Saturday, August 20, 2011

Holding You - Reprise No. 2

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.

Holding You

Spidersilk, silver
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


  1. I believe I have said this before my friend,may the loving arms of the mother hold you.I hope that you don't go to those arms any time soon. Also I don't think god is ready to argue your findings ye

  2. holy shit indeed, when the body turns. it is all so surreal in its way.

    i have a surprising story about the body and while it might seem wrong to write it somewhere else, i feel you will take it as it is meant, with no malice or knife digging, for my story is when my body surprisingly worked.

    a couple days ago i was going to run through the park and forest nearby but someone had posted a bear on the trail sign. i argued with myself over what that meant. of course there was a bear on the trail. there is always a bear in the forest wether you see him or not! and then after a third of the way into the forest i thought i was being a fool and so i turned and decided to spend more time through the park. i wasn't happy about it. i wasn't happy to be provoked and swayed by a laminated sign, but there i was thinking, fuck, it would hurt to be eaten by a bear. and so through the park i went, past people, in loops, around and down to the falls and then back up. i encountered some stairs. usually these stairs just about do me in in walking. but i was running and there i went without thinking, two stairs at a time, my arm working like a jacknife or a jaw. almost no effort. i hardly felt gravity. at the top i had to stop for my body did not know how to run on level ground. i had to breathe, tell my mind, ok, on, and onward i went. i was absolutely shocked, christopher. my body was beyond me in what i believed it could do. fuck. what a moment.

    and then last night i came home and robert was in the yard and he had just lost his job and this is no biggie for us, really (while it is in some ways). he will just find another. but i sat down and said aloud startled, anything can change at any time. i thought about my ex, andrew, suddenly deciding to move to the states, this family (for the children especially) shifting again. i thought of my body suddenly working on those stairs. and i knew that one day just as suddenly it would not work in the most expected of ways.

    loosely connected perhaps but always connected.

    i hope you have a great deal of time to live in this body soundly with beautiful experiences. do you get time to be in nature, christopher?


  3. Erin, I cherish your attention, bask in it, and love your stories.

    I would suggest that if you are caring and not stupid then the bear and you will get along fine. They like all creatures will avoid conflict unless something drives it. That's where stupid comes in - don't notice the bear and get between it and its food, appear to threaten the cub, appear to corner the bear, totally surprise the bear...without these, the mere presence of humans have the bear adjusting to remain invisible most of the time.

    Your first instinct was right though it is also correct to post bear alert signs. On your part, be noisy as you pass through bear territory and stay on the won't see a bear even in posted places unless the bear is half tame like Yellowstone bears are, sitting on the side of the road begging or travelling through campsites looking for food and garbage cans to raid.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

Get Your Own Visitor Map!