Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Deep Thoughts

I don't know who, if anyone, is still reading this out there. Somehow I still get about 199 readers a week, but I imagine it's all spamming engines and such. Which is fine, because today's post is likely really depressing, so maybe some of those spammers will just get all melancholy and throw themselves off a building.

Maybe, just maybe, I'm SAVING THE INTERNET.


So, I spent large chunks of New Year's Eve and New Year's Day in the emergency room. You see, I have this inflammation in my boy parts, the fighting of which sometimes makes me a little lightheaded, particularly at meals. On New Year's Eve, I began to feel lightheaded at lunch, and I thought, "Well, crap. This hasn't happened in a little while." I went home, played some Warcraft until I needed to sit down on the couch and rest, and just sorta sat. Ms. Awesome was at work at the time. And so I was left there with my thoughts.

Soon thereafter, the Lady came home and left for a party with her friends. I told her I wasn't feeling up to being around drunks, but I told her to go and have fun.

I noticed the chest pains soon thereafter. A tight ache in my left chest, mostly around the left side of my sternum. I was like, "Okay, this sucks," and decided to go on with life. Until my thoughts got the better of me. And I checked online for "heart attack symptoms." And it seemed like me.

HEre's an aside: If you ever look online for symptoms, you WILL come away thinking you're about to die. The symptoms for everything that you find on the Internet are:

  • Some pain somewhere

  • Dizziness or not being dizzy

  • Having a stomach

  • Breathing

If you or anyone you know has any of these symptoms, then STOP LOOKING UP DIAGNOSES ON THE INTERNET.

Anyway, so I thought I was going to die. I called an advice nurse, and her basic prognosis was, "Go to the emergency room," which is pretty much all they're programmed to say. In Canada, the emergency room isn't slow enough; we need an advice nurse to waste more of our time.

So I called a cab (on New Year's Eve, even... it was fun hitting redial over and over with my chest hurting and thinking I was going to die alone) and finally got through. I went to the emergency room and waited. Strangely, it wasn't overly busy. In fact, it seemed almost deserted. Everyone assured me that the "fun" would begin around midnight. I hoped I'd be out of there by then. It was about 8pm.

Anyway, long story short, I had many tests done, and they all turned out fine. My blood pressure was good, ECG looked okay, X-rays, fine. The diagnosis? No fucking clue. All they knew was that I was unlikely to die right away. Which I suppose is good.

So, fast forward to New Year's morning. Chest pains still there, even more intense. I still feel like I got run over by a shit truck, whatever that is. The Lady goes to work, and I try to play Warcraft and just get better. I end up feeling really badly and sitting on the couch, and my imagination caught up: What if last night was a mistake? What if something had changed? What if they missed something? I called the advice nurse again, and she parrotted, "Go to the emergency room." All I wanted her to say was, "Suck it up, pansy, you're fine. Just get some rest and shut up." But she's not authorized to say that sort of thing. I think they can only really say, "Hello," "What is your date of birth," "Ella Fitzgerald," and "Go to the emergency room."

So, another long story short, four hours after I got to the ER, I got called back. I actually took it as a good sign that they didn't rush me in like they did the night before. The Lady got off work and took a cab to the ER to be with me, which I thought was super-awesome. She even brought our Nintendo DSes.

This time, I got an ECG, and that's about it. A doctor came in and said, "I looked at all your crap from last night, and I think you're not going to die." And he listed off a number of "reassuring" factors: I'm young(ish), not doing cocaine, the pain is pretty constant (a heart attack wouldn't be a low-grade ache over a period of days), it doesn't get worse when I exert myself, etc. I'm glad he did that, because ever since, whenever the pain got bad, or I felt really lightheaded, that doctor's head appeared over my shoulder like Firestorm on the Superfriends.

Anyway, so I don't think I'm going to die. Not right away, anyway. I still hurt, and I still feel like crap, and I still have no idea why. They said it was likely muscular or some inflammed cartilage or something. The doctor said to finish out my antibiotics (8 more days or so) and go back to my other doctor like I was supposed to. I think if I were going to die, he'd not have said "wait 8 days."

Anyway, there I sit. I'm at work today, feeling weak and out of place, but I'm there.

The whole thing has made me think, though. I mean, really, something really bad can happen at pretty much any time. I could have a heart attack right now, with little warning. I could be alone at home and have a heart attack and die feet away from the phone. Someone I work with had an aneurism while sitting on the shitter a few weeks ago. It's freaky. You could be driving to work, and a truck filled with chloroform could wreck in front of you and make you go unconscious. Seriously. Your brain could explode, without warning, at any time.

It makes me a little paranoid and anxious, which doesn't help my condition. It makes me want to have people around (and by "people" I mean "Ms. Awesome") at all times. I am constantly monitoring my chest pain, going, "Ooh... I think that felt a little more like a pain and less like an ache, I'll dial '9-1' and hold my finger over the '1.'" There's a general fear of the body just... failing. It's potentially crippling.

But there's more to it than that. I've often postulated that the reason Californians seem so laid back is because they have, on some subconscious level, accepted the fact that the ground could open up and swallow them at any given moment. On some level, even if they don't realize it, they have accepted that, and live on. Hell, I accepted it. I went through a number of earthqakes in the Bay Area, as did millions of other people.

If I can find that sort of acceptance with this "I'm going to die RIGHT FUCKING NOW" thing, I think it'd do me some good. Light a fire under the ol' arse. That's the sort of thinking that begets children and works of art. It makes one cancel his Warcraft subscription and rely on Microsoft Word to pass his free time.

I know myself. Nothing will come of this. Eventually, I'll feel better, God willing, and I'll go back to my slovenly ways. Or will I? Maybe this is it, what I needed to get going, get into shape, and become the monster-buff super-genius I've always thought I was (when, in reality, I was more like The Blob than like Superman).

Anyway, those were my thoughts on the whole situation. I'm currently waiting it out, seeing if this damned chest pain goes away. It has been... 4 days now? And it's about the same. Which, really, means I should stop worrying about it so much, because cardiac problems are sudden and intense. But I worry, and it seems worse.

Anyway, I imagine even the spammers have stopped reading this now. Theoretically, House of Awesome!!!!!! should be back with a vengeance in the next few days. We'll see you then.