Well, I found out why I’m hitting a wall with my DDR skills, and why I simply can’t do hard 10-footers or the nasty level 11s, 12s, and 13s of ITG. I long believed this to be the case, but I ran into a study by the American Heart Association that specifically covers patients with a corrected transposition by the Mustard procedure, congenitally corrected transposition, and a similar group having undergone a revised Fontan. The asymptomatic (no congestive heart failure) group–that’s me–expressed higher cardiac output than the symptomatic group, but was still only 53-61% that of a regular person.
You read that right. My heart has to work twice as hard as a regular persons’ when I’m exercising. Ryan Jones, who routinely mops the floor with me on the harder DDR songs, complains he can only do Max300 or Legend of Max, or Paranoia Survivor a few times before he’s outright exhausted. I’ve never been able to do those songs after five years of playing, mostly because I just get too damn tired by the middle, and by the end I can barely move my legs at all. This is after five years of conditioning; I have a lot of long-term stamina, but no short-term output. Now I know why. Incidentally, after being on an ACE inhibitor for two years, I’ve noticed my output has increased; I can almost get 1/4 through the end of Paranoia Survivor, and I’ve passed 86% on Tribal Style Expert. But even then, it’s like driving a little Honda at highway speeds in second gear; my heart rate sits above 180 most of the time and peaks at 205. I’m a highly conditioned athlete for a heart patient, but I think I see where this is going: I need to cut back and maybe give up on harder songs entirely. Constantly redlining isn’t good for cars or people.
Oh, and as a side note, the study also suggested a decreased incidence of heart failure as the age of corrective surgery decreased. Since the double-switch (what I’d need) is so new, I’ve never had my transposition corrected, and I’m way too old to survive the surgery now. They fixed the worst stuff in 1984, but I’ve still got a nasty stew of uncorrected defects, overstressed valves, and abnormal morphology. The mortality rate quoted in the study was only about 30% of patients with my condition over a period of 15 years, so I’m not too worried. But I will definitely scamper straight to my cardiologist if something appears amiss.