Sunday, February 24, 2008

My First Friday Night

Foraging in the Food Court

This last Friday night, we went out for dinner and then on to an opening at the Museum of Modern Art.

Returning to Westfield Centre (Sonja just got a job at Bloomies!), we went back to the food court for dinner. This gave me a chance to retake the picture of the dome, without the lights. It's still quite beautiful, just different.

Before my recent awareness of my blood pressure, there were too many choices, but now I was nervously trying to minimize my fat and sodium intake! What a surprise, no low-fat, low-sodium outlets in the food court! I settled for some salmon and veggie chunks on a skewer!

On to the Museum!

Martha is a member of the SFMOMA, and she gets invited to these openings where crowds of trendy people gather to view cool things. This time it was the opening of an exhibition of Lee Friedlander's photographs. We also went up to the 5th floor to see Olafur Eliasson's trippy exhibit, which in many ways was like some of the perceptual exhibits at the Exploratorium, done up large and art museum sized! When we stepped out of the elevator on the 5th floor, we were flooded with a pure yellow light. It was pretty strange, and made you look like some zombie out of a cheezy B-movie. Hard to believe the color of light could have such a strong effect on how you feel.

All in all, after all the time in the hospital, and self-focus, it was nice to get out for a few hours. Thanks to all of you who have been so supportive. I go back to work tomorrow!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Second Chances

Quick, close your eyes and touch your nose!

You know how a friend greets you with "How are ya?" and you reply "Just fine?" In many respects, I am 'just fine.' As a matter of fact I feel quite lucky in a way I never did before. It feels kind of odd to answer with "I just had a stroke, but otherwise, I'm fine!"

Now, philosophically, I already believed that one should be thankful for the life one's already had to live, and live each day like it's our last. But I just gotta tell ya that it feels a little different when the right half of your body seems out of whack, and you find out you have sky-high blood pressure when you do go to the doctor's.

So, to cut to the chase for those of you that may not know, and to shorten my typing since it's not too easy for my right hand to type accurately, I had a small stroke this week, and I'm basically fine, should recover completely, and must change my health lifestyle, and take blood pressure medicine conceivably forever.

Earlier, on Wednesday, I felt real ill, weak, and went to the clinic, where I found out about my blood pressure. She gave me some cognitive tests, which included closing my eyes and touching my nose with my fingertip. I did fine, and was sent home with some blood pressure medicine. I noticed later that night that it was hard to type with my right hand (which is still true!) but thought it might be the medication. I woke up wide awake around 3 AM, and for some reason started touching my nose, and was shocked when my right finger missed my nose very significantly. My right leg didn't function as well, and I really thought I had a stroke. I had to convince Kaiser of this the next day, and then found myself in the emergency room on Valentine's Day night (boy, did I blow my Valentine's Day!) watching my blood pressure every 30 minutes. Thoughts of guilt and selfishness about how I was now hurting my family flooded my mind. So many of my friends checked in with their concerns, I definitely felt unworthy. Eventually I said to myself, "Quit whining, and just be thankful!"

There's an old saying that goes something like this:
Nothing clears the mind like an execution in the morning

It's no secret that excess weight and a sedentary lifestyle pose health risks, but boy howdy, it sure seems real now. For the foreseeable future (should I be so blessed to have one) my life will change. I share with you a picture of the first meal I've made since getting out of the hospital, and I presume I'll be learning a lot more about low-salt and low-fat diets, to keep me from going insane. I just need to realize my old life is over, and I've been blessed to have a second go at it. Not being able to pig out on desserts and unhealthy 'comfort food' all the time is a no brainer of a trade for my second chance.

[cliché ending alert!]

So, count your blessings, tell the people you care about that you love them, and do what you need to do to stay around this dance a little longer!