[The initial part of this blog post was meant to be published a week ago, as will become clear.]
Hello, good morning, and good Thursday (it’s also the day before “Good Friday”). I’m feeling rather poorly this morning, and I am, in fact, going to the doctor before work today. Yes, I’m planning to go to work afterwards. It’s not as though I have health insurance or anything, so if I’m going to go to the doctor—ironically—I needs must pay for it out of mine own pocket, even though I’m a qualified medical doctor myself. This is the eminently sane and rational society in which we live. Isn’t it grand?
As per last week’s posting, I’ve been focused almost entirely on editing this week, so I’m making significantly faster progress than before, though the road is long. Also, I’ve just not felt well at all for a while, now, and it’s taking some of the wind out of my sails. Ordinarily, it’s difficult to get me to slow down and shut up, and I can’t completely rule out the possibility that I’m being subtly poisoned by someone (or more than one) who finds me too annoying.
I’m kidding. I really don’t suspect some nefarious plot. It’s just the sort of thing that crosses my mind when I think of myself, so I occasionally imagine that other people might feel similarly. Actually, other people tend to be more patient with me than I am with myself, but then again, they can get away from me, can’t they? No matter where I go, as they say, there I am.
I have a few things in the works for IoZ, which might or might not be interesting. I have an audio blog still to post, and I’m trying to write some posts long-hand (in first draft) to see if that makes me produce them more often. I also have plans for another post that began its life as a response to a Facebook meme about the tides, stating that, since the moon affects the oceans, there’s no reason to think it wouldn’t affect us since we’re 70% water. This meme was so misguided and riddled with misunderstandings about basic physics that I couldn’t resist going through the whole Newtonian universal law of gravitation, why there are tides, why they are not dependent upon water, and how tiny the tidal differences due to the moon are from one end of any given person to the other end. Yes, I did the math, and shared all the numbers (to significant figures, or thereabouts). And I’m going to post a version of it on Iterations of Zero once I tweak it a little.
That notion of someone poisoning me doesn’t quite sound so crazy and paranoid now, does it?
I haven’t been promoting my already-published books much lately. I’ve felt a bit of aversion to Facebook and so haven’t much wanted to give them money, but they really are the best venue I have through which I can promote, unless anyone out there has any better suggestions. I ought to get back into it. I just feel kind of obnoxious pushing my own stuff overtly. I suppose this is why people hire agents and advertisers and marketing firms, but I don’t have that kind of money to spare.
Anyway, the editing of Unanimity and on Free-Range Meat is going well. As far as short stories go, I still plan both to publish the stories from Welcome to Paradox City as individual Kindle editions and to eventually release a new collection, in hard copy and Kindle, of such “short” stories, so that’s something for you all to look forward to.
Always assuming I live long enough, of course.
Okay, well, as you might have noticed, I didn’t, in fact, publish my blog last week, so I’m just going to do a follow-up now and continue the story, as it were, where I left off.
The reason I never posted last week was because, after going to the walk-in clinic and telling them my symptoms and my history, and after the doctor there gave me a once-over, he said (more or less), “Look…I can do some tests here and charge you for them, but unless they show a clear and easily treatable cause of your symptoms and problems, I’m going to recommend that you go the emergency room anyway. So, let’s skip a step, I won’t charge you for this visit, and I’m going to give you a referral to the ER.”
I thought this was, perhaps, a little alarmist, but I was persuaded—not happily—to follow his advice, and I went. I guess the ER agreed with the clinic doctor’s assessment, because they admitted me for about thirty or so hours, ruled out heart attack and DVT/pulmonary embolism, and did an echocardiogram (among other things). They also, thankfully, gave me some antibiotics for a chronic/recurrent ear infection, which quite temporarily relieved it…though it’s already recurring even as I write this.
Then, at the beginning of this week, after a reasonably restful holiday weekend in which I neither celebrated any of various potential causes for celebration nor had any interactions with those with whom I would have wanted to celebrate, I got calls from both the cardiologist who read my echocardiogram and from the attending physician who managed my care during my brief hospitalization.
Before I get into what they said, let me give you a bit of back story:
When I was eighteen, I was diagnosed with an atrial-septal defect, secundum type (read about it here if you like), quite a good-sized one, with a greater-than-two-to-one shunt. This was promptly evaluated, and I had open-heart surgery to close it, performed at Children’s Hospital in Detroit by the man who wrote the textbook on the surgery. This experience, which was quite painful but at least interesting, was influential on my decision eventually to go to medical school. Subsequent follow-up was unremarkable, the surgery was a success, I was discharged from ongoing care, etc., etc., etc.
Anyway, it turns out, based on this new echocardiogram, that my previous defect did not remain completely closed through the intervening years, and that I have some equivalent of a patent foramen ovale with, apparently as indicated on the echo, a shunt that is sometimes reversing…i.e. some blood from my pulmonary circulation is shifting to the systemic circulation without having passed through the lungs to blow off CO2 and get oxygenated. This is why (as was the case before my initial surgery) I seem to have a high resting heart rate (or did when checked at the clinic and the hospital) and now tend to have a lowish oxygen saturation, at least in the right circumstances.
This is all not imminently life-threatening, but as I know, the fact that there is even occasional right-to-left shunting means that there is a potentially serious problem. And the attending internist recommended that I start seeing the cardiologist before even coming to her for general medical follow-up, with plans for eventual intervention and closure of the defect. But, of course, as stated above, I don’t have health insurance right now, and as it is, I’m going to be paying for this hospital visit for quite some time to come. It is true that closure of such PFO’s nowadays is much less of an undertaking than it was thirty years ago, but I still don’t think it’s going to be cheap.
And, finally, what’s the point? Apart from the inherent drive to stay alive that’s been beaten into my genes by hundreds of millions of years of multi-cellular evolution, I honestly don’t have any compelling reason to try to improve my health and/or prolong my existence.
I have neither colleagues nor close friends with whom I can really have any enjoyable conversations, or with whom I ever do anything fun…mainly because the things I think are fun are rarely what those around me find enjoyable, and vice versa.
I have a housemate who’s a good guy, and we get along well, but we don’t have a great deal in common (though I’ve bought some great guitars from him).
I’m a divorced, ex-con, MD who can’t practice medicine anymore, whose son won’t talk to him, and who is only able to interact with his daughter through Facebook and similar venues, who works merely to stay alive so he can write and publish sci-fi/fantasy/horror stories that few if any people will ever read, and who occasionally diddles around with writing, producing, and sharing songs, and drawing pictures, and stuff like that.
Oh, and I also make blog posts like this one.
I come from a line of people who tended to be somewhat socially restricted, by nature and choice, but my mother and father at least had each other through their natural life-spans, as was the general rule in the past. I, however, am a card-carrying inhabitant* of the easy divorce era, bereft of my chosen and beloved family by the will of the love of my life. I have no strong desire to go through the gauntlet of trying to find some replacement love who is no more likely to have a sense of enduring commitment than the one who came before her, especially when I have so little to offer anymore.
I’m inclined to think that this story’s gone on well past any reasonable degree of interest. I guess I might change my mind; who knows? But for now, it’s hard to see the point of bothering to go through all these medical processes again, even if the interventions are less severe and relatively less expensive than they were in the past. What, as they say, is the point? I’m basically a weird, weary, and alone person in a world in which the forces of stupidity seem not only to be ascendant now but always to have been so.
It’s enough, I’m thinking.
*I don’t actually carry a card