Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Getting Older Redux: Health Edition

I previously mentioned my bout with getting older, specifically how I've (mostly) come to terms with my hair slowly seceding from the United HeadSpaces of Me to form a more perfect union elsewhere...possibly on a yeti's ass or something.

Anyway, going bald has made me face into the swirling maw that is my own mortality, and by extension, has put me more on point with keeping up with the rest of my health.  Lose weight, exercise, and eat more healthily is on my list of resolutions for this year because I know that if I can establish these types of patterns early enough, it will be easier (note I didn't say easy), when I reach my middle ages.  (Incidentally, I'm hoping my Middle Ages will come with knights and dragons and other badass shit that the movies keep promising.)  There is another reason for my concern with my health...


Through my family’s blessed veins runs heart disease, cancers of all sorts, and Alzheimer’s. On top of that I have asthma, my mother has hypoglycemia, and the retina to one of her eyes tried to detach a year or so ago.  I’m already somewhat neurotic when it comes to my health--or to put it another way “crazyfuckinnutsbatshitinsane.” One thing that has always sent me off into a spiraling mass of quivering, jibbering hysteria was my high school and college biology classes.  Blood born pathogens, STD's, and most of the science behind diseases makes me feel like I need to invest in a hazmat suit and all the Lysol and Germ-X in the world.

As I said, my mom’s retina tried to go rogue and start a solo career a while back. My mom figured this out just in time--when part of the vision in her eye disappeared. She said, in hindsight (ba-dum TSH!), that there had been warning signs--she kept seeing what looked like lights flashing at the edge of her vision.

One morning, I woke up an hour or two before my alarm went off. It was still full dark outside, and I was incredibly tired. I had been up late the night before doing some stuff for work, so the last thing I wanted to do was get up early. And yet here I was. I groggily checked the time, rubbed my grainy eyes, and that’s when I noticed the flashing. It filled my vision. It was in both eyes.  My first reaction was to thrash around like I was having a seizure, so sure was I that my retinas were finally beginning to undock from Space Station Ocular Observation.

It turned out to be ambulance lights. A neighbor had gotten sick in the night and had to be taken to the hospital. Regardless, by that point I was wide awake.

That wasn’t the first, nor the last time that I’ve had to deal with my newly developed phobia of flashing lights. One time I was heading to the bathroom at work when I detected flashing from the corner of my eye.  Once again, for just an instant, my brain flew into hyperdrive and I suddenly KNEW that I would spend the rest of my life in eternal darkness.

It turned out to be the simple case of a fluorescent bulb flickering and getting ready to go out. (Full disclosure: an episode very similar to this happened a few weeks ago. Speaking of, it’s just about time to replace one of the bulbs in the kitchen.)

Combine all of this with my memories of John Green’s infamous orbital cellulitis misadventures, and I’m terrified of my eyes turning against me.

This whole “confronting the inevitability of my demise” thing hasn’t been all negatives.  As I mentioned, because I apparently drew my genetics from the same section of the gene pool as Jack, I have been more concerned about my health. I’ve cut a ton of fat out of my diet, and we’ve almost completely eliminated sugars that don’t occur naturally in foods like fruits and such. Lots of Splenda in our house. I’ve lost around 20 pounds (1.4 stone/9.1 kilograms - for you international readers out there...’cause I care about you...*finger guns*), and I feel much healthier than I did. I plan on losing at least another 15 pounds, and possible more depending on how I feel when I reach there.

Yep, I can't tell whether this post demonstrates my maturity in the face of age or whether I'm wailing into the void like the pup I still am.  Or both?  Whatever.  Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go chug this gallon of water labelled "Fountain of Youth."  I bought it from a scruffy looking guy in a dirty overcoat behind the gas station.  Seems legit.