So, it’s been another week and I’m not dead yet. About ten days from the event, and probably time for an update.
For the first couple of days everything moved hyper-fast, almost in a blur. And then it slowed way, way down. I got cleared to go back to work on Friday and planned to start up again Monday, and then didn’t — I realized I needed to get away a bit and start getting my head around this, so I grabbed my camera gear (remember that stuff?) and headed down to Moss Landing, where I shot for a few hours. Nothing epic but that doesn’t matter.
It gave me a chance to get away from phones and email and noise and distraction and just spend some good quality time with myself and my thoughts. And, it should be noted, I’d realized the worst thing I could do for myself was come out of that event and just jump right back into work as if nothing had happened. Most of the weekend was spent resting, and then Monday I took half a day and made it for me. Then I came home and started digging through the email…
First full day back was Tuesday, and for the last couple of hours I was dog tired. Wednesday I paid for it and I was feeling worn out the entire day. By thursday, I was back in the swing and feeling normal, and things seem pretty much back to normal now (and I’m caught up on email and projects are back on track, mostly).
So what happened?
Some of it is still being looked at. I’ll ask for a bit of understanding about being vague, especially since there’s no formal diagnosis, but I think a lot of it’s understood now, but the previous sunday I’d had a strong and unusual amount of heartburn, and I think that indicates when the thing that changed changed. That seems to be the source of some of the chest pressure and probably the underlying cause of the raised pulse. Then, dehydration, and in retrospect, I clearly was, although how that happened I don’t know. I shouldn’t have been and I don’t see an obvious cause for it. (shrug). Dehydration can also raise the pulse, and as far as I can see, the two things collided and amplified each other, leaving me with a really high pulse.
The good news is that each thing is manageable and without major lifestyle emergency changes. The better news is that the heart checked out healthy and wasn’t involved in any way.
So the bottom line is that as long as I’m not an idiot, I shouldn’t have a recurrence and I understand the triggers that might lead to it. Beyond that, knowing that the heart is healthy removes one of those “back of the head” disincentives to exercise.
Two Minute Warning
I’m trying to treat this as my two minute warning. Overall, I got lucky. There were many things this could have been that it wasn’t — but that it wasn’t those things doesn’t mean I’m not at risk. The marching orders from talking to the doctor are simple: get moving and lose weight. Of course, that’s always been part of the marching orders but now I have motivation — motivators and de-motivators about exercise have been a big part of my thinking recently for obvious reasons. That’s something for a later posting, but soon.
In reality, I haven’t done too badly on the weight, sort of. I’m down 20 pounds from my high a year ago, at my lowest weight since 2011, and within 10 pounds of my weight in 2007 when my sleep apnea was diagnosed, which is a convenient marker for when I started getting serious about fixing my lifestyle. On the flip side, I have to lose another 120 pounds to get down to what I weighed on my 30th birthday.
The good news is that it’s clear if I can ramp up the exercise, the weight should come off. the challenge is the body is so de-conditioned and fragile that doing that is going to be a challenge — but I’m so out of shape that even small things are going to help. 395 was my first goal weight, as the weight I was when the diabetes kicked in. That’s finally met (there were times when I wondered if I’d ever get there), so the next one is the next 20, because that’s what I weighed when I left Apple, which was when what I was doing was about the worst possible thing I could be doing to myself.
It’s also clear that if I get the exercise off, the weight will come off; currently I’m eating well below what typical weight maintenance for my size should be — by about 1,000 calories a day. That’s because my metabolism is suppressed, because I’m in such poor shape. Fix the exercise, the rest should start falling in place.
Ah, but words are so easy…
One final note
Have you ever stopped and thought about what 20 pounds means? If you talk to your doctor, they’ll happily show you their fake fat prop (and if you’re curious, these things are available on Amazon, so you can look them up). But I realized there was a different way to show it in a way that I think makes it more relevant both to myself and to others.
A liter of water weighs 2.2 pounds. A two liter bottle of fluid weighs 4.4 pounds. Gain 20 pounds? you’ve just strapped on four two-liter bottles of soda onto your body.
A liter of body fat weighs about 2 pounds. it’s less dense than water. So 20 pounds of body fat is five two liter bottles worth — in weight AND volume. So every time you put on ten pounds, you’ve taken what you see inside almost three of those bottles and found nooks and crannies inside your body to stuff all that, um, stuff. Wanna know what it’s like to be 20 pounds overweight? grab four bottles, stuff them in a day pack, and walk around carrying it all day. (hint: it’s not fun)
This model is simplistic, of course. When you put on that 20 pounds, the body beefs up other systems to be able to carry it to the best of its ability, and you put it on over time so you adapt to the change along the way. But the end result is the same.
Now stop and imagine being a hundred pounds overweight. You don’t want to go there, trust me. you’d probably need a cart to haul that around…
I’ve gotten rid of the first four bottles. I’m going to try to get the next four off twice as fast if I can. Easier said than done, which is the problem.
Think about those bottles when you find yourself thinking “I need to lose some weight, but it’s only ten pounds…” — how many bottles do you want to haul around for the rest of your life?