heart attack/disease

Free Scientology stress test

Image by Steve Rhodes via Flickr

Rob’s follow-up stress test is this afternoon. Commitments, and his bristling at the idea that I might be needed “just in case”, means I won’t be there “just in case”, and on the one hand, it’s silly to worry that anything dire will occur.

On the other hand, his brother-in-law barely stepped a toe off the treadmill after his stress test and dropped like a stone. Dead before he hit the ground and all under the watchful gaze of my sister-in-law, LW.

No guarantees.

The winter has been hard on us both. Dee brought home every manner of cold and flu available to her from school and soccer. Rob’s new stepfather infected us but good at Christmas with a chest centered viral nasty that undoubtedly set me on the path to a wicked case of Costochondritis from which I am still not 100% recovered.

Reno has been a strain in a myriad of ways and we are still quite a ways from being done as there are two more rooms to be gutted and the living room to finish.

Did I mention we haven’t had a real vacation in over a year?

Everyone we know holidays extensively during the winter months here. It’s really the only way to soldier through the dark, cold and snowy season and emerge mostly sane and healthy. But between reno expense, the Christmas season* and an unexpected need to fly and overnight in B.C for the in-laws wedding**, funding for a quick get-away to warmer and sunnier climes just couldn’t be spared.

It doesn’t help my peace of mind then to know that Rob is stressed from work, over-tired from reno and hasn’t been keeping up with his exercise the past few months. None of this bodes well for a stress test.

And it seems that my stress is what’s being tested.

I woke this morning with a crabby kink in my left shoulder-blade. Tell tale stress fault. I can milestone my life by it more reliably than the lifeline that runs along my palm.

Intellectually, I know that Rob is okay though overtaxed. He’s been on the treadmill religiously this past half a week with no ill effects, but he is rundown and still fighting the latest viral buggy thingy the child brought home.

My common sense, however, bows a bit to my paranoia where husbands and illness are concerned. Can’t seem to yoga master it even after all these years of practice. So, I will keep myself busy this morning and ignore Spidey, who is not as right as he thinks he is, but he does hate to be marginalized by sense. Which is why my shoulder hurts.

UDPATE: Rob’s stress test was stellar. ECG even had improved though his lack of due diligence with his exercise means that it could have been even better if he’d gotten on the treadmill more, but that is a side-effect of the lengthy winter and the lack of space the reno has created in terms of exercise space. The house is small and getting to a gym facility won’t fit in the reality of his day. Spring – being mostly here (we are threatened with cold and snow again at the end of the week despite sitting pretty at 13C today) means we can get back to Sunday hikes and evening walking soon. Dee will be so not pleased.

*Originally, we offered to fly Rob’s mom out for Christmas and put her up. New Gramps wasn’t yet in the picture in October and when they got engaged in late November, we had to extend the offer to him too. They bought his plane ticket, but we still shouldered the hotel expense. It was probably half the holiday expense and not something for which we’d budgeted as I had planned ahead for gifts for the kids and used my November yoga pay – which was considerable as I covered for everyone that month – to make sure it wasn’t a budget buster. I am an anal xmas gifty shopper in any case and rarely overspend.

**Speaking of the newlyweds, they are house hunting in Tucson and fully expect to find a home soon.

The change in ribs

Image via Wikipedia

They say that chest pains should never be ignored. Rob refused to give his credence and look what happened. He could easily have died last summer.

So when I woke with chest pains in the wee hours Wednesday morning, I debated about 5 minutes before waking Rob.

I’d been seeing a physical therapist for rib pain that I thought stemmed from a neck/shoulder injury and just really bad desk ergonomics, but the pain I felt at 4 A.M. was across the top of the chest mainly and in the breastbone, so off we went to the E.R.

The E.R. in the Fort is a dicey proposition. The doctors are hit/miss in terms of interest and bedside manner and the nursing staff even mores so. But we lucked out, and there were just three other patients already in rooms when there could just as easily have been sick folk packing the lobby and stacked in the hallway like cord wood.

The doctor was foreign. They are all foreign. I don’t think white people pursue medical careers in Canada. And he was very young. My own doctor is Indian and not even as old as Edie. As a result, I am not quite sure if I am simply being imprecise with my description of what ails me or they are working from different English grammar book than the one I used to teach 7th graders with. Regardless, I always end up feeling frustrated and cut off, but eventually, the Dr. Ali Baba seemed to understand what I was trying to say.

Part of the problem was that I couldn’t fix on what the pain felt like other than it hurt and the doctor and nurses kept trying to spin what I was saying to match up with their checklists.

But Dr. Ali Baba did at least exam me. Canadian doctors so rarely look up from their laptops, let alone put them down and lay hands on you that I am beginning to wonder if they have divine powers.

Diagnosis? Costochondritis. An inflammation of the cartilage that connects the ribs to the breastbone. It can result from injury or from overuse or as a result of a chest infection. I am three for three on all counts this last six weeks.


“Rest your torso,” Dr. Ali Baba said.

As the torso makes up, well, pretty much everything that isn’t appendage, I am struggling with that and the contradiction …

“And also exercise and stretch.”

The nurse came in with a trainee who then was allowed to practice on me. The doctor ordered an injection of an anti-inflammatory which hurt probably more than the inflammation, and after it kicked in – we were cut loose.

Dee, naturally, had to be awakened from a sound sleep for our trip in. To her credit she was a trooper and betrayed not even the slightest bit of worry. She gets that from Rob.

Rob dubbed me an “official crisis weenie” though because I was a bit more than a little freaked out.

Well, duh. It was chest pains and he nearly died last summer.

But, I am a marathon girl not a sprinter, I need time to adjust and slip back into sanguine. Perhaps I should look for that meditation teacher and build up my calm muscles?

Yesterday then, and today still, I feel worse than I have for a week. I am propping myself in front of the infrared heat lamp and getting ready to sauna again before lying down to read on the heating pad. I have to teach yoga tonight, and I need to build up a bit of ease in the trunk, but in all likelihood, my students might spend the entire class prone.

This couldn’t have come at a worse time. Drywalling looms and Rob was counting on me at least to be his helper for the duration because the older girls and Sliver have limited time off to help.

In yoga, they say that injury is a sign to slow down. When one is moving too fast and doesn’t recognize the subtle signs that leisure and contemplation are necessary, it whacks you. And I won’t deny that I have been thinking and pondering changes and that be more mindful and leisurely would help facilitate the process. So, universe, duly noted.

But the ribs? Seriously. A little carpal tunnel wouldn’t have been done just as well?



Photo of a 20-piece box of McDonald's Chicken ...

Image via Wikipedia


An age old question. Which came first. Chicken? Egg? And really, does it matter?  Except to those who live off the grants that fund the studies to decide the issue for once and all?

The more serious query concerns chicken nuggets.

So, which came first the white meat or the batter?

Let’s find out!

The answer, of course, is neither. But the surprise that American children will eat deep-fried chicken goo is interesting. Any North American parent could have told Jamie the outcome in advance.

We train our kids to eat chicken nuggets as early as possible. Their ability to gnaw the soggy glop apart is the key to our semi-liberation. No longer are we a slave to our own dinner tables once Junior can subsist on nuggets and french fries (can’t forget the starch – it’s staple).

Once the eating of fried chicken paste is mastered. We are free to feed our kids on the run courtesy of McDonald’s, who will let us choose apples or carrots to assuage our guilt and throw in a plastic Chinese toy for added distraction time.

Chicken nuggets means we can eat out again. Not at good restaurants – because their “nuggets” are actually “fingers” which our children eye with suspicion (having no personal knowledge of what real chicken looks like). They sniff. They poke. They balk. They take a bite or two and refuse to eat more because “it tastes different”.

Different being a bad thing where small barely cognizant humans are concerned.

By the time they are the age of the kids in this “fool-proof” experiment, they are ruined.

Ruined, I tell you.

And it’s our fault.