When I buy clothing, which isn't that often if I can help it, I tend to buy in bulk: lots of three or six, generally, depending upon what the budget will let me get away with. Last time I bought slacks cheap-ish imitation Dockers, you may be certain I bought three different colors of the same design, and turned them over to the tailor for shortening. (The waistline was fine, but I seem to have shorter legs than Cathy Rigby, despite being thirteen inches taller.) One of them, curiously, is noticeably tighter than the other two, which presumably is the result of sample variations. Since my weight of late has been variable, I sometimes skip that pair in the regular rotation. Monday I didn't, and thereby hangs a tale.
The stereotype says that IT guys like me are sedentary on the Jabba the Hutt scale. Some of them probably are, but I'm not: since I have print output to do on a regular basis, I seldom get to sit for much more than half an hour at a stretch. (For all I know, this might be why I'm still alive.) Gravity being what it is, this means I'm having to pick up and then put down largish boxes of paper. Picking up wasn't the problem yesterday, but putting down caused me massive pain in the sides. Last time I had this, it was a particularly heinous form of bursitis, but that couldn't have been the case this time: I tend to sleep on my side, and if those sides were inflamed, I wouldn't have gotten any sleep. In the absence of a better explanation, I concluded that my pants were too tight. Since the corporation presumably would not be happy if I removed them, I popped a tab of ibuprofen and waited for the pain to go away.
Which it did, for a while. I got down lunch well enough, came back to the shop, and immediately got the same sort of übertwinge. I responded the same way: with more ibuprofen. And ten minutes later came something different: wooziness, blurry vision blurrier than usual, even and the general feeling that someone was blowing up my head as though it were a helium balloon. I didn't black out or anything, but I was definitely impaired for a few moments. I began taking short, shallow breaths at high speed, reasoning that if I were running short of oxygen to the brain, I needed to suck in some air in a hurry. Had anyone walked in at that moment, she might have thought I was panting.
Now I've been woozy before; I have a history of labyrinthine vertigo, though the last episode, a mild one, was over two years ago. I decided, temporarily anyway, that I'd had a transient ischemic attack, though the symptoms really didn't match up all that well.
I had no issues on the 20-minute drive home, and none thereafter, so I pondered for a moment: "What did I do differently? Apart from the pants, I mean." And there was only one factor I could isolate: two ibuprofen in relatively rapid succession. Given the complicated cocktail of maintenance drugs I take anyway, perhaps it was an unexpected interaction. Under the circumstances, I perhaps should have tried a different painkiller. (I have, um, stronger ones at my disposal.)
Early this morning, I posted the following on Facebook:
After yesterday's if-it's-not-a-stroke-what-is-it? incident, I am perhaps somewhat improved, though "good" seems far away still.
Worried responses came in almost immediately. (Trini, in fact, popped open a chat window within thirty seconds to grill me on the matter.) I tried to reassure everyone that I'm not actually dead, but it occurs to me that this conforms to yet another stereotype: the guy who thinks he's indestructible until about five seconds before his destruction. At this writing, late on Tuesday evening, I feel pretty good, if not exactly wonderful. (Not actually being dead has a salutary effect on my mood. Go figure.) As it happens, long before any of this came up I'd already scheduled an appointment with my doctor. My current file, already a couple of inches thick, will grow by a few millimeters, I'm sure. In the meantime, I probably need some new pants.
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Copyright © 2013 by Charles G. Hill