Saturday, September 17, 2005

Like a Glacier on a Treadmill

Ahhh . . . Saturday morning. Even though I was away for two days last week, I still feel like I've covered a whole five days at the rockpile. I have plans for this afternoon, not the least of them being a long-deferred shopping trip for slacks and shoes. As you might have gleaned from the last entry, I'm not the most enthusiastic clothes shopper in the world.

I spent all day yesterday waiting to get home to read the entry again. (I avoid reading the blog from work, in case I ever feel like discussing the job frankly.) I was surprised how deeply I reached, and how much I disclosed. I don't regret it. I think it was important to express my discontent in a public (if not widely read) forum. Now it's "out there," and I can hold myself accountable should I falter or doubt my goals.

I did advance toward my not-dying-at-40 goal this morning. I got up early and hit the gym. Historically I have gone to the gym before work, except for the summer. I have to run the air conditioning here for a while to get the apartment cool, so in the hot months, I turn it on after I come home, work out, and return home to an atmosphere less likely to make me hurl in my fitful sleep. But I prefer to exercise before the day truly begins, when I don't have to wait for the weight machines I need, and I can cruise through at speed. Exercising early also allows the metabolic "burn" to last through the morning; and because I tend to eat right after lifting and then follow up with something small and nutritious a couple of hours later, the early shift is better suited to this than the evening. I know eating crap just before bedtime is part of what's killing me, and my evening workout schedule (when I was able to maintain it) may have been fostering the need to eat again later than I'd like.

My concerns are fueled by a real-life incident suffered by a friend of mine. In April 2004, he experienced chest pains and, at the behest of his wife and mother, went to the hospital. Rather than being the backaches he initially had blamed, the origin was a pair of nearly blocked coronary arteries. He spent three agonizing hours having stents installed — for which they strapped him down, threaded a probe through his femoral artery, and guided the devices into his heart without general anesthesia — which was further complicated by the refusal of one of the little fuckers to expand in the site. The doctors told him they were within a hair's breadth of just cracking his chest and going Krusty on his ass.

Now, he was obese, a former heavy drinker and then two-pack-a-day smoker (with a healthy side order of weed), a sedentary video game addict, and a junk food omnivore. He had also spent 2 years in the mid-Nineties under DUI suspension, which kept him even more housebound. Add to that the recent role of being a referee between two high-strung women in the house, and it's easy to understand why he was sidelined. The great fortune of all this was that he had some warning before being felled by a full-scale heart attack, and he has rebounded, still smoking, alas, but somewhat more active, slimmer for having cut out a constant influx of sugared soda, and on blood thinners and anti-cholesterol pills.

Did I mention he was 34 when this happened?

Yeah, it scared the shit out of me. I don't smoke, aside from three or four stogies a year and secondhand smoke when I visit my parents for a few hours every Sunday. I barely drink — birthdays or during my Vegas trips, and maybe one beer out of every three or four poker nights — and when I do, it only takes three tops to get me as tipsy as I wanna be. (I am, in fact, a girl drink drunk.) My real risk factors are obesity, diet, and family history (the 'rents have both developed heart-rhythm problems over time, though not apparently any blockages). I've tried to keep my friend's fate in mind, though, and it motivates me as much as anything else when — as with this morning — I'm able to complete an hour of great exercise.

I've got a lot more to discuss, but I have to get chores rolling. My commute during the week forces me to defer most housework and resupply missions to the weekend. I promise my next entries won't be so "heavy," har har. I still have to talk about Las Vegas. That will keep me going for a week. At least.

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