Happy Birthday to Me! I Made it to 57!!

Design by the award-winning graphic artist, Laslo Cheffolway

Two weeks ago, I drove to ER at 3am. Most people at that time on a Saturday night would either be asleep, drunk, stoned or in the process of getting laid. Me, on the other hand, went to bed stone sober, tired and alone. That, in itself, is a pitiful statement. I strode into the newly refurbished lobby and stated, "I believe I'm having a heart attack. Don't worry, I also have insurance."

The two nurses up front laughed. "Forget about that - our computer systems are down. Just step this way," and they brought me to a glass-enclosed private room. There, a nurse and a doctor attended to me, asking tons of questions. They set up an IV unit just in case while I explained my puzzling medical history of rarely known neurological symptoms and how it impacts my heart.

My cardiologist insists I'm in perfect health. I've done the stress test. Two young medical assistants laughed hysterically when I barely moved my heart beat up while jogging vertically, grabbing hold of the side bars for dear life because of my shattered right ankle. After 15 minutes of this ordeal, they stopped the test. "Yep, you definitely do mountain bike," they agreed.

Three months ago, the sound of my heartbeat filled my ears while trying to fall asleep. Although this is preferable than listening to the constant high pitched frequencies and corresponding wind tunnel (which  is prevalent as well), my heart beat went silent for a few seconds each time I relaxed. That's when I wondered, "Am I dead?" until it started anew. It was not a good night for sleep.

As this was a one-time event, I didn't give it much thought afterwards. However, two weeks ago, I woke up at 2am feeling a painful oppressive weight pressing on my chest. Now, I had a profound lethargy since my return from a day trip to NYC attributed to auditory overload. Yet, that lethargy combined with pain fell under the category of typical heart attack symptoms for women. You can tell I google most effectively.

The pain came and went. 45 minutes later, I said aloud, "Fuck it," got dressed and drove to the ER. My insurance doesn't cover ambulance as I found out to my financial detriment last year, so I play Russian Roulette with driving. It adds another dimension to my great fear: that I'll die before publishing another massive tome, something I believe will make Five-Star pale in comparison.

After they hooked me up to a machine, they took a lot of blood. I suffer from GERD, a parting gift from the steroids taken to combat my deafness. The steroids did shit, but left me with tons of ambulance and hospital bills and a permanent prescription for acute GERD. Then they left me alone. I tried to sleep except all the alarms went off each time I closed my eyes. My heart rate went down to 40. Jerking awake from the noise, even more louder than imaginable due to hyperacusis, my heart rate jumped to 70.

And so it went for 2 hours until I shrieked from the room, "How long would it take you to enter after I flatline?"

The entire staff converged at once. "We're monitoring you from our station," volunteered one nurse.

"Is this slowness normal?" I asked the doctor.

"There's no such thing as normal," he informed me, "When you're relaxing, your heart rate goes down. It is low, but that's only because you're an athlete."

"Athlete?" I repeated in shock. "Where did you get that?"

"You mountain bike."

"So what?" I said. "That's exercise. That doesn't make me an athlete. Is this the body of an athlete?" I'm still 15lbs over my normal weight. I get hungry after my mountain bike rides.

The ride around the lake is a 9 1/2 mile journey (that grows into 10 miles futzing around streets) I make almost daily six months a year except when there's a torrential downpour. I usually go five days in the row, one day off. People up here are used to seeing me in full bike regalia. They call me, "Bike Girl." Although lacking in creativity, it's an appropriate and apt name.

This summer, I put into place a new goal to spice things up. Should I truly suffer from a cardiac condition, it would only be poetic justice to drop dead while biking on Rt. 17B causing a massive pile-up of Hasidic men who love following me. They see the tattoos on my legs and drool. For them, it means I'm a readily available hooker and the two words they customarily say to all women has a new dimension when they hoot from their SUVs, "How much?"

Afterwards, I want to have a Viking funeral where my body's put in my boat and set afire in the middle of the lake. I may request the editor-in-chief of to video the entire procession.

Ignoring my statement about athleticism, everyone piled out of the room. Hours later, my blood work came in. "You're in perfect cardiac health. It must be GERD."

The doctor handed over another prescription. I threw it out when I returned home.

Fucking GERD - I modified my diet to be consistently bland. I don't drink & don't drink soda. My only guilty pleasure is drinking 2 cups of caffeine daily. I'll amend that soon, but still, fuck. To have an attack like that from 2 cups of coffee?

Still, today's my birthday. I've attained 57. If it ain't a cardiac condition that's gonna get me, it'll be an irate asshole who I blogged about. My only request is that he shoots at the heart, not at the face. Then I can be partially right about my heart.

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This blog and all its posts are a work of fiction. Names, character, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

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