Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Stormy Weather

Yesterday, the only day of half decent weather we've had this "Spring," I woke up early with vertigo. Had trouble working my way hand over hand to my espresso pot to make my morning bowl of latte. Shakily back to bed to take the small handful of pills that is my first part of the breakfast of champions in Savage land. One cigarette and a few sips of coffee and I did the hand over hand to take Cyrus out for his morning pee. If you are a new reader, please forgive me, Cyrus is my enormous dog, not my husband. No more husbands. Words to live by. Sorry if my anti-marriage sentiments offend anyone, but if you read my profile, you probably understand that I'm only speaking from my own experience and claim no universal truths are told here. I'm not even sure I believe in universal truths, but anyway.

So then I fed Cyrus, and took myself back to bed. A little morning news. Then up and at the computer. But my brain is not working particularly well, so I decide to quit will I'm slightly ahead.

I am still whirling a bit. This could be many things. Dehydration, low blood-pressure, high blood-pressure, allergies, ear problem. I drink a large glass of water, a small swig of olive oil (advise from two smart women) and a glass of orange juice. Back to bed to take my blood-pressure. I rest awhile, wanting to make sure the blood-pressure isn't artificially elevated. (Shut up about the damn cigarette and caffeine.) When I take the blood-pressure it's 190/93, pulse 140, resting. Damn.

I'm thinking, boy am I lucky. I have a doctor appointment tomorrow. We'll just see what the deal is tomorrow. Probably allergies. I take it easy the rest of the morning, reading papers and listening to news. I know, I should probably put music on and really chill, but old habits die hard. (No, no, do not give me any damn lectures).

When my blood-pressure got to be in the normal range, I ate a banana, brushed my teeth, and took Cyrus for a leisurely walk. But it was disconcertingly hot and windy. Since this is the first warm spring day, though it feels like early June, which is lovely in June. I really need to spend some time cleaning late leaves that had been lying under snow, now ringed around the ever hopeful tulips--these can't be raked. I notice that overnight the Chinese apricot has burst into bloom. That's a good sign. But the wind is blowing fiercely and hot. I can smell the leaf mold and little else. Tomorrow is garbage day, so I try to fill the brown can (used for garden waste--only that which can be turned into mulch or bark) then take all three cans to the curb. When I get in the house my eyes are tearing and my nose hurts. Mold and pollen.

The house is hot, even with the windows and door open. I turn on the ceiling fan, and get down to my tank top and yoga pants. And so it goes through the news night and posting a chapter of the book I've been writing and editing for twenty some years.

I had a lovely visit with my Administrator, purely social, no technical work. Then to bed and The Daily Show and Colbert Report. No trouble sleeping.

But this morning when I woke up, I felt awful. And it's cold today. My car won't start. Probably a loose battery wire. I want to work outside, but it's too cold, and windy again. Cyrus won't stay outside without me. And he is unusually watchful. Then it starts to rain. I have to arrange transportation to the doctor. My youngest friend insists. I say I'll take a cab home. No, no, she'll pick me up. She insists.

On the way to the doctor's office it starts to snow. SNOW! I see a female doctor who somehow never makes me wait. When I saw a male doctor, I always had to wait. What's up with that. So, I follow her back to the exam room, with only the unfortunate stop by the scale. I always want to strip at this point. Accuracy is important, don't you think? But I settle for dumping my purse and coat on a chair and the notice my boots, (yes Scarlet, my boots), then think, oh fuck it. Who cares. My clothes still fit. How bad could it be? Well, bad. Twenty pounds bad.

Then we get to the exam part. They always take my blood-pressure first because that's my main problem (all the women die of stroke, all the men, sudden cardiac failure). My oldest brother died at forty five of a massive coronary "event." Gramps, behind the wheel of his new Ford on the road home. Luckily he just slowed down and drove himself into a ditch. My Uncle Linton died in his sleep of heart failure--lucky man. The women have not fared so well in the death department. Strokes, not the big, kill-you-in-a-second kind, but the little ones that creep up on you till you're shitting yourself on a regular basis, and can't tell it's you that stinks.

Well, though my blood-pressure was normal, my heart beat was highly irregular. They insist on an EKG. They do this nearly every time I go in, about once every couple of years, usually for that irregular heart rhythm. And usually they don't show anything abnormal. But this time they do it twice, cause it looks a little hinky. Then my doctor comes in and sits down, she looks up at me and says, "You have an arterial fibrillation. This is the first time it's shown up on an EKG, but I think this has been going on for awhile. Where would you like to go for a cardiac ultra-sound?" So, tomorrow I get an expensive test I can't afford. Then I get to see a fancy shmantsy cardiologist for a consult. It'll be a damn long time before I can afford lemons again.


Linda Sama said...

saw your comment, utah, was glad to help ya re the photo...
so sorry about how you're feeling, take care of yourself!

and I'm anti-marriage, too...and I'm married....;)

wishing you a peaceful heart and heartful peace....

susan said...

I've been reading a few of your posts - earlier ones as well as recent and thought I should let you know how impressed I am with your ability to capture your memories and retell them so beautifully. They aren't always comfortable to read but no life worth remembering can be lived without pain.

I hope your health improves. The body weakens but your spirit burns white hot.

Utah Savage said...

Bless the kindness of women friends.

Anita said...

UT --- take care of yourself.

As a woman who lives alone -- by choice (although I have two feline friends who keep me company)--- I find the one main downside of solitary living is when it comes to not always being your own best friend (yes, I know that is a cliche).

But also, the state of the medical profession these days makes one want to ignore anything bad for fear that that one's "health care provider" will give just one increment LESS than a shit about you. Or even less, two increments. So why bother.

When my mother was alive at least I had her to remind me to get my flu shot (which I never did ... but it really, and I mean this, it was the thought sent in love and concern that counted ... nobody tells me to get a flu shot any more). Also, when I was sick she would call me to make sure I had at least some toast and tea in the morning. Which I probably didn't do, but again I was the loving thought that counted. Same with a mammogram.

After two-plus years of being missing in action (in terms of taking care of the basics of my health ... and yes I have health insurance ... as well as in terms of check-ups and stuff), I've finally made an appointment with my GYN in the city. I was hoping to find doctors up here but I have this weird quirky thing (and it may not be entirely fair) that I don't want to go to doctors who were not educated in the U.S. It's just my thing, and it has nothing to do with the ethnicity of the doctor, just where his or her education was received. So, I'll be hopping on the train (or venturing south in my trusty Subaru) over the next few months to find out if I'm going to live a couple of years or more.

In the end, really, what's the difference.

Tea. Lots of tea, that's my motto. And I've discovered a new one recently, from Clipper of England ... Organic White Tea with Ginger. Yum Squared.

Stella said...

Oh, Utah, so terribly sorry. Please take care of your health. The cardiac ultrasound is a great idea. Anita's right Tea. Lots of tea. Nothing soothes the soul quite as well.

I'm not so much anti-marriage as I am against women who can't think of anything else because that's all society teaches them. I don't believe anyone who hasn't had at least a live-in relationship realizes that the fire burns low and if you can't have a good partner in the day-to-day "stuff," you'll either be miserable in the marriage or divorced. There's so much we don't learn.

I am married, but waited until I was MUCH older. By that time, I was already bordering on becoming curmugeon (my life's goal) and would know what I wanted if anything turned up. Just in the right place at the right time I guess.

Well, Utah, great wordsmith that you are, I think Susan so perfectly echoes what I felt. You weave your words brilliantly until the reader is absorbed.

I am so sad for your pain, but your stories touch many of us. What a lucky day for me when I stumbled across your blog. I was looking at links on my own blog to see who else liked a Modest Proposal. What a gift of writing you have.