Sunday, September 23, 2012

Why Shouldn't the Heart Wear Itself Out?

Detail of table vignette in Renée Cinderhouse's Manifest Destiny, an installation of hand-made porcelain objects, artifacts, and encyclopaedia pages amid trees, that takes you into a life-sized pop-up storybook of America's ghost history. Manifest Destiny is at La Esquina in Kansas City, Missouri, and will be on view through September 30. Next Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the Denver Broncos UK fill the space with their unique (and rarely performed live) sound. Scroll down from here and go to the ticketing page.

Unless there is active cancer, then usually, yes, yes, there are also things like diabetes, car accidents, random poisonings (acute, not the cancer-type — think about things that come via blood-sucking insects and bacteria-infected food) that can kill you, but I'm just talking about when the engine itself finally shuts down.

That's pretty much the universal ultimate for most.

I have known people with various chronic illnesses who, ultimately, succumbed to heart attacks. I have known various people who seemed never to be sick (via anything outside their own control) fall to their hearts' accumulated weakness. The latter seem to live, but their attacks come earlier in life.

For the third or fourth time this growing season, we have cut the lawn and trimmed down the legitimate shrubs and tried (as unsuccessfully as usual) to kill the fast-growing woody weeds someone accidentally or intentionally imported from China years ago.

The yard was a disaster of neglect, albeit neglect during drought. The very high temperatures, for days on end topping 100ºF and of a dry, non-Midwestern nature, kept us from venturing out into the yard. We got the trees trimmed, though; I think that should count for something.

We have a tree, therefore, we have limited landscaping options in the front yard. Grass does not like shade, even if you are buying the "I Love Shade!" version of the corporate seed companies' products. Roses do not flourish; azaleas wither, etc. Vines do just great. I am wondering what quality besides speed and swirliness that vines have that make them so successful even in the crummiest of soil, even in the least reliable of light?

The latest vine is milkweed. Joy. The morning glories I foolishly planted and once re-seeded five and four years ago are finding their way anywhere, even in the tedious cracks of our "why is this yard two-thirds concrete?" yard. There are the more natural (I guess) lobe-leaved, little-flowered white morning glories, which take over everything not tended. There are also arrow-leaved annoyances. And we have some kind of pretty but suspect vine that likes the fence and the house. It always gets torn from the limestone and chopped back.

My fingernails took the most punishment. My garden gloves have been shredded at their most brushed spots. Opinions on repair options?

No snakes, only one small cricket and the praying mantis we saw a few days ago on the porch. It is amazing how tall and woody lamb's quarter (or goosefoot) can get. This is a relative to and as edible as spinach, the kind we know and get at the grocery. I read somewhere that it is also quinoa. I find that hard to believe but have not looked into it further.

Today was a bit chilly, which is just fine when doing grueling yard work. Who in their right minds acquiesces to stooping and tearing, to hacking at roots with a shovel, to cutting with inadequate tools (they are Chinese-made, so they did not last more than four years) then hauling and bundling, a bunch of stupid weeds that are choking out your intended and beloved plants (prettier)? Even when we've tried planting food …

I have not noted major changes in my personal cardiovascular concern. I feel a false sense of green-light, given that nothing abnormal showed up, nothing that would indicate a heart-attack's cause (blood clots, thyroid problems, etc.), and I know it's a stupid place to rest, because nothing has changed since before all the tests. They did all this even though there was nothing to indicate a heart attack's results, either.

I am still dehydrated. I am still stuck with some insurmountable deadline based on someone else's grand mistake, which I happened to catch (though only after a week's-worth of work from two of us — we were soooo close to meeting our original and reasonable deadline). Stress has never gotten to my body this way before; I was totally cool with just getting nauseous and having racing thoughts. Racing heart is not acceptable, especially since I can't talk it down like I can my brain. What language does the heart speak?

Certainly not bacon.

Anyway, I was referred, not to a psychologist or other mental professional, but to a cardiologist. I guess for those hours that my blood pressure was too high. Never mind that it was normal on at least one of the automated checks — I grew loathe of that horrible squeezing. Has anyone ever done a study on how compressing violently the vessels in one's upper arm affects the darn thing … when it's done every 20 minutes or so and hurts on the hospital scale of one to 10 at about, for me, a 7.5?

My heart-rate, once mentally relieved of the idea that I had experienced heart-muscle death, also went down unless someone came in to talk to me. When I arrived in my room, which had a curtain that was too short for the glass-span, the movie, "Bucket List," was on. I had never seen it, and I didn't realize what it was until the two dying main characters were off on their trips; fortunately, soon after I had lain down and been hooked up to a pulse monitor and three stick-on snaps for making those sine waves on the machine go, that the movie was at the hospital bed scene.

One of the doctors (the one I liked least; the best one was still a student, go figure — but they all seemed the same age) turned the volume off at one point, so I didn't have to endure the eulogy or the music that I presume was playing when the guide puts the can of ashes next to his friends' in coffee at the top of Everest, perhaps.

The round stickers made permanent circle-marks, three places on my ventral torso. Two of the, "Oh, did you get hit by a few-suckered octopus lately?" items are visible above the standard U.S. neckline of the 21st century (early). I can't believe I'm allergic to the MediTrace foam.

My last nurse told me that I'd be finding "sticky" all over for a while. "The hand-sanitizer works great," she said. I asked about rubbing alcohol. No, it doesn't work the same.

No, I didn't have trouble with EKG or MediTrace freaky glue gumming up my fine skin. Instead, I have weird marks; but no matter.

They spent much of their whole work day dealing with a slow ER-day and my petty issues.

Once, a bunch of people ran down the hall behind the middle desk. It was stressful, but that stress didn't alter my blips. I watched.

Since that desk was a few feet from my head, I heard all kinds of things. Why do they talk when they know other patients can hear them? Am I to presume they rambled down the hall about That Weird Lady Who Seems Like She Just Wanted To Hang Out?

I spent my whole day indoors without windows on the first day of fall, which was blessedly gorgeous outside here, spending more money than perhaps was necessary. A few healthcare professionals seemed to hint that I should have gone to my primary care physician. Screw him. Why drive 20 miles to him, only to drive back and wait days to see someone at a hospital a different 20 minutes away with lab tests that likewise take days? The key to my health is convenience, and the Missouri-side teaching hospital to two blocks away.

I still feel weird, though. I also feel confused that no one has any theories. What else causes continued heart pressure with occasional shooting stabs off to the side? Maybe I'm not giving them enough clues.

Wouldn't it be cool if I could post my X-ray here? Alas, I bought it, but I can't have it.

Coming Soon:
HOW much did that all cost?


Nick said...

At 26 and as hale and hearty as someone who had just exited a 6 year regime of daily grueling physical exertions can be (HOO-AH!), I nevertheless decided my heart was giving out.

After classes I would walk back to my apartment, heart racing, slightly short of breath, convinced I was going to die. This went on for a week before I decided to find a doctor (men, huh?)

A friend pointed me to her skeptical geriatric of a physician. Said worthy listened to my anxious tale, then (after she tried to stop my heart with a stethoscope only slightly warmer that her crepe-paper-and-boney hands) she tossed me a bottle of valium (the blue ones) and told me to relax, I was wound tighter than an Orange County Republican.

I didn’t die so I guess she was a genius...

Now I actually have my own cardiologist - I suppose he would have stuk me in like situation; heavens to murgatroyd.

Hyperblogal said...

I think the only hope for all of us is that the Aliens are just like us only 300 years ahead and land and cure. Otherwise we're all doomed to the best-guess industrial medical complex.

hearmysong said...

my heart is racing just reading the story, and my arm hurts in sympathy.

i would have sent you to a psychologist once the cardiologist cleared you...

Applecart T. said...

This post suffers from bad grammar and lack of narrative edting : (