Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Syncope (pronounced SINK-uh-pee) may be the most medically accurate term that's described me since I fell ill. Because that's exactly what I did last night after passing out. I was watching a movie late at night with Oreo when I noticed a little bug scurrying across the floor. Maybe it was the adrenaline from watching the movie, but I arose quickly to dispose of the beast just barely catching it's hindside. It dashed under the couch in an attempt at escape. I quickly bent over to get it & noticed it had stopped just out of arms reach. Thinking I would grab the fly swatter to extradite the thing, I quickly arose so I could get back before it chose to move.

It was at this point that my heart spoke to me: "You mean to tell me you want to quickly stand up, quickly bend over, and then quickly stand up again? You must be kidding". I knew too late that I'd made a mistake & attempted to sit down on a chair before leaving the world of the conscious. I then sank-and-peed. Let's be honest, dignity is but a word when it comes to being ill. Bug 1 - Tony 0.

You've all seen any random movie where someone is swimming frantically upwards trying to reach air before their lungs explode and the moment of jubilation when they catch that all important breath. Well that was how I woke up, gasping for air. I was slouched on the floor with my head leaning against the couch. My vision was blurry and I had absolutely no energy to move myself. I was able to lean to a sitting position and that's when I noticed my sink-uh-pee. Oreo was gone and I couldn't stand up. I was hot and had difficulty breathing. Looking at the clock, I guesstimated (yea I made that spelling up) that I'd been out 10-15 minutes. I reached over to Oreo's water bowl and dabbed some on my forehead. I then began to yell for Gail (my wife). It took a couple minutes for me to get her attention. She came & attended my immediate need of a cold rag and some pillows so I could lay back down on the floor. Should she call 911? I don't know; give me a couple minutes to see if my dizziness passes. But the cold rag and pillows wasn't going to cut it this time. She called.

Funny are the thoughts that run through your head when abnormal cicumstances happen to you. Gail (other than obviously being worried for me) was worried the sirens would scare Oreo. I just hoped they didn't wake the neighbors (it was about 4 AM). The ambulance arrived in storied fashion and rescue personnel filled my living room. The first thing they wanted to do: talk. I suppose it was to ascertain my state of consciousness but I was hardly ready to have a fulfilling conversation. What happened? I sink-uh-peed. How do you feel? Warm, wet, nauseous, and dizzy. Ok now time to check my pulse and blood pressure. Ok, I think we need to get you to the hospital. What so soon? But we just started! Well that's what she'd recommend. Try to sit up and see how you feel. I sat up. Yea, I think the hospital would be good.

Riding the stretcher was cool. I was strapped on like in the movies and wheeled over all sorts of obstacles on the way to the ambulance. I looked for any sign of my neighbors to give them a triumphant thumbs up but no one was in sight. I guess the crowds you see in the movies are just a Hollywood thing. They lifted me into a refrigerated truck (also called an ambulance). After being strapped in, we were on our way. I want to say my rescue attendant was attractive but every time I tried to focus I grew nausous looking at her upside down face, so I just closed my eyes and listened. When you have your eyes closed it's like you become a third party at that point. I was privy to the conversation between the hospital and the ambulance personnel. "We have a 45 year old male...". Wait, I'm only 41! Too fatigued to talk, I simply held up my fingers to give her the correct number. I don't think she noticed b/c she was still talking to the hospital over the radio. "We're going to start an IV at this time...". Oh great. Of course with the truck bouncing all over the place, cords flew here and there even hitting me in the face and the first attempt failed. "Are you on blood thinner"? Ah they must have had trouble stopping the bleeding. As a matter of fact I am. Attempt number two was successful but hurt something awful. I really should be used to all the sticking by now.

After being whisked straight to a room I think to myself, wow this is service! No waiting room for me! Three nurses swoop in and begin the process: move to a bed, remove clothing, adorn beautiful hospital gown, IV, check temperature, attach oximeter, attach sticky pads to chest for monitors...really that many? After that it was the norm, chest x-ray, blood work, monitor vitals, can I get a pillow? Doctor visits a couple times, checks results, more monitoring...diagnosis SINK-uh-pee. "Will I be here long enough for first breakfast"? Ok to release, be sure to contact your doctor (seeing him Friday as scheduled anyway so sure), seek immediate medical attention if you have any of the following, yada yada.

But this story isn't about a hospital visit (well maybe some of it is). There is a score to settle. I get home. First thing, shower off the SINK-uh-pee...and when I step out of the shower that's when he reappeared. The BUG. Mr. I'm Faster Than You. "Yea I made it all the way from the living room to your bathroom because I knew you'd be here after your unfortunate accident. I saw the whole thing! Catch me if you can"! He darts under the shower rug. I may be many things but stupid is not one of them. I immediately call for reinforcements. "GAIL"! Being on alert status, she comes quickly. "He ran under the rug; I don't want to bend over again". She removes the rug and catches Mr. I'm Faster Than You and that's that. Bug-1 Gail-1 Tony-0.

True story, the End.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Tap, tap; is this thing on?

Today was the day. It had been ten months since my last visit. The heat of the day would only make it harder. Always harder when hotter, at least that's what they kept telling me. My gear was packed and I was ready to venture outside. The summer heat showed no mercy as I opened my truck door. A thin line of dust covered my dash, seemingly melted into place and as innocent as fallen snow. My first act was to crank up the AC, then dive for cover as the explosion of dust from the unused vents covered the exact spot I would have been. Another crisis averted for the moment. The heat eventually gave way to pulses of cool air breezing past my face and feet. Ahhhh, one of life's little pleasures for sure. The seat hugged my body as if it had known all along that I would need the correct mixture of incline and distance. Familiarity took over; I smiled and let myself release some stress with long breaths. Maybe today would turn out OK after all.

The drive was pleasant. The motion of life I had left behind was twice as fast as I had remembered. So many many places to go...seemingly so little time. I eventually found a break in the traffic and accelerated to the appropriate speed. Things zipped by so fast; signs, cars, fences, faces. I was on some kind of rollercoaster ride, everything flashed into and out of focus as if it was never really there; like I had simply imagined it. Once I felt comfortable with the racing stream of cars I dared to look down at the speedometer; life was blazing by at a head-spinning 45 miles per hour. I smiled at my self-imposed fears and began to enjoy the scenery as I drove. I had forgotten this world actually existed. Life pre-PH; where people were always in a hurry. Things had to get done, and they had to get done fast.

I arrived at my destination wondering what news the check-up would give. I had the same doubts that plagued my mind every visit. Had I waited too long for the check-up? Would there be some problem they could have fixed if only they had caught it in time? Why did I always procrastinate? Why did I always dread the necessary? Should I have brought my wife in case I heard the worst and needed support? Time would give the answers I guess.

The wait wasn't terribly long. "Mr. Martin"? The scowl on the attendants face didn't fortell good news. "Yes", I responded. An eternity passed as the attendant looked at the computer screen and typed furiously and then again as if he had not gotten the correct answer he was looking for. "It seems....everything checked out". I visibly relaxed at the news. "Will this be debit or credit?", he asked. "Debit please", I responded. Life would go on it seems.

A multitude of thoughts crossed my mind on the way home, not the least of which was why they quit putting inspection stickers on windshields after a state inspection. Perhaps it's so you'll alway worry about whether you've waited too long for your check-up. I guess I'll never know.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Short Update

Time to catch you guys up.

Life in these parts has been a real ho-hum time.  A lot of nothing going on.  Had my echo - no change.  Took my dose of 6MW - scored a 474!  The doc was pretty happy to see that, so happy in fact he doubled my Revatio...huh?  Seems he wants to see just how much better he can get me, kinda like he's building the Six Million Dollar Man (in pharmacy costs - chuckle).  The additional Revatio has me feeling pretty good but I'm gettin a stuffy nose again.  Hopefully that will pass as my body adapts to the new dose.  I know, as side effects go I have it made compared to most others. 
 You know a part of this whole gig that I underestimated was depression.  It's not like I lay in bed crying or anything (like I used to) but the extreme loneliness of being home by myself all day while Gail is workin is pretty craptastic to say the least.  Sometimes I can fool it by reading a book or watching a movie but that's no substitute from the social time I used to get from co-workers, golf buddies, and guys night out.  The thing is, going out takes so much effort that I'm exhausted by the time I get anywhere.  Some days I envision cleaning a room and actually get as far as the first item - ha.  Well at least I have Oreo to keep me company.
Well that's it for me.  Same ole, same ole.  I hope you guys are doing well.  As for me, I need to buckle down & start taxes...yippee!

Take care,