Yesterday I wasn't feeling very well, so I made an appointment to see a doctor. This felt a little risky because we're rather busy at work, and a little short-handed. But, I'd had enough already.
Perhaps I should describe how I was feeling a little better. About a year and a half ago I noticed that I was getting light-headed rather easily. I attributed that to the medication I was taking (all of the writing I did about being Dizzy.) I first suspected that it was more than the side effects of that medication when I woke up at my home office desk, with the computer on in front of me, playing Christmas music, the sound of activity a few feet away. I didn't know why I was there and I felt a little warm. I believe I said, "What the hell just happened?!" and Barry, decorating a Christmas tree in the next room, glanced up and went back to work without comment. I looked at the computer screen, which hadn't even started the screensaver yet, and saw a browser window open to Facebook. In Facebook there was a private message conversation between my brother, my sister and me. I scrolled up and began to read and it all came back to me. My brother was asking about something terribly embarrassing and I laughed and laughed and then I blacked out. When I came to, I was at my computer with music playing and the sound of activity coming from a few feet away and this brings us back to the 4th sentence of this paragraph.
Laughing so hard you black out does not seem normal.
I made an appointment with my doctor and asked if I was anemic. I had other reasons to suspect this. My doctor knows me well enough to not be irritated by my self-diagnoses. He knows that I'm just trying to be an active participant in my health and that I bring such questions to him, rather than acting on them. (Not such an active participant that I'm willing to be active or anything. Lack of exercise is a theme here.) My doctor dutifully did a blood test and scheduled me for a sleep study, which is how I learned that I get to use a CPAP machine and frankly I think everybody should have one of them. But, I'm off track. I was a little anemic and we don't know why. I found an iron pill that helps a lot, and the warehouse promptly ran out, so I tried another brand that almost killed me and now I'm on an old faithful that probably isn't enough iron, but it's better than nothing and better than being brain-dead and lethargic, which is what that 2nd brand did to me.
Fast forward through the months of colonoscopies, endoscopes and other tests trying to figure out why I'm suddenly anemic, without much luck. I've more or less kept it in check, but then when I was feeling lethargic again, and very thirsty all the time and other annoying adjectives, I decided that I needed to see the doctor again. (I was at work. I read an email and it shocked me so much that I felt the shock in my gums. It was a simple question and it had no business alarming me and my gums have no business feeling electric impulses regardless.) So I made an appointment and left work early.
Looking back I probably could have handled it better. I insisted on being seen that day, and my faithful doctor wasn't available so I saw somebody else. When I thought about it, there was probably not much that was going to happen that day even if they found out that I was anemic. I could probably have waited another day to see my PCP. But, part of the reason I left work was to keep myself out of trouble. I wasn't in any condition to be at work. I probably wasn't in any condition to be driving, but oh well.
Many of my readers will probably have noticed the clues as to where this is going. Initial blood results indicated that I was not anemic. (They had to translate all of this for me because there wasn't a test that said "Anemic: Yes/No".) The nurse on the phone spoke of electrolytes and hemoglobins and other mysterious things. I was looking for "Iron" and a scale of where I should be; apparently it doesn't work that way. This is why we have nurses on the phone to help us through these difficult blood test results. My glucose was 94, which was fabulous because I wasn't even fasting. However, the nurse warned me that they were waiting for the results of a different test that would tell about how the past three months looked.
That result came in this afternoon. While I'm not precisely diabetic, if I inhale in the general vicinity of a Rice Crispy Treat that will probably be enough to push me over the edge. And, if this is why I have been so lethargic and light-headed, then that is great news. I can work with this. The Unknown is a little more frightening, especially with the specter of cancer floating in the air along with the hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and greenhouse gases. The substitute doctor's recommendation was to start on a low-carb diet and an exercise program to help lose weight. I mean, they've been telling me to do that for years. Imagine if I had listened.
This is discouraging. After all that I've sacrificed, everything I given just to fight to stay alive, only to end up in this shape. Round is a shape and that shape has a name and that name is The Rather Earnest Painter. Knowing that I could have taken action to prevent this is frustrating. It's like I'm two people: the one who wants to get things done and the dreamer who I can usually find sitting in left field defoliating daisies, thinking about the handsome guy that I thought I loved when I was in my twenties and wondering what he's up to these days. And I want to throttle that one sometimes, but I'm only hurting myself.
So, this afternoon Barry and I registered with the Elgin Community Center and we did our first workout on their machines. I have never, not one day in my life, been in shape. I had to ask the just-out-of-high-school girl behind to counter to show me how to use the Stair Master, and she happily showed me that and gave us a brief explanation of how to use the other machines and equipment in there. My arms are so weak I can barely type.
Back at home, I would typically eat cake with a glass of milk and go to bed. It doesn't even sound appealing at the moment. After all of that work and sweat burning off 65 calories (the Stair Master was taunting me with that information, and laughing at me with the other equipment) I'm not really even tempted to blow it all with a plate of hedonism and a glass of abandon. I still want to sleep for a week, but this at least gives me hope. And, hope is what makes the world go round. That and friction.