Ha, well, after I got my website back up and running, I had sort of a health setback, and wound up at Beth Israel Medical Center for four days. It would appear that I have severe hypertension (re: ridiculously high blood pressure, the likes of which none of the doctors had ever seen in anyone who wasn’t also exploding) and some minor heart problems (no doubt related to working overtime for decades while trying not to leap out of my chest). I started out in ER on a Friday night – a night as apparently alright for fighting as Saturday – and by 4am on Saturday morning wound up in a two-bed room on the ninth floor of a labyrinthine complex at the edge of Manhattan. Very nice views of midtown, I have to add. Nothing I could ever afford in an apartment, and the bill I received pretty much confirmed that…
From there on out it was nothing but fun and games: CAT scans! multiple EKGs! sonograms of my heart and kidneys! Tubes everywhere, running in and out of my veins like the noodley appendages of the Flying Spaghetti Monster! A giant needle inserted into my stomach every twelve hours with anti-clotting drugs! So much blood taken from my veins that the nurses actually ran out of places to stick the needle! And, of course, a blood pressure test taken every couple of hours, round the clock day and night (because sleep deprivation when you’re scared and ill just fucking RULES) – after a couple of days, the skin had worn off on my upper arms from the constant pressure of the cuff. It got so that whenever I heard the creaky wheels of the BP machine – good ole Beepy! – being pushed into the room, I burst into tears. That’s how much it hurt. As a number of doctors pointed out, the hospital environment is not often conducive to making you feel better about getting better.
The result of all of these tests? I’m now on blood pressure medicine for the rest of my life. My eating habits have also changed, drastically, for the rest of my life – super-low sodium, no caffeine, and very little drinking, if ever again (currently I can’t have any alcohol at all). Yeah, I KNOW. And although the tests confirmed that my hypertension hasn’t yet caused any damage to my brain (shut up), kidneys and heart, I now have to live my life under the assumption that at any time, something may show up. I always assumed I’d have heart problems in my future – my family medical history is a pretty strong indicator – but if something happens, it’ll probably come sooner in my life rather than later. But I’m alive, and my heart is no longer trying to shoot out of my skull, so there’s that. The doctors all recommended yoga as well, and maybe meditation. In other words, I need to seriously chill the fuck out for the rest of my life if I want to stay alive.
So, yeah. That was October – the hospital, and then spending the rest of the month just being calm and taking stock of, well, everything in my life. November should be a bit better, right? In the meantime, here’s a link to three photos I took at Beth Israel – there weren’t many photo ops, and most of the time I wasn’t particularly in the mood to record my experience (or anyone else’s, for that matter – a hospital is not the place to even accidentally fuck with people’s privacy). But these are pretty innocuous. And if I divide my final hospital bill in three, I can honestly say that they are the most expensive photos I have ever taken in my life. Enjoy!