Day 309

I have said before that I am blessed for my health. Not once, but three times I have been so morbidly obese as to worry doctors. And yet, with the exception of my gout, I have never had an actual health scare that turned out to be a real something. When I was turning thirty-nine, I was getting dizzy and light-headed and came close to passing out when driving. After a number of tests, it turned out that I needed glasses. That does not count as a real scare. Before I started losing weight the first time, my doctor told me that I had indicators of being pre-diabetic. Those disappeared when I lost a few pounds and has not reoccurred since. That too does not count as a real scare. My gout, for all of the pain and discomfort that it causes me, is relevant to my diet, but not to my overall physical condition. As I said before, I have been blessed. There are not a lot of middle-aged men who are morbidly obese who can say that.

I am reflecting on this today because a very close friend told me yesterday that he had a minor stroke last week, or rather a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack). It happened the day after I collected him and his wife from the airport to drive them home. It happened the day after they gratefully handed me a slice of pizza that they had smuggled into Canada from Rome, Italy. It happened a day after we talked about how great he was feeling, and how much walking they had done on his trip to Italy. It shook me. I messaged him yesterday to ask him what time Leslie and I should come over today for our scrumptious Thanksgiving dinner. The response was unusual from him: Call me now please. While we speak on the phone all the time, it occurred to me that he has never asked me to call, certainly not with any urgency in his tone.

I hope I can be forgiven for not reaching out to him these last ten days. On the day that he suffered his TIA, I not only started teaching my class, I also realized how much pain my knee was in. Over the next few days, my ability to walk was hindered, and I could hardly go to a doctor as I was teaching my class all week. I was stressed that in the middle of this class I was teaching, I also had to take time out to meet with the psychologist who was evaluating my son the younger for his educational assessment. I was stressed about that and was also anxious that Friday my wife was coming to visit. For a couple of days, I was also stressed that Eduardo had asked me to pick him and his wife up early Friday morning and drive them to the airport, meaning that it would be an extremely long day. While the stress of that would be relieved, it would soon be replaced by a call from my ex-wife that my son the elder had a series of seizures and was transported to hospital for unknown reasons. For three days he lay in intensive care, sedated and intubated… for reasons nobody could explain. All of this weighed on me, and in fact it is not uncommon for me to not speak with even my closest friends for weeks on end. It does not mean that we are angry, it simply means that we are busy.

When Lyle told me what happened I was truly shaken to my core. As he continued to try to apologize that he had lost track of time and would not be preparing Thanksgiving dinner for us, Leslie and I were just concerned for him and his health, fancy meals be damned. Today at lunchtime she and I will take him a quart of soup. We will sit with him for however long he is comfortable, and then we will take our leave. We will likely not even stay for lunch; we will just deliver the soup for him.

Leslie and I talked after we got off the phone with him, and we discussed how this is a strong reminder that I have to keep to my weight loss and workout goals to get healthy and slim. I want to spend a very long and healthy life with her. In order to do that, I have to live a very long and healthy life. The steps that I am taking (and must continue to take) are a big part of that. I have been so lucky all these years to be healthy despite my obesity. I have likened it before to gambling; I have been ‘playing with the house’s money’ in a casino; anybody who knows anything about gambling knows that given time, the house always wins their money back. The trick to winning is knowing when to get up from the table and to be happy with what you have won, rather than pressing your luck and expect to continue to win. I have to walk away from the table now. I need to lose the weight and get into shape now, before the casino takes its money back. I need to get healthy before my not-unhealthy streak comes to an end.

I do not know what else we have planned for today, but Leslie and I will likely just take it easy. It is going to be warm out, so we might sit on the patio with a cigar (or two) this afternoon. We’ll see. Right now, I am only concerned about seeing Lyle, and making sure that he is okay.

Today is Thursday, and so I am supposed to meet with my diet buddy. We have not spoken since her surgery, and I know she was recovering in, of all places, Yukon. She was supposed to fly back into town this past Monday, and I have reached out to ask her if we are speaking today. I hope we do, but that will be up to her. I still wonder if now that she has had the surgery if she will be as motivated to meet. We’ll see.

Have a great day folks!

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