Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Don’t Be Still, This Heart of Mine

I’ve been going back and forth to the VA Hospital(s) for tests for several months now, and I still have at least three more to go. At least I finally know the source of most of my problems now. Turns out I have an enlarged heart chamber. (I don’t know which one.) It accounts for all my symptoms—extreme fatigue at odd times for no apparent reason, chronic cough, shortness of breath, swelling of lower extremities (but not the happy zone dang it!)
The treatment is as simple as taking blood pressure medicine and water pills to push out the excess fluid buildup. Unfortunately, the doctor put me on atenolol, a common blood pressure medicine. It normally works pretty well for most people, but it swelled me up even more and I put on 25 pounds in about 6 weeks. My feet looked like something floating over a Thanksgiving day parade. I was swollen all the way up through my thighs it was so bad.
So she took me off atenolol and put me on a water pill. I didn’t know this, but not only will a water pill help to eject the fluid build-up from edema, but they also make a pretty good blood pressure pill substitute. They take out excess fluid from around the heart too. I lost the 25 pounds (though not overnight), and my feet look like feet again. I still have some swelling in my legs which you can easily see when I take my socks off. There’s that telltale ring-around-the-ankles look. But overall I’ve been feeling much better.
I still get tired some days, but not like I used to. I think a lot of this may be tied into diet. I used to eat a ton of lunchmeat sandwiches and fast foods. I started eating more fresh meat, mostly pork steaks and chops along with baked potatoes, egg beater, oranges, apples, green beans, peas & carrots, and corn. Yes, there are leaner cuts than chops and pork steaks, but I like them, and pork cooks easily in the microwave. This past week I went back to my old lunchmeat and fast food ways and started feeling very tired right away. I mean REAL tired just like before. A lot of it may have to do with all the salt they put in lunchmeats. Well, no more of that.
Some of my tiredness may be the result of working too hard also. I can put in a hard day, but then I’m dead for the next two or three. The doctor says that I also cannot exercise strenuously. Absolutely no weight lifting or hard basketball playing until my heart gets back to normal—if it gets back to normal. Even if the enlarged chamber doesn’t shrink all the way down, I may still live to be ninety. However, I may never be able to play sports again. It’s true what the say—it’s hell getting old.
The good news is that my eBook formatting business is doing well. I’ve been able to cut down on my other job and sit at home one or two days per week working on books. I hope to do it full-time one day, or something like it. What I should really do is write the great American novel and never work again!
I'll leave you with my masterpiece (perhaps one day I'll say it and mean it!), Eleanor Rigby played on acoustic guitar with a Boomerang looper pedal. You can see I had already gained a lot of weight a couple of years ago in this video. My face is like a giant walnut. But I get more response from this video than any other I've ever upload. 229 thumbs up and counting! Perhaps I should don some fat man attire and take my act on the road....


  1. I am glad they figured out what was wrong before you had more problems! I guess it's time for all of us to eat better as we creep up there in age. I'm not exactly sure what you were doing with the equipment in your video. Does it record or add in pieces you've recorded earlier so you can accompany yourself on songs?

  2. A looper pedalboard is more or less a digital recorder that lets you record up to a couple of minutes of audio and then plays it back immediately. After you've recorded the first track you can add additional ones with the "stack" button. You can also reverse it and add tracks in reverse, slow it down, speed it up, add a second loop, and even set playback to a specific interval like a 4th or 5th below so you can play harmonies with yourself. They're pretty cool!

    I hope Tom is doing better. I miss reading his blogs.

  3. He's doing much better. They took him off the coumadin for six months and then will test his blood. He's been exercising daily with weights and calisthenics plus will be bike riding as soon as the weather improves on a consistent basis. He has been working a bit lately but it tears him up- getting old you know! He doesn't write much anymore, focusing on the ham radio. He does Facebook though, mostly political/religious like the blog- getting unfriended constantly over politics though. It's funny that people who KNOW you are political, and still friend you, get offended when they read your FB posts. LOL!

  4. Politics and religion ... it's true, you're going to lose friends either way. I tried FB and quickly gave it up. I could probably do well on Twitter because I'm full of one-liners, but there's something about a following of Twit heads that's strangely unnerving, like being the only porn star at a PTA meeting.