Grump Central Archive: Week of 8 March 2020
Saturday, 14 March 2020
I'm looking forward to my appointment with my cardiologist next week so I can get more answers and find out if I can improve my quality of life, even at the cost of longevity.
Friday, 13 March 2020
Not every sunrise or sunset is glorious, except for every one that I'm alive to see.
Thursday, 12 March 2020
Despite having Sarcoidosis, my lungs are still in excellent condition. 25 years ago or so, my lung function was tested as being 120%; yesterday, they're still nearly 110%. The tests rule out Sarcoid as being a factor in my heart disease. Which is kind of a shame: my body is like an old car in decent shape with only 75,000 miles that's ready for the junkyard just because the oil pump is shot and can't be repaired or replaced.
Wednesday, 11 March 2020
I must face the hard truth: I'll not see my home finished. But even as it stands right now, with no flooring, no deck, no bathtub, a half-done kitchen and only one finished room (that I don't even use), it far exceeds my expectations. If I get nothing more done on it, I'd have no regrets. Meanwhile, I've revised my modeling plans: since I very likely won't get enough of the Black River & Western done to make it even worth starting, that project is now cancelled, and instead I'm doing one last portable. Dying sucks bad enough, but knowing you're going to die soon sucks waaay more.
Tuesday, 10 March 2020
Life ain't what it used to be, and I'm pretty sure it's down to the meds. Yes, it's mighty depressing to be faced with a very short life expectancy, but I'm also being whacked with a bunch of drugs to lower my sky-high blood pressure, and I'm not liking the side effects one bit. If I thought I was fatigued and short of breath before, I'm now giving the term lethargic a whole new definition. Appetite? Gone. Enthusiasm? Zip. I've lost four pounds since I returned home, and I don't think it's water weight. I'm in a constant haze of vague light-headedness that has me feeling as though I've had just a bit too much wine for breakfast—but without the pleasant buzz. My attention span is down to a few minutes at best, and most of my day is spent just wandering around the house like a lost soul. I've begun taking naps—totally not me—and I can't even just sit and watch TV: my bloody Life Vest has a big fat electrical connector centered right along my spine (what genius designed that?). Even yesterday's fantastic weather—clear and 70°—had no impact. I'm absolutely not myself, and some friends are getting a bit concerned, as am I. Well, tomorrow I have an appointment for an outpatient procedure, so I'll use the opportunity to quiz the doctors.
Monday, 9 March 2020
OK, so what exactly does my diagnosis mean? I have Congestive Heart Failure, which is caused by different things. Sometimes it's the result of a heart attack, but I've never had one. In my case, it means my heart is simply failing. The key metric for my heart is its ejection fraction, or the amount of blood it can pump. A normal range is 50-70%; 41-49% is borderline; and below 40% is reduced. Mine is 12-15%. That is critically low. It indicates the heart is badly damaged and ready to fail—I'm essentially waiting for it to just stop. The advantage I have is knowing this is happening, so I can take steps to slow down the failure and extend my life a few more years. But there's no changing the fact that I'm facing a death sentence: at best I've got five years left, maybe a couple more if I'm a very good boy.
Right now I am staring my own mortality square in the eye, and I must say that is damned hard. Yesterday was a rough day, the roughest I've had so far. So many questions, and zero answers. Am I frightened? Actually, no; death has never frightened me. I'm saddest, however, for leaving my friends—I feel as though I'm abandoning them. But everyone dies; I just happen to know I have an expiration date that's a couple of decades sooner than anticipated. As we say in English, C'est la vie.
Sunday, 8 March 2020
It's never easy losing a friend over a disagreement, but when that disagreement is your health, it becomes a bizarre soap opera. Imagine what it's like to learn that someone wrote me off because I didn't do things his way. Um, hello, last I checked, it's my life; don't I get to have a say in that? Oh well, better that it happened now rather than during a real crisis... Oh, wait...
Meanwhile, a true friend made the observation that I get to see more beautiful sunsets than most people ever get to see any sunsets. I'd not thought about it that way, and it surely makes me blessed that I have him in addition to them.
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