I was about to write that despite all the hassles, I think my many techno-health devices have helped me to lead a healthier life by allowing me to monitor important physical aspects I ignored in the past. It‘s impossible to improve something if you aren’t aware of it; it’s difficult to improve something you can’t measure. I’ve made a number of healthier choices in the recent past, and, if the monitors I’m using are correct, I’m getting healthier, too.
Just how important that might be was called into question yesterday, though. After sunshine finally broke through the morning fog, I packed the car to go to Belfair and Port Orchard. As I was doing so I noticed a small flock of birds in the trees across the street. I couldn’t make them out, but they looked like birds I don’t often see. So, I took my camera, walked across the street and spent fifteen minutes photographing them. Meanwhile, a light fog had apparently settled in and the street iced up. As I walked back to the car I slipped and ended up flat on my back on the concrete. I hit so hard that I shredded the knee of my favorite pants and hit my back so hard that It completely knocked the wind out of me.
I didn’t notice the excruciating pain in my back and shoulder until I tried to get up and get out of the street. For a minute I thought I would have to call 911 because I wasn’t sure I could even make it back to the house. Somehow I managed to do so, however, and spent the next fifteen minutes on the front-room floor wondering if I’d seriously hurt myself or if it was simply a temporary pain that would soon fade. Apparently it was neither, because I didn’t end up going to the doctor but I’m still feeling the pain today despite several over-the-counter pain killers and am having trouble lifting my arm over my head. Still, it seems better today and seems like it will get better on its own.
If that wasn’t bad enough, I almost ended up in the emergency room on a totally unrelated incident later in the evening. We were eating dinner with Ted when I suddenly lost my voice. It wasn’t just hoarse; I could barely whisper. I could feel my throat swelling shut; though luckily it never reached the point of interfering with my breathing. Again, I thought of calling 911, but opted, instead, to go to our local Urgency Care Clinic. Before we left home, I took two Benadryl thinking it had to be an allergic reaction. There were a lot of people in line, and as I stood there waiting, my throat seemed to relax and I could begin to talk again, though it still sounded far from normal. It struck me that if I could actually wait through that long of line I wasn’t in critical enough condition to be at an emergency room, that whatever I was suffering from would eventually go away on its own like most allergic reactions I have had in the past.
I don’t think I would have reacted quite as radically to this event if I hadn’t already had two severe allergy attacks in my lifetime that have put me in the emergency room late at night. The first time was very similar to this one. I developed an allergy to crab and was nearly to the point of needing a tracheotomy by the time I decided I’d better not wait to see a doctor the next day. I haven’t eaten crab since, though I crave it at times. More recently, I ended up in the emergency room when I was overexposed to mold. I flew through the waiting line when they discovered I was having trouble breathing, and I discovered what my older brother must have felt like when he had asthma attacks as a child.
It may be worth the effort to try to stay in as good of shape as I can, but it’s hard to accept that nothing I can do will really make me immune to health problems as I age. It has always seemed ironical to me that I discovered my throat cancer when I was in the best shape of my adult life. My friend and I were hiking up to 25 miles a day in the mountains days before I ended up on the operating table. It was nearly two or three months before I could even start eating again, much less get out of the house to exercise on any regular basis. Of course, the doctor did say I had the best chance of recovery if I was in good physical shape, that he wouldn’t even perform the surgery unless I could walk at least a mile without stopping. Scary as these kinds of events are, they reminded me that I need to try to live each day to its fullest. As soon as I can hold my camera steady, I’ll be out shooting bird pictures again.