Vanity or Sanity?

February 17, 2012

“I’ll trade your vanity for my sanity.” I said to Marcus in 1995.

We never made the trade.

I’ve had another blah day today. I had to do a “Stress test” at my Cardiologist early this morning. My mom likes to take me there to make sure I am ok etc. I slept at my mom’s last night.

I was instructed not to drink caffeine for 12 hours before and no smoking after midnight last night. Yes, I have a heart condition and I started smoking again. Not even close to half as much as I used to. I don’t drink that much coffee. But that’s not the point. It was rough waking up and staying up then going for a stress test. I was stressed from not having coffee and smoking.

I was there for over 3hours and or was mostly waiting around and 2 photo sessions after putting fluid in me for the machine. The only “test” I took was a 10-15 minute treadmill until my hear rate was up to 150 beats a minute. The Doctor was fun to look at except for her wedding ring. Well, it was a nice wedding ring. You get the idea.

I left there so groggy for some reason. Mom took me food shopping. She took me. I paid. Ha. Then we did lunch and I finally bought a coffee. A “French Toast Latte” actually, with 4 shots of espresso. I drank up and had a smoke finally. Ahh. I drank the whole thing and my ass was still dragging.

I came home with mom. I sleep here some Friday nights so I can help my uncle Saturday mornings. I helped my mom with a few things and cleaned out my broken down car in her driveway. I donated it to Purple Heart and they are picking it up on Monday.

It’s a sad loss. I loved that car but it needs too much work and I can’t afford it right now. I did score a bunch of coins from it. SO I took a walk to the bank to cash them in. TD bank charges 6% on the coin machine if you don’t have an account with them. I’ve and accounts with them for years even when they were Commerce Bank and they never charged. Now I don’t have an account and they charged me over a dollar and I ended up with just under 17 dollars. Oh well, it was still found money.

I took a walk into town to get some smokes and splurge on a Starbucks coffee (half decaf at this point) since I had some extra money. Chatted with the friendly kid at CVS I see every week about cigarettes mostly. My old friend from when I worked at Starbucks was working and we chatted it up a bit. One of the girls I used to see there almost every night a couple years back looked up at me and smiled. I smiled back. I used to think she was cute. She still is. I just don’t always think about these things all of the time. Just at my Doctor today.

“Are you the same guy..?” She asked then paused.

“That used to be her every night? Yes.” I answered.

“You lost a lot of weight. You look great.” She said.

I thanked her and almost told he she looked good too but wasn’t sure if that’s what I’m supposed to say or not anymore. I talked to her while she made my drink.

“You used to drive that big red car right?” She asked.

“Yeah. I’m not driving it now.” I said.

“What are you driving?”

“Nothing.”

“Where do you live now?”

“Fairview.”

“Where’s that?”

“ It’s on the edge of Camden near Collingswood. Where do you live?”

“Bellmawr.”

“Cool. Nice seeing you again.”

“Great to see you. Stop in more.”

I took my drink in a great mood. I gained a little of my weight back in the past month and have been a little self-conscious. I hadn’t shaved in a week and my hair was un-kept today so “looking good” was the last thing on my mind. It felt good to hear it. When I first lost the weight after a month or so recovering from my heart surgery months ago I was so confident. I was able to wear clothes I couldn’t fit into for over 4 years. That faded away fast with other priorities making me forget.

It occurred to me that I didn’t even feel bad about not having a car or even a job because “I looked good” to quote my friend John, even when I was at my worst.

I guess it was a good day. Because other people’s opinion’s of my looks makes me feel better than my accomplishments.

In reality I’d rather have created something like a piece of art, poetry or a novel than look good but I was nice to hear it.

I’ll keep my sanity (the little I have) and you can keep your vanity.


The Deadly Secret

November 4, 2011

 

The Deadly Secret

 

I’ve heard that term so many times.  never thought it would apply to me. It did.

 

I had trouble breathing 4 -6 months ago.

 

Months went by and my left arm went back and forth from slight pain to numbness sometimes. My chest was occasionally tight. My breath was short and became shorter every few days. My little secret. My deadly secret.

 

Deadly secret.

 

I mentioned it briefly to a couple people but I wrote it off as a panic attack or being out of shape and they agreed. No big deal. I took extra anxiety medications. It sort of went away. I tried to convince myself it went away. I’m too young to have a heart condition, right? So I kept my deadly little secret.

 

I went back to my cigarette smoking, too much coffee drinking and over eating bad foods. Ate, drank and smoked as much as I wanted for a few months ignoring the arm pain and shortness of breath.

 

My deadly secret was about to surface. It started off like most days. I woke up in the morning and had my usual several cups of coffee, an energy drink and as many cigarettes as I could smoke. No breakfast for this guy.

 

After a long urination, my breathing became difficult. I assumed it was anxiety or another panic attack so I took my anxiety meds and was stupid enough to light a cigarette. I’m always stupid enough to light a cigarette.

 

I had to put the cigarette out before it was finished. This went against one of the rules of my smoking rulebook. Rule 3: Never put out a cigarette before it is finished. You can see how serious this was getting that I broke a smoking rule.

 

I decided to go the hospital. My roommate was home and asleep because it was Labor Day.  I didn’t want to bother him. I packed a bag and wandered to my car. It got worse. I tried to get in my car and couldn’t make it. I stumbled back in the house.

 

I tried to wake up my roommate but didn’t have the energy to do much more than knock and slightly shout his name. No answer.

 

I called 911. I couldn’t breathe and figured an ambulance can get me oxygen faster than driving to the hospital. I searched for a small paper bag to use to breathe in and out of. All I could find was a paper grocery bag. I used it until the medics arrived.

 

The medics arrived within 5 minutes or so. Luckily the hospital was close by. I was put on oxygen right away and wheeled away into the ambulance by 3 or 4 medics. It was so nice to breathe.

 

I spent 6 hours or so in the emergency room and was diagnosed with bronchitis and discharged. There was a huge note on the release forms that said “DO NOT SMOKE” so of course I smoked while I called my roommate for a ride home.

 

It was hot and humid when I got home and I had trouble breathing. Our air conditioner was broken so I called my mom and asked if I could sleep there. I packed my over night bag etc and settled in at my mom’s.

 

I had one more cigarette and tried to sleep. The symptoms all came back and my heart hurt this time. My mom drove me back to the hospital and after hours in the emergency room I was admitted with a heart attack and I was to have triple bypass heart surgery asap.  I did.

 

This all could have been avoided if I didn’t keep such deadly secrets.

 

 

 

 


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