Sometimes it’s hard to sleep. The mind foolishly occupies itself all day long. Even more foolishly, when there is an opportunity to rest, it chooses to think. How adaptable is the mind, yet how stubbornly routine is the mind. All this talk of the brain; where’s the heart?
“Some people see the glass half full. Others see it half empty. I see a glass that’s twice as big as it needs to be.”― George Carlin
I have learned from my peers over at valvereplacement.org that the time (days, weeks, months, even years) leading up to one’s heart surgery is appropriately nicknamed ‘The Waiting Room’. I still have a month and a half to go, but I have learned quite a bit about coping during this difficult period. I decided to make a Waiting Room rule list. Perhaps this list can help some future valve recipient.
‘Waiting Room’ Rules
It is okay to be nervous, but do not let it consume you. Stay busy.
Bring your loved ones, and trust that they will stay with you.
Trust that your loved ones will be there (and still love you) when you get out of surgery.
Exercise while waiting. Define restrictions and limitations and stay as active as possible.
Daily responsibilities may be forgotten due to stress. Create daily checklists.
Reduce stress with any or all of the following strategies: Exercise, Yoga, meditation, reading, attending social gatherings, traveling, blogging, talking, hugging, starting new hobbies, laughing, breathing.
Crying is okay.
Do your research. Become as knowledgeable about your condition/ surgery/ recovery as your doctor.
Stay positive by following this procedure: If life seems bad, adjust perspective. Repeat if necessary.
What is each day but a series of conflicts between the right way and the easy way?
Rock Climbing has taken a backseat these days. The spikes in heart rate and blood pressure during climbing are just too huge to feel comfortable with in my condition. This is a bummer because all I want to do is climb. I’ve realized though, that there is strength training that will maintain, if not improve certain elements in my climbing. I’ve been utilizing my hangboard!
I took a simple workout plan from Steph Davis’ climbing blog. I decided on this one because it does not involve any pull-ups, just hanging. In the workout below, a ‘grip’ refers to a ‘hold’ on the hangboard. I use a Metolius Fingerboard, and did a total of 4 grips. If you plan on doing a hangboard workout, don’t forget to warm up and stretch those digits. Read the entire workout descriptions on Steph’s blog and the Metolius fingerboard workout page, linked above.
(Steph’s) Typical workout:
3 sets for each grip
set one = 7 sec hang 3 sec rest x 7 reps
2 min rest
set two = 7 sec hang 3 sec rest x 6 reps
set three = 7 sec hang 3 sec rest x 5 reps
2 min rest between grips
Doing this type of workout will do wonders for my grip strength while I take a sabbatical from actual climbing. The best news is that while doing this workout, I took my blood pressure in between sets, and found that only a mild increase in BP was involved. I can do this type of workout frequently without risk of dissection associated with dynamic strength training.