Friday, June 24, 2022


A couple of days ago I resolved to engage in some serious weight-lifting and other forms of exercise.  Dr. Agarwal, my heart doctor checked me over, did an electrocardiogram and decided to change my blood pressure medication in order to reduce the swelling in my ankles.   He had said my heart was weak, but all he worried about was my ankles.  The logic of that escaped me and so I resolved to take matters into my own hands.  My diet was okay, but I decided to drink more water and less coffee.  I subscribed to a Harvard Medical journal which referred to a study that found that coffee drinking reduced heart attacks by 30%.  More specifically, coffee drinking of no more than 3.5 cups a day did that.  Also, the 30% benefit accrued whether the coffee was regular or decaf.  Espresso wasn’t mentioned.   For 4 cups and more the statistics didn’t hold up.  And so I resolved to drink no more than 3.5 cups of coffee a day, half of them decaf. 

Today with the temperature outside at 107 degrees I nevertheless noticed that my legs were stiffening a little from sitting too long at my desk and so decided to do some yard work.  There was one particular branch that was hanging down most precariously.  I feared that in a heavy windstorm it might cause the main trunk to come crashing down, so I got a saw which when two parts were connected would reach up that high.  I didn’t feel particularly dizzy, but my balance wasn’t good; so I moved about to find more stable footing and continued sawing.  I thought I was far enough away so that the falling branch wouldn’t hit me.  I wasn’t fleet of foot enough to dash out of the way.  When it came crashing down some of its branches came close to me, but I wasn’t hit.  I put the saw away, got a trash barrel and began cutting the smaller branches up, then hauling the barrel over to the main green-waste barrels.  

I didn’t feel bad, but it was hot so I went back up stairs to read for a while and cool off.  I made three or four trips like that out back, stripping the small branches from the main branch, putting the small pieces in a barrel, emptying that small barrel into the larger ones and sawing pieces off of the large branch.  

After tidying up I decided to unwind the hose and water the back lawn.  As hot as it was I could see the grass was suffering.

While watering I day-dreamed about the past.  I was definitely pushing myself.  I was feeling a bit light-headed.  I recalled one time in my twenties that I had a pain in my chest.  I didn’t know exactly where my heart was, but thought what I felt might be a heart pain and so decided to go jogging as a kill or cure investigation – I did that sort of thing back then.  Later on I told my Aunt Dorothy what I’d done and she said my heart wasn’t where the pain was.  I later went to a doctor who said my upper transverse colon was pressing against my diaphragm.  It wasn’t serious but he gave me some red pills saying that if they didn’t help he would give me some green ones.  I had only recently started work at Douglas Aircraft Company and had discovered the food trucks that were out front in the morning had the most wonderful breakfast burritos.  I looked forward to having one every morning.  But after I had chest pains, I reflected that they were spicy; so I experimented.  I quit eating a burrito every morning, and the pain went away.

Maybe I was doing something like that today, working hard in the backyard, harder than I had done in months, on a very hot day.  I didn’t think I was doing a kill or cure sort of thing, I just felt good – as far as I knew.  

I finished watering, coiled the hose up, went back inside and started up the stairs.  Jessica was waiting for me with a strange look on her face.  She sniffed my leg suspiciously.  Why did she do that, I wondered?  I continued on but before I turned the corner I noticed she continued to stare out back.  Maybe I had died in the back yard, I thought, and that is why Jessica was staring out back.  How would I know?  I walked up to my study and peered out at my lawn to see if maybe my body was down there.  I couldn’t see it, and then looked back behind me and saw that Jessica had followed me upstairs after all; so I probably wasn’t in the back yard.  But if I had been, that would have been a pleasant way to die, I felt no pain whatsoever.

No comments: