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I'll Attend The Procrastination Club Meeting... Tomorrow.

For some reason I decided to write a little today.  At the beginning of the year, I dubbed 2014 as the "Year of Creation".  I planned to create this year:  writing, music, photography, geographical formations out of mashed potatoes and the like.  That is what I *planned* to do.  Since then I have nothing to show for it.  I guess if you count a kitchen remodel, then I did create something... but that is a weak example.  I got a new music keyboard and started learning the software it came with, but have no new music recorded.  I bought a new camera and am currently learning how to use it, but I have nothing substantial to show for it.  I wrote 500+ words in my novel just before the start of the year, and haven't touched it since.

Procrastination has always been a big problem in my life since I was a boy.  If something is boring to me, or undesirable, or I am unsure about what the outcome might be (whether I will succeed or fail), I put it off.  I will often start something, but finishing it is an entirely different matter.  I need to figure out a way to overcome that.  I'll work on that tomorrow (heh heh).

So here I am on Memorial Day, 2014, with nothing to do.  I got out of bed early because my body is conditioned to do so, and because my very expensive mattresses make my back sore after only a handful of hours.  It sucks getting old, kids.  I'm sitting here at the computer trying to write down my thoughts while catching up on news and social networks and listening some good old music.  Right now the Cranberries are on; a few minutes ago I was jamming to The Police.  I don't always listen to "classic" music (man, do I feel old), but when I do it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.  Sometimes music can be as powerful as smell when it comes to resurrecting memories from the past.

My kids just left for the next two months to visit their mom in Indiana.  It is always a bittersweet time when they go.  I enjoy the little bit of freedom it affords me to do things after work and on weekends without worrying about someone at home to get back to, but I also miss them terribly.  They get to spend a couple of months with their mom, and it accomplishes a couple of things:  it allows them to temporarily connect with their mom (which they need), and it also reinforces what a good dad I am to them.  They seem to come back every year with a greater appreciation for all I do for them, and I cannot help but be proud of that.

I'm writing because a recent health scare has me limited in my physical abilities for now.  A few weeks ago, I was feeling strange, like my heart was randomly racing for no reason.  I had been exercising a lot (walking 40 miles a week and lifting weights) and taking a lot of different supplements, so I thought that might have been the cause.  Just in case, I went to my doctor who could find nothing wrong besides high blood pressure.  He put me on some medication (* and my BP immediately went back to normal the next day, which to me indicates it probably was all the supplements that I had then stopped taking).  The doctor recommended that I see a cardiologist to make sure there wasn't something else wrong, "just in case".

It took me a few weeks to get in to see a cardiologist.  When I finally did, I sat with him and talked about my symptoms -- the only one being that heart racing condition I experienced a few weeks prior (that had since went away).  He was stumped, and suspected nothing was wrong, that "perhaps it was just a fluke".  Even an ECG done in the office turned out to have normal results.

Just in case I was having an intermittent issue that didn't happen to manifest there in the office, he decided to hook me up to a "Holter monitor" -- a small device that is about the size of a cassette Walkman (See kids?  I said I was old).  The monitor is like a little portable ECG machine that monitors your heart constantly and automatically reports back to a central office if it detects something out of the ordinary.  The plan was for me to wear this thing for 30 days, 24-7 (*except, of course, in the shower), and assuming nothing strange occurred, I would then be good to go.

The very next morning as I was walking out the door to go to work, I get a call from the cardiologist's office telling me the device reported something very "concerning" and that I should come in immediately.   Grrreat.  I was concerned and a little miffed, but OK, whatever.  Maybe something was wrong with the monitor.  Then about 30 minutes later I get another call from another person in the same office confirming that they scheduled me for a "procedure" at the hospital later that day.  Wait, what the actual fuck?  A procedure?  "Yes, your doctor has scheduled you to have a pacemaker installed this afternoon.  Did they not explain that to you?"  Uhh, no, they most certainly did not.  You gotta be fucking kidding me!  There has to be a mistake.  I am an otherwise healthy 45 year old man, not a crippled old 80 year old on death's door.  OK now I am panicking a little, which is probably not good for someone with an apparently bum ticker.

Long story somewhat shorter, I went into see the doc and he told me my heart stopped for 7 seconds at 4 am while I was sleeping, and apparently it's not supposed to do that.  I have what is known as a "severe sinus bradychardia" which basically means I have a slow heart rate (which I knew -- my resting HR was around 58 -- which I attributed to exercise), but also one that periodically slows even further and stops.  It's an 'electrical problem' is what he tells me.  After also telling me that 10 out of 10 cardiologists would come to the same conclusion given this data (thus effectively derailing my plans to seek a second opinion), he sends me directly to the hospital to get a pacemaker installed that day.

Now I have a little electronic device permanently buried between my left shoulder and chest, and two wires that go from there into my heart.  The job of the device?  Keep my heart "pacing" normally, and don't allow it to drop below 60 BPM.

Unfortunately for the time being I am very limited in what I can do -- I cannot lift anything more than 5-10 lbs with my left arm (the side of my chest where the device was inserted), and I cannot raise my left arm above my shoulder for the next 4-6 weeks, lest I accidentally pull the leads out of my heart muscle before scar tissue affixes them in place permanently.

I was also worried about being so young and needing a pacemaker.  I mean, I've only heard of people in their 70's and 80's with one, and here I am in my 40's!  According to the doc he deals with this all the time, and has put them in kids as young as 16.  He had just put one in a 22 year old long distance athlete the week prior.  That took a little of the sting off, I guess...

I spent a couple of weeks feeling sorry for myself and drowning my sorrows in terribly unhealthy food, but now I'm done.  Shit happens, now I will just deal with it.  "Suck it up, buttercup" is the attitude I've taken with myself.  Time to move on.

So here I sit, writing.  Creating.  Finally!  Perhaps I'll get going on my book a little more.  First I need a cup of coffee and a shower.


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