Quality of Life

2015Nov19LabRatWithFlaskRecently I had a heart attack. There was no sudden pain. Instead I felt very hot, and had difficulty breathing. The day was temperate. I was also very thirsty. I begged Betty to lower the air conditioner and for more and more water. But even though I was drinking a lot of liquid there was nothing coming out! Soon I found myself in an ambulance heading to the nearest hospital thanks to Betty calling 911. On the way I passed out and went into a coma that lasted about one week.

During the time I was “unconscious” I was actually in a very strange purgatory. A world filled with streamers of electric neon lights. Somehow I still had a sense of time. Eventually after a day I noticed that the patterns started to repeat. It was very much like Groundhog’s Day but without any people. At first I counted the minutes, hours and days. Then the months, and finally the years. During this time I contemplated that I had indeed died and this was in an afterlife. Perhaps even hell. One day I found a break in the daily pattern and I followed it to a place that allowed me to escape and wake up.

My first sight was Betty. Her eyes began streaming tears. She had been by my side all that time. But only a week had passed and not the multitude of years I had experienced. Her eyes welled with tears and people were mumbling “Miracle!”.

But the life I had known was gone. I was in a hospital and had a bed sore in my rear end. It felt like trying to balance my butt on a narrow and very hard metal rail. Also I could not speak. There were IV’s in my veins, tubes in my nose and throat. I’d been given numerous drugs to drain me of excess fluids and to replace the missing vitamins, minerals and other components of daily sustenance in a balance of protein, fat and carbohydrate as recommended by the AMA (American Medical Association) or maybe the FDA (Food and Drug Associations). However I was very much bedridden and even unable to turn over on my own.

I am a shy person. However here I was in a hospital with nothing to wear but a flimsy gown that did little to hide my body from view. I was a lab rat. Every hour or two a doctor or a nurse or a group of same would stop by to take blood or otherwise bother me. I kept begging them to allow me to sleep but to no avail.

Worse I had been off any form of drug and medicine for over 35 years. Now I was loopy; confused and found my memory was spotty. Additionally I was having a recurring form of déjà vu in that I kept noticing that events in time were repeating every 5 to 10 minutes. They would persist until the pattern was broken.

Before I finish I remind everyone reading this to treat it as fiction. I am not interested so much in how truthful my statements are as I am in giving you my interpretation of how I perceive my own life. I do not believe that even if I tried to, would I be able to tell of the events that everyone could agree to.

In summary I am only just recovering from all the side effects of being stricken which includes a more damaged short term memory as well as a hacked life.

Lemon Into Lemonade

woman-squeezing-lemonsA lemon tree is pretty. But its fruit is bitter, nearly impossible to eat. There is an old adage about turning lemons into lemonade, with a lot of wisdom behind it I must say. I decided to utilize that wisdom and apply it to my sorry circumstance. While sick from the flu and unable to eat anything I naturally lost a lot of weight. I do not recommend anyone to go on the Flu Diet. For me it did effectively take quite a few pounds off as can be seen by my face in the picture taken for my driver’s license posted in my profile.

So to make lemonade I began monitoring my food and caloric intake to make sure I had enough energy but could still continue to lose weight. To keep track of weight loss I also monitored my weight in a separate spreadsheet. As of today I am down to 247 lbs. after being above 280 lbs. before I got the flu. Also I will begin juicing shortly to add the micronutrients I need to complete the detox process. However I need to point out that I am feeling very well. My eyesight is great. I can smell things I could never smell before! My only side effect from having been ill for several months is my strength which is still not back to where it had been but that’s just a matter time and physical therapy. However I am still able to get about albeit a bit more slowly and without being able to lift anything more than 20 lbs. (for now).

From the lemon tree of life I am making my lemonade. I am grateful to the creators for this opportunity to change my life and am looking forward to returning to a more normal lifestyle yet wanting to retain and use the knowledge of how to keep and maintain a much healthier one!

Time to Reboot!

TimeToRebootIn the beginning of January I got the flu. I had nearly got rid of it by my sister Tina’s birthday. However on her birthday it was cold and drizzly and I had a recurrence that literally knocked me down. I began experiencing panic attacks and found it difficult to breath. The attacks also led to often my soiling my clothes. All in all a most unpleasant experience. As I write this we are past the 4th of July and even though I am long past those events two things persist. My strength has not come back. I am still weak. This is largely in part to the side effect of not being able to eat. Most food now makes me nauseous. Nor am I hungry. My wife is naturally concerned. I’ve done what I can to return to a normal diet but with little success. However my health has improved, nearly paradoxically.

During this six months time I have done a lot of research into health. I am influenced by Joe Cross who made a documentary called Fat Sick and Nearly Dead. He advocates juicing as an aid to getting well. In fact many experts in nutrition are saying we are eating from the wrong end of the food pyramid. Apparently we need to eat much more fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and organic products. But first we need to rid ourselves of the toxins.

On the topic of detoxification I have found Dr. John Bergman to be most informative and helpful. His videos are filled with medical knowledge and he backs up his claims from medical journals and studies. He tells it like it is as far as our medical establishment is more one of treating symptoms than going to cure the root cause.

So I bought a juicer. It is a Hamilton Beach, but I went for one from the Amazon Warehouse to save a few bucks. I am still doing a bit more research. Joe’s movie is great but his book goes into much more detail. Betty is excited about juicing as well. In the mean time I started a 7 day fast a few days ago as part of the detox process. It seems to be working though I am a lot weaker now. I am hopeful when I begin juicing that the micronutrients give me the energy back.

By the way I would be remiss in not mentioning Joel Fuhrman, M.D. and his Fasting and Eating for Health. One of many books he has written on the importance of nutrition and maintaining a healthy body. It is an essential guide to explain how to fast and more importantly how to properly end one. His and Bergman’s medicine practice is the ones that I respect. If only all doctors followed the same principles. It all goes back to Hippocrates:

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.

At the Very Tip of my Tongue

TipOfTongueYesterday I had one of those rare lunches with a close friend. Yes we talked business but we also talked of many other things. We are both recovering from recent re-infections and still wondering when all our hard work will pay off. Of course we hatch another business scheme that could bring something in while fishing for investors that will bring our real money.

But enough about business. We also discussed Conceptione and how reading chapters from the book could cause insomnia. One’s brain races as it tries to understand concepts like cognition and metacognition. After all it is difficult enough to understand how we think and know, now imagine the difficulty we have in understanding that we know something but are unable to name it and that we would recognize that missing word if someone would just say it! There’s an expression about it being at the tip of our tongue, but we just can’t verbalize it.

It made me realize that I needed to add more “dumbed-down” chapters. My audience is not responding because it does not know what to think. The concepts are a step beyond and bridges need to be built to better connect to those island concepts and explain their true purpose and how knowledge of how we really think will eventually help all of us understand each other all that much better.

I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant
— Alan Greenspan

Once we all are beyond the misconception of what it is we actually understand and how we manage to fool ourselves that it is the same for everyone else; once we are more tolerant in possible interpretations and misrepresentations; then we can begin to take the steps to actually understand how to walk a mile in that other person’s shoes. Only then can we can actually … (what’s that famous Heinlein word for understand?)

Roller Coaster Surprise

Roller CoasterYes as I said in my last blog I am back from the dead. However the ride is still not over. Yesterday I spent the entire day coughing up gunk. This is natural as the body has no better way of eliminating all the bad bits. While it was to be expected it still caught me by surprise. I had to continually remind myself this is just part of the process of getting back to health.

The roller coaster climbed slowly up and went rapidly over the apex. I screamed as I was plunging straight into hell,

I want to get BETTER!”

This time breathing seemed a bit harder. Also sleeping was once again difficult. But today the good news is that I am still feeling better than I have in several weeks, except for the part of having to expel all that flem, obviously! More Good news; today is indeed better than yesterday. I look forward to spending some time soon sitting in the sunshine, which I often do around noon. It is not my plan to dwell on the horrible things happening to me. However I do want to get to mentioning that I know how sick I had been by the type of thoughts I was having.

They were instructive and helpful, almost script like. Instructions to help not hinder. To have constructs that aided breathing. But it was all just in my head. None of these rules were anything but my own imagination at work. Over and over I would come to the realization of what was happening and then once again reminded myself that those thoughts had nothing to do with my current situation. What I needed to do was avoid hyperventilation. Talk a bit. Breath slowly and deeply. Exhale in the same deep manner. More importantly I needed to stay calm.

BTW there’s still too much to do before I die.

Most Recent Epiphany

newton_appleSome ideas mark one historically. Most though reveal a truth that has been ever present and acknowledged by nearly everyone, except you, until just recently. I am referring to my “miraculous” recovery after an agonizing several weeks of being on the highway to hell rollercoaster. The symptoms were so severe that at times I was tempted to tell my wife to call 911.

I was in a Catch-22. To get better I needed to get rest, but every time I tried I started choking. I struggled to catch my breath. As long as this persisted I would not get the rest I so badly needed! Worse it had been so many days that this symptom persisted that I found myself nodding off. Which immediately led to a panic attack. To which I could only remind myself to stop hyperventilating, take a deep breath and consciously breath. Over and over as in an unending nightmare.

My other symptom was more troubling. I was nauseas. Everything I smelled and even the thought of eating made me want to vomit. I was managing to hold down bits of food, but the lack of proper diet was causing me to tire easily. All of which I was positive would be cured if I could only properly fall asleep.

I prayed to God and I prayed to the creators. I prayed to any and all that would listen to my prayers. Please allow me to heal. Allow me to get back to health. “Please!” I pleaded, all the while doing my best to maintain a good attitude about each day leading me back to how I was before all this madness started.

That all changed yesterday and now I am back from the dead! This is the epiphany. That all those ills can disappear overnight. I am still in shock over the sudden recovery, but also extremely grateful to all the spirits that lent me a hand. Thank you one and all!

Flu Season Hits Hard

IllGearyI am still recovering from the flu as Christmas music plays in the background. My illness has lasted now more days than I care to remember. It caused me to postpone my jury duty. Today with the advent of down pouring rain I am staying home instead of seeing my mom. Hopefully tomorrow things will look brighter all around and I can go see her then.

As picture to left indicates I am all bundled up and drinking hot tea to help overcome my illness. In the meantime I work on the next system build with 1st Tech’s Chris Russo. He keeps my system running in the bleeding edge so that I am familiar with what my clients will be running years from now.

The thought of the roller coaster ride I’ve been on continue to amaze me and treasure the health I had but a few weeks ago. Now I wonder when will I ever be that well again?

As to the system builds I am envisioning at least two. It is time to put a media center in the living room. To explore alternatives to AT&T U-verse. Maybe it will be a DVR as well? Things I must ponder on. I know this does not make it any easier for Chris, but I’d rather take my time and have the system requirements fully fleshed out before committing to the systems I will purchase from 1st Techs.

The gunk has slowed but still persists. The nausea is subsiding. I’m able to sleep for at least a couple of hours at a time. All in all remarkable progress. There is still that awful cough. Still this roboSlave is still here, surviving  and will continue to improve, day by day, waiting for the blue skies!

Back to Blogging

backToRealityIt has been a hiatus since my blog was hacked. It’s not that I have a lot to blog about, obviously, but a venture into the web to help my sister Tina, prompted me to examine what services I still had active. This of course prompted me to complete the restoration of this blog on RoboSlave.net, if only to archive it.

It was not until I reestablished the blog that I could relieve my fear that parts of it had been lost forever. I had a bit of reassurance from the WayBack Machine program that at least a fragment of my blog had been retained for some dubious posterity.

For those who missed my musing I profusely apologize for taking so long to return to my adventures in reality fiction. However I am back, at least for this one entry as a test of the tools I am using to record and maintain this vital information. There are still many blog entries concerned with friends and family that are still up on this blog. Many of the hyperlinks are broken too. But that was a situation that exists because of the nature of the world wide web; it like us is a living thing, evolving, changing.

I owe a great debt of gratitude for all those that contributed to my blog directly and indirectly. You are my extended family offering sanity in a crazy mixed-up world! The title of this blog entry come from a Red Dwarf episode called “Back to Reality”. I provide a clip here of the boys waking from what turns out to be a virtual reality game they were involved in. In many ways I do believe we are all in a virtual reality game and that for most of us death provides the wake-up call.

Yes I am back to blogging and if I made a video it would sound a lot like this. No I do not know Victoria, but her first words greatly echoed my own thoughts.

I often use music to express my emotions. While Christmas is something most of you view as a last year event, for us it lasts until Chinese New Years arrives. So I have Christmas music playing in the background daily. It helps me remember all my friends and family. The good times we have shared. It also reminds me of those who have departed this virtual reality game. Most recently Gail Alter was added to that list of friends no longer playing in our sandbox. To all those friends, family, loved ones, I dedicate this song.

Finally I stress that his blog is about my vision of my life and does not try to adhere to any statement that can be repeated as truthful. In other words it is an abstract that at best is merely based on reality. For example I am currently trying to recover from chest congestion that was aggravated a couple of Saturday’s ago. I am still working on recovery but the clerks who keep rescheduling me for jury duty want a doctor’s note. Something I am loathe to acquire due to the fact it can only happen after a live confrontation with the doctor assigned to me under Betty’s coverage. It also goes against the grain of my social and religious beliefs. There is much truth in these words, but all are contained in this work of reality fiction. Every blog I have written has been so. Every blog I will write cannot help but be so. However I sincerely hopes it provides you with a chuckle or at least makes you wonder about your own life. ‘Til next time…(que the music!)

Playground For Granfalloons

PlaygroundForSaleThe fact that September looms a scant quarter of a year away generates anxiety for the ton to be done prior to China. Learning enough Chinese to navigate. Working out an itinerary. Getting Visas. Exercise. All happening too soon; still suffering post-shock grief at loss of Judy. She was going to die. We all are. Few though are prepared for death. While I type this I am in acceptance. But just last night I snuck back to SimCity; wasted hours on FlipAnt.

Another project is bubbling up from background. One Rolando and I have talked about for years. The Sacred Heart Grammar School of San Francisco 1964 Class Reunion. Of the 30 to 50 children that attended classes 1 thru 8 we remain in contact with but a few. Yes our imprisonment in seven of the eight boxes (the eight was reassigned and thus second and eight grade presented essentially the same view of Fell street). That is the granfalloon that binds us closer than friends; closer than blood.

The property is available for lease. One of the many things I’ve learned since earnestly trying to find classmates. I have spoken with Walter as related in an earlier blog; Blast From the Past. Lindy is encouraging us to make something happen. We will. Even if it winds up being just a buffet that we can all gather at; surrounded by strangers.

Speaking with Milton reminded me of dear friend Al. Both have similar outlooks and mannerisms of speaking and thinking. I suggested to Rolando that we invite Al; he still teaches and plays drums. We could put on a show similar to the ones we use to do in that green box behind the playground.

Yet it was actually not school or learning together; being taught by Sisters or even teachers that created our unique bond. Blame the few scant hours shared on that playground. The fresh hot glazed donuts served with ice cold milk after some meaningless mass. The dance performed for family and friends after torturous months of preparation at school years end. The loves and enemies made in a racially diverse gathering. Culminating in the eight and final dance prior to our graduation. It was that cyclic and spiraling pattern carried out religiously over those eight years; which formed our union; cemented upon that playground for granfalloons.

To A Wedding Promising New Life

brassybassVoices through the PA are unintelligible. Mostly due to too much bass and no treble. “What’d they say?” my wife keeps asking me. I Shrug and keep shrugging. Then the dancing begins. The loudness goes past 11. I am pretty sure I am deaf now. I feel the beat in my chest and feet. The Boom-PHHH! Boom-PHHH could also be the crowd. No telling what the song is. But the tempo changes. A lone voice suddenly yelling over the PA. “Let’s Get This Party Started!” The crowd goes wild as everything accelerates in an explosion of bodies turning the dance floor into a writhing mass sucking in over 200 men women and children with tribal intensity.

It is a good wedding. Aaron and Jennifer know how to put on a bash. We arrive home at something past 11 PM wondering how we lasted as long as we did. It all started at 4:30 PM in the remains of a blistering sun on top of a hill. Many refused to stand in it preferring to fan themselves with the program in what shade they could find beneath an overhang. However the breeze could not penetrate the cluster of bodies; I found more relief standing in the slight shade of a small tree with a bit of wind to cool me down. Once the ceremony started many who were dressed in black did take their seats to respect the couple; broiling; sweating; through a beautiful but torturous ceremony.

Gremlins arrived and wrecked havoc with the portable PA system which was setup so that all could hear their words. Instead the voices broke in and out making nonsense of whatever it was they were saying. The singer rightly sang directly to the crowd without even attempting to use that broken mike. We applauded his vocal feat with a loud cheer. None of this stopped the ceremony from proceeding. Finally the owner of the portable PA rigged something that worked almost without incident. After his fix there were still feedback howls and difficulty in hearing some speakers, the wedding still proceeding despite it all.

In the light of our recent loss of dear friend Judy, it was a pleasure to be there. Despite being ill I managed to endure all the events; wedding; cocktails in happy hour; speeches; pictures; dinner; cake; all the way up to the near midnight snack. I reflect upon the quote from Helen Keller:

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us”

However I could easily see that this one door lead to a wedding promising new life.