Friday, July 13, 2012

Warning: Long Post Ahead. Bring your lunch... 
...or another way I've found out that I am starting to get really old and decrepid...
I've run marathons. I've swam for a mile at a time. I've hiked up and down forested hills with an 8-gallon water bag on my back, shovel in one hand and a Pulaski in the other. I've always been rather active, and love to be outdoors whenever I can. I used to tell myself that because I did all that running way back in my 30s and 40s, that my heart was very very strong and would remain so, giving me an advantage in life. Well, guess blood pressure has been spiking lately, and my last blood pressure reading was up over the 200 mark (top number-systalic), which really freaked me out. It turns out that I feel stressed in particular situations (such as going to the doctors' officer) and "pow", my blood pressure reading is off the charts! The same thing's been happening at open-mike nights, my heart starts racing and I forget half my chords and all of my lyrics, which isn't fun.The old "naked in front of everyone" nightmare, although I do have a guitar covering up strategic places on my body.
So I'm on BLOOD--PRESSURE MEDICATION! ME! A hidden benefit is that the drug 'Propanolol' is also supposed to make a person less anxious. And so I believe I'm joining the ranks of Official Senior Citizens...the last time I went to the pharmacy, they wanted $60 bucks! Will I have to one day choose betweeen medication and food? Oh well, there is some good news, though: I've been advised to monitor my blood pressure from time to time, so I went into Wal-Mart today to strap my arm into one of those "heart rate machines", and my blood pressure was 127/62, which is a LOT better than the reading at the doctor's office. Evidently I have a hard time handling high-pressure situations. I think we all have to 'mask' pressures in everyday life, and to a point, the body can absorb that, but I'm beginning to think that as I age, the body's capability to sublimate all that goes flyin' out the window.
I've also been feeling really rundown lately...I get up, feed the birds, have breakfast, and before ya know it, I wanna go back to bed again. Tired, tired, tired. So they've got me on mega-doses of Vitamin D which are so powerful they can be taken only twice a week. And let's not forget Cholesterol, and I'm taking horse-pills of Niacin to deal with that. And that doesn't take into account the other medications I'm taking which these new medications have been added to. Right now I see ten bottles of pills and vitamins staring me in the face from on top of my nightstand. My kidneys are still good, which I see as a minor miracle since I've been bombarding them with anti-gout medication for the last six years. A person with Gout has too much uric acid, which is created 'somewhere' in the body and the kidneys are supposed to filter all that stuff out, which mine don't do. So the kidneys are doing their job, but my body makes too much uric acid. A normal Uric Acid level peaks out at about "6", and my level is just over "4". So I'm doing something right after all. But I think I need to get a tattoo of a modern-day Surgeon's warning placed somewhere on my body: "Caution: Being Me can be Hazardous To My Health".
I'm taking a couple of anti-depressants also. Last time, the doctor, added a new pill and had me cut back on the other pill, and this time around, he increased that 2nd pill to the amount I was taking before he reduced the number because of the New pill. That almost makes sense. But that's fine with me 'cos I sleep better. My new doctor comes from India, I believe, and although there are some language problems...he speaks a little 'fast' and sometimes accentuates the wrong syllable, I'm sure he means well, and so far, I'm happy with him. He really seems to be interested in navigating a patient's condition and trying to better it with various medical cocktails. During appointments, he types out instructions to the patient on a computer, then prints them out, so the patient has all of the doctor's instructions right there, to take home, and I think that's really great. I'm glad he does that; it's getting to the place where I'm taking so many pills on so many consumption schedules that I feel somewhat like a pill-juggler. And so there's reason to have hope. I still have my health, with the possibility that things'll get even better. So I'm grateful, at least for now.
RING, RING GOES THE BELL: Next month, I'll be heading back to my old hometown for our 40th high school class reunion. I still stay in touch with goings-on up there, but there's been so much new development that I'll probably barely recognize the place. It'll be interesting; after 6 years away; I'll run head-on into some strange mental do I feel about a place I'm no longer part-of? Will I miss it? Will I be glad when I leave? I got tired of the cold winters, the sometimes ultra-hot summers, the influx of more and more people in the area with the resulting traffic problems and basic inconsideration by folks who 'brought their ways' with them. My dad used to call them "flatlanders", and I can see why he felt the way he did. I'll be busy up there...there are some graves I need to visit, including graves that weren't there when I left. So many memories. Good and bad. I gave a lot of my life to that place. I spent some of the worst years I've ever had up there. I remember it as a great place to grow up, but also a very harsh place as I grew older. It was the fact that I really didn't 'fit' into my hometown that made me think going elsewhere was something I needed and wanted to do. But it's a brain-strainer for sure, returning to the Same Ol' Place. Only it ain't the Same Ol' Place, if you know what I mean.
Finally...there were a certain group of high-school classmates that I detested. Every school has them; the bright, eager, glib and oh-so-smart scholastic-oriented kids who were always in pursuit of High Honors or excelling in everything they did, or running for Student Offices, all the while debating everything, half of it in Latin. You know what I mean. Those doggone "smart kids" who got Gold Cords, honors and scholarships.  So why did I detest them? I've always considered myself at least halfway smart, but when I was in class with them, I knew that I just didn't measure up and knew I never would. They had a certain 'something' I lacked. Once, I got put into a 10th Grade "Honors English" class with most of them, and I almost quit that class several times, because I wasn't "one of them" and was intimidated to the "nth degree". Recently, I saw the website belonging to one of those high-honor kids who is now an attorney in a large city, and as I read his writings on ethical issues as well as his writings of other things that happen in life, I came to realize he and I were as different as I am from someone who got absolutely no "book learnin'" at all. And it's true; we are given different levels of talent and it's up to us to try and maximize them if at all possible. But everyone is going to end up at a different level, and that just has to be accepted. Maybe I was smart, but there was a lot in school that defied my comprehension. I hope I've made some progress as I've gone through life, but I'm not really sure.
It's really refreshing to be able to post things which I've had running around in my head for a while. Typing this thing was almost like doing a 7-minute mile (which I used to be able to do). A 7-minute mile for me was the equivalent of Roger Bannister doing the 4-minute mile for the first time. And for those of you who are wondering what a "Pulaski" is (1st paragraph), it's a tool that's shaped like a hammer, except one side is a hoe, while the other side is an axe. So now you know.


Blogger Word Tosser said...

I went to my 20th reunion in 1977. By 1977 I was comfortable in my own skin... so I walked in there comfortable with who I was.. while there .. (now I was a nerd in high school, before they came up with the word nerd) and I felt like it was 1957 again.. I left a couple hours later, and it was like walking thru a curtain out into the parking lot.. and I was back being ok with myself again. Funny how reunions can do that to you. But in 1997 i went to my 40th, and it was great.. we were all old. lol. there wasn't any nerdness.. just me.. and I was fine with that. Hope the same is for you too. Maybe because by this time of life, we really don't give a dang if anyone likes us or not.. lol

6:13 PM  

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