Health and Balance
I haven’t written anything here for a while. Shortly after the last post, I fell ill. I had recurring fevers for a period of over two weeks – I’d feel fine for a while, then later in the day I’d feel weak and had to lie down. I slept for a while, then felt somewhat better, but the process would repeat itself each day one or more times.
Finally, after two weeks, I felt so bad that I went to a clinic to see what was wrong. They recorded my temperature at 102 degrees Fahrenheit (almost 39 degrees Celsius), and took blood samples and a chest x-ray. After further examination, I was transferred to the emergency room at Marin General Hospital, and admitted for overnight observation.
As it turned out, there was an inflammation of the pericardium, the sac that surrounds the heart. Normally, this is a similar size to the heart muscle itself, since there is just a small amount of fluid giving the heart freedom to move. However, in my case, the pericardium had enlarged dramatically as it filled with excess fluid, a condition known as pericarditis.
I remained in the hospital for 4 long days as they drew blood for dozens of tests and did other procedures including an echo-cardiogram (an ultrasound similar to what is done to check the fetus during pregnancy), a CAT scan, and another chest x-ray. My fevers continued.
Finally, the fevers abated in response to Tylenol, and they sent me home with a precautionary antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory medicine (high-dose ibuprofen). They were not able to ascertain the cause of the illness, which is quite common for pericarditis. Apparently, often this will be triggered by some type of virus that the body eventually conquers – a “self-limiting” illness.
I am so thankful for my health, which came back quickly after being released from the hospital. I have been re-examining my life at the age of 57, and trying to find more balance and harmony. While I still work hard, and long hours, I’m trying to curtail my after-midnight work as much as possible (my wife says I burn the candle at three ends…). I’ve been getting out for walks in nature more, and eating better, reducing my coffee and other foods that are not as good for me. I’ve particularly enjoyed going to Muir Woods (where some of the tallest and oldest trees in world are found) and nearby Muir Beach.
It’s a wake-up call, and after decades of good health (I’ve been lucky to have a very strong constitution that just “keeps on going”) I’ve come to realize that I need to take care of myself. I received “get well soon” messages from many clients – THANK YOU! – with many of them saying “take your time, make sure you are rested before resuming your heavy schedule – we will wait for you!”
I feel grateful to be feeling good again, and I’ve promised myself not to take this for granted! I will seek balance, and try to be productive without pushing myself past the limits of common sense and self-love. I’ve woken up to a new awareness of my heart, and how precious life is.