonymous said...

Another happy customer of "one size fits all" medical practices....

Glad you had more sense than the people monitoring your stress test.

Anonymous said...

The treadmill thing can be a good change of pace, my father is a type 2 diabetic and almost 70. He has been on the treadmill since he had a heart attack in the late 90s and even if its just a few times a week, it has really helped in the long term. He had to give up chicken fried steak or get on the treadmill, so I guess in that lens it was a pretty easy choice.

Hang in there Mike!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you're O.K., but we'll sure miss you at Westcliffe this year.

Anonymous said...


The following product will give you magnesium in a pleasant form, easily absorbed, and greater effective potency than pills. I've used it for several years:

2-3 doses per day for a while, at least 1 a day for maintenance, end of problem.

Thank you for all you do. Stay with us.

prambo said...

Glad to see you back and back at it - have to admit I was worried at the sudden absence after an incredible run of well done posts.

Magnesium, I'll have to see where mine is.

Lisa said...

Hi, Michael.

I'm so pleased to learn that you're doing better and home with Rosey now.

Please do take care and be good to your body as you mend.

Much love,


Tom said...

Glad to here everything is better.

Anonymous said...

My motto, or at least one of them, especially when I'm having a bad day, health or otherwise, is "it could be worse." I try to keep that in mind and I remind myself of the folks who have a much tougher row to hoe than I do. Keep up the good work.

Ned said...

Been there, done that. But with other cancer related complications, but I totally understand.

Best wishes to you - and the family. Peace be with you all.

Carl Stevenson said...

Glad it was "just" a Mg deficiency, rather than "the real thing!"
Try to take it easy for a few days.

j said...

I figured you were up to some kind of skullduggery. Only reason I wasn't worried too much was I knew that Rosey or one of the kids would let me know if I was needed in whatever capacity. You have my number, too, so remember I'm here if you need. God be with you.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad to see you back posting! I've been very worried about you since someone on a forum gave the update that David Codrea had posted about.
Welcome back! And don't worry us like that again.

Ramsey A Bear said...

God bless you Mike and I am glad you are OK-ish.

Dymphna said...

Being in charge of the Baron's health regimen, I can tell you that magnesium is VERY important and that most SCAs, post-mortem, are found to have low magnesium levels.

That said, be vigilant about WHAT magnesium you take. If they gave you cheap mag. oxide, toss 'em.

The kinds I have the Baron on:

Magnesium threonate (passes the brain blood barrier) capsules
Magnesium chloride (more or less). It's the liquid kind, applied to your skin. Feels kind of oily until you rub it in. Therefore often called mag. oil
When the "oil" wasn't enough for leg cramps, I had him take a half tsp. of Tri-Salts. That's bicarbonate of calcium, magnesium, and potassium...all are crucial if you're taking a diuretic.
Magnesium malate - the form I take.

That bicarbonate mixture is small amounts of the three in combination and is much better than taking any of them alone. Except magnesium: you need that separately in larger amounts than the Tri-Carb.

Good luck.

Gates of Vienna

You need a work-up by a skilled (NON-mainstream medicine) nutritionist, the sooner the better. Docs don't know much about nutrition or they'd have cleared up your bowel problem a long time ago. That problem could be partly addressed by fermented foods and micronutrients taken daily. Our farming soils are so depleted they don't give us much of what we need.

Anonymous said...

The Lord hears and answers prayers.
He gave SOMEONE the skill to diagnose your problem.
Thank goodness it's easily remedied.

B Woodman

Anonymous said...

Glad you're OK and found out the importance of magnesium. Our farmlands have been long played out of minerals for the vegetables to uptake so everyone must supplement and as a previous reply stated a liquid for is easier for the body to absorb than a pill. The old remedy for sore muscles was a Epsom salt bath, which is magnesium. And the skin can absorb a lot. Same with the soles of the feet, so a foot soak in Epsom also works wonders. They sell gels in health food stores for the same application.

Curt said...

Praise the Lord and pass the magnesium!

Dymphna said...

An Epsom salts bath is great. But don't let the water out. Instead, use a gallon milk jug with the top cut off and scoop it up to pour on your plants. Ever since I started our fruit trees on a good handful of Epsom salts straight, applied at the root line, we have a bigger yield. I do it in the Fall, but I'm sure the needs for each fruit are different. We have pears and peaches and and ancient June berry tree. Our lilacs are right fond of it too.

Now that we have a straw bale garden, I'll be conditioning next Spring's bales with handsful of the stuff straight onto the top of the bales, two weeks before I plant anything. Am still working out the right mix of nutrients for straw bales. Despite the experts, I doubt that grass fertilizer is sufficient. Necessary, yeah, but not sufficient- e.g., where I put the tomatoes needs a different mix than the space for herbs whose flowering I want to discourage, e.g., basil.

Ned said...

Been there, done that. I understand, for the most part, how you felt. Went to ER for same/similar problem.

Peace be with you, the family and all friends and supporters.