Tuesday, July 31, 2018

How I went to bed and woke up 5 days later with a partial beard and my crotch shaved.


“I went home with a waitress,
The way I always do
How was I to know
She was with the Russians too.”
W. Zevon

There are places in my head that are greyed out now – like real city places where things have happened, and talks have talked – all things that should be memories but are not. When I try to pin these things down with words, they escape and bounce away as if greased pigs fleeing the horror of a wayward children’s zoo. They are things just outside of sight, outside of the patterns of my mind --they are places that I’ve been or are going to, or maybe omens and portents – it’s hard to say, but like the auras that precede a seizure, this where the road to nowhere begins for me.

These are the dreams I fall into shortly before I lose it. The fact that they are too vaporous to describe with words concerns me, but it seems important to try because flashes of them happen to me many times a day now. At work, they come when sitting at my desk looking at a monitor, in cars when I stop between stops. They come unbidden as if waiting for the right time – like a software update looking to load during a slack time. The problem is that I can’t remember where the individual pieces go, or even identify the parts of them at all. This stuff seems to be off-memory and not available for access, by me anyway.

Maybe it’s better just to describe things in a beginning to end narrative. For a novel, this would be easy and fun – I can be the unreliable historian telling the tale, and by including official hospital documents, you could actually track the progress of my delusions. The problem comes from this being more of a documentary with limited paperwork. It’s the stuff of madness, so why not tell it as I maybe see it in the order I mis-remember it:

I went to work on a Thursday and felt funky most of the day – no locked in a vault kind of stuff, but feverish and missing noticeable pieces along my timeline of reality – as I said, kind of funky.

I got home about three in the afternoon, a couple of hours before Mary, as usual. I remember feeling hot, so wet a dish towel and wrapped it around my head like a modified white guy doo rag, but less stylish. When Mary got home, I remember making excuses and going to bed. I woke up in the hospital sometime on Saturday, kind of confused. I had an IV in my left hand, a heart monitor with other dangly things connected to my chest, and my crotch was shaved, both sides.

I was found mentally out of it, in bed and non-responsive, by Mary. She called her sister, the doctor--and 911. An ambulance took me to Good Samaritan Hospital. Because I have a permanent pacemaker, they thought this might have failed me, or that perhaps I had bad heart beats that might need an implantable defibrillator. One of the many tests was in the cardiac catheterization lab – that’s why I was shaved. I also stank like a hobo and had the meaty beginnings of a half-assed beard.

By Sunday I was getting better – I have poor memories of the day, but do remember parts of it – visits, partial conversations with doctors, and a lot of people stared at me in a funny kind of way, but I’m kind of used to that. On Monday, I was good enough to send home. (I’m good at faking sort of normal, so getting them to let me go wasn’t that hard.) Also – they were not sure who would pay them for their services, that helped.

So, in the week I’ve been out, I feel sharp – my sense of humor has come back, and my ability to write in complete sentences seems unimpaired. Physically, I’m better than ever, walking more and continuing to lose weight. They discharged me without a diagnosis – other than vaguely blood pressure related stuff. I’ve followed up with my regular doctor, whom I love, and the VA seems willing to pay for my hospitalization.

Everything has played out better than I have any right to expect. But the auras continue.

Update a week later -- the auras have gone, and I feel pretty normal, or normally abnormal if you prefer.

Found a great article that seems timely about post hospital syndrome.


Monday, July 30, 2018

How I died in a Honda and woke up with a pacemaker

How I died in a Honda and woke up with a pacemaker

"Give yourself this gift as your day of death approaches: let your faults die before you."

- Seneca, Letters 27.2

Sitting outside my office with few minutes to kill, (I usually got to work an hour early to beat the traffic), I start drifting a bit. My eyes lost a bit of vision at the edges and my head nodded, weak and in poor control. I found myself in a blue vault, medieval blue, with images of old timey people pasted in lifelike ways to the walls. None of this had any depth – it was Greek Orthodox in manner – Icons of symbols for the most part, all recognizable from before the Renaissance, or the time of any movement at all for that matter. Timeless, except the stars blinked off and on and there was a slow kaleidoscope of lateral movement as I watched. I’m wasn’t there either, just the history of me killing time in a waiting room. I might have been smoking, it’s tough to remember.

I jerked and thought, maybe I’m in trouble and maybe this is serious, and that maybe I should get out of the car, but it was too late and I just sort of sat there and continue to nod off.

Reborn a lifetime later, though still early for work, I jumped out of the car and made it as far as the badged door into my work area, where I passed out, based on the documentation from the ambulance. I then spent more time in the waiting room.

I woke up at night, in a hospital, on a heart monitor, feeling stuporus but alive. I had questions, all of which I repeated endlessly to loved ones over the next few days.

The Honda was blue, the pacemaker St. Jude.

Stay tuned for part 2:

How I went to bed and woke up 5 days later with a beard and my crotch shaved

Maybe Trump is right

“No, I’m romantic—a sentimental person thinks things will last—a romantic person hopes against hope that they won’t.” F. Scott Fitzgerald

So OK, I quit. I know this surprises no one, what coming from the pie hole of a member of our most disappointing generation -- but trust me, this needs to be said – because this raw, stuffed naked and in your face kind of quitting is necessary, and because I’ve been way too nice about it up to now.

It’s become clear to me that all has been written in the big book of what must be and it’s time for me to accept and let go. Free will is a sucker bet for dreamers and the uninformed -- it's just for the hoi polloi on stage, reading lines in clothed flesh, to an audience that wrote the book they are reading from, and doesn’t even like them anyway.

What if Trump and his supporters are right? Have you ever even thought of the possibility that the little shit head of a person is right? That maybe Trump is the man for our times – the man to lead us away from the brink of a liberal apocalypse that’s been coming unabated down the road at us for years? Look around, even as a liberal to the left of Trotsky I can see the rot of excess all around me – maybe it’s a stopping point to allow us to take a few giant steps backward in time to clean this place up.  Maybe it’s time for a vast burning of the old ways and old people. Maybe Trump will be known in the future as the leader of the great renewal.

This feels wrong, deep down wrong, but maybe I’m wrong and just following things because of how I feel and not how I think. Though to be honest, it ‘thinks’ wrong much more than it feels wrong. But maybe it’s not about words – it’s about what is fundamentally right or wrong – the thing we know in our souls before we act on any impulse or action. Everyone knows simple right from wrong – and we all choose to deal with it or not.

Again, though, it kind of feels wrong on that basic level as well.

What is the nature of truth? Is it adversarial and not even real or verifiable? Is truth just an opinion voiced from a made-up place that’s constructed outside ourselves just to talk us into shit? Is truth just getting Colin Powell to say made up shit to liberals to get something you want?

Advertising has been blasting us with fake truth since the dawn of whatever – we seem to be both fooled by it, and sharpened by it at the same time – Advertising works, but it makes large portions of us numb and resentful – and most of us resistant, over time, to believing anything we see – no matter the pictures or the words that come from the tube.

Like antibiotics and great civilizations, advertising stops working over time.

Satoshi Nakamoto claim

I met a man claiming to be Satoshi Nakamoto outside a building I work at near the SF train station. He asked to talk to me. He was white, 50...