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Two weeks! (#1131)

Topics/tags: Autobiographical

It’s been two weeks since my heart attack. Well, slightly less than two weeks. My heart attack was in the late evening. I’m writing this musing [1] in the early evening. I’ve already mused about the event and the immediate aftermath. I think it’s time to muse a bit about how things are going.

I’m happy. As I’ve told my students at the start of the first day of class, I’m glad to be alive. I’m not consistently happy, but I’m feeling some real happiness. It helps that I had a great weekend with the family home. We played a board game [2], discussed a book as part of Rebelsky Book Club [3], talked [4], watched TV [5], hung out together, stuff like that.

The wide variety of cards, letters, emails, Facebook notes, and such have also made a positive difference. It’s nice to know that others care [6]. Of course, it also bothers me that many people have worries about their own stress levels at Grinnell and the effects it has on their bodies and their lives. At some point, I’ll advocate for change at Grinnell. I know others already are.

I’ll admit that I’m not sure how well my brain is functioning. It’s functioning, but I don’t think that my thinking to 100%. Some things seem harder to bring to the forefront. For example, the traditional malloc example I use in 282 was harder to bring to mind. On the other hand, I could pick up Kernighan and Plauger’s The Elements of Programming Style, read a Fortran example, and think about how to adapt it to CSC-282 [7]. Nonetheless, I’m finding myself making strange mistakes. I unplugged my computer from the external hard drives without unmounting them. I never do that [8]. I found myself overwriting files and otherwise clobbering things when copying files at the command line. I rarely do that. So, I have some worries about my mental functioning. But that’s not surprising.

I’m trying to avoid Grinnell-related stress. It’s hard. Being treated rudely by an administrator and then getting ghosted by the same administrator makes me upset. Arguing with a different administrator I highly respect is no fun. I’m trying not to worry about the former and assume that the latter will be resolved.

I’m also trying to stay away from administrative stuff. I will not serve as chair for the rest of this year [10]. I will not participate in tomorrow’s faculty meeting; if I can help it, I will not participate in any meetings for the remainder of the semester. I know that the upcoming discussions of the First-Year Experience Course [11].

But I decided to teach. Teaching adds a bit of stress to my life, but it adds significantly more joy. Plus, it’s an excuse to write. I’m teaching two courses this spring, one old (CSC-282, Thinking in C and Unix) and one new, or at least new to me (CSC/PSY/TEC-232, Human-Computer Interaction). Don’t worry, each meets only two days per week, and CSC-282 is a pass/fail course [12].

I’ve started Cardiac Rehab. That seems to be going well. I’m building a bit of stamina, but I know that I have work to do. Walking outside of that, too. And I’m literally walking outside. It’s nice.

I’m watching what I eat, particularly saturated fats and sodium. I’m generally trying to check labels, but I’m not always doing that as well as I should [14]. Nonetheless, I’m sure that my sodium is way down. It will take a while to get used to cooking without salt, but I think I can manage.

Unfortunately, I lost a week of work [16] and most work doesn’t disappear. My students from last term deserve their grades. My new students for this term deserve courses that are ready to go. I don’t have either in place yet [17].

I’m finding it easier to say That’s enough work for today. That’s not helping with those prior issues, but I think that’s okay. I also have no classes on Wednesday, so I’ll have some time to catch up. Last week, I had some times when I thought I should be working, but couldn’t. But I always have those moments. So I’m not too worried.

What else? The edema that’s been in my legs for the past year is gone. My blood pressure is good (low 120’s over 70’s or 60’s, on most days). I’ve lost more than ten pounds, but I think a decent amount of it is fluid weight. And I know that I have a long way to go.

But I think if I stay away from the things at Grinnell that build stress and emphasize those that make me happy, I’ll have the time and energy to focus on my wellness, my diet, my exercise, my sleep, and everything else.

So, how am I doing two weeks after my heart attack? Pretty well. Fingers crossed that I stay that way [18].

[1] Well, finishing writing this musing.

[2] Welcome to … Your perfect home. I just wish we’d played more than once.

[3] The Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun, which is much, much better if you take it as a humor book.

[4] Those who have participated in a Rebelsky meal conversation likely grok the chaotic joy.

[5] The latest Falcon and the Winter Soldier. The latest Saturday Night Live. Way too much of some stupid YouTube series on D&D. Things like that.

[6] I would know/believe they care even without all that. But it’s still nice.

[7] I even started to muse about it. Perhaps I’ll even post the musing.

[8] Well, I almost never do that.

[10] Next year is still to be decided.

[11] Tomorrow’s faculty meeting. Next week’s SciDiv meeting. The following week’s faculty meeting. Or at least that’s what I think the schedule is. As I said, my mind is not working great.

[12] S/D/F, in Grinnell speak.

[14] The other day, Michelle reminded me that tuna is likely to have a good amount of sodium. Who knew? [15]

[15] Michelle, obviously.

[16] I realize that much of it was labeled as Spring Interim Period. But my Spring Interim Period was to be filled with grading, class prep, recommendation writing, and administrative stuff. I wrote the recommendation letters, finished the major administrative paperwork, and started the class prep. I pawned off some of the grading, but not all of it.

[17] Well, I didn’t when I drafted this. I have rough drafts of both courses up now, and I’ve taught for a few days, but I have more prep to do.

[18] Don’t worry. I realize that my wellness requires more than crossed fingers. At this point, staying well requires focused intentionality. I’m striving for that.

Version 1.0 of 2021-04-05.