Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Problem Solved - Other Problems Solveable By Attitude Adjustment?

Ignore the last post, gentle readers. As the iPhone has no scroll-bar to indicate the length of a page, the controls I was looking for were hidden at the very top of the page of comments, above the very first comment in the conversation. All I had to do was scroll up.

Normal transmission shall shortly resume.


"How are you E@L? You don't look so well!" - our Office Manager's comment this morning when I got into the office.

Let me tell you how I am....

Doc says I have a chest infection. Productive cough for two weeks or so, some restriction of breathing, particularly after walking up - even down - the steps to the elevated Bangkok Skytrain (thought I was going to have a stroke!), slight fever. Some slight thickening at the left lung base on my CXR. Might be Swine Flu, could be SARS (CXR would be a "white-out"), most likely just a routine chest infection. Take some antibiotics says Doc.

"Have a mask," she says, offering the box.

So my shortness of breath is not JUST because the newest tablets (Remeron) have increased my appetite and therefore I have put on 2kgs in a fortnight (maybe it was the excellent Chiang Mai cuisine). Some of that weight gain might be fluid retention as my ankles and feet are swelling more than usual too. A lot more than usual. Doc worries that it might be a DVT, so I have to scan my own leg later. I've had to go out and buy some compression stockings - and of course I threw out my old pair, un-needed for six years, in a spring-clean only two months ago!

I feel crap. ... OR I did feel crap until I answered you, now I feel better!


Note that I didn't say "more than normal", for what is 'normal'?

The distribution of disease in the population is such that, on average, most people have at least something wrong with them, while many, like myself, are pestered by an affliction of a host of small to medium annoyances. So it must be 'normal' to be a little bit sick, by definition.

But I am not happy about this relative normalcy.

I agree with Schopenhauer* who says that:

And, in general, nine-tenths of our happiness depends upon health alone. With health, everything is a source of pleasure; without it, nothing else, whatever it may be, is enjoyable; even the other personal blessings,--a great mind, a happy temperament--are degraded and dwarfed for want of it. So it is really with good reason that, when two people meet, the first thing they do is to inquire after each other's health, and to express the hope that it is good; for good health is by far the most important element in human happiness.

No wonder I grumble so much. No wonder Miami blogger Creepy, with diverticulitis and surgery coming up, often seems angry at everyone, and depressed. And we wish him the best for his procedure...

Actually friemds are now more wary of asking how I am going, because I am liable to launch into a long description (such as this one) of the shooting pains my toes were getting, of their extreme sensitivity to cold or to the lightest of touches (such as bed-sheets, ow, can't sleep!), of the 'just run a marathon in heels' feelings I constantly have had in the balls of my feet for the last four years (only intermittently before that), of the swelling in my ankles and feet that has been increasing in severity for the last month. They might even get a vivid description of the weird sensations of foot oedema; the swishing feel of the fluid under the shiny bloated skin on the top of me feet, the eerie trickling down sensation of the fluid in my ankleflesh from the swollen area above into the narrow area at the elastic when I remove my tight socks at the end of day, that itchy chillblain burning...

And if it is depressing to hear about this, it IS much more depressing to be the sick one. And it's a cycle that reinforces itself. Schopenhauer said this in the passage that preceded the one quoted above, but I'll quote it now:

How much our happiness depends upon our spirits, and these again upon our state of health, may be seen by comparing the influence which the same external circumstances or events have upon us when we are well and strong with the effects which they have when we are depressed and troubled with ill-health. It is not what things are objectively and in themselves, but what they are for us, in our way of looking at them, that makes us happy or the reverse. As Epictetus says, "Men are not influenced by things, but by their thoughts about things".

And I think that I am sick, but at this moment I'm probably only slightly worse than normal.

Health Issues:

    1: Chronic peripheral nueralgia (foot pain) and surgery did not help, running out of medication options - the last four tab have had REALLY awful side-effects
    2: ^BP moving into metabolic syndrome with impiared glucose tolerance, and chronically medicated.
    3: obesity and exercise averse (I was a good sports-kid at school though.)
    4: productive cough and slight fever (abnormal chest X-ray = chest infection)
    5: oedema of lower legs L>R, probably related to current medication for 1, above, or as result of 3., chest infection (increased pulmonary resistance, slows fluid transport down).

Completely coincidentally, because I had almost finished this post when I read it, Creepy had just linked to this Time article!

A study just published in the journal Psychological Science says trying to get people to think more positively can actually have the opposite effect: it can simply highlight how unhappy they are.

That chimes perfectly with the conclusion I was about to write anyway - I do enjoy it when people ask me how I feel, because talking about how sick I am makes me feel a hell of a lot better!


(p.s. Leg veins from groin to ankle are clear and 100% compressible, with spontaneous cardiopedal flow and the Doppler augmentation is normal.)

* I found the quote with Google Books, but had to go to Gutenberg to CrtlC, CtrlV it.

No comments:

Free Podcast

Related Posts with Thumbnails