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Eight weeks! (#1147)

Topics/tags: Autobiographical, rambly

It’s now eight weeks since my heart attack. I’m not sure that things have changed very much since two weeks ago, but I’m going to make it a policy to do a bi-weekly update on myself. In part, that’s so that friends don’t worry. In part, that’s so that I can remember in the future. In part, I find it useful to introspect, or whatever you call what I do in these musings.

I’m generally feeling much more settled. Work things continue to upset me less, to worry me less. I seem to have reached the point that I’ve fully embraced It’s not my responsibility. The Serenity Prayer is for addicts; maybe I was a work addict [1].

I’ve generally been good at staying away from major meetings, such as the Faculty Meeting, the Division Meeting, the Chairs Meeting [2], Town Halls, and such. I’ll probably attend tomorrow’s Faculty Meeting because salaries are being discussed, and I’d like to know what’s going to happen to my salary. But I’m still reading the agenda; I was happy to read about the recent promotions in the most recent agenda. When I sent out congratulatory notes, at least one recipient made fun of me for reading the agenda so quickly. However, I find myself wondering what I’m going to do next year. Will I attend again? If I attend, will I participate? I know not.

I’m not great at dealing with home anxieties. We need new cars—at least we need newer cars. Mine is rusting away. William’s has 200K miles on it. Another one sits in the garage, roof crushed by a tree in The Derecho [3]. What will we do with them? What will we get in their place? It’s hard to think about. It’s harder to think about other home issues, like what to do with Kathy’s house, or what plans for the future should look like [4]. All of these things make me anxious. I probably need to accept some anxiety right now, but I’ve been avoiding it.

Speaking of avoiding things, it seems about time [5] to switch to another aspect of my health and well being.

When I take my pill cocktails in the morning and night, I think back to my mom and her own sets of pills. However, I’m not taking Shaklee vitamins and supplements [6,7,8]. I’m also not taking Prednisone, which is probably good.

I miss Naproxen. Naproxen deals with my joint pain better than any other anti-inflammatory I’ve used. But it also interacts poorly with my other drugs. The Acetaminophen [9] I’ve been taking in its place doesn’t work nearly so well on the pain. I’ve gone back to Naproxen once or twice when the pain was particularly bad [11], but I’ve generally been successful at avoiding it.

I continue to watch my diet. I now find myself wondering whether I should classify what I’m avoiding. I’ve cut down on salt to help my blood pressure. I’ve cut down on saturated fats in the hope that my cholesterol changes and my veins don’t clog any more. I’ve cut way down on sugar and on the total amount I eat because I want to lose weight for my health. Things like that. Or maybe I just need to think about things as one holistic bundle. I’m not sure which choice is better.

I’m also making sure I eat certain things. I know that the goal is five fruits or vegetables each day, and that’s a fairly easy goal to make. I like fruits and veggies. Carrots are a great snack. Frozen bananas are a great snack. Pears are a great snack. Spinach? Spinach is not a great snack. But I like spinach with egg whites for a meal. Or maybe spinach and egg whites and onions and a few other vegetables. Plus something at dinner.

Watching what I eat seems to be working. I’m down ten plus pounds over the seven weeks since I started cardiac rehab. That’s about one and a half pounds per week. I still have a long way to go, but I don’t find watching what I eat hard, so I’m hoping that as long as I have the time/energy to focus on it, I’ll keep watching my eating. My problems are that I tend to stress eat and that I don’t pay enough attention to my eating when I have other things on my mind.

Exercise is also helping. I still don’t particularly enjoy exercising, but I definitely enjoy having exercised. And I’m building strength and stamina. I’ve been at or above seven METs [12] on the Sci-Fit and the Nu-Step. My nurse says that’s appropriate for masonry work. But no, I’m not planning on any such work. I see on Wikipedia that there are some issues with using METs as a measure. Oh well. I’m doing well. My other nurse says that I can be done with cardiac rehab. As soon as I’ve set up other regular exercise programs, I will be. I’m calling the PWA Fitness Center tomorrow.

I continue to need more sleep. It looks like ten hours per night is the right amount for me right now. I’m not sure why. And I must admit that by ten hours, I mean ten hours between closing my eyes and getting up. I usually wake up for a bit in the middle of the night. Among other things, needing that much sleep suggests that I shouldn’t, say, move to Des Moines to split the distance with Michelle. Adding two hours per day to my travel time would leave me with too little time for other things. I worry a bit that there are days that I seem to need more than ten hours; I sometimes feel like I could sleep all day on the weekend. I hope that as I lose weight and continue to exercise, that will get better [14].

I continue to worry about my thought processes. I struggle to ad-lib in class, or even to give lectures I’ve given before without relying on notes. Is it just that I’m online? Is it that I’m not getting enough sleep? I’m not sure. But I don’t feel that sense of mastery of material or the class that I traditionally have. We’ll see where that goes. It is, perhaps, the worst part of everything.

Grading is also taking a surprisingly long time, even when I use simple rubrics. But I suppose that’s always been the case. I’ve never found myself to grade particularly quickly or promptly. I miss the CSC-151 Gradescope Learning Assessments, which were quick and easy to grade [15]. I’m trying to figure out what those will be like when we return to in-person classes.

What to do with time off in the evening is a bit of a struggle. It’s not that I have too little to do; it’s that I have too much that I’d like to do. If I can write or read or take a walk or watch TV or straighten my office or whatever, why not try to do everything? But I generally have time to just do one or two things. If I muse, I won’t read as much. But I like musing. And I hope musing will help build up the brain cells again. I don’t find myself feeling quite as creative musing, but I’m managing. Sometimes I even have lots of fun. For example, I enjoyed musing about summer workshops. I need to find other things that stimulate my thinking to muse about, things within the Vygotsky proximal zone of my current brain. I hope my readers have enjoyed the more-frequent-than-they’ve-been-for-the-past-year-or-so, still-less-frequent-than-daily musings [16].

Of course, if I muse, I’m at the computer. And I think that one of my goals should be to spend less time at the computer. I’m not quite sure how to balance those needs. I suppose I’ll figure it out someday.

Stress and work level? Covered. Diet? Covered. Meds? Covered. Exercise? Covered. Enjoyment? Covered, more or less. It appears that there is a cover over my primary wellness issues [17].

To summarize, I’m doing well. Quite well. Damn well. I’m settled. I’m calm. I’ve found time to write. I’ve found time to read. I’ve found time to relax. I’m found more moments of happiness.

I’m alive. I’m great.

I anticipate being similar in two weeks. Feel free to check back in to be sure. I’ll do my best to write.


[1] I suppose workaholic is another way to say work addict.

[2] I’m not a Chair anymore, so I’m not even sure whether I’m invited to attend.

[3] The initial caps seem appropriate.

[4] Stay tuned for a musing about retirement.

[5] Is time an appropriate measure in a piece of writing?

[6] I assume only folks who know Freda understand that comment.

[7] Does Shaklee still exist? Yet another pyramid scheme of wellness. Plus some excellent cleaning products.

[8] Yes, I’m still taking a daily multivitamin.

[9] Is that the same as Paracetamol? [10]

[10] Which always reminds me of Paracetamol Paralyis, a great song by The Distractions.

[11] I think my doctor said that the occasional Naproxen is okay. If not, I’ll find out the next time I visit.

[12] No, not the baseball players.

[14] Why do I associate less weight and more exercise with less sleep? I’m not sure.

[15] Writing them was less quick and easy.

[16] I tried eliminating the hyphens. I failed.

[17] In case it wasn’t clear, this musing serves as the cover [18].

[18] The paragraph is a failure. I lack the time or energy to correct it. Deal [19].

[19] No, not cards. Deal as in Deal with it.


Version 1.0 released 2021-05-17.

Version 1.1 of 2021-05-17.