Monday, August 3, 2009

One for the ages


I have to confess that I have been guilty of a heinous crime against well, myself. For the last lets say 5 or so years I have been professing that I am a fat, old, man. Perhaps it was turning 40, perhaps it was the seemingly never ending travail of aches and pains that have assaulted me more frequently, regardless, I felt old.
I say it all the time. I'm old. My beard is salt and pepper....more salt than pepper. My hair has shades of silver throughout, of course at least I still have a full head of hair. I have started to require reading glasses to read, I can't even see the date on my watch without them. Let's face it, I have reason to say that I am old.

The cherry on top of this proverbial sundae we call life came a week and a half ago when I started noticing that my heartbeat was extremely accelerated. I was helping a good friend install some sod at his home and I'll be damned if I was getting outdone by his wife which again made me feel ancient. She was hauling that sod around like it was some rag doll she was carrying around, meanwhile I would lift one piece and about pass out from exertion.

My feelings of inadequacy continued to worsen. My friends gave me their left over sod, enough to do our front yard, all I had to do was till up the weeds, rake it out, and haul the sod from his house to mine. I was on a tight time line as the temperature was in the 100's and the sod was going to die if we didn't get it down quickly. So here is the kicker, I ask my father, a 70 year old man, to come help me out since he has a big truck, and wouldn't you know it, the old man out did me as well. This is the man that had a heart attack 5 or so years ago and he is kicking my ass up and down the front yard. Granted my heart beat was going nuts and it was 107 degrees outside, and I had been working the whole day before, but still, embarrassing none the less. I am happy to say we got it all done and neither of us died, but I sure felt like I was going to.

So the next day I am taking it easy, feeling sorry for myself and much older than the 44 years that I have been in existence, and notice my heart racing, despite doing absolutely nothing. My wife takes my pulse and it hits 120 beats a minute. Resting heart rate should be in the 70's and mine is nearly double that. I make a determination that despite how much I hate going to the doctor, this seemed serious enough for me to consent to getting things checked out.

This happened over the weekend, fast forward to mid week. My doc sends me to a cardiologist to get a Holter Monitor which is a bunch of electrodes that will measure your heart activity over a 24 hour period, as the EKG he had done didn't show anything abnormal. So I am sitting in the waiting room at this cardiologist's office and begin to look around the room. Something just seemed out of place there, and that something was me. I glanced at the faces of the clientele in the office and noticed that I was surrounded by a room full of overweight septa-, and octogenarian men. No women, no middle aged men, just men that appeared to be much older than I.
It was like I had been awaken by the ghost of Christmas Future and he was showing me what my life was going to be like. I was in a circle of waiting room chairs, a kind of intimate setting really, surrounded by four other men, some with their wives some with their daughters who by appearance seemed to be older than me, but all these men were significantly older than myself. This experience was surreal to me. I sat there nodding as I listened to their conversations with each other, talking about what procedure they had done or were about to be getting done. Occasionally I would drop a witty quip so as to feel as if I were part of the discussion, however it opened my eyes to just how NOT old I really am.

People always point to life altering experiences and say how they are going to change or how it has actually changed their life. I have had a few in mine, but none that had this kind of impact on me. Have I run out and changed my eating habits, or even run anywhere in a feeble attempt to exercise? No. Do I believe that I will? At the moment I say yes, but the reality of it all is, I haven't made any attempts thus far so who knows. The main thing I will take from this is that I am indeed not old. I have only lived maybe half of my life. They say how old you are is a function of how old you think that you are. Chronologically I am 44 years old, mentally I have been acting like I am 70. That is what I can change. That is what I will change. Baby steps to the door, baby steps to the elevator, before you know it I could be tied the the mast of a sail boat exclaiming that "I'm sailing" just like Bob!

11 comments:

Boyd said...

Rich-Don't die of heart attack, please. Not before we've even had lunch. After that, who's to say? But before that? DONT YOU DARE.

Anonymous said...

Since the doc didn't find any abnormalities in your heart, I am guessing what you're experiencing is stress/anxiety related? Sounds like you've been though alot lately? Loved your entry on Michael Jackson. I'm a huge fan.

Candy said...

correction...I was a huge fan of Michael's

Rich said...

I am good Boyd, lets get together soon!
Anonymous thanks,it seems that it was more a function of the heat exhaustion at this point as things seem to have settled down with it lately. You are correct though, life has been pretty crazy for me over the last 7 months. Thanks for the feedback on Michael Jackson as well, I appreciate hearing from people!

thepworth said...

sounds like a panic attack

Rich said...

Just by way of follow up the data from the Haltor Monitor came back normal with the exception of a rare extra beat that the doc doesn't seemed too concerned about. Perhaps that is why I have no rhythm and can't dance?
Could have been panic Trish. After all I was certainly anxious to get that sod done before it died!

Anonymous said...

I saw the way you built a swing set for my Son and marveled at your strength. You'll never get old guy!

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