Preparing for a Martial Arts Promotion - What it Takes to Move Forward
Achieving Enlightenment Practicing Hsing-I, Tai Chi or Bagua

The Road Back - Yin and Yang - Good News and Bad

I've been working very hard to get back to good health after three heart surgeries that culminated in pneumonia three months ago. The heart surgeries were a cakewalk compared with pneumonia. It has kicked my butt for 90 days and still has me in its grip.

On Friday, I completely lost my voice. Couldn't squeak out a word. The doctor told me to rest it as much as possible, so I've tried to be quiet all weekend. I hate to punish Nancy that way. She can't hear my insightful comments on the world. :)

Yesterday, I coughed up blood four different times. Not just a fleck or two, either. We're talking two or three tablespoons per episode. The last time, at about 10:30 last night, wasn't as bad as the others earlier in the day. But by that time, I was seriously concerned and ready to head for the hospital. I decided to see what happened today. So far, so good.

The theory that the doctors and I have been working on is that severe coughing for two months after the last heart surgery and resulting pneumonia (I aspirated something into the lungs when I was unconscious during the surgery) possibly tore open a blood vessel in the lungs. I've been coughing up blood now for a month. Even though I've been chugging some heavy-duty cough syrup for the past few weeks, I still feel the need to cough stuff up, and when I do, it rips open the blood vessel again and the bleeding starts -- usually lasting 5 or 6 minutes at a time.

Yesterday, I talked with the on-call doctor (God forbid you try to reach your own doctor on the friggin' weekend) and I was given a prescription for an inhaler that stops the production of mucus. My hope is that I won't feel the need to cough anything up, and between this and the cough syrup, I can keep healing.

I practiced a Chen form yesterday for a while, between bouts of coughing blood, and pushed myself a little bit, trying to develop a little more stamina. My endurance has been shot for the past three months. Today, I feel even better from a cardio perspective, but I'm trying to keep the cough away so I'm trying not to be very active today.

Last week, preparing some students for promotions, I wanted to feel the energy and body mechanics they were using so I allowed myself to be taken down a couple of times. It isn't easy when you want to gasp for air after each takedown, so I've been pleased that even with the coughing up blood episodes, I've felt a little better each day.

The good news is my heart. I visited my genius cardiologist, Dr. Michael Giudici, this week and we're both very pleased with the results of the last surgery (other than the pneumonia). My heart is doing great -- beating normally -- and I can't wait to push the old body harder and harder to get back in shape. He told me there were no restrictions -- music to my ears.

Now, if I can stop coughing up blood and get my lungs to behave, I'll be back in business. I had to give up a couple of tournaments in March, but I have my mind set on one being held April 25th. If I can solve the mystery of the blood and heal, I can begin my comeback.

So we'll see how it goes today. I'm working hard to avoid coughing. I won't hesitate to ask my doctor tomorrow to admit me into the hospital and look for the busted blood vessel, but hopefully, I can solve this without another hospital stay.


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