Off the Cuff

I’m writing about me again. I know, it’s my favorite subject, innit?

My surgery scheduled for last Friday didn’t go off. My blood pressure was 231/131 during the prep. “Too high,” they decreed. “Let’s wait and check again.”

I was checked on the left and right sides several more times. Everything was documented. The BP didn’t go down. No surgery with that level, it was decided.

It was depressing. I hadn’t eaten for ten hours plus, and I was all naked and everything. Instead, I was referred to a nurse practitioner for treatment. NORVASC was prescribed. I began taking it that night.

Meanwhile, my wife and I started a three-day green-smoothie fast. We’ve done it several times, usually to help her cope with complications, inflammation, or pain arising from her RA. This time, it was for both of us.

Weird, I felt fine. The NP listened to my lungs and heart and various arteries last Friday and found nothing to upset them. I don’t have any issues. I generally walk eight to ten miles a day. As my wife put it to the medical staff, “He’s very active.” I’d quit smoking ten years ago and I’d never been a heavy smoker. BP issues don’t run in the family. Honestly, though, my weight is higher than I desire. I’d slowly been creeping up toward the mid 190s, and I ‘ve developed a wheat/beer belly that bugs me. It’d be nice to rid myself of that adornment.

Two days later, I wondered if there was any change to my BP with the smoothies fast and meds.  Needing data, I bought a monitoring cuff on Tuesday and started tracking my BP. Naturally a spread sheet was employed.

Date Time Sys Dia HR Comments
15-Aug 8:27 119 78 68 After being up ninety minutes
14-Aug 22:01 125 59 65 Before NORVASC
14-Aug 7:47 149 71 75 After being up forty-five minutes
13-Aug 23:20 137 70 63 1 HR after NORVASC taken
13-Aug 19:27 149 68 69 First reading
Average 145 70 69

I was surprised by how much my BP had dropped in such a short time, especially this morning’s reading, 119/78. Makes me wonder if my high BP prior to surgery was due to white coat syndrome.

I don’t know. Some blood work is scheduled for next week to see if a root cause can be ferreted out. Meanwhile, I question the purchased cuff’s accuracy or if I’m using it wrong. We also tested my wife, though, as a baseline. With an ongoing chronic condition, she sees a doctor and has her BP checked every other month. She knows her usual BP range. The cuff’s BP had a result that she expected. We tested it twice. Both were in her normal range. I remain dubious.

I’ll probably go to the drug store later and use their cuff and compare it to my results. I’ll probably post about it later.

I am my favorite subject.

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Be Brave

Another writing slash self-examination of myself post. It’s all about me, you know…

Writing often is about the author, whether it’s the process or subject, the writer is deep into it. I’m too damn introspective for my own good, and I’m a fragile beast.

I’m struggling with April Showers 1921. Much of the struggle is my fault; some is due to life events.

Life events kept me from writing several times. Vacation. Vacation is a good thing, right? Not for this writer, as it meant not writing. Felt like someone was scraping the enamel off my teeth.

Other life events, a birthday party, memorial service, surgery and health issues, interfered with my writing habits. Those, though, could be overcome. I felt confident of that.

Harder to overcome was my doubts about what I was writing and the story that I was relating. “Overthinking” is the world. Overthinking let in the doubt monster. The doubt monster fed my writer angst. Next up was a full blown case of imposter syndrome worries.

I walked and fretted, ate and fretted, awakened and fretted…fretting accompanied everything. I was engaging in one of the worst and most common problems afflicting writers, trying to write for others instead of myself. It took me until this morning to realize it. A young woman’s tatoo finally awakened.

She’s a barista at my fave coffee shop. On her left wrist was a tattoo, “Be brave.” 

I’ve known her for four years. She graduated from high school a year early. She was sixteen. She then took a year off to travel Thailand and southeast Asia. She said tattoo was a reminder.

After speaking with her, I went on a walking break. I admired her and her tattoo. I’d never tattooed anything on myself, but I employed a mantra: “No fear, no doubt, no worries.” I’d developed it when I was young to help me overcome those things. Others were always saying that they saw things in me and nominating me for stuff or asking me if I wanted to try something.

What kind of cad would say no to such sugary words? Not me. Between genes, birth order, and socialization, I’m just a boy who can’t say no. I want others to like me too much. I don’t want to disappoint them. I fear disappointing them.

That’s where and when the mantra was born. People would tell me, “You got this. You can do it.” Nodding, I’d agree without speaking, and then tell myself, “No fear, no doubt, no worries.” I frequently added, “Focus.” Results were often excellent, usually surprising all of us.

Remembering that, I turned back to the times when I employed that mantra and achieved good results, and decided, time to drag that mantra out again.

No fear, no doubt, no worries.

Time to continue writing and editing like crazy, at least one more time.

 

Floofgon

Floofgon (floofintion) – A large container in which drink is served to housepets.

In use: “During the hot summer, multiple floofgons were placed around the house so the animals always had fresh water to keep them hydrated.”

Confloofsion

Confloofsion (floofinition) – Intimate information or insights people share with their pets.

In use: “Living in the small travel trailer with a long-haired black cat named Bob, he shared confloofsions about his drug-use and mental health during the cold and snowy Minnesota days. Speaking them aloud helped him understand who he was and what he faced. The cat never did anything more than nestle against him and purr.”

For Her

The house was always silent except for his quiet and her cats. He was aware of how much he sighed, and the cats…the cats were always darting underfoot, jumping up onto the furniture, counters, and tables, and peering around corners.

Flowers and plants were everywhere. He’d told everyone to send money to her causes in lieu of flowers and that shit, but…well, here they were. Here he was.

She was always trying to get him to eat healthy. The ‘frig was lousy with salmon and salad ingredients. Sighing (but what else?), he prepared the salmon per the instructions, sharing some with the cats, who were enthusiastic in their enjoyment, and made a salmon Caesar salad and poured a glass of wine for himself. Eating, he told himself, for her, chewing and swallowing the despised flavors, washing it down with wine.

For her.

The Healer Dream

The healer dream followed the wrestling dream last night.

The wrestling dream was about me taking another’s place in a wrestling match. Throughout the dream, I mocked myself for being part of this crazy scheme where I would wrestle a high-schooler. I was doing so to keep the team from forfeiting. My match was either going to be first or second. I told myself and everyone else that I had no chance, that what we were doing was illegal, and that we were going to be caught, humiliated, and disqualified. In the end, I handed someone my watch, some expensive and exotic time piece, went and dressed for my match, and then waited, learning at the last second that my match would be the second one.

Dream end.

The healer dream was brief. I walked into a room. The room reminded me of a classroom, with desks, windows that looked out onto a lawn and playground, but I have no idea where it was. I don’t know why I was there. A woman dressed in a dark blue sundress in there told me she was sick, and then rattled off her health complaints. Brunette, with auburn shoulder-length hair, she looked tired and pale.

“I can fix that,” I said. Then as I touched different places on her, I would say something about infusing her with healing energy. For example, I touched her shoulders and said, “Infuse your shoulders with healing energy. Infuse your joints with healing energy and strength. Infuse your collagen, ligaments, tendons, and muscles with healing energy and strength. Infuse your bones with healing energy and strength.”

Although I did this all over her, it was done in a couple minutes. She stood up and said, “I feel great. All my pain is gone.” I nodded, like, yeah, that’s what I expected. That’s what I told her she was going to do. I was quite casual about it.

A man had entered while I was doing this with her. He was wearing clay-white walking shorts with a gold, short-sleeved shirt, sweat socks and activity shoes. He seemed in his fifties, with sandy hair cut short but casual, bangs across his forehead. Clean-shaved, he looked healthy enough, tan.

“Do me, do me,” he said.

I didn’t think he needed it, but he’d asked. Shrugging, I started healing him as I had her. When I did, he squatted down and grinned, continuing to grin as I healed her as I had him. He seemed very happy and satisfied with what I was doing to him.

Dream end.

The Story

Called Mom today to wish her happy birthday. I was born sixty-three years ago, today, if the records and Mom’s memory are accepted. I accept both, especially Mom’s memory. I wished her a happy birthday because she did all the work. I’m not lyin’, I don’t remember any of it. It was barely like I was there.

“Wasn’t I overdue?”

“Yes, eight days,” she answered.

“Oh, eight days. That’s nothing.”

“After nine months, it feel likes eight years.”

###

I woke up with pain. I knew it was time and woke your father up. “The baby’s coming. We need to go to the hospital now.”

I was already dressing. He got up slowly. While he dressed, I went down to the car. Our apartment was on the third floor. There wasn’t an elevator. I knew it would take me time to get down those three flights of stairs.

I was down in the car, and hard labor had begun. I wasn’t surprised. You sister took just three hours. I was in enormous pain because it was all happening so fast. I was wondering, what’s taking your father so long and kept blowing the horn, shouting, “Come on.”

He finally came down. I said, “What were you doing?”

He said, “I was combing my hair.” I could’ve killed him. No jury would have convicted me, if there was a woman on it.

He started driving, came up to a stop sign and started to stop. I said, “Do not stop.”

A motorcycle cop pulled us over right after that. Your father told him that I was in hard labor. The cop said, “Follow me.” He turned on his sirens. We blew through every red light and stop sign.

When we arrived at the Fort Belvoir hospital, the nurse came out to meet us. She said, “Oh my God, you’re in labor. You should have come in as soon as it started.”

I said, “I did. I got here as soon as I could.”

She said, “Let me get a wheel chair.”

I started labor right at six in the morning. You were born at seven twenty-four.

After giving birth, I was taken to the maternity ward. There were seventeen beds, all with women who’d just given birth. A major came in. She said, “All you ladies who gave birth yesterday need to do your exercises.” This was a military hospital, remember. They didn’t coddle you. They were military, and they treated you like you were in the military. Visitors and flowers, candy, all that wasn’t allowed, because they worried about germs and infections, and they began exercising you right away.

Well, I’d just given birth, so I didn’t exercise. The major said to me, “You. Why aren’t you exercising?”

I said, “I just gave birth four hours ago.”

“Do your exercises. Now.” So I did.

The next day, we dragged our iron beds down the hall to another ward, where we were discharged. You were thirty-two hours old when I took you home.

Savory Oatmeal

After reading about savory muffins this week, I thought I’d do something similar with my morning oatmeal.

Fruit, cinnamon, nuts, and coconut usually finds its way into my oat meal. Today, nutritional yeast, shredded Mexican cheese mix, sliced Kalamata olives, and diced onions and green peppers were tossed into the oatmeal.

Sensational. I imagine sauteed or grilled mushrooms, onions, and peppers would also work well. Looking forward to trying some new ideas. It puts a whole new spin on breakfast.

The Medical Bill

My latest medical bill arrived. This was a follow-up to the doctor’s office. On that day, I was weighed and then peed in a cup connected to a computer to measure my flow and output. Then a nurse asked me some questions about how I was doing, before the doctor came in, read the reports, and made some follow-up actions. Including waiting — they were overbooked and I waited twenty minutes to see him — peeing, and talking, I was out of there in about forty minutes.

Before going further, I want to say that I’m amazed and grateful that my military retirement gives me health benefits. I can’t say that enough. That’s not what this is about. This is about a neophyte in the healthcare’s billing process.

The bill began as a total of $277.10. That’s not bad, I thought. Insurance covered $59.36. Cool. Then, total adjustments and discounts were $180.84. Of that, $4.10 was a discount given to me for the prompt payment of previous bills. The other $176.74 was an insurance adjustment. The total due for me to pay is $36.90.

I’m not complaining so much as stating my surprise and confusion. What in the world is that insurance adjustment that reduces the bill by sixty-three percent? Is it a volume thing between Tricare and Asante? Makes me wonder about the original bill and its legitimacy.

I don’t know. The discount wasn’t explained. I suppose I could do an Internet search, but, well, I’d rather just note it and press on, at least for today.

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