Heart Disease Death Rates, 1999–2003
Adults Ages 35 Years and Older, by County
Today my health came up in a new way. I noticed my legs are weak. I used a cane for part of the day to add a point of contact with the planet. Yesterday I did a lot of ladder work and at the end of the day was just too exhausted to really function. Because I am not exercising that much my legs should have come up sore today in that way that muscles do when overworked of a sudden in one day. It didn't happen. I have no soreness at all. This means my legs are strong enough for what I did but also something else. The normal ways of my body that I have been used to all my life are no longer true. I no longer build up muscles because my heart can't pump enough blood to do that. Holy shit.
This is called "atrial fibrillation coupled with diastolic heart failure." Add to it that I have a stent in the lower run of the "Right Coronary Artery", which is a stroke risk. That was the outcome of the first heart event a few years ago, a clogged artery even though my cholesterol numbers have always been good. I guess that is why when the docs talked to me about exercise they said "as tolerated" and later only suggested walking. I am not so far gone that they feel the need to force anything but they realize I have new limits. I have to take diuretics daily in order to keep the water retention down in critical tissues like around my lungs somehow. If I don't I feel like I am dying of lack of oxygen. They say it is not true in the bottom line sense because my blood always seems fully oxygenated but it is true in some sense and leads to desperate living when the symptoms are going on.
I am not complaining really because I am at peace even though I am a high risk man for stroking out. Both pieces of my heart trouble, the blocked artery and the heart failure lead to strokes. The docs say the heart won't kill me directly, most likely, so we are working to minimize stroke risk. Brother Death is not my enemy. I notice too that I am building an ever higher tolerance to pain and that's a very good thing because I hope to live in peace the rest of my days. That is difficult to accomplish when you need to fight your own body.
So this post of 2009 before any of the heart stuff had occurred still rings true for me, not just in the stress of a one day nose dive as this post describes but also in the longer haul of old age.
I reprised this back in March and wanted to again because it fits with my health tonight. I like this post that much.
I had a harsh morning and a relentless afternoon, then I went to a meeting and found out that there were many people struggling harder than I am with these issues of mine. I came home and realized that the next poem simply wasn't one I would post, so I skipped it and came to this one.
Tonight I miss my cat, and with that the tiny little hooks that lead to all the other lost cats, the wife, the mom, the dad, the many friends, all gone now. Thank God I know what to do. I have done it, am doing it. As my friend Vivian says, Relentless Forward Movement. That came from her extreme marathon running husband. He's gone now too, a heart event that occurred at the end of a mountain marathon. He finished, and finished well, but then he died, too far from the medics who could have saved him had they been able to get there. Relentless Forward Movement.
I am in between a rock and a hard place. Nothing new. Same old. Yet this time is new if the stuff in it isn't and I will go on. Of course I will. I am not alone. Nor are you.
and stronger than beautiful
holds you as I spun
for you before this
life in another, knew you
then, knew you would need
it now, my princess.
February 10, 2009 2:48 PM