I went into NYC for an ICD interrogation (Fancy term for reading my defibrillator), a simple procedure where the doctor downloads the information from the device and makes sure everything is okay. That little device – I call him “Buddy” – keeps track of my heart so completely that it even tells them what days I was active.
I sometimes have a couple of short A-Fibs, which usually only last a minute or two, and the heart regulates itself quickly. In a three month period I may have one or none. This last period I had four, in as many consecutive days! And they all happened in Arizona when I was on vacation and feeling the best I felt in a really long time.
I had so much energy there. I was revitalized, energized and just a crazy bunny hopping from place to place. I was going non stop.
And therein lies the reality check. Even though I may feel great and have energy enough to light up a state, the reality is that even though my heart has improved in its output and strength, the ticker is still damaged from sarcoidosis, and no matter what, I need to remember that. And I also have to remember that I also have pulmonary hypertension, a leaking hole in my heart, and severely scarred lungs.
That does not mean I stop and baby myself and walk around with a feel sorry for me attitude. It means I take better care of my self. I respect that there is a problem, or in my case, more than one, and get the rest I need. I need to go to sleep at a decent time and not between two and three in the morning. I need to take naps during the day like I used to. I need to exercise and eat better. I need to respect my body and not abuse it because it feels as if everything seems to be working right.
I know. I said all this before. But it is not until you see it on a piece of paper that your heart went into an irregular rhythm four days in a row, because I thought I was superman, that reality hits you in the face.
My wife sometimes needs to give me a reality check and remind me that I am not a well man. I don’t like to hear it, because deep down inside I still don’t want to accept it. By pretending I am superman, maybe it will all go away. But it won’t.
Don’t get me wrong. This does not mean I have given up or lost my positivity. It just means I realize that I need to respect my body’s capabilities and use my oxygen as I am supposed to. I was being good with the oxygen use, but then I started to feel better so I stopped using it when I go out. I haven’t stopped taking my heart medicine because my heart got better, so why stop the oxygen? It’s the best prescription medicine I have.
It seems I need a constant reality check when it comes to my health. I tend to live in a fantasy world where that is concerned. When I feel good, I think that it is all good. I can do no wrong. I am invincible. But I am not. I am human. And a human with a few imperfections in the health department. According to all my doctors, I function amazingly well for someone with my combination of medical conditions, so much so I baffle them. However, to keep up that level of functionality, I need to respect the reality of the situation and slow down, take a deep breath and put the cape away.