On August 2, 2009 I completed a 100 km Audax ride, with another 30 km of commuting to the start and back again. The ride turned out to be a bit competitive with a nice pace being set on the second 50 km with a couple of other riders.Â I felt really good on the ride, working a fair bit out front and when I got back to Anneâ€™s I took the dogs for a hard walk, still feeling the buzz.
A couple of hours later this feeling would go a bit pear shape.Â I had just settled down in front of the computer to check emails, twitter etc and I suddenly felt dizzy.Â Next thing I know I found myself on the floor.Â This scenario of going out cold was to happen three more times before I was taken to hospital.
Fremantle Hospital, based on my symptoms and my dayâ€™s riding determined that my likely cause for these feints was de-hydration and kept me over night on a drip. However, as I have a stent in my heart they recommended a echocardiogram and a holter monitor test. Following consultation with my GP Dr Steve Dorevitch at the Odin Road Medical Centre, I booked into Mount Cardiology August 7, 2009 for the echocardiogram and to be fitted for the holter monitor test.Â Preliminary feedback from the echocardiogram was nothing structurally wrong with my heart which was nice to know.
So fitted with the holter monitor I participated in the Freo Wheelers Group 3 hills ride on Saturday.Â My thinking was this was a good ride where I should get a work out and it will show any issues with my heart and hopefully put this aspect to rest.
Well the ride was not my best. I stayed on Mikeâ€™s wheel on the breakaway through to Mundaring without much drama and then that was the end of me. I struggled to stay with the group for the rest of the ride; not normal for me with this group. I can normally hold my own.
Saturday afternoon I was shopping at Coles when the dizziness came back. I thought great, here I go, I am going to collapse in Coles so I grabbed a shelf in anticipation, but thankfully nothing worse happened.Â This was to be repeated on the drive home (not a smart move driving I know).
Once I got home, things settled down a bit and on Monday I made an appointment to see my Steve, my GP. Basically the outcome of that visit was I had to wait until Friday for the holter monitor test results.
Thursday evening, I got a phone call from Steve, indicating I needed to get into see my cardiologist, Dr Bernard Hockings ASAP. As it turned out my Dr Hockings was consulting in Bunbury on Friday and not available. Thanks to the efforts of Steve I was able to see Dr Michael Muhlmann, another cardiologist at the same practice, and bang I was booked into the Mount for a pace maker to be fitted on Monday, August 17, 2009. No riding and no driving till then!
The Operation and the Pacemaker
The operation was completed as planned on the afternoon of August 17, 2009. I estimate it took about an hour and the whole operation was done under local.Â The pacemaker fitted is a Guidant Insignia 1 Ultra DR Ref 1291 as supplied by Boston Scientific.
After some issues with fine tuning it the next day, I was sent home. A few hours later after experiencing similar symptoms as to what I was experiencing before the fitting of the pacemaker, I was back in the Mount under observation. Of course the symptoms never returned and I was back home on Wednesday and back to work on Thursday.
Cycling and My Pacemaker
Okay, the real focus of this posting is to discuss my early experiences with a pacemaker and cycling.Â Some pre-operation research suggested that I may have issues with my Garmin Edge 305 and the pacemaker.Â Discussion with the Bill the technician from Boston Scientific indicated that I shouldnâ€™t have any issues.
My return to cycling was delayed two weeks post-operation on the advice of Dr Hockings. As I understood it, this was more about the riding position impacting on the pacemaker rather than a pacemaker/heart issue. I guess I just need to let the pacemaker and my body properly bond before taking up riding again.
Well I am completing this posting some two weeks after getting back on my bike on September 4, 2009. Ignoring the fitness issues, how did the Garmin Edge 305 perform?Â Bill was right, no issue there. However, I did have some problems with the Edge 305 unit itself and communication between the heart rate strap but I think this was just coincidence; an issue most likely caused by a flat battery in the strap.
It terms of actually riding with a pacemaker, my artificial pacemaker does not kick in above 135 beats per minute so if I am working reasonably hard it has nothing to do and I donâ€™t notice it at all.Â The whole episode/operation etc has no noticeable effect on my riding other than I lost a fair bit of fitness over the period off the bike.Â I am however, getting that back fairly quickly.
Dr Hockings is of the view that I can resume my normal active lifestyle and early signs suggest this.
I have also now ordered a Sigma ROX 9.0 bicycle computer from Bike24.com and will update this page if their is any noticeable issues with the ROX 9.0 heart rate strap and my artificial pacemaker.